July 2010 Archives

Katie's Course Reflection

This class has been the most beneficial class I have ever been in. I have learned so much about numerous topics and I am so thankful I was chosen to be a part of this program. If it weren't for this program, I wouldn't have realized what goes on in our society from the Oscar Grant case to all the hidden problems that media hides from us. I have opened my eyes to all the topics that we discuss in class and I know to understand all sides of a story before I make judgements. I do appologize for not being so talkative in discussions but I took an incredible amount away from them. Being able to make our own stories to share with our peers was the most important I took from this experience. I had no idea what my first digital story should be about. I didn't want to share anything that personal, but then again I wanted to make a video that people would appreciate. I definitely stepped out of my box by sharing the memories I had with my biological father. After sharing, I gained so much confidence and I honestly became a stronger person when I got feedback from my classmates. You guys are all awesome! I am so thankful for all the relationships that I gained from this experience. And if any of you guys need help with final cut...let me know! Haha. Rachel, you are amazing. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Syressa, thank you for putting up with us everyday!
-Katie A.

Dusti's Reflection

When I first saw my class schedule I was relieved there was only two classes, Writing 1301 and Digital Storytelling. I was confident I could handle writing, but I had never taken a class like Digital Storytelling. I dont like to deal with technology that much, I'm usually too busy, and I was afraid I would easily fall behind. When we met the first day and talked about what a story is I wasnt too sure if I would enjoy this experiance. When we started talking about gifts of stories and making our own stories that is when I started to really enjoy it. It was a definite challenge to make a digital story. Recording the voice over, and learning how to edit, get pictures, put music on was all very challenging and I know I wouldnt have been able to accomplish it without Rachel Syressa and my classmates. Everyone was so helpful and accomodating with everyone else. Once we started sharing our stories our class grew closer. The power of some stories made us cry and I've never been that interested in a class before. I'm so glad I got the opprotunity to take this class because it has made me more confident in my ability to learn new things. I enjoyed making stories and seeing everyone elses, they were all truly different and special. Thanks so much Rachel and Syressa for teaching this class, it was an amazing experiance!

course reflection

Coming in to the Bridge to Excellence program I was worried and didn't know what to except about digital storytelling. As the class has come along during the 6 weeks I have really come to like it and have learned a lot. I never had realized how important stories can be, and who today's storytellers are. I thought the media were the best storytellers because they tell stories every day that have a great impact on the general public. I learned that everyone has their own idea on who is a good storyteller and what makes a good story.

Course Reflection

When I heard we were taking digital storytelling I didn't know what to think, at first I thought it was going to be really cheesy. It turned out though that it was my favorite part of this whole program, mostly because of the greatest teacher ever. When we started our first digital story I was really excited because I was doing it on my senior year and I had a blast through that whole year, so there were plenty of things I could talk about. It turned out great and everyone seemed to like it. Next thing we did was our second digital story. At first I didn't know what to do, but I got together with Neil, Willie, and JD. We came up with the topic of Police Brutality and how it is not shown in the news. This was a long process, because when we would usually get together and work on it, we would be too lazy and not get much done, so we ended up working on it through the final day of class. This was an amazing experience and I hope I can do something similar to this in the near future.

Thank you Rachel for your help and support!!

Turner Eckstrom

Josh's Course Reflectiion

When i first came into this class I figured it would be just like any other computer class i took in high school. Also i wasn't really looking forward to showing my videos to people i didn't even know. Once we started to get moving with class it became a lot better, i was learning a lot of new things. It also became a lot better when i start to meet people in bridge and become comfortable with them. It made me feel like i could show a lot more. When working with final cut express at the beginning i figure it would just be the things i learned in high school, but it was a lot more than that. Not only did i learn new things about the program, but also things that make a story better. I learned how to really show the gift of the story to the audience so they can really capture what you are trying to show them. This class really taught me a lot on how to make a good story and have a good message. Rachel was a very good teacher that helped me and everyone else in the class a lot. Im glad i got to take this class through summer bridge because i feel like i got a lot more out of it. This class turned out to be pretty fun even though it got very stressful at times when trying to make our digital stories. They took a lot of time and commitment but they always seemed to turn out really good. I loved watching everyones video because they were all unique and everyone had a really good video. This class really helped me a lot and i'm very glad we had to take it. Thank you Rachel.

WHat I learned In DS!!!!

