Friday, December 18, 2015

Essay 2 - instructions

Back when the course started, in the beginning of September, we wrote:

"You have to write an individual essay twice during the course; once in the beginning and once more when the course ends. Writing these essays are compulsory."

The time to write the second, concluding essay has now come. This essay replaces other forms of course evaluations. Do note that it is compulsory to write this essay and you will not get your course credits registered unless you have written both essays (for those who for some reasons did not write the first essay, see further instructions below).

/Daniel & Malin


Please download and use the template that is available in Bilda ("Documents/FoM essay 2") when you write your text. Do note that English or Swedish is ok. Use your family name when you name your file ("Pargman essay 2") and upload it to the "drop box" that has been created exclusively for this purpose in Bilda ("Contents/Essay 2"). Do note that you can only upload the file formats .doc, .docx (MS Word) or .pdf to the drop box.

The deadline for handing in the essay is Friday January 8 (15.00), i.e. three weeks after the final presentation, but, the suggestion is that you write the essay immediately when your memories of the course are fresh - as well as in order to be done with it! The task below is neither very comprehensive nor time-consuming, but please do set some time off to sit down and reflect upon the course when you write the essay.

The essay consists of three parts:

1A. "Instead of a course evaluation".
- What were in your opinion the two (or three) best things about the course?
- What were in your opinion the two (or three) worst things about the course?
- What are your (perhaps two or three) suggestions for how to change/improve the course?
- What is the most important advice you can give to the students who will take the course next year?

You are of course allowed to posit more than three suggestions (etc.), but plese don't answer each question with just a few words or a single sentence. State your opinions and then exemplify, explain and back them up. We will not specify a set length, but do not just enumerate stuff without also including at least a brief explanation of each.

1B. "The project"
Taking into account that this is a project course, we are interested in creating structures for the project phase (Oct-Dec) that help project groups work with limited resources (primarily time) and still deliver high-quality results. Here are some questions to help you think about these issues (use the list below for inspiration, not as a checklist):
- How would you evaluate your project group's work effort? Are you happy with it?
- Was the work effort in the group more or less well distributed among group members or did some group members work a lot more or a lot less than others?
- Did you reach the quality you aimed/wished for in the allotted time and with the resources available? Why/why not?
- Did group members have similar priorities, or did you have different opinions about some (important) things? How did you resolve them?
- How much (or little) have you enjoyed working with your project group?
- Knowing what you know now, what could/should you or the teachers have done differently during the project phase of the course?

NOTE: we ask this question because 1) we only have limited insights into the work processes of individual project groups during the last few months and 2) we want to learn more so as to be able to improve instructions and advice for project groups next year. Your comments might thus refer to "mistakes" or unfortunate decisions you made in your group as well as aspects of the course that could be improved in order to clarify and support the work of the project groups better.

1C. "Closing the circle"
Go back and re-read the essay you handed in at the beginning of the term (if you absolutely can't locate it, send a mail to Daniel Pargman who will find it and return it to you).

In that first essay (the instructions are here) you wrote about A) your "expectations and apprehensions" regarding the course and B) about your "relationship to the theme of this year's course" (storytelling). What has changed and what hasn't since you wrote that first essay? Did the course live up to your expectations or did you apprehensions come true? Has your relationship to the storytelling changed since then or are they still the same?

Please write no less than 400 words (1 page) and no more than 1000 words (2.5 pages) on topic 1B and 1C together.

For those (few) who did not hand in essay 1 or for some other reason have to do an extra assignment:
I will anonymize and distribute eight different essays to you (making sure that none of them comes from any members of your own project group). Instead/on top of 1C above, you will summarize these essays and furthermore see if you can find patterns that several students agree upon (or important stuff people instead disagree on). I will send further instructions together with the essays. You will not be able to complete this task before Jan 8 since your classmates have to submit their second essay before you can be given this extra assignment.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The jury on December 17

This year, the jury at the final presentations consists of three persons. Here is a short presentation of each of them:

Robb  Montgomery,
journalist, filmmaker and teacher. He is the founder of the Smart Film School, and the author of "A Field Guide for Mobile Journalism." He is a world authority on video filmmaking for reporters carrying mobile phones.
Anna Careborg, head of premium content and digital storytelling at the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Björn Thuresson, teacher and manager of the Visualisation studio VIC at KTH. The studio is a resource for teaching, research and business liaisons in advanced graphics, interaction and visualization. He has a background in cinema studies, journalism and communication studies and professional experience in the production of film.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Future of storytelling trends

The following text about trends is taken from the introductory chapter of our book Future of storytelling:
Below are eight trends that we have identified in the course and that we believe are of importance for the Future of Storytelling and Storytelling of the Future. Each trend is important for at least a few groups, and sometimes for many project groups.

