What We’re Doing in Digital Narrative at Tunxis

It was somewhat fortuitous for New Media Communication at Tunxis to run Digital Narrative, the second course in our program. The students, after taking New Media Perspectives, have the chance to work with an actual project, begun by one of our economics professors on sabbatical with web site needs. Digital Narrative needs a real project; it also needs students ready to apply learning they’ve acquired in new media principles. This program is not about any particular skill. Rather it pulls students who are learning particular skills into the broad new media fields that require teams to synthesize what they’re learning. We need designers, programmers, artists, business people, writers, and we expect them to lead and to apply.

So we build systems inter-disciplinarily. The system we’re building is an archive and story sharing site for the Conference of Solidarity Support Organizations. Here are the components and goals:

1. Use wordpress for the superstructure
2. Use github for team organization, roles, and milestones–this is a fantastic tool for student teams (no one can hide)
3. Build facilities for content creation and management by the client and his editorial board
4. Promote institutional sharing: students will be meeting with local institutions, which is really cool
5. Promote team integration and integrity in the students
6. Integrate the new media layers of code, design, and culture (which are our Programs central concerns)
7. Learn a little about Polish history and the significance of the Solidarity movement.

It’s working pretty well thus far. Students have a two day meeting schedule. They meet with the client on Tuesday (in Agile mode) and work on what they decided with him on Thursday. But they’re also working on their own time, without my prompting on “stuff.” I assist with more advanced programming and organization issues; WordPress can be complicated. But, as this is a necessary project, outside of the classroom, the students have taken the bull by the horns and are being aggressive. Good. I can use milestones to set my assessment schedule, which is convenient.