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Multi­discipli­nary & Innovative Courses


21st-century Digital Storytelling


CICERO Learning & Media Education Research Centre, University of Helsinki

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900-1490 EUR Learn more




Professor Hannele Niemi (scientific)

Dr Mari Tervaniemi (administrative)

Dr Marianna Vivitsou (scientific & pedagogical)

21st century digital storytelling

Target students

Master’s and Doctoral students who are interested to integrate digital technologies in their research work and thesis and wish to get a hold of a deeper theoretical and practical understanding of the area. Also, teachers or advanced students-teachers who want to integrate communicative practices into research-based teaching with digital technologies.


In this course, we present and discuss digital storytelling as an innovative way to teach and do research in the educational sciences with the use of social media and connective technologies. In order to explain what new it brings into teaching and research, we will look into digital storytelling as a 21st century metaphor and analyze the term along the principles of metaphor theory. To this end, we will cover theoretical frameworks of metaphor in language, thought and communication. For the practical part, we will focus on how to select and use the social platforms that fit our needs and purposes. To this end, we will practice with building up and sharing online digital stories that are both contextualized and meaningful, and grounded within a solid background.

The main focus areas of the course will include:

  1. Digital storytelling as a 21st century metaphor
  2. The narrative element in telling digital stories
  3. The social and technical agents in digital storytelling
  4. Social media literacies in the 21st century
  5. Digital storytelling for empowerment: innovation, voice & ethics

Digital storytelling in the boundless classrooms in the 21st century – experiences during the Digital storytelling-FINNABLE2010 project (2012-2014)

Learning objectives

The participants will be able to:

  • Tell what the metaphorical use of digital storytelling is like
  • Integrate a theoretically-based, contextualized use of digital storytelling in teaching and research
  • Use narrative elements to construct a digital story
  • Design and put in action a digital storytelling project
  • Build their own digital stories

Means and criteria of assessment

For successful course completion, attending lectures and doing assignment work is mandatory. Also participating in collaborative project work is required.

The grading system is: pass/fail.

Course format and teaching methods

The course consists of lectures and workshops. During the course students will be involved in individual and group work.

Course Schedule

Location: City Centre Campus

Monday 6.8.2018 Registration begins
Tuesday 7.8.2018 Registration continues, HSS Opening Ceremony
Wednesday 8.8.2018 courses begin

Course Syllabus & Schedule (pdf)