In the future, stories will be told in a way that involves the audience to a higher degree. This can be done by using technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 360o video storytelling and these technologies will be simple to use and easily accessible. Utilizing these technologies to tell stories, the audience will to higher extend than today “experience” content such as sports events, concerts or in-depth news reporting.

Very large amounts of collected data (“big data”) will aid storytelling in the future. The amount of data that is collected about virtually everything in society is growing exponentially each year. The challenge is to present stories based on this information in new and compelling ways or to develop and explore “big data storytelling” – a genre that hardly exist today.

An increasing part of storytelling in the future will be told via mobile devices, and preferably by using video and audio. This move towards increased mobile, video and audio contents means that the proportion of text-based, written information is expected to decrease in the future compared to audio and video.

Storytelling in the future will preferably be done by using interactive tools. This means that the consumer prefers to interact with the story or the storyteller in various ways, for example through computer games or by exploring and interacting with different kinds of interactive stories. It might also be the case that the loop between the storyteller (journalist) and the reader (viewer, listener, gamer, consumer etc.) will become tighter.

Stories will more easily be spread “laterally” among readers, users or consumers in the future and social media will play an important role in this process. With the proliferation of smartphones (cameras), users will also become more involved in the co-creation of content and eye-witness reporting is one example of this trend.

People will to a higher degree consume media content that is adapted and filtered to fit their particular interests. Finding stories that to a higher extent corresponds to my particular interests and points of view as well as a community of others who share my opinions can be perceived as both empowering and liberating. The downside is that being enclosed in such “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers” will make it more difficult to understand others’ sometimes slightly and at other times radically different perspectives. It might also mean that we will miss out on broader perspectives of certain issues, on topics that that we don’t know we are interested in and in topics that we should be interested in, for example “boring”, uncomfortable or difficult issues that are of societal importance.

The human senses will be used in the future to a higher degree when it comes to conveying stories and media content. New technologies will be presented that enhance our human senses in different ways.

Peoples’ attention span has decreased and will continue to get even shorter in the future. Most viewers, listeners and readers will have little patience for long news stories and media content that demands a heavy up-front investment in terms of time and attention. This will have serious implications for storytelling in terms of what kinds of stories can and will be told in the future and will spur the development of new genres of simplifying and telling stories succinctly. It might also mean that it will be hard to tell stories that are inherently complex (for example the background to a conflict) unless you “lure” or entice people to engage in long, time-consuming stories

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid-crit feedback

Based on the mid-crit 10 days ago and in preparation for the final presentation next month, here is some feedback - general thoughts and comments based on our notes - that will hopefully useful for many/all groups and that you might want to take into consideration.

- We have said that you should aim for a date that is 10-20 years in the future (2025-2035). We have used that range for more than 10 years in the course but since few/no groups are aiming for the far future, we are considering shortening the time frame to 5-15 years in the future instead (2020-2030). Do you have any opinions about that? If so, leave a comment below.
- Remember that this year's theme is "storytelling". We believe that every project will become better if you anchor your vision/concept to, and visualise it through the telling of a good, powerful (news) story. That's the way the journalists themselves work as storytellers.
- Remember your "journalist friends" from the Montgomery week. Even if you don't cooperate with them now, they know some about your projects and might agree to listen to and bounce ideas with you. By all means reach out to them and ask to pitch/discuss your current project with them.
- Remember the guest lectures in terms of lessons, sources, theories, methods.
- Introduce, define and use key technical terms carefully in your projects and use these terms consistently instead of switching between related (perhaps undefined) terms.
- Remember the human aspects of the sociotechnical loop - try not to disappear too deeply into the technical solutions if that leads to loosing track of the people who will live in the future and use your systems/services. A set of technological developments is not a story in itself, or, at least it isn't a very engaging story. You have to imagine a future scenario that is underpinned by those technical developments and that becomes more than those technical solutions.
- This is an exercise in design fiction. An interesting aspect that you might include in your projects is "the history of the future" - what happened that lead up to the scenario that your group describes? What can explain how that future came about? You are free to describe fictive events or developments that "happened" in 2018 and 2023 - if that helps make your vision/concept more concrete and more credible.
- Get to the point quickly when you present. You will have 10 minutes to present your project and the audience should have a clear understanding of what the problem is that your group has worked within, say, two minutes.
- Get instant credibility by quickly referring to (large) companies who already today do X and Y (from which your solution follows). This is a shortcut and it increases the perceived credibility and relevance of your solution.
- Some general suggestions that could be useful: Use concrete examples. Find/tell a powerful story. Show something concrete. Be pedagogical. Fake convincingly. Play different roles on the stage (not just students presenting a project but, for example, business consultants selling a solution to a customer, ordinary users of your future service etc.).
- Some groups used cartoons instead of movies. That is a design representation that can be both simpler and more powerful than a movie with high production values.

Good luck with your projects!

Daniel & Malin

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grading - criteria for judging project groups' performance

You should at this point take an interest in the criteria we will use for judging and grading your projects. This blog post will tell you what we are looking for. You can use the criteria below as a checklist of sorts.

