The CLI Digital Storytelling Group: A Short Reflection

Photo: Aidali Aponte-Aviles, Carlos Espinosa, Megan Hartline, Jennifer Roberts, and Seth Markle after the last digital storytelling meeting of Fall 2017. 

Rarely do faculty and staff get the chance to sit down together over coffee and snacks to share ideas and brainstorm about pedagogy. Luckily, I got the chance to do just that by being a part of the CLI Digital Storytelling Discussion Group. This was a group of serious educators seeking to enhance the undergraduate student learning experience through the incorporation of multimodal projects such as digital stories, essays, and mapping into their curriculum.

As a member of the CLI Advisory Board who was teaching a digital storytelling course on the history of Hartford hip-hop, I was tasked with convening the group, consisting of Dave Tatem (Instructional Technologist), Christina Boyles (Digital Scholarship Coordinator), Carlos Espinosa (Director, Trinfo.Cafe), Jennifer Roberts (Visiting Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance), Aidali Aponte-Aviles (Lecturer, Language and Culture Studies) and Megan Hartline (CLI Associate Director). We met three times over the course of the fall semester.

What made these conversational meetings so engaging was that each one of us came to the group from different vantage points. Some of us, like myself, were in the process of teaching a course with a prominent digital component while others were either preparing to teach such a course or had past experience. We shared assignment ideas and syllabi and brainstormed problem-solving strategies. We were also able to vent our frustrations, so I guess you can say it was a support group as well. For me, I especially enjoyed listening to the other group members and learning from their creativity and technical knowledge. It was rewarding to get know faculty from different departments and staff members (seasoned and new) who all share a commitment to experimenting with alternative teaching methods and, above all, creating bridges between Trinity College and the Hartford community.

Fall classes included Envisioning Social Change, part of the Community Action Gateway program, and More than Rice and Beans: Intro to Hispanic Hartford, a first-year seminar. The group will meet three more times next semester. If you are interested in being involved, please contact Megan Hartline (

Seth Markle is an Associate Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College whose work focuses on the histories of cultural and political exchange between Africa and the African Diaspora. He is the author of A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974 (Michigan State University Press, 2017) and is currently working on two separate multimodal projects about hip hop culture in Tanzania and Hartford.Students from his Global Hip Hop Cultures course will present their digital stories of Hartford hip-hop pioneers at the 2018 Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, April 6-8. 

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