Storytelling in Creative Writing program

Al Haley, writer-in-residence and professor of English, was an alum of our very first digital storytelling workshop in 2011 and has been helping us lead faculty workshops on campus for the last year. His work with the scholarly storytelling group last December helped many of the participants see the potential of mixed media writing and storytelling in their teaching and research. Here are a couple of Al’s past stories.




A Bed in San Francisco

Down on the Farm


This semester Al asked students in his Creative Nonfiction Workshop and a new class on Micro-Narratives to produce their own digital stories as an extension of their other writing in both courses. Here are a few examples of their work.



Before June

Before June

Before June – Daniel Merritt

Blank Spots Fill Holes – Julia Curtis

Missing Home – Brittney Starkey

Ode on Napping – Luke Ramsey

Small World – Adrian Patenaude

Creative Nonfiction

Drama Ministry – Emmy Sparks

Mother Knows Best – Elena Kua


Literacy video projects from Advanced Comp

Thanks to Dr. Cole Bennett and his ENGL 325: Advanced Comp class for sharing their Literacies projects again this year. .

The course introduces students to “theories of literacy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, paying particular attention to readings that emphasize social and political issues related to reading and writing.” then concluded with student-produced videos introducing a cultural literacy of their own:

“Rhetorically, this video should attempt to convince the viewer that 1) the activity under consideration qualifies as an expanded form of literacy; and 2) society would benefit as a whole if such argument were accepted. How does the subject fall under a definition of literacy? Which definition? Why does it matter? How are our lives enriched if we agree with you? How might your opponents disagree with you, and how would you address such concerns?”

Here are a few examples of their work.


VIDEO: How to Read a Book in 2013

In August How to Read a Book hit 20,000 views. Congrats Hilary!

At the end of the semester, we get a lot of notes from faculty with strong examples of student video projects (we’ll share of few of those this next week). It’s typically a good sign when students begin sharing links to their classmates’ projects. High praise indeed.

This example came from a couple students who thought Hilary Commer’s “How to Read a Book in 2013” was the complete package. Strong, sharp writing. Carefully composed visuals. And directing and performances that accentuate humor without overdoing it. And shot on Learning Studio camera to boot! A great combination we think you’ll enjoy.


How to Read a Book in 2013

Produced for Cade White’s Introduction to Visual Media,  How-To Video assignment

“Did you find an odd box with pieces of paper inside? It might be a book! Some of them still have real pages—and I’ll show you just how to read one.”


Tepper workshop with ACU Theatre

Several months ago Adam Hester, Department of Theatre chair, let us know that folks from the Tepper Semester program in New York would be on campus. They hosted a film casting workshop that gave ACU students experience working with professional casting directors.



Thanks to Matt Bardwell and Nathan Driskell in the Learning Studio for filming the auditions, giving students a glimpse of themselves on the big screen.

Scholarly Storytelling workshop

This last month we welcomed a remarkable group of faculty to join us for our first Scholarly Storytelling workshop in the Learning Studio. We wanted to explore the potential of mixed-media storytelling to communicate messages drawn from research and professional writing with a wider audience.

Al Haley and Kyle Dickson led the workshop which paralleled the basic structure of a three-day storytelling workshop with the exception that the final products didn’t follow any one basic format. Presentations included expanded training in the proper use and citation of digital sources and advanced production options like working with a green-screen or teleprompter. The workshop also coincided with planning for the One-Button Studio which will make these types of stories even easier to produce in the future.

Here are just a few examples from the workshop.


Faculty Examples



Copier – Al Haley

Different – Jeff Childers

Hope & Tragedy in Amos – Mark Hamilton

Modeling Intentional Community – Kent Smith



Each of the projects was produced with a particular audience in mind. Al was presenting at a conference and wanted a way to talk about his interest in mixed-media texts. Mark was thinking about videos to introduce biblical texts for a media commentary project he was considering. Kent was working with colleagues on a research project to share interviews with members of intentional communities around the country. Jeff had a particular role for his project to play within a graduate theology class. This last demonstrates the complexity of these messages for particular audiences:

“This project is intended to stimulate conversation about synthesis in a graduate class. All the students will have read assigned texts, and one of the themes on which I will focus in class is the attempt in early Syriac Christianity to have radically different styles of discipleship co-existing in the same communities. It was difficult for them, as for us, and I prepared a film that 1) underscores a range of related themes in certain texts (which they will have read), 2) grounds the topic in a particular socio-historic setting, yet 3) suggestively associates their struggles maintaining unity-in-diversity with our own struggles to do so, in several different arenas of interest to Christian communities (i.e. worship styles, fellowship, ministry, race, etc.). The music is that of Syrian Orthodox hymnody.”.

Overall, a remarkably diverse group of teachers and scholars thinking about the potential of media tools to forward their work across campus.