Resource guide: StoryMap, Juxtapose, Timeline

Three free storytelling tools from Knight Lab are required for this project:

StoryMap

Interactive geolocational maps.
A web-based tool for telling stories about locations or a series of events. Tell your story with photographs, works of art, historic maps, and other image files. StoryMap acts as a slideshow that can track movement from place to place within one map, or can illustrate various aspects of a single place as small as your Aro Valley flat or larger than the Seven Kingdoms. Here are some examples – check them out to see what the story maps look like in action!

 

Timeline

Interactive chronological timelines.
This tool enables you to build visually rich stories through an interactive, chronological timeline. Each point on your timeline can be expanded to include images or videos. This tool is useful for telling a historical story in chronological order, and/or tracking changes or events that occur consecutively over time. Your timeline could span what happens in a space over a few minutes or a few hundred years! Unlike StoryMap, this tool affords you to build your story chronologically (ie, as a ‘timeline’).

 

Juxtapose

Before & after comparisons.
Compare two similar media objects (ie images) with a slider that moves from one image to another. Simply upload two images to compare. Useful for showing changes; then vs now; either for slow changes (urban development, forest regrowth, etc); before/after images of dramatic or everyday events (building projects, earthquakes, wars, fires, doing a deep clean of your flat’s kitchen, etc).

 

General advice:

Each of these options requires advanced planning and storyboarding. Figure out what you want to say/show and how before you start building your map.

These platforms are probably unfamiliar to you so give yourself plenty of time to learn how to use them! Play around, familiarise yourself with the affordances of your chosen platform. See what technical features affords you to tell the story you want. How can you capitalise upon (or subvert!) the platform’s affordances to best tell your story?

Pick the tool that will be most useful for telling the story you want to tell. For example: Timeline is useful for communicating historical events that occurred at a location, Juxtapose can show show changes to a place, and StoryMap is good for map-based storytelling.

 

 

Tips for digital storytelling on Timeline and StoryMap:

  1. Keep it short. We recommend not having more than 5 slides for a reader to click through.
  2. Pick stories that have a strong location narrative. StoryMap in particular does not work well for stories that need to jump around in the map.

 

Tips for storytelling with Juxtapose:

  1. Use images that are the same size.
  2. Export your images to web quality to improve download time.
  3. Align your images so that major elements are in alignment.

 

Other tools and tutorials:

Digital Humanities list of tools that can be used for storytelling and mapping: http://dhresourcesforprojectbuilding.pbworks.com/w/page/69244319/Digital%20Humanities%20Tools

Digital Humanities list of tutorials useful for making the most of tools in the previous list: http://dhresourcesforprojectbuilding.pbworks.com/w/page/69244314/Tutorials%20for%20DH%20Tools%20and%20Methods

 

Advertisements

Digital Storytelling: Getting Started

Digital storytelling requires you to use multimedia components along with words to tell stories, argue claims, explain texts or illustrate social problems. Using images, music, video, charts, audio recordings and graphics can lend interest and impact to complement your writing. Your final project will involve mapping and visualisation on digital platforms.

This assignment leads on from the skills you’ve practised in your blog posts: making the most of digital technology’s affordances to help you communicate, and writing content designed to be shared with online audiences.

Where to start:

Decide what you want to tell this story about: the space/place you’ll locate your essay in, and then how you’ll approach it. Possible approaches include personal history, local history, arguing a claim, explaining or responding to a phenomenon/text/object/event, and so on. Remember that for this assignment your goal is to think critically about what it means to represent space/place, and who gets to speak for – and control – its representation.

 

Questions to consider:

  • How can you best communicate the points you want to make about the space/place you’re exploring?
  • What text and audiovisual content do you need to provide evidence for these points?
  • Which tool (Juxtapose, Storymap, or Timeline) will best showcase this material to serve your ideas?

 

You could start your storytelling project with the same basic structure as a written essay:

Title: Indicate the subject or question you’re exploring with your project.
Introduction: Interest the viewer. Introduce your subject and argument/question.
Present your thesis or the primary claim you plan to illustrate.
Body: Use selected evidence in a coherent order that builds towards an impression or argument.
Conclusion: What do you want your audience to think, do, or feel after they finish ?

Try storyboarding your ideas to plan how best to share them.

