Posted January 6th 2013 at 8:21 pm by
in Storytelling Course 2013

How to Participate in Storytelling Class, Day 1

Students will filter in to People, Planning, and the Story (MIT 11.S953) at around 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 7th. Those attending the course in-person will start the day with a round of introductions, the setting of some ground rules for inside the classroom, and a brief technical training.

If you’re following along from home or work, you should use this time to catch up on the course reading list and check out the syllabus. You can also open the public notes for the class. Students will probably start typing in there by 11:00 a.m. Make sure you’re following CoLab Radio on Facebook, and the hashtag #planningstories on Twitter.


Photo by Aditi Mehta, 2009.

11:30 a.m. : You and me, jargon-free.

Have you ever wondered what “urban fabric” might actually look like? Who and what is included in this “civic engagement” everyone is talking about? Starting at around 11:40, we’ll have a ten-minute brainstorm on the words that simultaneously mean everything and nothing. What are the jargon words you hear in your work? Tweet them with the hashtag #planningstories or post them on the CoLab Facebook wall. Then, each student in the class will come up with a fictional story about one of those jargon words, but without ever using the jargon word in the story. Six students in the class will be able to deliver their stories, and everyone else will try and guess what jargon word each story is about.

If you’re following from home or work, choose a jargon word and write up a little story. You can call it in to our class account or mail it in to and we’ll work with you in the coming weeks to make it an official blog post for our new “Jargon Mondays” series.

In the classroom, we’ll take one student’s story and make it a blog post on the spot. You’ll see a story appear on CoLab Radio by lunch time.

1:20 p.m. : See the story.

Together we will look at and discuss three photo projects from: Prashanth Vishwanathan, Camilo Jose Vergara, and One in Eight Million by the New York Times. What are the elements of a successful single photograph or a series of images? What are the different stories that each photographer is trying to tell?  How would you capture these places or people differently?  You can follow the conversation through our class notepad. Next, the class will explore the environment at a nearby site and will further investigate that place with their camera. You can see the class’s images on our Flickr page, which students will use to present their images to one another.

On the evening of January 7th, we’ll publish a post on how to participate in portions of day two (Tuesday, January 8th). Post your comments or ideas under this post or tweet to @MITCoLab. By the end of the four-day class, we’ll have published a record of this course so that you can replicate it.

Post by Alexa Mills, Aditi Mehta, and Stefanie Ritoper.

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