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SLIS 5440 Storytelling for Information Professionals
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Dr. Elizabeth Figa

(c) 2013 Elizabeth Figa, PhD
Elizabeth.Figa@unt.edu

The 5440 course and its content are copyrighted and may not be reprinted, revised, reformatted, or refactored for distribution or publication in any form or venue without permission of the author or the University of North Texas.

Welcome to the Storytelling Class!

SLIS 5440 Storytelling for Information Professionals. 3 hours. Official SLIS Course Description

Storytelling ethnography, history, theory, methods, and bibliographic resources. Story research, analysis, selection, adaptation, and preparation. Oral performance development and audience dynamics. Program planning, implementation, evaluation, and grant writing for schools, libraries or other information settings.

Course Overview And Objectives

The course design will attempt to strike a balance between training in the art of storytelling in practice (this component will have an emphasis on technique, performance, and audience dynamics) and cognitive development in the foundations of history, theory, methods, and bibliographic resources related to storytelling. The instructor's goals are to assist students with the development of story selection, preparation, and telling skills; planning programs and projects in schools, libraries, and other settings; and developing a deeper understanding of the nature of story and its applications in research, the student's work, or personal endeavors. Online class discussions will center around assigned readings, all stories told, and instructor-led topics.

Course Access

This course is presented entirely online via Blackboard Learn. The course begins the first official day of classes in the semesters in which it is offered. Registered students will be uploaded into the student database and can access the course using their UNT EUID and PASSWORD beginning on the first day. Course modules will be timed and are explained in the full course syllabus and course calendar. An important note about course access: At times, the overnight uploads of the student database, which is done by Student Records and the Blackboard Divisions, takes longer than anticipated or has technical problems. Please do not be alarmed if you do not have access to the Storytelling course the first or second day of class or if your access is suddenly problematic. Your faculty and teaching assistants anticipate access problems and we will work with the uploaded data to ensure every student has access as soon as possible. If you are registered for the class and experience access problems, please consult the Blackboard Student Resources page. If you need further assistance, please send an email to Elizabeth Figa or one of the teaching assistants at the email addresses listed below. Please be patient with us -- your access to the course is our highest priority! You will not get behind in the course the first few days and you can read ahead in your text.

Contact Information

Elizabeth G. Figa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of North Texas
School of Library and Information Sciences
UNT Discovery Park, Room E295L
3940 N. Elm St.
Denton, TX 76207-7102
Work: (940) 565-2187
Fax: (940) 565-3101
Email: elizabeth.figa@unt.edu
WWW: http://courses.unt.edu/efiga/Figa/

Required Course Materials

Students should order the required text in advance!! See below for ordering the text.

Required Text: Super Simple Storytelling: A Can Do Guide for Every Classroom, Every Day. Kendall Haven. Libraries Unlimited. 2000.

Ordering Suggestions:

Required Style Manual:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2009). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Required Course Readings:

Each weekly module will have other required and additional article readings which are listed in the "Readings Due this Week" section of the modules. Use of the UNT electronic resources library is necessary and all readings can be retrieved electronically.

Required Course Technology

Reliable Internet access is required. Please do NOT take this course if you do not have access to reliable high-speed Internet in order to perform your stories.

Blackboard is the course management software used at UNT; please see the Blackboard Vista Browser and Computer in order to ensure your computer system meets the minimum requirements to work with Blackboard Vista, and to check your Java.

This course requires that students have computing technology and equipment specifications as follows:

1. Hardware. See the Blackboard Vista Technology Requirements page for hardware components to support Blackboard.

2. Streaming Media Player. To view the storytelling videos of guest artists, you will need to have a streaming video player with speakers to hear the audio.

3. Microphone. You will need a microphone to record digital audio files.

4. Web camera. You will need a Web camera in order to participate in Live Classroom. An integrated Web camera is sufficient.

