Digital Stories @ UMBC

What is Digital Storytelling? Digital Storytelling @ UMBC

Digital storytelling is a term that has taken on a number of meanings as new media has evolved over the last decade. At UMBC we primarily take our meaning from the pioneering work carried out by the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS). In the mid-nineties CDS developed a three-day workshop in which participants create 3-5 minute digital movies from photographs and personal artifacts. These stories typically take the form of personal narratives in which the author reflects on a life experience. The techniques of digital storytelling are increasingly popular in classrooms as a means of self-expression and developing digital literacy skills.

The New Media Studio has been involved in digital story work since 2004, adapting the practices of the CDS for use in several graduate and undergraduate classes. In January 2006, the Studio sponsored a faculty workshop at UMBC conducted by CDS staff, including Joe Lambert and Daniel Wienshanker. Faculty attending the workshop gained insight into digital storytelling as a pedagogical tool, and many have applied the technique in their teaching and research. While at UMBC, Joe also gave a talk digital storyelling to the campus. His full presentation can be viewed in New Media's TLT brownbag archive.

The faculty workshop has evolved into an annual event facilitated by Studio staff and faculty peers.  An active community of practice with a listserv of over 160 members has developed on campus, meeting each semester to share ideas and experiences. Based on their workshop experience, faculty in many disciplines have adapted the techniques of digital storytelling in the creation of innovative learning experiences in their classrooms. In some cases this has moved beyond the personal narrative focus of digital storytelling to include documentaries and other forms of visual assignments. The Studio provides graduate teaching assistants on a limited basis to provide technical assistance in production skills in the classroom.  Limited production resources for recording and editing, along with “genius bar” support by Studio RAs are available in the International Media Center.

If you are interested in participating or hearing about upcoming workshops sponsored by NMS, please subscribe to our digital storytelling mailing list or email us at