A Different Lens: QCC Students Open Viewers’ Eyes through Digital Storytelling

July 25, 2013 | Queensborough Community College

Digital Stories

Queensborough– renowned for its remarkable diversity of cultures—is a treasure trove of inspiring student stories that describe the determination to succeed, no matter how far away they travel or what their circumstances may be.

These students—who hail from 140 countries around the world—are producing the narratives of their life’s journeys through digital media videos.

Under the mentorship of Jillian Abbott, an adjunct instructor in the Department of English, students in the Student WIKI Interdisciplinary group compose essays and then create storyboards, utilizing PowerPoint and Camtasia Studio®–a software tool that edits and enhances content. The ongoing project is part of QCC’s initiative to incorporate technology pedagogy into the classroom.

“More than ever, this generation reads and writes on mobile devices and it is important that we continue to engage them intellectually in ways they can relate to,” said Ms. Abbott.

Serwaa Bonnah is a second semester student majoring in Health Sciences. Her digital story, “We are all in this Together,” seamlessly blends visual, auditory and textual elements to chronicle her migration from Ghana to the U.S. “I learned surprising things about myself through this project, including how much my native flag means to me. The bright colors, which represent independence, wealth, natural beauty and African freedom, fill me with pride and self-confidence.”

Although she travels far from the Bronx each day to attend her classes, Serwaa says it’s worth it because of “the College’s great diversity and very supportive faculty.”

“The goal is to progress from short digital stories to e-books,” adds Ms. Abbott, who collaborated with QCC’sAcademic Computing Center and the Office of Academic Affairs to create her award-winning multimedia fiction, Air Quality, an iBook textbook which was released in early July.

Recently, Ms. Abbott participated in an international conference on digital pedagogy at Bath Spa University in England. She presented papers on building her iBook textbook and assessing digital writing. Last spring, Ms. Abbott was a presenter at Queensborough’s “A Campus Conversation: MOOCs and Other Emerging Instructional Technology.”

The Student Wiki Interdisciplinary Group partners English and Basic Educational Skills courses with an additional content course that creates a shared student centered space through the technology of Epsilen’s Academic web platform. This platform allows students to electronically archive and share their written, visual, aural compositions and research with others.