When I first heard we were taking a digital story telling class, I was not particularly thrilled. I never really thought I was good at telling stories. But during this class I learned that everyone has a story that is worth telling. Through reading the Digital Storytelling book it helped me learn how to find my story and the effective ways of telling it. This class also taught me how to critique in a positive way and how to take it well. By watching the videos I learned a lot about the people in the program and how they became to be the people they are today. It made me understand people a lot better. I also will take with me how effective a digital story is. Just by seeing a digital story can change the way people feel about a certain thing.

The end of one experience & the beginning of another...

In the beginning I was scared to sign up for this program. I wondered if it was going to be boring, if the people were going to be lame, and I was not sure if I wanted to give up my summer for this program. But in the end I decided to give it a try and participate and I'm very glad I did. This class and the entire bridge experience was better than I expected. In Digital Storytelling I learned how to create an effective digital story and became familiar with the term 'gift'. I was also able to show my gift through a digital story.learned that everyone has different interpretations of a story and you can't put a value on a story because they're all special in some way. Digital storytelling is another way I can express myself and my creativity. This class taught me how to view things from different view points other than my own. Manhood, womanhood, aesthetics, the gaze, and "the box" are just few of the many things that I learned from this class and that I will carry with me throughout my college experience. I love my classmates and enjoyed the great intense discussions we had. Thank you classmates and wonderful teachers/mentors for making my summer here worthwhile at the program. I enjoyed myself and I'm proud of myself for finishing! Good luck to all and I hope we can keep in touch!

XOXO ~Ashley Akpaka~

I had no expectations for this class. Once we started rolling I realized that this class was going to bring out the best and worst out of all of us. It required late nights, reading, and endless hours of editing. I put myself out there on my first story and then again in a more humorous way in my second story. In the end it has made myself feel more comfortable in the person that I am. The skills and assests I take away from this class such as editing in final cut, understanding the "box", and appreciating the gift in everyones story will stick with me. I hope I will get the chance to use these skills once again. I enjoyed the class.

-Brian Valley

Crossing the Bridge...

The first day of class there were like four questions for us to answer. When we found out we had to go around in a circle to share our answers we all panicked, because we were scared to give a wrong answer. That exercise helped me throughout her class, because the object was not to focus on there being one right answer but to see that we all have different interpretations. Through creating a digital story I learned that no story has greater value than another, because we ALL have a "gift". As I move forward I know I will be successful in college, because I now know how to edit a video using final cut, and how to tell an effective story.
Thanks class for being such amazing classmates for six weeks, you kept me entertained and allowed me to see the world from many different lenses, which made discussions very interesting and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.... P.S. we were the BEST section. I would also like to thank both Rachel and Syressa for all that you both have done for the past six weeks... you two have been some of the best teachers/ mentors I had thus far in life, you helped me develop confidence when sharing personal experiences.

-Alexys Parker <3

My Experience!

What I learned from Digital Story-telling is the seven elements of Digital Story-telling. We as groups/individuals learned the style of a good story. Though some may not find interest in our subject, it is really the power of the voice that counts. Having learned how to find the gift of my/our story, we can take that step to a new level using the seven elements. I learned to love Final Cut Express, it is a wonder full tool. It gives the creator of the video more control of how he/she wants his/her video to express the gift of his/her story. What I took from this course is the power of story-telling, and how media has used this power to downgrade many around us unknowingly. I learned more about the media that I have never in the past, and thanks to this course, I learned that because of our free access to the world wide web, and it's free blogging sites or sites where I can share videos such as YouTube, we have the power to share our minds with the rest of the world who chooses to watch.

Thank you Professor Rachel Raimist for spending her summer with us, and teaching us the power of Digital Storytelling. =D
-Van Quach

What I Carry

Six weeks have passed by a lot faster than I can even comprehend. It seems like just yesterday that we were all new Bridge students. Most of us had never known one another, and we all came from different backgrounds. It also seems just like yesterday that we had our first Digital Storytelling class. We learned so much about what stories are and what they can mean. Through the reading as well as discussions, I have learned about the influence that the media has on people. I have learned that we need to question what the media presents to us such as stereotypes or gender roles. For example, music videos reinforce hyper-masculinity and objectification of women. Cases like the Oscar Grant incident should also be viewed carefully in the light of police brutality and in that mainstream media initially hid the story from the public. The stories that we are told are important, but the stories that we do not know can also be just as important. I have learned a lot about how to edit videos using Final Cut. I have never edited a video before nor have I ever used Final Cut, so the course was a new experience for me. There are many ways to tell a story, but the important idea to keep in mind is to find the way that best communicates the gift of your story. The audio, videos, photos, and effects should all work together collaboratively in order to tell your story in the best possible manner. Our videos bridged the gap among all of us by helping us to better understand one another as well as to bond us through similar experiences. I would definitely recommend this course as well as Rachel to any and all students. This class was an "A" in my book no matter how difficult everything was because I survived. I survived my Digital Storytelling course with my fellow Bridge peers, and I would not have a better experience in any other way. I now carry my experiences with me to the next day, week, month, year, and for the rest of my life.

