Dr. Laura Senio Blair’s Sample Materials for Planning a Class Oral History Project

Are you an instructor who is interested in potentially planning a class oral history project?  Dr. Laura Senio Blair, Professor of Spanish at Southwestern University, recommends the source “Conducting Interviews” in Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide by Donald A. Ritchie to introduce students to best practices for interviewing oral history narrators.  She developed the following project plan/workflow to facilitate an oral history project in her class:

  • 1st assignment: students listened to oral histories (conducted in Spanish) and wrote summaries of 5 stories to turn in as a homework assignment
  • [https://storycorps.org/theme/en-espanol/]
  • 2nd assignment: students outlined an article on doing Oral History as a homework assignment. Each member of the group read a different article and shared their outlines with all members of the group.  Sample Student Assignment_Outline_Doing Oral History
  • 3rd assignment: groups filled out proposals with assignment of duties and initial interview questions (in Spanish)
  • 4th assignment: groups made initial contact  with interviewees
  • 5th assignment: students attended an orientation on recording in SU’s sound booth
  • 6th assignment: all students practiced using the equipment during class
  • 7th assignment: groups edited interview questions
  • 8th assignment: groups contacted interviewee with confirmation of date and time
  • 9th assignment: groups had interviewee fill out donor form
  • 10th assignment: groups conducted their interviews (in Spanish)
  • 11th assignment: groups uploaded the interview to the class Google Folder
  • 12th assignment: post-production of interview
 Take a look at Dr. Laura Senio Blair’s Spring 2016 Syllabus to gain a sense of the role the oral history project plays in her class and compare it to your own curriculum.
The following are sample materials from her class which can serve as models for other classroom-centered digital oral history projects.


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