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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "DMA 322"
COURSE NAME: "Digital Storytelling and Community Engagement"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session I 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Kwame Phillips
EMAIL: kphillips@johncabot.edu
HOURS: MW 1:40-5:20 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course allows students the opportunity to combine digital media art skills with community engagement. In partnership with a Rome-based nonprofit working with disadvantaged or marginalized communities, students will create 2-3 short documentary projects that will be created collaboratively with the community at the non-profit organization. The aim is to use media tools as a means of cultural exchange and to facilitate the telling of stories that emerge from this community. The process will be one that privileges the community voice and shared authorship. Students will be expected to have basic understanding of the skills and concepts involved with the camerawork, lighting, audio recording and mixing, and non-linear digital video editing.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
This course will be divided into an intensive 5 weeks within which site visits, filming, editing and screening must be completed.

This summer, we will be collaborating with Casa Internazionale delle Donne, which is a self-financed not-for-profit organisation that works on promoting the rights, culture, knowledge, experiences and policies produced by and for women.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
This course aims to provide students with the skills necessary to produce a short collaborative documentary film, understanding how it is made from conception through distribution, and the ethics behind its production. Students will gain an appreciation for how digital video can be used to tell powerful stories.
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Participation 10
Filming processThis will be the collection of the in class exercises during the weeks of preproduction and production. 25
Editing processStudents will be required to work in small groups to produce a 5-10 minute documentaries. 25
Finished Documentary and Screening 40

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cou
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
This course requires a significant amount of work to be completed outside of class hours. Given the nature of the course, unexcused absences will not be tolerated. 

-DOCUMENTARY GRADING RUBRIC

Each documentary will be judged on the following:

Criterion

Guidelines

Story Content

Clear, interesting topic of study.

Subjects and story cohere to create human interest.

Creativity of story concept.

Effective plot development.

Clear purpose to each scene.

Cinematography

Variety and creative use of camera angles.

Variety and effective use of shots.

Effective use of action and movement to develop narrative.

Effective and appropriate lighting.

Creative use of other visual details.

Overall aesthetic appeal.

Editing

Effective pacing.

Sound and visual well coordinated.

Attention to continuity.

Appropriate use of text and subtitles if necessary.

Sound

Appropriate music and sound levels.

Voices clear and easy to understand.

Music and sound enhances content.

Collaboration

Content adheres to ethos of the course.

Content clearly indicates shared nature of project.

Content does not exploit or otherwise knowingly negatively impact subjects involved.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Week 1: Introduction to the course (including discussion on ethics, shared authorship, forms of ethnographic film and viewing of film examples). Visit to the site. Choose documentary subjects.

Week 2: Filming on site. 

Week 3: B-roll shooting. Additional filming on site. Music decisions.

Week 4: Editing workshop. Finalizing project. 

Week 5: Screening on site. Final thoughts.


SUGGESTED RESERVED READINGS:

Faris, J. C. (1992). Anthropological transparency: Film, representation and politics. Film as ethnography, 171-182.

Nash, K. (2011). Documentary-for-the-other: Relationships, ethics and (observational) documentary. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 26(3), 224-239.


Nichols, B. (1981). Documentary, Criticism, and the Ethnographic Film. Visual Anthropology Review, 1, 31-47.

MacDougall, D. (1995). Beyond observational cinema. Principles of visual anthropology, 2, 115-32.

MacDougall, D. (1998). Transcultural Cinema: Transcultural cinema, 245-278.

Young, C. (1975). Observational cinema. Principles of visual anthropology, 65-80.


SUGGESTED FILM SCREENINGS:

A Life On Hold: The Story of a Teenage Refugee (2012)

People of Nowhere (2015)


The Journey from Syria (2016)

Studio Isis (2014)


FWB in The Maldives: Youth Voices (2016)