The “Narrating America” interactive digital storytelling game addresses a gap in public discourse about the contemporary community college – a gap in understanding the meaning of the community college for the students. The community college is often discussed in terms of failure – failure of students to graduate, to graduate on time, or to benefit from remedial and English language courses. Those issues are important, but a central focus of the meaning of the community college requires greater attention – attention that may provide information relevant to the purpose, process, and success of the college. The “Narrating America Game” builds on three years of research on the meaning of the community college – positive, problematic, and emergent – from students’ perspectives (Daiute & Kreniske, 2016).
Narratives by hundreds of students sharing experiences in CUNY community colleges offer information about their perspectives, goals, and issues. The “Narrating America Game” is designed to engage faculty, administrators, a wide range of students, and members of the public with the students’ experiences to expand the purpose of the community college in American life today. The game design is guided by theory that the development of individuals and society is an interactive process via the creation and use of cultural artifacts – in this case a game. This game integrates narrative analysis with digital storytelling authoring as a platform for collective engagement of diverse stories. By playing the game, students, faculty, and administrators role-play diverse characters in positive and negative experiences of community college life. The “Narrating America Game”, in summary, draws participants into narratives of higher education as civic life to foster mutual understanding and collective action enhancing the community college mission.
—Colette Daiute and Jessica Murray, The Graduate Center, City University of New York