5. Required Technology and Software. Other software (e.g., voice board, Live Classrom) is provided through the course.

Assignments

Please see the Assignments List & Info page in the course menu for details on these assignments.
1. Full participation in all class activities, exercises, forum discussions, etc.
2. MP3 Recording Test File Submission
3. First Person Experience Storytelling Performance (digital audio file)
4. One-Week Story Journal
5. Storytelling Performance
6. Storytelling Performance with an Audience "Mini Concert" (Live Classroom performance; audio file submission & text submission)
7. Research Project: A Thematic Story Collection

The Course Content

Content is introduced through 13 topical modules, which are divided into 3 units.

Discussion posts are due weekly as noted on the course calendar.

Performances and other assignments are due over the span of the course as noted in the course calendar. See the Assignments section above.

Unit One

Module 1 Content | Introduction, Learning, Adapting, and Writing

Content:

  • Selecting and Learning Stories
  • Writing Adaptations
  • Story Skeleton Creative Writing
  • First-Person Experience Story Writing

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned
  • Read in Text: Part II - Anatomy of a Story pp. 15 - 33 AND Part III - Learning and Telling Made Easy pp. 35 - 61.

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 2 Content | Warm-Up Exercises and Creative Dramatics

Content:

  • Warm-up Exercise
  • Rules of Storytelling
  • Tips for the Teller
  • Creative Dramatics
  • Praise and Appreciation Process
  • Storytelling Associations and Listservs

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned
  • Read in Text: Introduction pp. xi - xxvii AND Part I - Natural Storytelling pp. 1 - 13 AND see p.118.

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 3 Content | History, Research, and Bibliographics

Content:

  • The History of the Storytelling Revival
  • Story Research
  • Bibliographic Resources
  • Tale Type and Motif Index

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned
  • Read in Text: Text Appendix pp. 215 - 219.

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 4 | Oral Tradition and Narrative

Contents:

  • Structures for Analyzing a Narrative
  • Structure of Narrative: The Classic Theories
  • Folk Narrative Research

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Unit Two

Module 5 | Ethics

Content:

  • Storytelling Ethics and Copyright
  • The Use of Picture Book Folktales for Storytelling
  • Ethics Exercise

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned
  • Read in Text: Part IV - Telling Tidbits pp. 63 - 73.

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 6 | Storytelling in the Classroom, Audience Issues, and Storytelling Programs

Content:

  • Audience Issues
  • Storytelling in the Classroom Curriculum
  • Storytelling Programs
  • Grant Writing
  • Props and Storytelling

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned
  • Read in Text: Part V - Storytelling in the Curriculum pp. 75 - 106, Part VI - Teaching Students to Tell pp. 107 - 117, AND Part VII - Super Simple Storytelling Exercises pp. 119 - 215

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 7 | Folktales and Fairytales

Content

  • The Transformation and Evolution of the Oral Tradition
  • The Universality and Building Blocks of Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Storytelling Concert Program Design

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 8 | Storytelling in the Movies

Content:

Readings:

Videos to Review:

Module 9 | Music, Poetry, and Popular Culture

Content:

  • Storytelling in Music and Poetry
  • Poetry, Response and Education
  • James Harper Song Commentary
  • Stories with Musical Connections

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Unit Three

Module 10 | Life and Family Stories

Content:

  • Life and Family Stories
  • Developing a Family Oral History Project

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 11 | Urban Legends and Worklore

Content:

  • Urban Legends
  • Worklore

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 12 | African, African American, Native American and Hispanic Stories

Content:

  • Multicultural Storytelling
  • Some Insights about Mexican, Native American and Sacred Stories
  • Storytelling Concert Program Design

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.

Module 13 | Mythology, Globalization, and Digital Storytelling

Content:

  • Mythology
  • Globalization of Story and Digital Storytelling
  • Final Thoughts

Readings:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Videos to Review:

  • Videos of professional and student performers are assigned weekly.