January 10: What is a Digital Story?

overview of this week:

  • syllabus
  • schedule
  • assignments/projects
  • blogging set up
  • class Slack channel 
  • Story of an Hour
  • ChatGPT and world-building
  • Watch Fargo


*Attendance and late work.

  • You must communicate with me, ideally on Slack, to arrange for the completion of late or missed work.
  • If you are over 5 min late to class more than two times in a row, you will receive an absence. Class will start on time.


first initial + last name + 23

Login and make a blog post: introduce yourself and describe the genres of storytelling (drama, horror, sci-fi, fantasy) and story media (novels, movies, games) that interests you most.

I will provide blogging prompts and/or exercises to help you think critically and creatively about the themes each week. Blog posts should be approximately 250-500 words , demonstrate a solid understanding of the readings/screenings and the ongoing themes in the course, be crafted as mini-essays with proper grammar and spelling and include relevant links, media inserts, “featured image” and metadata (tagging, categories).

Video assignments/projects should be embedded from your youtube or vimeo accounts as blog post, along with a text introduction. Just paste the full video url in the post and it turns into a player.

As upper-level university students at a Tier 1 research institution, your writing proficiency should reflect that status. We will discuss what makes good blog writing throughout the course.

-posts are a proper and timely response to the week’s reading(s) and prompt
-posts are developed arguments with (if required) supporting evidence (quotes, embedded videos, images etc.)
-posts are around 250-500 words
-posts are formatted with a featured image,  blockquotes, external links (where appropriate), categories, tags
-you make 5-10 comments on classmates’ (in your group) blog posts (during the semester)

B:  significantly deficient in any one of the above areas

C:  significantly deficient in any two of the above areas

D-F:  significantly deficient in all 3 of the above areas


brief talk:

What is a Digital Story? story forms, narrative theory/terms, storytelling and evolution, computers and storytelling, digital convergence, networks 


storytelling tools and platforms:

source material:

AI (ML) Text Generation Tools:

  • ChatGPT  “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”
  • GPT-3
  • Create a class contract for appropriate and beneficial uses of AI tools for student learning: ChatGPT

AI (ML) Image Generation Tools:

Playing with text:

digital images:

digital video/audio:

  • Adobe Premiere
  • Audacity/Garageband
  • HTML5 audio/video tags
  • Javascript and video/audio

hypertext/hypermedia (Twine)

  • HTML/CSS option
  • Twine 2
  • Twine template (ZIP) ; inside the zip there is a simple template and a more complex template with variables, prompts and simple conditional logic, images, HTML, CSS, and scripts

Create a personalized class contract for appropriate and beneficial uses of AI tools for student learning: ChatGPT

prompt: Create a contract between students and professor in a class that will allow the use of ChatGPT and AI image generators as assistants in student creative work to make digital stories. The contract should start with “As a student of DTC354 I will use AI and ML text and image generation tools to help me in my own creative pursuits and projects.” Elaborate with bullet points about how to properly and ethically use AI and Machine Learning tools as assistants in student creative work, and not as the main creators. 

What are your learning goals and values in the use of AI and Machine Learning tools?  Run your thoughts through ChatGPT for additions to the above contract. 

Add new ideas from class. Run ChatGPT and post the paragraph as a comment to the class Contract post on the Slack channel.

5 Story Summaries (5%)


Write 5 short-story summaries (100-150 words each) within the 5 genre/styles from the list below. These will be projects you might like to pursue as digital stories in this class. 

  1. A story in the the Classical Aristotelian 3-part structure
  2. A story in Kishōtenketsu 4-part structure 
  3. A story in an episodic structure
  4. A story in a surrealist or fantastic mode 
  5. A personal anecdote as a fictional short story

Uploading to the server 

If you do not have your own directory of the server, then email me your projects (when necessary) and I will return a url for you to post on the blog.

cyberduck is recommended as a free ftp for Mac and PC. See below for instructions.

FTP= “file transfer protocol”

  1. Open ftp software
  2. “Open Connection”
  3. Enter the following info:
    servername: dtc-wsuv.org
    username: first initial + last name + the year  started(’18”)  + @dtc-wsuv.org (so, “Sam Jones” would be “sjones18@dtc-wsuv.org”)  – all in lowercase, no spaces or symbols!!
    password: sent to your wsu email, can’t be changed!
  4. If successful, you should be in your personal server directory that has the same name as your username. Now you can either drag the folder and files in that directory or use the “action” menu to “upload”
  5. Please upload folders with the following in all lowercase:  You can always change the folder and file names on the remote server, as you would on your desktop.
  6. Make sure that your default page for the project folder is “index.html”
  7. Check how everything looks on the live absolute URL – for example: http://dtc-wsuv.org/sjones18/blackbird/
  8. If you cannot see images, make sure that your file names and calls to access those files are all lowercase. Servers are case-sensitive!
  9. In the blog, post assignments with the url linking to your project 

Take Notes: Track the changes of the two main protagonist  (and others if you can). Write down the characters changes in their outer circumstances and inner outlook.

Next week’s blog prompt*: In Fargo, how does the plot set in motion the actions and reactions of the main characters? What do these actions reveal about the inner lives of the characters, about their flaws and transformations? Identify and describe other characteristics of a tragedy of tragic structure (from Aristotle’s Poetics) that you observe in Fargo.

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