In the last few years, interactive documentary practices have emerged in digital media, which, due to the possibility of active participation in discourses, hold great potential for mutual understanding, pluriperspective thinking and the creation of complex knowledge ecologies. Though the scientific community is excited by the affordances of the wide spectrum of manifestations, this emerging field of documentary media is still a blind spot in many curricula.
This contribution contains a double twist. It presents a close analysis of one innovative pedagogical format in teaching such documentaries: the interactive online-course The Documentary & The Digital, developed within the research project DiD – Topical paradigm shifts and the potential of emerging practices to participate in public discourses. Its goal is to provide students with basic knowledge of theories, conceptualizations and examples of so-called i-docs. Emphasis is put on interactive audiovisual evidence, i.e. contextualized access to the thematic issues presented. The active participation as well as collaboration of students in the per se interactive online medium are stimulated; situated experiential learning by doing takes place in situ.
Hence, the first twist resides in the fact that – being itself a kind of meta-documentary –, the online- course introduces students to interactive documentary practices, ranging from web-documentaries, smartphone documentaries, VR non-fiction to documentary practices in social media and beyond. The second twist in this entanglement of issues regards the fact that insights from interactive documentary making are used to design complex worlds of knowledge for teaching and to encourage multimodal digital literacies and new forms of expressivity.