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Hellenistic World: Digital Story Telling


For the second-year core module, Hellenistic World, Dr Conor Trainor gives students the option of either a 3-minute digital story telling assignment or an essay-based assessment, which counts for 25% of the module. The digital story telling task aims to assess students’ ability to tell a coherent story to the viewer, present with clarity, and use primary data and secondary materials effectively. It also pays special attention to originality, creativity, and sophistication. The storytelling task encourages students to think about points of view, teaching, entertaining, bringing a sense of meaning to the past, and even how reality is constructed. It also helps to increase technical literacy. Examples of student work are uploaded on the department’s YouTube channel and students are encouraged to think about how their work engages with a public audience, for example in a museum.

In Term 1, students receive training sessions on digital storytelling. This includes the fundamentals of storytelling and training using the tech, such as Yeti microphones (provided by the department), Audacity audio software, LAME, and WeVideo. Students then produce a non-assessed piece in order to get a good grounding of the process. Students who choose the digital storytelling assessment in Term 2 then undertake this as an individual task.

Lesson plan

  1. In Term 1, the students receive skills sessions to learn about digital story telling. Skills sessions cover the basics of good storytelling, how to record and edit media, and how to engage audience. They also look at existing art, archaeology, myths, and museum pieces. The intent is to encourage students to think about story composition, pitching to modern audiences, and improving literacy with technology. These are also transferable skills that can be used in a business/commerce setting.
  2. Students are introduced to new technology, such as Yeti Mics and Audacity used to record and LAME used to encode and compress.
  3. Students are also introduced to resources from public databases, e.g. royalty-free music and Creative Commons images.
  4. Students work in groups in the skills session to select a topic, and produce a digital story.
  5. Students’ work is then judged and prizes are awarded in an award ceremony called ‘The Hellies’.
  6. In Term 2, students are given the option of a digital storytelling assessment instead of a more traditional essay-based assessment.
  7. Assessments are submitted via Tabula, with a paragraph on why the topic has been chosen, and why is it relevant.

Tutor's observations

We’ve had generally positive feedback from the students. SEN students in particular engaged with this very well. It has been low cost to bring in, and there is not a very high knowledge of tech needed. For a small minority of students, they didn’t see the point of using this kind tech in the arts, [but] generally it has been good to introduce tech in learning [and] encourage students to communicate better and more innovatively to different audiences.

Examples of student work

Hannah Thorpe, 'Adea EurydiceLink opens in a new window'

Lia Bhimani, Georgina Bagshawe, Lucy Nicholson and Nikita Gandhi, 'Winged Nike of Samothrace'Link opens in a new window

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3_first_Classics and Ancient History
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CX 251: Hellenistic World