Critical Identity Narrative

identity narrative badge
West-Puckett Claim Code: D04-179A-DC1 • Shepley Claim Code: 029-FA67-AEF 

For this project badge, you will explore the different “selves” you are bringing to college, critically considering the identities that you’ve chosen– band member, video gamer, soccer player, football or sci-fi fan, fashionista, etc.– and the ones that you haven’t such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, nationality, family size/ birth order, etc.

You’ll want to ask yourself, what does it mean to be X? How do you know? How did you learn? How has that identity been shaped by cultural influences or different kinds of media? How has this identity shaped your life, life choices, health and well-being, or success as a student?  How has your perception or experience of that identity changed over time?  What should others know about your experience of being X?

To earn this badge, you’ll develop a digital story that critically explores the intersectionality of two of your identities. For example, what does it mean to be an African American at a predominately white institution, a transgender student first-year student, to be poor and queer in the south, or to be a Latina video gamer addicted to WOW?

Note: This badge is not research-intensive. If you are on an A or B pathway, it is recommended to complete this badge last.

Level I Activities

Think about what identities you bring with you to college, such as”athlete,” “Irish,” “sorority sister,” “Latinx,” “only child,” or “southerner.” Brainstorm a list of at least five. Include two identities that are in conflict in some way (i.e., introvert and performer). Reflect on the identities you chose. What does each one mean to you? How does it affect your life? What two identities are in conflict—why and how? Write 250 words.

Audience research. On a sheet of paper oriented in landscape fashion, create 5 columns.  At the top of the columns, write five of the identities from your list.  Pass that paper around the classroom and have at least 20 classmates anonymously fill up the entire page by writing the stereotypes, associations, assumptions, etc. about each of those identities. Reflect on their responses.

Write about what surprised, intrigued, or bothered you about the responses to each identity. What stereotypes do you feel compelled to address or to respond to in your digital story? Write 250 words.

Level II Activities 

Look in Rhody Writes for the critical identity narratives. Follow the links or scan the QR codes to watch the critical identity narratives produced by previous WRT 104 student.  Choose your favorite of these student digital story examples. Watch again, paying attention to the choices the author has made. Now, write a 500 word (minimum) rhetorical analysis that:

  • Summarizes the digital story (use summary guidelines)
  • Analyzes audience: who is the target audience for this digital story? (demographics: what age, gender, region, income level, education level, etc.; psychographics: values, interests, beliefs, concerns, background knowledge, etc.) How do you know? What is the evidence for your analysis? Is it topic, language, tone? Give specific examples.
  • Analyzes purpose: what does the author want the audience to know, do, see, feel, think, or understand after viewing this digital story? Be specific. Why does this matter to the author and why should it matter to the audience?
  • Analyzes format: what snapshot moments or scenes–when the author tells a story with characters, dialogue, setting, and so on–has the author included? Why are these effective for the audience? How does the author use text, voice, images, videos, music etc. to tell their story in a way that matters to the audience?
  • Reflects on what you learned. List and describe three to five good strategies can you borrow to craft your own critical narrative as a digital story.
  • Cites your source in MLA format.

Choose the two conflicting identities that you will explore in your digital story. Answer these questions:

  • What does it mean to be X and Y at the same time? How do you know? How did you learn? How do these identities intersect and create an interesting story?
  • How have these identities been shaped by cultural influences or different kinds of media? (Go back to your five columns for inspiration.)
  • What should others know about your experience of being X and Y?
  • What two or three deep snapshot moments (story scenes with slow time, character development, dialogue, setting, action, etc.) will you include tell your story?

Using 191-194 in Writer Designer, produce a paper-based storyboard and an asset list for your critical identity narrative. Include the following:

  • A storyboard that indicates what elements (movement, fast-forward, slow motion, lighting, script, images, soundtrack, or effects) and actions (movement, lighting, camera angle, cropping, panning, etc.) need to occur at which point
  • Where you will tell stories and specifically what stories you will tell using characters, dialogue, action, and setting
  • Where you will use exposition, that is, give background, cover large pieces of time or make connections between stories using transitions
  • An asset list that details what you will need to do the digital story (see W/D 148-50


Level III Activities

Compose your narrative in a digital story program such as Adobe Spark or iMovie. Aim for +/- three (3) minutes, and remember to use your own (composed and recorded) music, less than 10% of a copyrighted song, or copyright free music, and cite appropriately. Images should be your own unless you have explicit permission to use them from the photographer, and nearly all the words should be your own. You may integrate others’ words if you quote and cite appropriately.


Revise your narrative. Once your are satisfied with it, export to YouTube. Add closed captions for those who are hearing impaired.

Required evidence for to submit in Google Folders for this pathway:

Level 1

  • 250-word reflection on identities (GDoc)
  • 5-column identity exploration (photo in GDoc)
  • 250-word response to 5-column identity exploration (Gdoc)

Level 2

  • 500-word (min) rhetorical analysis of one digital story mentor text. Don’t forget to cite your source! (GDoc)
  • Storyboard and asset list (photo of storyboard and asset list document)

Level 3

  • Peer review of storyboard–written of audio/ video recording (GDoc or Recording)
  • Revised digital story draft (link to YouTube Video with transcription or closed captions)

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