cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’ve lost track of the count, but for 3 or 4 years, Jon Breitenbucher has invited me to remotely present 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story for faculty participating at the College of Wooster’s annuam Faculty Fellowship institute. When he approached me again in December, I asked if here would be interest in having me come to Wooster to do it in person. Not that I mind presenting online, but maybe we could do more in person.

And Jon said, “Let me check.” And he did. And that is how I ended up boarding a train in Flagstaff to ride 2 dys to Cleveland (the train was my idea). I decided to mix and match parts of sessions I did in Asia in March, to focus more on what makes storytelling compelling and things about the shape of stories:

A new piece is talking some about maybe what us a problem with the word “storytelling” (as it emphasizes performance) versus storymaking. Yet performing is inportant so as I have enjoyed lately, we ran through a round of pechaflickr. In this group (8 faculty) we all took a turn, and this group knocked it out of the park (the word was “frog”).

I took ’em through the 50 Ways parts but more with a focus on the story process. Typically I talk through a story that starts with a prompt based on a local landmark. I chose the place Jon took me out to eat, the Olde Jaol- the prompt being:

You would never believe who I saw sneaking outside of the Olde Jail last night

The point is to run through a process following the 3 Act play structure- establish the character/inciting moment, describe the things the protagonist needs to learn / do to take on the challenge, and then how it resolves. I set these up in a Google docs participants can group brainstorm.

For this workshop, I know the participants wanted to work on things related to their courses or proposed fellowship project, so I offered that as something they could do in the workshop. Yet I saw there some value in them doing their brainstorming together in the doc.

They subverted my idea.

And I like that.

They wanted to work together on a single story, involving if I recall right, a ficticios college President, Prince, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Toni Pepperoni (a cricket coach) and our hero, Rabbi Jane. They changed the location. They wrote out a more complete narrative I have ever seen, with one pair working on the document and the others finding media, which they shared in a drop box. Again, working in pairs, the started building out stories in the tools – Vuvox, Photo Peach, Glogster.

And I think they got the goal that the media is not the intended outcome, but the process.

I thus actually managed to not do much on ds106, which was perfect, because I returned the next day (although my work was done) to hear Jim Groom come in via Google Hangout to present the ideas behind and parts of ds106. Jim was, ever more so, en fuego. He did capture their attention, and though a bit glazed eyed, they know now when he is called The Reverend.

It was a grand experience- thanks Jon and Ellen for making this possible

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Alan,
    That sounds like a rewarding experience as an educator, to take your work that is so often connected to others through the digital medium and share it others in person with such success. Thanks for sharing this story.

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