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Teaching Repository DigLibArts

Assignments & Activities By Type

Digital Storytelling

Defined by the University of Houston College of Education: “Digital storytelling at its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. There are a wealth of other terms used to describe this practice, such as digital documentaries, computer-based narratives, digital essays, electronic memoirs, interactive storytelling, etc.; but in general, they all revolve around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video, and Web publishing.” Digital Storytelling has been used in several different ways at Whittier College, and in courses across the curriculum. Below are some helpful resoures to help you get started or to help revise the activity for  specific contexts.

DS 106 Assignment Bank

A crowdsourced library of assignments created by students, instructors, and individuals interested in the proto-MOOC Digital Storytelling 106, taught by Jim Groom. A rich resource for coming up with assignment or activity ideas that is largely created by students.

With Videos

Sonia Chaidez, Instructional Media Designer and Co-coordinator of DigLibArts, has put together an extensive guide to teaching with digital stories with links to sample rubrics, videos, and more: Digital Storytelling Guide

Sample Digital Stories on Youtube

Sample Digital Storytelling Assignment Documents

Sample Rubric (Generic) – To be customized for your course

Sample Rubric (Custom) – HIS 211, Modern Family, Laura McEnaney

Sample Prompt – REL 201 Monotheisims, Irfana Hashmi

Sample Working Checklist – KNS 440, Biology of Obesity, Kathy Barlow

With Digital Publishing Platforms


Scalar is a free and open source tool for media-rich digital publishing. A robust platform, Scalar allows for embedding images, annotation, complex structure and customization. It can be used for academic publishing, group-based research projects, or choose-your-own adventure games.


Whittier Mosque – Final Project for REL 290, Islam and the City, Irfana Hashmi (Religious studies)

Project Prompt

Final Project

“Ethnic” Los Angeles – Quarter-long assignments for Upper Division Asian American Studies Course by Anne Cong-Huyen at UCLA

Course Description

Final Project


An innovative way to teach students how to turn their writing and art into e-pub format. Students will end up with digital versions that they can take home to read on their own devices and to share with friends and family.

Use the following sample prompt and instructions in the form of an e-book developed by Tony Barnstone for his creative writing students

How to Make an e-book – ENG 203, Tony Barnstone

Data Visualization

Data Visualization Tools & Books collection of 329 tools by Adil Yalcin 

Keshif Sample Datasets made by students and faculty at University of Maryland. 

Digital Research & Writing Assignments

Evaluating Quantitative, Qualitative, and Subjective Sources

Julie Collins-Dogrul (Sociology) developed an activity for her “Crime, Justice, and Rebellion” course that gives students the opportunity to search and find reputable research, mine databases, and produce work that evaluates their sources and asks how each informs or critiques the other. She found the databases for her students and planned a three-part assignment around them. Model your own assignment after her example.

Sample Digital Research Assignment – SOC 242, Julie Collins-Dogrul


A deceptively challenging alternative to the research paper, this project asks students to do the same research needed for a paper, yet to present their arguments in a visual medium. This forces students to condense information, present it in a logical and pleasing format, to review and revise their visual arguments, and to develop plans for distribution. In many ways, the infographic is more difficult to compose successfully and convincingly than a written paper, and they can of course be assigned in conjunction with or following a traditional paper. We recommend using Piktochart as the composition tool.

Sample Infographic Prompt – ENVS100, Urban Farming, Cinzia Fissore

Using Infographics Effectively in the Classroom by Gonzalo at Piktochart

Mapping assignments

Mapping assignments can help students situate their learning in space. Consider the following tools and sample assignments as you design your own.

