Digital Storytelling in the Composition Classroom:
Addressing the Challenges








In out-of-school and secondary school settings, and to a certain extent in higher education, digital storytelling has been hailed as an effective learning tool for more than two decades now. But the benefits of this multimodal composition have not yet been as well explored in college composition. Thus, while digital storytelling has varying but fairly standardized definitions, conventions of use, and criteria of assessment in the former settings, those resources are relatively lacking within composition. Although composition has a considerable amount of literature about digital, new media, and multimodal composition in general, there is relatively little scholarship about digital storytelling per se. As a result, challenges of defining, teaching, and assessing this form of multimodal composition still persist in our discipline.

I begin this article by sharing the challenges that I have faced when using digital storytelling in my composition classrooms. Then, after briefly highlighting the potentials of digital storytelling with a quick summary of how it has been used and defined in other disciplines in higher education, I address two of the major challenges that composition teachers face when using digital storytelling in the classroom: defining digital storytelling within the particular contexts of college composition and assessing studentsí work in digital storytelling in this context. As a follow up to the discussion of the latter challenge, I present a sample rubric and illustrate how teachers of composition can implement it in composition courses. I conclude by emphasizing the need to build more theory and pedagogical practices about digital storytelling in order to take advantage of this highly useful mode of composition.

Ghanashyam Sharma