This might also be a very good point in time to have a look at the course PM again since there is information about examination etc there (available in Bilda).

Please note that the course formally consists of two parts:
- LIT1 (3 credits, pass/fail) - based on individual performance primarily during the start-up phase, BUT, don't forget that you will need to hand in a second essay at the very end of the course in order to get your grade reported (instructions will follow later).
- PRO1 (7 credits, A-E) - project work, see further below.

According to the course PM, each group SHALL at the end of the course:
write a text/book chapter
develop a design representation - "gestaltning" in Swedish (the form most often chosen is a short movie, but other forms are also possible).
present you project at the final presentation (Dec 17)

Some of the criteria below are more relevant to the text, some to the design representation and some to the final presentation. Do also note that not just the results (see above) of your work will be judged, but also the process - "much like a bachelor's or a master's thesis" (course PM).

Criteria 1 - Process. Running work that you have done since you were divided into groups and starting with the project plan and finishing with your last weekly status report on Friday next week.

Criteria 2 - High quality text. The text (book chapter) should be correct and easy to read (worst-case scenario: a text that requires a lot of effort to be understood). The text should furthermore have a well-developed line of reasoning and analyze, reflect and argue for whatever it is you want to say (and it's a much better to say a few things clearly than to raise too many different issues that point in different directions). The text should be coherent and with no internal contradictions. To explain and exemplify is fine. To identify, categorize, differentiate, contrast, combine, modify, conclude (etc.) is better.

Criteria 3 - Creativity. Your project (your Big Idea) will hopefully have a lot of "innovative potential" ("idéhöjd"). To what extent is the results of your work innovative, original and perhaps surprising? Are you onto something interesting and have worked in a creative way to "solving" the problem/challenge of your choice? Does your solution meet real needs? Does the underlying idea raise the pulse?

Criteria 4 - Grounding. To what extent are the project group's results credible? Are your solutions backed up and strengthened by literature you relate to, empirical material you have collected or own experiences that are relevant?

Criteria 5 - Professional design representation. Your design representation (most often a film but other forms are also possible) should be characterized by a high level of professionalism and craftsmanship. Does you design representation communicate the concept (your Big Idea) well?

Criteria 6 - Professional presentation. Your presentation should be characterized by a high level of professionalism; you have to be able to clearly communicate your message (your Big Idea) to the audience. Was the presentation well structured, was it fun and did the presenter(s) do a good job? You should also be able to provide good answers to potential questions you get from the jury.

Criteria 7 - Credibility. How easy is it to understand your solution? Are your conclusions/solution believable and convincing? NOTE: your conclusions/solution doesn't have to be probable or even desirable, but it has to be believable!

Criteria 8 - Coherence. Does the text, the design representation and the presentation cohere and interlink? Do they support each other (or do they instead pull in different directions)? Can the results be regarded as a well-integrated whole where the sum is more than the sum of the parts?

Good luck!

/Malin & Daniel

Friday, November 6, 2015

Send in a project summary to the website!

The executive group kindly asks each project group to send them a summary (50 words) of their projects. With each summary they also need 3-5 keywords.
The deadline is Wednesday, Nov 11 at midnight, and the summary should be submitted via the following link: 

Thank you!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mid-crit schedule

- The mid-crit will be held in lecture hall V3 between 09.00-17.15. We will have three outside guest critics - please impress them by being on time!
- Each group has 25 minutes for their presentation + questions and discussion. Please use no more than 10 minutes for your presentation so that there is plenty of time left for discussions.
- There are only five groups in the morning session and eight groups in the afternoon session. No group wanted to switch to the morning session so the afternoon session will be one hour longer.
- You should attend all the presentations in your session. Feel free to ask questions for clarifications or pose questions to other groups!

Here is the schedule for the mid-crit presentation:

Session 1

  • 09.00-09.15 Introduction
  • 09.15-09.40 Future of Advertisement
  • 09.40-10.05 Moving images
  • 10.05-10.30 Point of View
  • 10.30-10.45 BREAK
  • 10.45-11.10 Eyewitness 
  • 11.10-11.35 Virtual Reality
  • 11.35-11.45 Wrap-up/concluding words (teachers, jury)
  • 11.45-13.00 LUNCH

    Session 2

    • 13.15-13.30 Introduction
    • 13.30-13.55 Big data
    • 13.55-14.20 Personalized
    • 14.20-14.45 Computer games
    • 14.45-15.10 Audio
    • 15.10-15.25 BREAK
    • 15.25-15.50 Interactive
    • 15.50-16.15 Human senses
    • 16.15-16.40 Attention span
    • 16.40-17.05 Cross-cultural
    • 17.05-17.15 Wrap-up/concluding words (teacher jury)
    If you have any questions about the schedule or other practical aspects around the Friday mid-crit event, please post them as a comment to this blog post!