Place is defined as physical setting and context, in relational terms, as something active and co-constructed, and as an outcome of processes. We approach place in this multifaceted way as the setting(s) where the story happens—or, where story takes and makes place. 

In a classroom space, place is both where you are (where the class is taking place) and a technological space (i.e. you can move from place to place by utilizing different technologies). 

From the MUSE Storytelling Pillars, place is explained through four layers: 

  1. Environment: the geographical locations where the “heart of your story” takes place. Instructors and students together form/develop/build the heart of the story, and so, even in different sections of the same course, the heart of the story might show up differently.


  2. Objects: the symbols in your story that represent different aspects of the story and must relate to the People, Plot, and Purpose.


  3. Situations: locations for various contexts and scenarios within the story that allow for showing rather than telling.


  4. Time: the season or time in which your audience can most fully experience the Heart of the journey; story takes place over time and takes time to develop. 

Podcasting curriculum/activity

Another important question we can ask when thinking about place has to do with relationships. In an online learning space that works from human-centered design, the multi-modal work of podcasting allows for relationship building between student and teacher, student and peers, and student and material. We also find that working in audio makes for compelling and “authentic” assignments. By authentic, we mean that listening to one’s own recorded voice and the voices of classmates allows for connection making across distance and online learning spaces. 

Podcasting and place also interact in terms of where students will experience and “take” their class materials. That is, delivering class lectures, reading responses, etc. via podcasts allows students to take this work into their other activities such as listening to class discussions while walking, sitting outside, cleaning one’s living space, etc. So the work of the classroom space can move from place to place with the student listener in such a way that it can blur distinctions between learning and living places. We find this multi-modal movement and engagement compelling. 

In Shannon’s former role as a writing program administrator, she facilitated a podcast assignment in the English 101 classroom, the university’s only required writing course. For a longer explanation of that particular assignment, check out this podcast on podcasting across a writing program with brand-new graduate teaching-assistants. The assignment detailed below is a revised version of this podcast assignment to use in an online learning space. 


Audio resources

Student podcast examples

CAL Podcasting Pitch Form