Digital Storytelling: Course Reflection

I have just finished a coursera online MOOC on Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling. I have decided to write a series of blog posts to share my lessons learned, my experience and the finished story of the course. You may want to read earlier posts before going ahead with this.

1. Digital Storytelling: Introductory Post

2. My Digital Story: Topic, Script and Storyboard

3. My Digital Story: Gathering and Creating Image and Video Resources

4. Audio Narration and Background Music in Digital Storytelling

5. Principles of Story-boarding: Published Story

Finally, I get to write the concluding post on my MOOC on digital storytelling. At the end of the course, a course-reflection survey was required from us and this helped me to put this together. The following are my thoughts while reflecting on the course:

Q1: What were some of the most significant things you learned about digital storytelling in this course?
A: I think the most significant thing is its place, and possible use in the design of e-Learning courses. I suddenly saw its compatibility with e-learning.

Q2: Do you think this a technology tool you will use in the future? If yes, please briefly describe how you think you might use it. If not, please briefly describe why you do not feel you will use DS in the future.
A: I will surely use this later on. I am an e-learning trainee and I think this is a technology tool that can compliment my online courses. I imagine every course or major course with an accompany short digital story to effectively pass the message across and further engage the learners. So I will definitely create more digital stories to pass across concepts and to accompany my online courses or even stand alone as tools.

Q3: What was the main topic of your digital story?
A: Principles of Storyboarding for e-Learning designs

Q4: What were the major objectives of your digital story?
A: The story was created to help e-Learning students and professionals to:
a. Understand what storyboarding is
b. See examples of storyboards
c. Appreciate the benefits of storyboards
d. Write better storyboards

Q5: Why did you select this topic?
A: I found the myriad of e-Learning terminologies overwhelming as I grew in the field and figured several growing professionals like myself would benefit from a story that addresses one of such terminologies in our field.

Q6: Who do you think would be interested in viewing your digital story?
A: This story addresses a particular subject in the e-Learning field and so everyone in the field should benefit from it. E-learning Students and their tutors, e-learning professionals, new staff members employed to the e-learning department in an organisation. All those who also teach and create digital stories will also benefit from this story because they also use storyboards. Indeed, all those who do any form of design and content creation would require a storyboard and would definitely benefit from this story.

Q7: Describe the process you went through in completing your digital story. This should include a list of all of the software programs you used, where the content for the project came from, what items in the project changed from the early stages of selecting the topic through your completed version of the story, plus any other information you would like to add.
A: The process was an interesting one, and a great time for learning. I followed keenly the steps of choosing a topic, defining the scope and objectives, writing a script, gathering or creating resources, finding music and recording audio narration, editing all resources together to get final video.

Microsoft PowerPoint, Audacity and WeVideo software were used for different aspects of creating the digital story.

Audio Narration recording and editing: Audacity for windows

Images: I decided to shoot a few images that describe the different aspects of my narration, so I employed the services of a brother to help shoot. I also created the other images from PowerPoint.

Microsoft PowerPoint was not only used for creating the images but used to create the entire video, without audio. I decided to use the transitions and effects available in PowerPoint for the slide to slide interaction. Based on the timing of the audio narration, I pre-set the time for each animation, interaction and transition for the slides in PowerPoint and made sure it was set to play automatically. I saved the PowerPoint project as a video.

Next, I imported to WeVideo for the final phase of the process. Here I also imported the audio narration and the background music. I cut the audio into single files based on the screens and properly aligned them to fit the right positions on the timeline. I had to work on the volume of the background music so it does not overshadow the narration.

Finally, after carefully previewing over and over, I published the final work!

As regards content, one of the content of the course included storyboarding so it was helpful for content. I also belong to an online community of e-learning designers where we share content, design and ideas and resources from the community was of great value. I had also done a few other works on storyboards in the past and going back to review was helpful.

It is note-worthy that there were a few changes in the project. In the original storyboard for this digital story, I planned to include short video clips of three e-learning professionals. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get all three ready before the due dates for the publishing and submission of the story, so I had to create the story without the videos. However, let me say that I still intend to improve on this story later when I can add the videos and a little more interaction to the story.

Q8: Describe if and how this digital story might be used in a formal or an informal educational setting.
A: Yes…I so much believe this story is useful for educational purposes, both formal and informal. In a formal setting, teachers of e-learning or subjects like storyboarding can use this story as an additional tool for explaining the concept of storyboarding to their students. Informally, company staff members can use this story as a jump-start to the concept of storyboarding while attempting to build e-learning courses for their organisations.

Q9: Describe any challenges you faced in creating the digital story and how you dealt with these challenges.
A: I wouldn’t say ‘Time Consuming’ is a challenge in that sense, but creating a good and engaging digital story takes time and a bit of focus just like doing any project does. My choice and use of software also posed a bit of challenge for me during the process. Importing the video created from PowerPoint into WeVideo took so long a time due to the size of the video. Limitations of transition effects and design in WeVideo drove me back to PowerPoint. However, subsequently I may attempt to use Adobe Premier which I am more comfortable with for editing.

Q10: Discuss the most significant things you learned from completing the digital story.
A: First, I’m glad I was able to complete the MOOC and the story…(the first coursera MOOC I will complete). So maybe the first thing I learnt is Discipline! I learnt to stay put on a project with deadlines and finish it with good quality. Another important lesson is the training to conceptualize ideas and translate it to visible published project. Of course, I have been introduced to a few tips that will help me in my work generally like how to get free images and background music, how to use WeVideo for video editing and creating a story in all.

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