Community College of Denver Uses Digital Storytelling to Improve Student Outcomes

February 8, 2017

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For more than 20 years, the Center for Digital Storytelling has worked in hundreds of colleges and universities across the country and around the world to introduce creative critical multimedia production into the classroom.

Combining ancient narrative practices with new and emerging technological tools, digital storytelling emphasizes skills in writing, digital media production and design. It also helps students to develop both their personal and academic voice, and it is highly engaging in the classroom.

In short, digital storytelling is an excellent teaching device—and it’s fun.

But beyond these uses, the Community College of Denver (CCD) has found the technique can be employed as something more: a tool for overall student engagement and retention. Through working on their video projects, students come to understand the art of collaboration, shared responsibility, and accountability—both for their projects, and their education as a whole.

Digital storytelling will play an integral part in a new project funded by by the Department of Education to support Hispanic students pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees. CCD, Denver’s only federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, was awarded $3,001,450 over five years for STEM Sirviendo, a faculty-led, learner-centered reform designed to strengthen recruitment, retention, completion of associate degrees and transfers to four-year schools for Hispanic students.

At a Glance

ACE Member Institution: Community College of Denver

Initiatives: Digital StorytellingSTEM Sirviendo

Grants and Awards: In addition to the funding from the Department of Education, CCD has received three rounds of funding from the WalMart Foundation through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

  • 2012: $50,000 to fund faculty professional development activities. In this phase, CCD also served as a mentor college to San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC).
  • 2013-14: $55,000 to expand the digital storytelling program. The mentor relationship with SBVC was continued from phase one.
  • 2014: $20,000 to bring digital storytelling to more faculty in math and science.

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join nearly 1,800 organizations that collectively promote, protect and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the most visible and influential higher education association in the nation, and we are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country. See more on the ACE website.

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