Google Fusion Tables

Fusion Table Basics

Teach Google Fusion Tables

Google Fusion Tables: My Kind of Infographic by Paul Swanson

Situated Knowledges Map using Google MyMaps by FemTechNet

Teaching with MyMaps or Google Earth from dh101 at UCLA

CartoDB Stop & Frisk Activity developed by Social Justice Group at Digital Pedagogy Lab, Summer 2015

Wikipedia Editing

Rather than discouraging your students from using Wikipedia entirely, ask your students to perform close reading analyses of Wikipedia articles, do their own original research (with guidance and institutional resources), and improve existing articles or create new ones. This exercise is scalable and can span an entire semester with scaffolded elements, or can be integrated into your course in more discrete and modular units. Students will learn to evaluate the fallibility of Wikipedia as a source, and improve it for public knowledge using their institutions databases and library collections.

How to use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool (PDF)
With details about the 5 Pillars of Wikipedia, guidelines for designing your assignment, articulating learning objectives, and designing your syllabus.

Wiki Edu Resources for Educators
 ton of resources for instructors, including handouts, packets, subject guidelines, and contact information to WikiEdu staff.


Collaborative or Social Activities

Live-tweeting a Film or Lecture

Live-tweeting or collaborative note-taking during a film or lecture can encourage students to engage more deeply with a text and with their peers during the viewing. Give your students specific parameters for their tweets, for example by encouraging “thick tweets“, addressing specific topics or themes (e.g. races, space, gender), and responding to or retweeting their peers.

Sample Prompt for Live-tweeting H4, ENG 326, Jonathan Burton

Live-tweeting and Paper for Cowboys in Paradise, by Adeline Koh (Stockton University)

Social Note-taking & Annotation

To encourage deeper, more critical annotation and close-reading consider and incorporating a social annotation tool in your course.

A web browser plug-in for Chrome and FireFox that allows you to annotate PDFs and Web pages remotely and collaboratively. Hypothes.is, allows for embedding of images and hyperlinks, as well as commenting functions to reply to previous annotations.

Getting Started with hypothes.is – Slides by Jeremy Dean

Introduction to hypothes.is for education by Jeremy Dean

10 Ways to Annotate with Students by Jeremy Dean

Formerly known as Rap Genius, which originally allowed fans to annotate rap songs with text, images, video, and gifs, now has an educational team that will help you teach using Genius.com. Though primarily limited to Public Domain texts, students can annotate in an attractive media-rich environment.

A Teacher’s Guide to Genius

Google Docs
Whittier College Students have access to Google Tools through the institution and can collaboratively take notes and annotate texts using Google Tools. For a sample prompt and accompanying Problem Paper activity, designed for “Transcultural Literature” by Jonathan Burton.

Sample Prompt – Social Annotation Assignment – ENG 270, Jonathan Burton

TitanPad or Etherpad
Free and open source tools for collaborative note-taking. Imagine this as an activity for producing official course documents, establishing rubrics and goals, ground rules, and of course documenting course discussions and lectures. Read the following account by former HASTAC Scholar about her experiment in anonymous collaborative note-taking and addressing trolls in the classroom.

An experiment in trolling: a teaching moment” by Jade Davis


Building Websites

Domain of One’s Own

Asking students to build a website can be very time consuming, labor intensive, and frustrating, but it can also be incredibly rewarding giving students the opportunity to take ownership of their own space on the Internet. Domain of One’s Own, a project be Reclaim Hosting, gives faculty and students to buy and register their own domains and to install over a hundred free, open source tools geared toward education and authorship. Whittier College is piloting its own Domain project at the moment, but in anticipation of an expanding program, we suggest examining the documentation offered by Reclaim and other schools for ideas to help design the course and learn the platforms.

Domain of One’s Own Documentation @ Emory University
This extensive site offers general information, tutorials, and important information on digital citizenship and ethics.

Domain of One’s Own by Reclaim Hosting

Curated History Sites – History 300, Nat Zappia

Omeka Exhibits

“Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.” Perfect for history, art, and literature courses, students can create their own digital exhibits for free on through Omeka.net with limitations, or they can install a more robust Omeka.org installation through Reclaim Hosting.

Teach with Omeka

Teaching with Omeka by Jeremy Boggs at ProfHacker for The Chronicle of Higher Education

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