Storyboarding the Storyboarding OOC

Brenda Padilla and I are in the process of designing the Storyboarding OOC (open online course) which we will be running in the New Year, and since the starting point for designing a course is to create a storyboard, we have been working on just that, and we would like to share our work-in-progress with OOC participants and other interested readers. We plan to produce a few sample storyboards for the OOC using different online tools, in order to both illustrate a few of the tools that can be used for this purpose, and also to experience the ways in which a particular tool might influence the course design – for better or for worse.

The basic idea of a storyboard was developed by Walt Disney in the 1930s (see this Wikipedia page). According to Gilly Salmon, from whom I learnt about storyboarding for learning design, the spirit of storyboarding is big, bold, colourful and fun – and is best captured when working on a large sheet of paper (e.g. a flipchart) with coloured sticky notes and markers, as seen in the image below from Gilly’s Carpe Diem workshop in Berlin last week.

'Searching Faster Using Google' storyboard

Storyboard developed during Gilly Salmon’s Carpe Diem workshop at Online Educa Berlin 2014

Transferring the storyboard into an electronic format is ideally only done after one has done the flipchart version. However, as Brenda and I are in two different locations (Mexico and the UK), we have settled for going straight into an online format. Hopefully the OOC will not suffer too much for this – we will never know!

At the moment we are working on two versions of the storyboard – one in Google Spreadsheets and one in Popplet. (Warning – if you go into these links now you will see incomplete storyboards, or you may even see live changes taking place before your eyes!) The idea is to have the same information in each storyboard, with the only difference being in the format. These two formats lend themselves to quite different thinking processes – with Google Spreadsheets being rather rigid, forcing one into columns and rows, and the mindmapping tool Popplet being much freer, allowing one to add or delete ‘nodes’ anywhere on the page. I think Popplet captures the ‘Disney’ spirit of storyboarding better, and is more fun to work with, although it might be useful to eventually transfer the info into a spreadsheet format for ease of reference when you come to developing the course.

Other tools that could be used for storyboarding include LinoitPreziGliffy and Freemind. (Click here for an example of a storyboard on Linoit that was created for a course on Learning Design in the University of Leicester’s SPEED project in 2012-2013.) FreeMind and Google Spreadsheets are free, and the others have both free and paid versions. We’re hoping that participants in the OOC will try many different tools, and will share their experiences of using them. We are hoping to build up a bank of CC-licensed storyboards created for real courses, for reference and reuse by educators globally, so if anyone has any online storyboards that they would like to share already, please let us know – we’re watching this space!

In case anyone is wondering how I’m collaborating with Brenda in the preparation phase, it is through a combination of Google Hangouts for live voice chats (with a bit of video every now and then to show each other the various cats/dogs and family members that are in the background/ on our laps while we’re working), and Google Docs, where we develop our plans and will be developing and storing the e-tivities. Brenda is usually eating breakfast, and I’m usually preparing dinner while having our meet-ups, and we invariably end our real-time meet-ups when I become aware of the faint smell of burning from my kitchen, having become so absorbed in our conversation that I forgot to turn the oven off…

About Gabi Witthaus

Open educator. Blogger at Art of E-learning. Learning design consultant at University of Birmingham. PhD student in HE Research, Evaluation and Enhancement, Lancaster University. Previously Research Associate at University of Leicester (Beyond Distance Research Alliance and Institute of Learning Innovation); Learning and Teaching Facilitator at Loughborough University; Distance Learning Manager at Bradford University School of Management. Qualifications: Masters in Training and Development (USQ, Australia); Masters in English Education (Wits University, South Africa), PGC in Mediation (Robert Gordon, Scotland), BA Hons in Applied Linguistics (Wits University, South Africa).
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4 Responses to Storyboarding the Storyboarding OOC

  1. Many thanks for the useful background.
    Until now I have tended to use mind mapping to start the course design process. On occasions I use Mind Genius software which has a great deal more functionality that I really need at an early stage of a project.
    The course I have in mind is based on a traditional F2F course on Inventory Management and my particular challenge is to make it into a really engaging course on the fundamentals of managing inventories. To be honest it can be boring enough in the training room and it’s going to be a big challenge to inspire the learners.


  2. Pingback: The conundrum of creating an open course in a closed site – Storyboard OOC update | Art of e-learning

  3. Pingback: Increasing reusability of open courses through transparent design | Art of e-learning

  4. Pingback: The conundrum of creating an open course in a closed site – Storyboard OOC update | Art of e-learning

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