The End of the road, the beginning of college!

I don't make videos, I watch them. Had some told me I would put a video together about my mother and a social issue I very much care about last year, I would never have believed them. Digital story telling was the last thing I would ever do, but now that I have done it, it was one of the best things I have ever done. It started with the discussions; they to me were the roots of everything. From learning about the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, to the ways in which different representations of different groups in the media to discussing fun but serious things like race and Gender (yes they are fun to me) I have never enjoyed myself better in a classroom environment. The many fascinating things I learned included but were not limited to:
-The male gaze and the power of the camera
-The power of digital media in globalization
-Where the term third world came from
-To look twice at every image presented to me from music videos to commercials to movies!
I addition I worked with Final cut and working with Final cut was well...working with Final Cut. I think spent more time in the lab then I did in my dorm room! But in the end it was worth it. When people watched the videos I produced and my theory through my practice, I was proud. Look at this video, I, Lulete Mola, the most not technological person n the world made this! I appreciate many things about this course. From the tightest professor alive to the sweetest TA to ever cross my path. My classmates couldn't have been more smarter, we, Second two were hands down the most opinionated and interesting section in the history of Bridge! I will always remember my very first class in college! And hey, guess what? I made videos. Watch 'em!

Thank you Rachel!

My last blog entry

This is my last blog entry for digital storytelling but not for my real blog on the internet! I truly enjoyed this course more than the other! Using final cut was so fun, complex at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's so much fun! The videos I made were created not to get a good grade from but to improve others lives, which I believe I have! Learning about Oscar Grant, the media white out from his case and overall all the topics in class made me think twice before watching music videos or reading magazines...It's hard to look at seventeen magazine the same, since there are so many explicit advertisements! I will take away the gift from Rachel of looking at the messages sent to me and understanding the world around me a little more! Thank you so much for this class and being a great professor!


2010 DS Course Reflection

To be perfectly honest I saw myself grow as a result of this class. There was so much to be learned through all of the activities we did prior to screening. Through digital storytelling I noticed some personal gain. I learned how to give feedback in a positive, meaningful and constructive way and in addition I learned how to take feedback and use it to work for me rather than feeling like everyone was attacking me. The powers of a story are so unenumerated, i cannot list all the things they have the power to do. I experienced healing, connection, understanding, recognition and realization, emotional maturity and mental maturity and the list could go on, because Digital Storytelling taught me things about myself. It made me think more carefully and ask myself, what do I believe? Do I really agree? And then take it a step further and accept the fact that maybe I don't agree and that is okay. In sync with the activities we did in general session, choosing a topic for our final video became just that much easier. Because of general session, I could make connections between class lectures, the videos about hip-hop, women and beyond and the Practices of Looking packets. Out of all the readings I think that chapter iabout the gaze and perspective in Practices of Looking was the most helpful in developing my final video. It also made me realize how important perspective, spectatorship and the gaze are, and how much they affect society. So that is what I learned in Digital Storytelling. It was lot of fun though sometimes stressful, but I really enjoyed the class. So thank you Rachel to coming all the back to MN to teach us. Thank you Syressa for prepping us and always willing to lend a hand. Finally thank you to my fellow bridge section two-ers for sharing your stories with me.

Course Reflection

While I was in the digital storytelling class I learned a lot of skills. Working with final cut was probably one of the hardest things I had to do in this class. I get very frustrated with computers when they don't do exactly what I want but with the help of Syressa and Rachel I got through it easier than what I thought I would. In class Rachel taught us how to listen to our voice over and then fit out video transitions to what we were saying. It really worked out to see this in the story and it put a little more emphasis on what we were saying in the story. One of the last things I learned in this class was how to share a story. The story has meaning to everyone but when I had to read mine to the class for the first time I didn't know how people would react. My story was probably one of the shortest in the class but it didn't matter how long it was, it mattered how it affected my listeners. To the people that heard it said it affected them very much. After reading my story out loud and got support on it that I didn't expect, it has encouraged me to tell many more stories without being afraid of how people will react! I just wanted to say thank you Rachel for making me step outside of the box and tell a story I may not have shared if this assignment had not been created.

Final Assignment!!

