IIE Networker - Fall 2011 - (Page 27)

INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO CAMPUS INTERNATIONALIZATION Multimedia Narratives as Innovative Components to Reentry Programs By Marie Bongiovanni EVERY SEMESTER IT’S like clockwork. Students return to their campuses from Italy, China, Australia, and distant points beyond, with countless photos and stories to share. But once the students start describing their adventures, listeners’ eyes glaze over. “A big challenge for students returning from study abroad is that, while it’s a really pivotal experience for them, the people they want to share it with don’t have a lot of time to listen,” says Doug Reilly, Programming Coordinator for the Center for Global Education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS).1 “They want to hear the bottom line, which is difficult for students to articulate. The joke is that you’ve got about three minutes to explain three very eventful months of your life.” An innovative solution lies in the philosophy of the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) and its emphasis on highly focused, two- or three-minute narratives. I n spi re d by t he B erke le y-ba s e d CDS philosophy of “Listen Deeply, Tell Stories” and the HWS Center for Global Education’s innovative work with digital storytelling, the Lebanon Valley College (LVC) Study Abroad Office has implemented a reentry program designed to help students readjust to campus life through the creation of digita l stories, also called multimedia narratives. Multimedia narratives, which include insightful personal stories combined with elements such as images, text, and music, offer an excellent means of enhancing students’ verbal, visual, and digital literacy. With the suppor t of Jill Russell, Director of Study Abroad at LVC, I initiated our first Study Abroad Story Circle in fall 2010 by informally offering to help students explore and share the impact of their international experiences in the form of digital stories. As a professor seeking creative ways to help students develop writing skills, I was impressed by the Dr. Barry Hill and Study Abroad Story Circle participant Megan McGrady listen to a digital story. potential of concise narratives to generate insight, focus thought, and contribute to the development of authentic voice. On a strictly voluntary basis with no credit attached, participants in the Story Circle met every Friday over the students’ lunch hour throughout the semester. During the first few weeks, in accordance to CDS’s emphasis on listening, students simply told their stories and read aloud, giving literal voice to their experiences and story ideas. As they read, I sensed in each of them the emergence of a more natural voice than typically allowed in academic discourse. Relying solely on basic software such as iMovie and Windows Live Moviemaker, the students then added “layers” of photos, videos, text, and music to their voiceover. As the semester progressed, the connection among the students intensified, and it was clear that the Story Circle provided a venue for “processing,” sharing, sustaining, and building on what students had learned and experienced overseas. They nurtured and supported one another and validated their emotions through the act of listening. The stories became not only the tellers’, but those of everyone involved. Once word of their digital stories spread around campus, other returning students asked me to help them create their own. “The group itself created a sense of place, a safe place where we could meet and talk openly and share excitement about our experiences abroad,” says Caitlin 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2011

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
Celebrating 10 Years of the Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education
Multimedia Narratives as Innovative Components to Reentry Programs
When the Going Gets Tough: International Recruitment amid Budget Cutbacks
REAP-International: Global Student Ambassadors Who Reap What Is Sown
Trends in Transparency: Effects on International Student Recruitment
Advertisers’ Index
IIE Program Profile

IIE Networker - Fall 2011