Effective Strategies in the Digital Media Arts to Inspire Creativity and Collaboration

Concurrent Session 6

Brief Abstract

Participate in a dynamic conversation about how to adapt effective strategies from the Digital Media Arts to your blended or online courses and programs. Inspire your students to engage with openly-available digital resources to spark individual creativity and to engage in productive collaborative media projects in multiple disciplines.


Professor in the School of Arts and Humanities, Department of Arts and Media at SUNY Empire State College. Educator, researcher, and author promoting metaliteracy. Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2022). Dr. Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring (2022). Extraordinary Professor, Research Unit Self-Directed Learning, Faculty of Education, North-West University, South Africa. Co-author of the book Metaliteracy in a Connected World: Developing Learners as Producers (2022) with Trudi Jacobson for ALA/Neal-Schuman and the first book about metaliteracy, a model that we originated, entitled Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014). Co-editor of the books Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World (2019) and Metaliteracy in Practice (2016). Teach courses in the Digital Arts, including: Information Design, History & Theory of New Media, Digital Storytelling, Ethics of Digital Art & Design, and developed several global MOOCs such as Empowering Yourself in a Connected World and Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World.

Extended Abstract

In today’s connected world, faculty and students have access to openly-available digital resources to encourage individual creativity and support innovative team-based learning. Given the overwhelming number of digital technologies and services currently available, however, it is often challenging to identify the most effective platform to incorporate into blended or online courses. Many of today’s proprietary social media tools raise questions about personal privacy, data sharing, mis- and disinformation, and digital ethics. In addition, these resources are not easily embedded into a Learning Management System (LMS) and require students to establish or maintain accounts beyond the course environment. How do we make good choices about applying effective digital resources to engage learners in creative and innovative learning activities online? How do we offer students options for publishing their own digital content if they want to limit to the course environment or share to a wider audience publicly? How does theory inform practice when developing students as ethical and creative producers of information?

Online courses in the Digital Media Arts offer effective models for designing innovative learning activities in a wide range of disciplinary settings. Several courses in the Digital Media Arts at SUNY Empire State College, such as Digital Storytelling, Ethics of Digital Art and Design, and Information Design have been developed to include open educational resources (OER) to replace textbooks. In addition, openly-available digital resources have been curated in these courses to support individual and collaborative learning activities for producing original and remixed information. For instance, students produce personal and team-based narratives using digital production tools in Digital Storytelling, develop multimedia publications and portfolios using Linkr Education in Ethics of Digital Art and Design, and produce a collaborative conference-style slideshow and presentation with a college-supported videoconferencing platform in Information Design. Beyond the resources provided in the courses by the instructor, students are also encouraged to identify and share effective tools for producing and publishing digital information based on the assignment criteria and related rubrics. They are also provided with options for publishing their content in a way that is only available to classmates for peer review or to reach external, public-facing audiences as well. 

As a pedagogical theory, metaliteracy provides a holistic model for developing learners as effective producers of digital information (Mackey & Jacobson, 2022).  This framework for teaching and learning encourages students to see themselves as individual and collaborative producers of information while striving to be reflective, adaptable, and civic-minded in digital environments. How does metaliteracy inform the development of strategies in the Digital Media Arts to prepare learners to be creative and ethical producers of digital content? How does this model support the design of both individual and collaborative digital media projects? How do the course rubrics support ongoing peer review and formative feedback from the instructor? How are these strategies in the Digital Media Arts transferable to your disciplinary setting? All of these questions and more will be addressed during this highly interactive session. If you are interested in an engaging dialogue that leads to multiple takeaways based on your questions and knowledge-sharing, be sure to attend this lively session!

Level of Participation:

This session will include interactive components from the very start of the presentation and then throughout the discussion. Online surveys will be used to gain insights about the knowledge and experience of participants while also generating in-person feedback and discussion. After the first survey, the metaliteracy model will be introduced with an analysis of specific learning activities in the Digital Media Arts. Specific examples of student projects from each course will be shared to illustrate the outcome of this approach. The second half of the session will feature interactive engagement in Padlet to generate ideas about adapting these concepts to disciplinary contexts that may be related to and extend beyond the Digital Media Arts. The session will close with a conversation about specific takeaways for designing learning activities to produce digital information in your setting.

Session Goals:

Participants will discuss effective strategies for individual and collaborative learning in the Digital Media Arts that are adaptable to a wide range of settings and disciplines. They will discuss specific openly-available digital resources to inspire creativity and collaboration in blended and online courses while sharing their own tools and techniques. Ultimately, all participants will generate practical takeaways in a shared document for developing learners as individual and collaborative producers of digital content.

Mackey, T.P., and Jacobson, T.E., (2022). Metaliteracy in a Connected World: Developing Learners as Producers. Chicago: ALA/Neal-Schuman.