Throughout Summer Bridge Digital Storytelling I learned many skills, new ways to view the world, how to express myself, and to put myself outside the box. At first I was overwhelmed at the thought of making these videos because Final Cut Express looked really complicated. Rachel showed us step by step how to do everything with the software and soon I felt like a pro. We also used Garage band to record our voiceovers, which was new to me as well. We did not spend as much time with Garage Band but I could get a voiceover done. I had never used a Mac before this class and they seemed so much different from the computers I had used before which at times got a little frustrating because I couldn't figure out how to do what I wanted. I learned that Macs are really cool and there are so many things you can do with one mouse click. Like drag a picture from the internet to the desktop. I learned that there is a value to every story and that I too can be a good story teller. I also learned a lot about media and the ways it effects society. Now that I am educated about it I can be aware of the messages it is sending. Over all I learned many things from this class but I think the most important things this class gave me is the gift of my classmates. We have all come from different places and gone through different things, things I wouldn't have expect had happened to them at first sight. I gained a lot of repect for my classmates and wish I had a chance to share with them things I have been through and about my life, but I am hoping they will all stay in my life when the school year comes along and I will have this chance to show them who I am. I want to thank Rachel, Syressa, and all my classmates/friends for a great summer!

Final Project - Kiara & Ashley

What Is Beauty?

Jakes course reflection

I learned so many different things in Digital story telling, how to use my mac computer, how to use final cut. Final cut is a huge part of digital story telling. Rachel taught us many different ways to edit our videos. All of the little tricks like taking videos off of youtube. Putting many pictures of our lives up, so a lot of different people can see them. Watching every bodies videos was amazing, I feel like i know so much more about my classmates.

What Is Beauty

Police Brutality

Technology Overload



We're taking all those haters and players to school. Bring your pencils and notebooks and start takin notes.

Oscar Grant

Dream Women Vs. Real Women


Media Influence on Beauty

This video was created to show how the media is trying to make us believe beauty is what a woman is worth!

Appearance Release Forms

Please have EVERYONE that you interview for your final project sign this release form.


Copies are also available from Bridge staff - Thanks!

UMN Library SMART Learning Commons:


Digital Video Camera (Sanyo HD1000- HD/720/1080 - 8GB SMART card included!)

Digital Video Camera (Sanyo CG10 HD/720 - 8GB SMART card included!)

External Disk Drive (160GB)


H2Zoom Audio Recorder



Students can checkout video cameras and tripods for academic and personal use from the College of Liberal Arts Office of Information Technology office located in 110 Anderson Hall on the west bank. This pool of equipment is made possible because of the student technology fees. Visit http://www.claoit.umn.edu/loaners/ to make a reservation.

Prosumer and professional equipment:
digital video cameras
microphones & audio mixers
location lighting kits



The Grammar of Film and Television - http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/gramtv.html

Final Project: Inspirational Links

Former bridge students:



U Class: "Digital Storytelling In and With Communities of Color"

UA Class: "Digital Stories of Race, Class and Gender":

Other Videos (not my former students):

"Decolonizing Black Women's Bodies"

Oscar Grant Tribute:

"I Am Sean Bell"

I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak from Stacey Muhammad on Vimeo.

"Barack & Curtis"

Final Project Assignment

(1 proposal per video project)

Include the following information:
a. who's making the video (names and section #) - up to 4 members in a group
b. your topic / the gift of your story / 3 concepts key terms
c. plan for form of your video (interviews, youtube clips, screengrabs, photos, v.o., music, titles...)
d. project timeline

2. VIDEO PROJECT (1 - 4 students per video)

Rough Cuts due TUESDAY 7/27 and WEDNESDAY 7/28 (screening in class)
Final Video posted on the blog before class on THURSDAY 7/29

Individually or in a group, produce a short Video (5-6 minutes max) using 3 of the theoretical concepts and/or key terms discussed in the course material (in the reading, in films/videos viewed in class, class discussion, etc).


Write a short 5 -6 page paper analyzing your topic/issue using scholarly theory (do your research and find scholarly articles on the library website). Use your essay to articulate how the theory informs the choices you make as a media maker on this topic.

