The OSU Digital Storytelling Program (DSP) is a collaborative project of the Digital Union (part of the Office of Distance Education and eLearning) and University Libraries.


The OSU Digital Storytelling Program’s mission is to help the academic community communicate passion for teaching, research, and outreach through personal, engaging storytelling. We accomplish this through workshops, showcases, presentations, and publications, emphasizing particularly the workshops in which participants learn to use digital tools and interactive story circles to craft powerful narratives. We are committed to the story as an important medium for reaching new audiences and fostering new collaborations within the academic community, as well as with the citizens of Ohio and the global community. We are committed to the process as much as the product because we believe the process lends itself to digital storytelling as a teaching tool.

Goal 1: To provide the campus community with workshops and other learning opportunities that introduce new technologies and multimodal literacy concepts in order to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for producing digital stories in an academic environment.

Goal 2: To reach new audiences and foster new collaborations by providing showcases, conference presentations, and scholarly publications that describe and evaluate the effect of the DSP on teaching, research, and outreach at OSU.

Goal 3: To preserve and provide free access through the World Wide Web to digital stories created at OSU.

Goal 4: To act as a clearinghouse for information about digital storytelling at OSU.

What is a ‘digital story’?

Most basically, a digital story is a short (3-5 minute) movie which uses images, voice, and music to tell a story. There are a variety of media that can be used to create digital stories and a variety of reasons for creating them. We have taken our cue about what digital storytelling is from Joe Lambert of the Center for Digital Storytelling. In particular: “What best describes our approach is its emphasis on personal voice and facilitative teaching methods.” Digital Storytelling is a way of talking about something that conveys not only information, but emotion and significance as well.

Why tell stories?

Stories are the bedrock of every culture. They help define a nation, a tribe, a community, a profession. They tell its history, they convey its wisdom and perspective. Stories allow us to understand someone else’s experiences in a deeply personal way, creating empathy. Stories can help us care about something we might not otherwise care about.

In academics, stories provide affective learning that can lead the learner to a desire for more cognitive learning. It takes deep understanding to tell your own story about an event, place, person or thing. Hearing someone else’s story can cause the listener to care more about what is being told than if facts alone were conveyed. Stories can provide unique ways of building community in your own discipline, or in reaching out to other disciplines.

Storytelling is a valued method of communication in a variety of academic fields and professional venues. View this selected Bibliography/Webliography (pdf) if you are interested in knowing more.