 

How To Write A Blog: Resource for MDIA104

https://pixabay.com/en/wordpress-blogging-writing-typing-923188/

 

Tips for bloggers:

Keep it snappy.
Choose a topic for your post and stick with it. Organise your content logically. Paragraphs that are too long can be hard to read when scrolling through posts on computers, tablets, or phones – try breaking content up into shorter paragraphs. At times, titled sections (sub-headings) or bullet points can add emphasis while staying brief, but be careful not to over-use these. You aren’t writing a grocery check-list. Check out this example for formatting ideas.

Use links (‘Hyperlinks’).
Linking to other websites, blogs, examples or studies is useful for many reasons. Linking to sources of information can strengthen your points with evidence and allow readers to follow up on interesting tangents you don’t have time to discuss in full. Linking to past posts means you don’t have to re-hash arguments that have already been made. Linking to other sites also helps boost a blog’s search engine ratings, as well as enhancing your credibility by aligning your blog with existing sources. Linking to other sources also serves as a form of evidence, which substantiates your argument or points of view, and enhances your post’s readability (see Blog Marking Rubric).

Style consistently.
Choose fonts, sizes, colours, and spacing for different parts of the writing (headings, sub-headings, body text, quotes, and captions) and apply these consistently. Blogs require attention to presentation, and this includes using visually engaging but legible text.

Include images.
Embed relevant pictures, either your own or public domain images from elsewhere (and credit the original source!). Images can make your blog more visually interesting and can capture a reader’s attention better than a wall of text. Experiment with infographics if evidence in your argument lends itself to diagrams. Take care when sharing personal images – consider the privacy of yourself and others pictured. NB: Respect your obligations to copyright and intellectual property laws! Be sure you credit all multi-media content to its original author (see Blog Marking Rubric).

Take privacy into account.
Think carefully about which site you will use to make blog posts, and whether you want posts to be public or private. You can adjust privacy settings on most sites to make your blog password-protected or only available to certain people – just remember that your instructors will have to be able to access the blogs for marking and they will not chase you up for access! If you set your public blog to private, your tutor and instructor cannot access it for marking.

Also, if using your full name on a public blog, keep in mind that search engines may bring it up years after you’ve completed this course. No matter how you set your privacy, remember to use links and language as though you are writing for a wider audience to demonstrate your understanding of how to construct blog posts with impact.

If you have concerns about privacy, we suggest using Blackboard as your blogging platform. Only the instructors will have access. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll lose access to the blog and its content once the trimester concludes. This may not be ideal for those of you who want samples of creative coursework for future use.

Be your (best) self.
This is not a formal academic writing exercise, but a way of sharing a personal response to the course content. Demonstrating your analytical understanding of ideas from the course is important, but allowing your personality to shine through in your writing voice is what would keep readers returning to your blog. Bear in mind that being relatable doesn’t mean dropping your standards as a writer – typos and grammatical errors should be fixed before posting. It also doesn’t mean that all blog posts are based on your opinion; claims must be grounded in course material and substantiated where necessary.

Understand your audience.
Who are you writing to? What tone and language is appropriate? How much would you expect them to know about certain topics? Each post should be readable and understood by a general audience. Can your mom, partner or non-Media Studies flatmate make sense of your post? If so, you’re on the right track!

Tag posts.
On platforms like Tumblr and WordPress, tagging your posts with relevant keywords and/or #hashtags allows readers to search within your blog for related posts and find publicly viewable tagged posts through the site’s search functions.

For an example of what constitutes a “Good Blog” / “Bad” Blog Post, see the MDIA 104 Resource Blog:  Good Blog Example #1 and Bad Blog Example #1

 

 

Recommended blog hosting sites:

(Remember all blogs must be hosted on the same platform, from the same account, for the duration of the course!)

WordPress
Free. Easy to use. Many customisable options for themes, design, and layout (not all are free). Widely used with an active community and help forums. Very secure.

Tumblr
Free. Easy to use. Optimised for microblogging and image-heavy posts rather than longform text content. Social network elements are more prominent on Tumblr than other recommended sites in this list. Many customisable themes available (not all are free to use).

Blogger
Free. Simple and old-fashioned blogging site, suitable for personal and non-professional blogs. Few customisable layout options but enough for the purposes of this assignment. Sign up with a Google account.

 Blackboard
The maximum privacy option. Free (technically paid for in your course fees). Good choice if you want to keep your posts private for instructor view only, and hidden from the rest of the internet. Not a good choice if you want to access the content after the trimester ends, as the blog will be automatically deleted. Theme and layout less visually customisable than other options but suitable for the purposes of this assignment.