Key Words, Terms , Concepts & Media Frameworks:

  • The Summer Bridge program

  • Education / pedagogy

  • Power of the media

  • Media effects / media impact

  • language & power / the power of language

  • Dichotomies (good/bad, positive/negative) / binary thinking vs. Complexities

  • Power

  • Race

  • Gender

  • Class

  • Sexuality

  • Representation

  • Stereotypes

  • Ideology

  • The gaze

  • Subjectivity

  • Positionality

  • Privilege

  • Propoganda

  • Hegemony

  • Ethnicity

  • Culture

  • White privilege

  • White supremacy

  • Capitalism

  • Patriarchy

  • Racism

  • Sexism

  • Misogyny

  • Violence

  • Homophobia

  • Feminism

  • Social constructiom

  • Aesthetics

  • Masculinity / manhood

  • Femininity / womanhood

  • Body / bodies

  • Image / images

  • Identity

  • Citizenship

  • Community

  • Culture

  • Religion

  • Oppositionality

  • Resistance

  • Appropriation

  • colonization / colonizing

  • decolonization / decolonizing

  • Difference

  • Change

  • Society

  • sports

  • faith

  • spirituality

  • Music videos

  • Television shows

  • Commercials

  • Advertisements

  • Music

  • Films

  • The radio

  • The Internet

  • Blogs / blogging

  • News reporting

  • Storytelling

  • Art

  • Creativity

  • Poetry

  • Music

  • Drawing

  • Painting

  • Performance

Your paper must be:
double spaced
3 - 5 pages

Due Wednesday - Hard copy turned in during class, NOT posted to the blog)!

Reflection Prompt: (These questions are just some things to think about, to help you write... don't feel like you must address them all.)

In class we started with learning about the POWER of a story, the role of storytelling, and the value of stories. We studied Lambert's method and considered Lambert's 7 Elements as a framework for what makes effective (or "good") digital stories. We did a PHOTO EXERCISE, shared our stories in our story circle, created STORYBOARDS, recorded your writing as VOICE OVER, learned how to edit on FINAL CUT, and worked with each other throughout the process giving feedback and technical support. What in this process helped you to make your own story?

What does it take to create / make / produce a digital story?

What did it take for you to make your digital story?

What was most powerful about the experience? What did you struggle with through the process? What are your strengths? What was most difficult? Did you have any fears before the process (like editing), during (like you wouldn't finish), after (while screening)?

What is the gift of your story? Did viewers get your gift? Why? Why not?

What did you feel like sharing your digital story on screen in front of the class? How do you feel that this story will remain online and accessible for others to view? Will you share the link with anyone?

What did you learn about:
digital media
final cut
each other
the gifts of stories

What do you think makes a good / powerful / relatable / awesome / compelling / interesting / emotional / moving / inspirational ... digital story ?

What is the power of digital storytelling?

This is INFORMAL writing (use first-person "I" voice) but please do spell check!

Willie's Digital Story

Dusti's Video

This video was made for the summer bridge program.

A Moment In Time

This was created during Summer Bridge, to share the "gift" of my frienship, and how it has made me the person I am today.

Jules Ellis' Final

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This video was created for summer bridge, to show the bond of friendship and how true friends stick around during the good and bad times.

My Other Half

This is my digital story for Bridge this summer.


The video was created for the Summer Bridge Program 2010. This story is a memoir of an experience that I've had during my track season that reminds that because of this experience and the experience of failure that had to come with it, I am now able to always remember that I have the strength to preserver to achieve any goal. It also gives the world a glimpse of my love for the friends and family around me. I love you all!

The One Who Doesn't Belong

This video was created to inspire people to stay close with your family. Even if the relationship was distant before, there is still time to become closer.

The Love I Have for my Grandparents

This video was created for Summer Bridge 2010 and is dedicated to my lovely grandparents. R.I.P

Time to toilet paper!

JD's Final Vid

This was created for summer bridge

I Never Cry

This video project is dedicated to my grandmother who passed over 10 years ago. She was very important to me in the early years of my childhood. This video is in memory of her.

Dude, Just Jump...

We Did It!


               This is my digital story about my senior year. It reflex in order what i did through my year and how my senior year ended up getting me to were i am today.


                                                                             Turner Eckstrom

The Boundary Waters

My Father, My Inspiration

This was created in the Summer Bridge Program and I probably never would have done this if it were not for Rachel.

Tori Dixon Digital Storytelling Video FINAL

Amanda Miller's Digital Story :)

Amanda's Digital Story!

Chess is not just a Game


This video was created for Summer Bridge to let others know that no one is perfect. Sometimes it takes hard work, teamwork, and patience to achieve great potentials.

A Debt That I Can Never Repay

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This video was created during the Summer Bridge program for the Digital Storytelling course. It tells a story from my family trip to Laos during 5th grade. My story centers around me and my grandmother.

Monday Funday

Spring Break in Mexico

this digital story was made by Neil McQuiston in summer bridge 2010!

This demo video was created by Rachel for summer bridge section 2.

Royalty Free Music

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