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Using Digital Stories


What are they and why use them?

View our Digital Stories of the Year and ePortfolios catagorized according to disciplines in the left menu.

 Digital Story Rubric - DigitalStorytellingRubric.pdf


For both faculty and students, digital stories are an interesting and powerful part of reflective practice. This digital form of expression can provide essential support in facilitating reflection while promoting creative thinking and building multimedia skills. A digital storytelling assignment can transform a standard writing assignment into an experiencial adventure. 


Digital Stories combine the elements of storytelling with multimedia components such as digital audio files, images, music and recorded narration. Usually 2 to 10 minutes in duration, the possibilities of what can be put into a digital story are endless. In fact, one can narrate something as personal as his or her goals and life motives or something as specific as course projects and assignments. 



Eda Gimenez, ePortfolio Student Consultant


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Types of Digital Stories


In general, Digital Storytelling is comprised of seven key features developed by the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) in Berkely, California. These are useful in that they provide a starting point in creating a digital story. These seven components are what typically make up a digital story.



Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling

1. Point of View

What is the main point of the story and what is the perspective of the author?

2. A Dramatic Question

A key question that keeps the viewer's attention and will be answered by the end of the story.

3. Emotional Content

Serious issues that come alive in a personal and powerful way and connects the story to the audience.

4. The Gift of Your Voice

A way to personalize the story to help the audience understand the context.

5. The Power of the Soundtrack

Music or other sounds that support and embellish the storyline.

6. Economy

Using just enough content to tell the story without overloading the viewer.

7. Pacing

The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses.

Source:   http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/7elements.html



Personal Narratives

Personal Narratives are a popular form of digital stories. These highlight various accounts of one's life. In designing a personal narrative, one can outline the struggles they face, the obstacles they wish to overcome, the goals and objectives they wish to achieve in the future, or reiterate a story about their lives and personal experiences. Simply put, digital stories can be used to describe who you are.


The benefits of personal narratives are plenty. In viewing personal narratives created by other individuals, students can discover the "unknown" side of a peer and diversify their understanding of the people that surround them.  These, of course, can help individuals grow an appreciation for the people, the lifestyles, and cultures that exist their world.



Digital Storytelling Sites with Examples


Here are some of our great examples of personal narrative ePortfolios at Stony Brook University:

Does it have  to be a personal narrative?  NO!


The Digital Story format can be used with projects and assignments that don't involve personal narratives.  At Stony Brook, the STEM disciplines are finding a use for this multimodal format.  Suddenly, a flat research paper takes on dimension and becomes experiential. 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.