Digital Stories; Living Theory

By Betty Predeger, Professor
School of Nursing, University of Alaska Anchorage

Digital story vertical_making_learning_visible

Context of the Inquiry

The Context of the Inquiry

NS 621 Knowledge Development in Advanced Nursing Practice,

Summer 2011

  • A 3 credit core course required for the Masters in Nursing Science (MS) degree.
  • Delivered entirely online and completed in a summer 12 week summer session.
  • Often the first theory course taken when applying for entry into the MS in Nursing program
Purpose of NS 621-Integration

Graduate level theory course:

‘ Knowledge development in nursing practice’
◦Purpose: Integrate knowledge of theory (multiple ways of knowing) into advanced practice scenarios.

Course Artifacts

Focus of the Inquiry

Focus/Inquiry question:
Will introduction of a digital story (DS) process into a graduate level nursing theory course engage students by demonstrating from a personal theory informs practice?

Focus of Inquiry/Guiding Thoughts
Will introduction of a digital story (DS) process into a graduate level nursing theory course engage students by demonstrating from a personal perspective how theory grounds practice?

Outcomes & Aims:
Learning the digital story process will increase reflection & peer dialogue on how theory informs practice and the reverse.
Allows students to personalize & demonstrate relevant knowledge of how theoretical constructs are applied to real-world practice scenarios.
Give students an opportunity to choose & explore which theoretical view/paradigm really resonates with their personal philosophy & practice.
Allows students to realize & demonstrate ‘multiple ways of knowing’ (or) how we know what we know.

Course Design and Implementation

Digital Story Assignment (Process)
Here you will find the actual 'Theory integration/Digital Story' process that I take students through in an effort to create a thoughtful reflective process.

Theory Integration Digital story Assignment guidelines-Summer

Selected Resources for Story Creation
You will find a plethora of resources for creating your digital story within these folders. Start by perusing these sites for presentation ideas.
Our instructional designer for the School of Nursing has also posted her contact info to help trouble-shoot as you get into your projects.

One thing to be aware of is the SIZE of the files you create. I have been told that you will need to keep in the range of 20-30 megabytes in order to transfer electronically without difficulty.

I would suggest you get started in creating your stories & we will update you with a space to post/publish your story in the next week.

Steps for Creating Digital Stories

Helen C. Barrett provides a sequence of steps on her  Web site to get you started creating your digital stories:

"Here is an overview of the process of creating a digital story.

1.Script development: write the story, often with a group called a story circle to provide feedback and story development ideas
2.Record the author reading the story (audio recording and editing)
3.Capture and process the images to further illustrate the story (image scanning and editing)
4.Combine audio and images (and any additional video) onto a timeline, add music track (video editing)
5.Add Background Music, Titles, Transitions, and Effects (Optional... if there is time)
6.Present or publish finished version of story"

Barrett, Helen C. (2007, 2009). How to Create Simple Digital Stories. Retrieved May 27th, 2010, from




Student Voices Heard

Findings: (from student narratives)

Students became quite tech savy & resourceful.

I have l learned I can make a movie. I didn’t even know I had this software on my computer.
I really enjoyed creating a digital story, despite having to leap out of my comfort zone.

I now know I can create movies and record audio quite proficiently.

Express the unexpressed

“ This project provided me with an outlet to express simmering ideas that had not yet been organized into words”

Creating the story made me very sad. It was harder than I thought to deal with my own emotions in the making of the story.

Aesthetic/Reflective component

“ The addition of choosing pictures as well as music allowed for expression that would not have come simply out of writing a journal”< /i>

In reflecting on the process, I am amazed of all the stories that filled my mind when thinking about what has shaped my nursing paradigm”.
Through thinking about and reflecting on my memory of my patient & then sharing my experience vial a digital story, I was amazed to reflect & realize that yes, this story had deeply impacted me more than I initially realized.
It was not until after this assignment required me to reflect upon the events of the actual story, that I learned how much it had who I am as a nurse.
Putting together this story helped me to focus on the personal & how this story scenario had affected me professionally.
I wrote my reflection in short order & the story seemed to write itself!
While I was really pressed for time, I am glad we had time to chat and just sit and remember. This was much more than just gathering photos. It was a true bonding experience. I plan to revisit my project when classes are over and add to it, just for him. My next digital story will be a blockbuster. Well, maybe, just for us.

Reinforced course concepts

Finding a nursing theory that so clearly related to my personal experience was encouraging, as it validated my experience in the sense that others share similar ideas.
One of the things I learned in doing my story is that theory truly comes from reflection of lived lives, and the story I shared is no different.

-now have a deeper understanding of ‘knowing’

This project has caused me to massively reflect on what it means to be a nurse and about the situations of the elderly.

Applying Newman’s theory of HEC corroborated my my feelings and actions of nursing in telling this story. It was exciting to analyze a nursing theory and find true meaning in my own practice.

Shared & Reciprocal learning

“ As my co-worker viewed my story it stimulated emotions and experience from her own personal journey, resulting in a shared conversation on the importance of nursing’ presence’. It then dawned on me that this is exactly the purpose of the digital story. The goal being not only to be enlightened myself, but to facilitate enlightenment in others.
I hope that my project will cause viewers to take pause and reflect on the relationships and daily lives of their elderly patients. I hope it will provide nurses impetus to really listen to their elderly patients.

I learned from my classmates about various theories, but I really learned so much more about them as nurses through their stories.


My care and regard for the elderly will forever be changed from the making of this video and reflecting on g……’s letters from a theoretical approach.

I am a re-awakened nurse because of this project. Thank-you.

The concept of resilience definitely applied to both R…. &I. In thinking back, this story has definitely affected me and has allowed me to feel free to reach for another level of understanding in nursing. I know now I can step up to new challenges face them head on.

This digital story assignment helped me to see a different side of my classmates. As I watched their stories (some several times), I reflected on my personal nursing practice and wondered….am I connecting with patients? Am I using intuition? Am I really listening? Am I the nurse I want to be?


Voice- hearing oneself

“ The greatest challenge for me was doing the voice recording. I am generally a shy reserved person that doesn’t like public speaking. I probably recorded the script 25 times”.
My greatest challenge was with the narration of the story. I recorded myself at least a dozen times.
I struggled with the narration. I am much more comfortable expressing myself through writing & am generally a shy person. Since it was required, I simply had to get over my insecurities and do it. Writing a script first, helped me organize my thoughts and get in my comfort zone.


Course Artifacts


 Reflections (faculty perspective):
With the increase of interactive technology and a mandate to engage advanced practice nurses and educators, digital stories created:
• relevance to practice in a theory-driven graduate level nursing course
• transformative learning  in actually stretching students to 'push the envelope'
•an interesting pedagogic tool  for further exploration and use in the traditional learning setting of graduate school
•opportunity for graduate students to personally share & engage in an opportunity to Make (their) Learning Visible

Course Artifacts

Faculty Contact

Betty Predeger
School of Nursing
University of Alaska Anchorage
HSB 366
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK  99508