The Digital Decameron – Week Five

This week curated by:

  • Sara Bachman Ducey, Chair of Integrative Studies and Paul Peck Humanities Institute Director at Montgomery College
  • Jamie Gillan, Associate Professor of English and Reading and Collaborative Interdisciplinary Projects Coordinator at Montgomery College
  • Matthew Decker, Assistant Professor of English and Reading and Special Projects Coordinator for the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College
  • Jeremy Lignelli, Instructional Associate at the Writing, Reading, and Language Center at Montgomery College

When Montgomery College (Maryland, USA)—one of the largest, most diverse community colleges in the United States—along with academic institutions worldwide, shifted our educational mission to remote teaching and learning, most faculty members, administrators, staff, and students found themselves navigating an entirely foreign online landscape. Many weathered this experience with heart and a renewed sense of purpose; others struggled with technology, a lack of resources, the burdens of essential work, the responsibilities of family, and more. Our Digital Storytelling Internship, the first of its kind as an on-campus Montgomery College student leadership experience, has faced similar challenges, but we are united in our desire to tell meaningful stories, to continue to connect with audiences around the world, to cultivate networks that speak to the necessity of continuing this work especially today.

Many of the stories we share with you this week reflect the efforts of our internship team, a group of dedicated student leaders and faculty mentors who have kept this professional development opportunity alive and thriving. Our stories are imperfect and unfinished. They reflect the challenges the MC community faces during uncertain times. But they also highlight the strength and positive impact storytelling and embracing vulnerability can have on a global audience. We have chosen to present our collection as a cohesive narrative. Our Digital Story collection begins with the role of mentors, transitions into developing personal growth and courage, advances into journeys to the present moment, considers the value of third spaces, and finally ends with a collaborative digital story humorously detailing our coping during the pandemic.

Montgomery College Classroom Spotlight (Jeremy Lignelli)

For the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to work with the Work Force Development and Continuing Education programs teaching English as a second language. Since my class is primarily a speaking course, I have used Digital Storytelling to improve the student’s expression, pronunciation, and overall language use. We’ve used peer editing and reviewing of their scripts and videos. Also, we used other recorded digital stories to improve their listening, comprehension and critiquing skills. They get to notice the grammar, content, and use of the technology to further their own expertise. In a semester, we usually do two full Digital stories. These assignments and experiences have given a voice and confidence to my students to motivate them to not only keep on learning the language but also know they have the skills to master it as they move forward in their studies! Showcased here is my student’s work “Distance.”