School of Arts and Humanities introduces new major: Digital Storytelling and Content Creation


Evan Younger / Hilltop Views

There are three new courses students can take in the spring for this major/minor: Data Storytelling, Digital Media Production & Design, and Visual Studies I.

St. Edward’s University will introduce another undergraduate program, Digital Storytelling and Content Creation, next semester. DSCC, according to the university’s description of the program, explores the innovative overlap between content creation and technology.

“This is the sort of thing that people need but don’t really know how to put their finger on,” Jena Heath, the program director, said.

With a degree in DSCC, students will learn how to create stories in the digital space in a variety of ways for a variety of audiences. 

“One thing (the School of Arts & Humanities) is trying to do around here is make the curriculum more flexible,” Heath said. “We really try to make this program reflect that.”

It took approximately a year to formulate and verify this degree program. Heath; journalism professor Curt Yowell; writing and rhetoric professor Amy Clements; user design experience professor Kim Garza; Monica Hernandez, associate professor of Marketing at the Munday School of Business and interim chair of Computer Science; and guest instructor and a managing editor for KUT Matt Largey sat on an advisory committee together to oversee this process, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature and profession-oriented nature of DSCC.

The finished product is a major consisting of 30 hours of coursework and a minor requiring 18 hours. Coursework in this program spans multiple disciplines, including user experience design, video game development and writing and rhetoric.

Data storytelling is a new course specifically designed for the program. The course involves interpreting data sets of language, images and numbers through the creation of visual narratives.

“A marriage of data and graphic design,” Heath calls it. “Really, it’s everywhere.”

This course, while completely new, is already approved to fulfill the creativity and mission marker, a general education requirement for St. Edward’s students. Other mission markers satisfied by classes in this major include upper-division writing and experiential learning and social justice.

DSCC students have the opportunity to apply what they learn in multiple ways. On campus, students can get involved with media outlets such as Hilltop Views or Topper Radio. Off campus, they have the potential to intern at tech startups, newsrooms, nonprofits and other media organizations.

Another feature of DSCC is the lack of prerequisites. Not including scaffolded classes gives students more freedom in planning what classes to take each semester.

“For me, the thing that’s really important about it is that (students) have flexibility to build the kind of program that (they) really want while here at St. Edward’s,” Heath said.

Double-majoring or pursuing a major and minor is a realistic goal for DSCC students, especially if they study a complementary field such as animation, communication, computer science, graphic design, digital media management, entrepreneurship, marketing, user experience design, video game development or writing and rhetoric.

“The more open and fluid we are in our programming the more we reflect the real, professional world,” Heath said.