Not sure which to choose? Check out more pros/cons of each here: https://startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/

 

Important note about Submission & Marking!

No matter where you host your blog (except Blackboard), you’re required to cut & paste the blog post’s permalink to the appropriate Blackboard drop-box for marking. We will not go looking externally for your post so if it’s not linked, it won’t be graded!

For blogs hosted on Blackboard:  There is no permalink for Blackboard Blogs. Instead, you’re required to cut and paste the title and date of the post you want marked into the “Add Comments” box within the appropriate Blog Assignment Drop-Box. This will inform your tutor where to access your blog for marking.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

 

Good Blog Example #1

Screenshot from Zomato Wellington, R Hawkes 15/07/17.
[Sample Question Prompt]:  This blog post asks you to illustrate how the concept of ‘produsage’ fits into your own life. Identify a social media platform/app with which you regularly engage that fits Bruns’ definition of produsage. Briefly explain how the platform fits the characteristics of produsage, and how your contributions to this platform then characterizes you as a produser. Be sure you have included specific examples to support your explanation and claims.

Zomato is one of the world’s biggest and most successful restaurant reviewing websites. With the mission to ensure nobody has a bad meal,” Zomato labels users as “foodies” and enables them to rate, review, photograph, and blog about local restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Users are represented by a personal profile that allows users to write restaurant reviews, follow and interact with other Zomato “foodies.” As both website and mobile app, Zomato provides an interactive network of users whose contributions can influence how other people spend their money when seeking out places to eat.

As a Zomato reviewer myself, I exemplify Axel Bruns’ concept of “produsage:” the “collaborative engagement of (ideally, large) communities of participants in a shared project.” As a “producer,” “consumer” and “user” of Zomato’s content I actively create, modify and redistribute knowledge about Wellington’s food scene through my engagement with a community of other produsers (restaurant reviewers). When I write a review, comment on or interact with someone else’s review, I contribute to a wider body of information about a place. Information about a restaurant therefore changes with every new contribution, creating “unfinished artefacts” characteristic of produsage communities.

Screenshot by R. Hawkes of https://www.zomato.com/wellington/burger-liquor-te-aro-wellington-city, 15/07/17
Each new review, menu change, and photo upload adds to the constantly evolving production of Burger liquor’s representation on Zomato. Various calls to action (bookmark, rate, review) invite prosumers to make Zomato’s information on the restaurant more accurate and detailed, showing “what people love here” and making the site more useful to diners weighing up their options.

As a community or “hive mind”, Zomato produsers contribute more information about a place than the small number of professional food critics could, while also undermining attempts by advertisers to portray a restaurant in an appealing or deceptive way. In other words, my produsage contributes to a “collective intelligence” that helps “de-centralise” knowledge production through a bottom-up model of participation from everyday people (like me) rather than paid marketers and professional critics.

Bad Blog Example #1

[Sample Question Prompt]:  This blog post asks you to illustrate how the concept of ‘produsage’ fits into your own life. Identify a social media platform/app with which you regularly engage that fits Bruns’ definition of produsage. Briefly explain how the platform fits the characteristics of produsage, and how your contributions to this platform then characterizes you as a produser. Be sure you have included specific examples to support your explanation and claims.

 

Zomato is one of the world’s biggest most successful restaurant reviewing websites. With the “mission to ensure nobody has a bad meal” Zomato labels users as “foodies” and enables them to rate, review, photograph, and blog about local restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Users are represented by a personal profile that allows users to write restaurant reviews, follow and interact with other Zomato “foodies.” As both website and mobile app, Zomato provides an interactive network of users whose contributions can influence how other people spend their money when seeking out places to eat.

 

Zomato_Logo

 

As a Zomato reviewer myself, I exemplify the concept of “produsage.”As a “producer,” “consumer” and “user” of Zomato’s content I actively create and change knowledge about Wellington’s food scene through my engagement with a community of other restaurant reviewers. When I write a review, comment on or interact with someone else’s review, I contribute to a wider body of information about a place. Information about a restaurant therefore changes with every new contribution, creating “unfinished artefacts” characteristic of produsage communities.

 

As a community or “hive mind”, Zomato produsers contribute more information about a place than the small number of professional food critics could, while also undermining attempts by advertisers to portray a restaurant in an appealing or deceptive way.