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Creating Content for Authentic Audiences

While recently de-cluttering my basement, I uncovered an old box full of photographic negatives and prints from my undergraduate work. Nearly all of the images were from assignments that had no audience beyond my instructors. Thousands of dollars in film and paper created for an audience of one.

The first college course I taught was a basic photography course at a local community college. I understood the burden of the photographic supplies that were needed each week. The first few assignments were always technical in nature but I eventually began to see the redundancy of making students photograph images that had no audience beyond my own. The courses I taught were only electives and many of my students would never be required to take another art course. I soon realized that I could create assignments that not only covered the principles and theories of photographic art but would also allow student the freedom to create images that would be shared beyond the classroom with friends, family, and community.

In 2010 I created and co-taught the first digital storytelling course at the University of Utah. I felt the need to help students create content that had an applicable nature beyond some alphabet-soup rating. Our students were introduced to the Special Collections department as part of an early course assignment. Archivist and Librarians introduced students to a multitude of various content from print, manuscripts, rare books, and multimedia. Students we required to research a topic of interest and create a 5-minute visual story. The assignment was uploaded to their public blog where they created tags and categories. The visual stories quickly built an audience and many students received feedback and comments on their content and the ability to tell a compelling story.

Tony Sams
Video Studio Specialist
(801) 585-9780

View the original article on the Creativity and Innovation Services Blog

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