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Course Syllabus

This article includes the course syllabus and learner effort.

How can storytelling promote social change?

This course develops skills for using stories to deliver messages that affect audiences and drive change. Learn how building empathy and developing characters can offer multiple perspectives on complex problems. In this course we will explore how connecting with an audience through story can create new awareness and influence attitudinal shifts around a particular cause. A cast of theatrical artists and professional storytellers will share their expertise and experiences to demonstrate how storycrafting can develop empathy and deliver impact.

You will see performances and interviews with storytelling experts and iteratively develop your own creative project throughout the course, with help from your fellow learners. The course offers opportunities for peer feedback, reflection, and quizzes to develop your understanding of storytelling practices. The course culminates in sharing your work in a storytelling gallery, where others can continue to provide feedback and encouragement beyond the course.

Learner Effort

There are five weeks, each of which may entail roughly 1-3 hours of work.

  • Week 1: Introduction: Belief Systems
  • Week 2: Inciting Empathy
  • Week 3: Story Structure Analysis, Audiences, and Social Change
  • Week 4: Story Structure, Character Building, and Impact
  • Week 5: Storyboarding

What you will learn

  • How professionals use stories to elicit social change.
  • How to introduce multiple perspectives into stories for social impact.
  • How to identify an audience, communicate a message, and develop a strong protagonist to deliver your message.
  • How empathy and belief systems affect storytellers and audience members.
  • How to use visual elements to enhance a storytelling project.

Grading Policy

Course materials and assignment are available for all learners.

To maximize community participation, all learners will have access to the writing activities (see next step for an overview). Learners who choose to take this course for a certificate will have additional access to three week-end tests, which are the only graded elements in this course. You must earn a grade of 70% in order to pass a test and earn a certificate. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Honor Code & Discussion Forum Etiquette

All of the assessments in this course should be completed by learners on their own. Learning from each other through discussions is encouraged, but no collaboration between learners is expected. Submitted assignments, therefore, should be your own independent work, and not that conducted collaboratively with others. While we ultimately cannot monitor everything, FutureLearn and the course team will monitor comments and assignments for any activity that violates obvious codes of scholarly conduct.

Contact with the Instructor Team

Please do not contact the Teaching Assistant/instructor directly with questions. While we value and appreciate the time and effort you put into the course, responding to individual questions is virtually impossible. Instead, please direct your questions to the discussions, where the Teaching Assistant will respond when meaningful and appropriate.

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Storytelling for Social Change

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