Instructor Perspective by Kristin Rodgers
In addition to helping the OSU Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Optometry celebrate their centennials in 2014; I had the pleasure of co-designing and co-instructing a course, ASC2194: Digital Storytelling in the Medical Heritage Center. Brian Leaf, Instructional Design Librarian at University Libraries, and I spent January through September designing the course which we offered second term autumn semester.
Having never undertaken such an endeavor before, and as our course was posted for enrollment after the initial autumn registration window, I expected we would not receive enough interest to proceed. Imagine my surprise when we not only maxed out our open seats, but we admitted an additional student too!
The premise of the class was straightforward: students selected an artifact from the pre-selected set of 45 objects (the MHC has more than 4,000 artifacts so a pre-selected set was essential) and weaved research about the artifact with a personal element to create a story.
My personal goal in designing and teaching the course was to expose the Medical Heritage Center to a new audience. I knew the success of this goal would be met if the course moved forward; and since we had enrollment, it did.
The class began at 9:35am on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. I began setting up the artifacts that morning at 7:00am and was ready by 8:30 (I am not only a morning person but also the type of person who was known to arrive 30 or more minutes early to a class while in school). As I sat waiting, going over in my head my presentation for the fifth time (I was a bit nervous having never been in the professor role before), the first student arrived about 9:10am. I sat in stunned silence watching him as I calculated he had arrived 25 minutes early. I knew immediately he and I would have a good rapport for that reason alone! What I never expected though is that as the seven weeks of the course unfolded, I would so personally identify with Anthony through his digital story that he would leave a profoundly deep impression on my soul.
Student Perspective by Anthony M. Bowersock
Thinking back to Autumn Semester 2014, I would have never expected my life to take such a series of twists and turns as it did during that term. I had just enrolled in my final semester as an undergraduate student at OSU and was prepared to graduate from a place that I had called home for a very long time, 2003 to be exact. And while the semester started out like every other, almost halfway in between things began to change, at first for the worse, but ultimately for the better…
In order for you to understand my plight, I must take a little step back, so you can fully comprehend the matter at hand. Late in the summer of 2014, I had the distinct displeasure of contracting West Nile Virus during a vacation to see my family in Georgia. While I enjoyed most of the trip, I ultimately ended up in the hospital afterwards, reeling from a series of complications, including that of vertigo, light sensitivity, and overall nausea. As the summer passed, many of these issues dissipated; however, midway through fall, a series of new complications began to develop. I recall the day when I woke up, nearly falling as I got out of bed. I was having trouble using my right arm and leg. Was it the 40 hour work week I was putting in? Or was it the full time class load that I was packing on top of everything? Or was I just simply tired from it all? While I didn’t know the answer, a network of neurologists did. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something I could easily sleep off and recover from. I would need time, more time than I initially was willing to give myself.
As much as I yearned to graduate from OSU during the fall, I knew it ultimately would not be possible considering the complications from the virus that I contracted. Walking was difficult, even with an ankle brace, so I had to choose between damaging muscle or changing my class load and postponing graduation. Of course, I chose the latter, which brought me to ASC2194: Digital Storytelling in the Medical Heritage Center.
Taking this class with Kristin and Brian was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had here at The Ohio State University. Initially, I was interested in the class due to the medical aspect (as I plan to attend medical school and become a physician); however, after enrolling in the class I was amazed by the course’s ability to interweave research and personal narrative. I always wanted the ability to tell my story, and for people to understand exactly where I came from. Thanks to this class, I ultimately got that chance.
ASC2194: Digital Storytelling in the Medical Heritage Center gave me the opportunity to not only learn about the MHC but also to learn about myself through the connections I researched. The selection of an artifact was something that I didn’t think I could connect with at first, but over time I learned that something as novel as an 19th century scarificator could take me back into the depths of my mind. I am forever thankful that I was able to tell the world how I made it to Ohio State in 2003 and how I ended up back home and able to stand here today, with just a little over 10 weeks shy from graduation. I will never forget the memories that I shared from the seven week journey of the course, as I made a number of new connections to not only my future profession but also to the experiences that surround my personal life.
To see Anthony’s digital story, as well as the other students, please click here.