about the course

Don’t let the “multimedia” scare you; this course is about telling stories. The title of the course is kind of an oxymoron. “Multimedia” implies lots of different media. “Writing” implies text – books, magazines, newspapers. “Multimedia storytelling” or “Multimedia authorship” or something like that probably would have been a better name, but it was out of my hands. This is not a technology course, so you shouldn’t be too concerned if you don’t yet know how to use a video camera or an audio recorder or even if you don’t know what a blog is or what Twitter is or why anyone in their right mind would use these things. By the end of the course you will.

This course will serve as an introduction to different forms of media, including audio, images, audio and video. The course is assembled to engage three aspects of storytelling: craft, context and community. By “craft” I mean the mechanics of finding stories and putting them together.  By “context” I mean an interrogation of digital media itself. For example, what are the consequences of e-readers? Community refers to the process of finding and engaging an audience, including finding an outlet to publish work.

Besides the actual mechanics of storytelling we will also watch, listen to and read a lot of stories and critique them to figure why they are good or bad.

Lastly, we will engage discussion about the ethics of storytelling in the digital realm, from the borrowing of images or music for our stories to our responsibilities as “witnesses” with tools.


By the end of this course I hope you will be fluent in telling stories using a variety of tools and platforms. Here are some more concrete objectives:

• To develop a deepened appreciation for the practical matters involved in getting original work published.
• To explore the ethical considerations in the work of a writer in diverse situations.
• To come to know a variety of genres of writing and learn their particular functions in the marketplace—whether in a bookstore or in an organizational context.
• To turn you on to some amazing work.

books, etc.

There are two books for the course.

War, Sebastian Junger.

I chose this book because it is part of a large multimedia project that Junger is working on. Hopefully, the book will provoke some questions about how traditional publishing fits into the digital world. It’s also a pretty good read.

Reality Radio, John Biewen, editor

This book provides a lot of good advice and some inspiration about the place of audio in multimedia.

Both of these are available at the bookstore, but I don’t care where you get them.

The rest of the texts we will use, from “how to” kind of things for the gear to stories as examples, will all be online.
The university will supply all the gear you need to produce the stories for this course. However, you will need some sort of  data storage device. A large-capacity thumb drive will work for much of what we produce, but you might consider investing in an external hard drive. You can get a 500 Gb drive from somewhere like Best Buy for well under $100.


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