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A look at documentaries What was the last documentary you watched? I'm a big fan and watch just about any type: historical, scientific, sci-fi, inspirational, environmental, or mystery. If you haven't watched one in a while, here's a peek at a couple: Patterns emerge Having watched to a variety of documentary-style films and television shows, I've started to notice some patterns: Once I started to identify these patterns, I realized that these elements are there to help the film's message sink in. Through engaging the audience, stimulating emotion, presenting stories from multiple angles, and providing perspectives the audience can relate to, the film can effectively hit home. But wait, isn't this exactly what we should want to do in our courses? Don't we want to create learning experiences that engage and stick? The answer is yes. Leveraging strategies for course design So what are some ways we can apply the same strategies that documentary filmmakers use to create vivid and relatable experiences? By implementing some of the same strategies found in documentary-style filmmaking, we can more deeply stimulate and intrigue our audience, thereby increasing their buy-in to the content. Jessica Phillips is a senior instructional designer and strategic initiatives coordinator at The Ohio State University.