Digital storytelling

Telling family stories can go high-tech thanks to a digital storytelling class that will be offered later this month at Minot State University.

The four-week course, taught by class instructor Aimee Duchsherer, is part of the university’s open-classroom series for the community. It will be offered from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 to March 26, excluding March 12, on the MSU campus. A location is still being determined.

There is a $75 material fee and registration is limited to 10 participants. Participants are asked to supply their own flash drives.

We live in a digital age where many people share their lives using social media such, as Facebook, email, Flickr, Twitter or Instagram,” said Duchsherer. “Digital Storytelling takes this sharing to a deeper level to help us explore our family and personal histories, and allows us to express and share these stories in a visual and meaningful way.”

Duchsherer described the class as a hands-on course that will teach people how to create their own digital stories, which can be about family history or a place that has meaning to the class member.

“I’ve seen (digital stories) about pets, or about struggles with illnesses such as breast cancer … it really does come down to emotion and what your journey has taught you,” said Duchsherer, who said people are sometimes surprised by the story they end up telling.

Duchsherer produced her own digital story as an example for the class. She never knew her maternal great-grandmother, who died when her grandfather was young, but because so many of her great-grandmother’s possessions are scattered about family homes, her great-grandmother continues to have a large influence on the family. Duchsherer took photos of some of those objects and used the images in her digital story. It can be seen at (

“I’m not really an artistic person but this is something I can do,” said Duchsherer, who said making a digital story does not require a lot of technical knowledge or expensive equipment. People with basic computer knowledge, such as how to upload photos or save photos to a flash drive, will be able to create their own sigital stories.

Duchsherer said she will help people come up with an idea for a story and show them how to incorporate images, record audio, add music and put it all together in a three- to five-minute video. Some students in the class may choose to have their completed stories uploaded to a YouTube page as Duchsherer did.

Duchsherer said the creators of the class were inspired by a similar project at The Center for Digital Storytelling at Berkeley. “They do this on a much larger scale,” said Duchsherer. The Center for Storytelling has held workshops in Minneapolis, Denver, Montana and other locations. MSU’s digital storytelling class is not affiliated with the company in Berkeley but some of the ideas are similar.

Sharing digital stories with others creates a great sense of camaraderie and helps people realize they are more alike than different, said Duchsherer. The process can also help preserve important stories for families or communities.

The workshop is an initiative of the Great Plains Center for Community Research and Service. To learn more about the class or to register, go to ( or contact Amy Woodbeck, CEL program education coordinator, at ( or 858-3989.