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.

Art History media projects

Thanks to Kenny Jones for sending along sample projects from ART 221, General Survey 1. Students worked in teams to produce an 8-10 minute comparison of three artifacts, two from their survey of art history and one more contemporary example.

Here are a few of their projects with a summary of the assignment.


Student Examples


Project Assignment

I. Choosing a Topic for the Podcast:

Our goal is the analysis of the form, iconography and technique of artifacts within their historic context, so as to visually demonstrate their main paradigm characteristics. Use the visual media of the podcast to make a visual argument for your thesis, of course you should include verbal material as well.

If you aren’t showing us visual information you are not taking advantage of this visual media – be sure to show us and not just tell us. Consider the fact that what you are really doing is helping us to envision information. That being said, do not interpret this as a invitation to overwhelm us with useless decorative or ornamental packaging, e.g. distracting chart junk, vacuous clip art, baffling special effects, etc. Be sure to check out this resource on envisioning information.

Compare and contrast two artifacts from our textbook. It may be any significant artifact found in our text, e.g. painting, sculpture, architecture, piece of furniture, etc. In addition to these two artifacts compare a current physical, artifact from your primary, normal cultural environment, e.g. artwork, architecture, or appliance, etc. (current means it was substantively made, not remodeled or made famous but actually made within the 21st century).

This means you will be comparing a total of three artifacts:

1. the primary artifact from our text

2. the artifact that is older or newer than the primary artifact, also from our textbook.

3. the artifact that can help you see your paradigm – that was made in 21st century and is a relevant, physical artifact from your primary, normal cultural environment. (Do not use artifacts that were remolded, refurbished or made famous in the 21st century, these do no qualify for having been created and constructed in this century and are therefore not relevant reflections of your current paradigm).

for more details, ART 221: General Survey 1 Blog


Nutrition Controversy podcasts

This fall Dr. Martha Smallwood asked students in NUTR 221: Introductory Nutrition to team up to produce media projects on controversies in the field. Working with a partner, they were supposed to find sources from scientific journals as well as popular magazines and websites that presented both sides in the controversy and evaluate the strength of sources on both sides.

Thanks to Dr. Smallwood and her students for sharing a few examples of their work.


Student Examples





Consumer Chemistry infomercials

This fall students from Dr. Autumn Sutherlin’s CHEM 101: Consumer Chemistry class produced short infomercials introducing their subjects to a general audience.

You and your partners will create a 5-8 minute video infomercial about a Green Product. A green product is a product that claims to have little or no impact on the environment. Your final infomercial will explain the advantages and disadvantages of this product over the “non-Green” product it is replacing. You will need to consider things such as environmental impact and the cost of both the Green and Non-green Products.

Thanks to Dr. Sutherlin for sharing their work.

Student Examples




Psychology Seminar digital stories

This is the second year Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker has introduced digital storytelling into her PSYC 401: Psychology Seminar class. Students were asked to reflect on the skills and attributes that first led them to psychology through short media narratives.

As you work through the semester thinking about the career that will be the best fit for you, you will construct a digital story reflecting on Max Lucado’s book Cure for the Common Life. The Lucado readings will focus thinking about your work as a way to live within your God-given calling, gifts, and passion.

Dr. Shewmaker sat down with us last year to reflect on Teaching with Digital Storytelling.


Student Examples