I teach graduate and undergraduate students how to make history documentary films, focusing on family or local history and including the history of Middle Tennessee State University. In my class, participants research an historical topic and assemble the necessary text, visuals, and music to make films. Students in all my history classes are encouraged to develop new media skills by taking advantage of digital tools that have become increasingly accessible in recent years.
Filmmaking provides students with an opportunity for experiential, hands-on learning and enhances media literacy. It also functions as a form of public outreach, as students actively research local and family history in the community, listening to new voices, uncovering new information, and offering new perspectives through film.
The following films (as well as one podcast and one website) were completed from scratch in one semester by students in my history classes, from the first frame to the final credits, and were the first documentary films ever made by these students.Student Films
A Note on Student Films
Upon completion of each filmmaking class or film project, all acceptable films will be published on this site, which is hosted by the Albert Gore Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University. All video taped interviews are also archived at the Gore Center, and of course students can use their films as part of their personal portfolios.
Special thanks for his invaluable assistance in creating this website to Barry Cantrell; also to Albert Whittenberg, Barbara Draude, the rest of the staff at the Faculty Instructional Technology Center at MTSU, and to Dr. Jim Williams, director of the Gore Center, for hosting this site. Thanks are also due Dr. Amy Sayward and Dr. Jan Leone, chair and past chair of the History Department, and Dr. Rebecca Conard, director of the Public History Program, for assisting in the development of the Digital History Studio. Finally, thank you to the late Dr. John McDaniel, Dean of Liberal Arts, Dr. Hilary Stallings, Manager of Recruitment and Resources in Liberal Arts, and graduate student Angela Smith for assistance with the Technology Access Fund. Elizabeth Goetsch, Ashleigh Oatts, Amy Rohmiller, and Angela Smith were wonderful graduate teaching assistants.