module specification

SJ7108 - Digital Storytelling (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Digital Storytelling
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   3000-word piece of digital writing with 1000-word commentary
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module explores how the forms of written narrative, historically rooted in printed literature, may now be reimagined through the exciting potentials of digital media. It stimulates students to experiment with how their own writing practice and ideas about literature, storytelling and persuasive communication might take new directions in response to the many ongoing innovations in online and electronic platforms for textual production and publication. The module supports students to enhance their individual profile, range and critical self-awareness as a writer in contemporary creative and/or professional domains.

Module aims

This module aims to

  • provide opportunities for students to develop their own writing practice in relation to digital transformations of narrative and rhetorical technique, form and effect
  • further students’ conceptual, critical and experiential understanding of new media developments in literary aesthetics and practice
  • review the current state of the field of electronic literature and digital forms of narrative writing


This module will seek to progress students’ capacity and awareness as writers in the context of a variety of new media developments, such as:

  • Historical and emerging genres of electronic (born-digital) literature, for example experimental hypertext fiction and twitter fiction; related theories of cybertext narratology and the future of the narrative
  • Case studies of sample authors’ use of digital platforms, e.g. Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Michael Joyce, Naomi Alderman
  • Writing and narrative design for games; interactive fiction and adventure games
  • Transmedia and multimodal narratives, i.e. storytelling across multiple platforms and with combined use of textual/visual/audio/audio-visual content
  • Digital storytelling (content marketing) for organisations and businesses
  • E-books, self-publishing, blogging, online collaborative writing, crowd-editing

Students will be introduced to some relevant tools, such as Wattpad, Medium, Storify, Twine. Students will be expected to investigate and pursue appropriate digital forms of publication for their own writing and to use tools to generate audience and manage feedback.

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning will consist of weekly classes comprising a combination of mini-lectures, discussion seminars and practical writing workshops, supplemented by tutorials and use of the University’s virtual learning environment, for example to enable students to share their writing and research. Students will be expected to study independently and to become critically and creatively active participants in some of the emerging culture and practices of digital writing. Students will read, research and discuss examples of published writings as context for their own regular writing exercises. The module will include some introduction to relevant tools, and students will be expected to develop their technical skills also through other modules they are taking as part of their programme and by independent study.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to

  • plan, develop and produce an original piece of digital narrative or electronic literature that balances creative experimentation with publishing considerations
  • articulate their conceptual knowledge and evaluative understanding of an area of digital writing practice
  • reflect critically on the role of new media in shaping contemporary literature and literacies
  • learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development

Assessment strategy

At the end of the module students will conceive, plan, design and produce an original piece of writing, using digital tools and informed by the topics explored during the module. This piece will be the final outcome of an ongoing investigative series of writing exercises that students will undertake during the module in response to the syllabus. The coursework may take many different forms, reflecting students’ individual interests within this large and constantly changing field. Work may be fiction or non-fiction, creative or professional in orientation.

The main written coursework will be accompanied by an academic reflective commentary that contextualises the piece in relation to concepts, debates and comparative examples introduced during the module and researched independently.


Baron, D., 2009. A better pencil: readers, writers, and the digital revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bateman, C. (ed.), 2008. Game writing: narrative skills for videogames, Boston, MA: Charles River Media.
Goldsmith, K., 2011. Uncreative writing: managing language in the digital age. New York: Columbia University Press.
Handley, A. 2014. Everybody writes: your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Hayles, N. K., 2008. Electronic literature: new horizons for the literary. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Jenkins, H., Ford, S. and Green, J., 2013. Spreadable media: creating value and meaning in a networked culture, New York: New York University Press.
Miller, C.H., 2014. Digital storytelling: a creator’s guide to interactive entertainment. 3rd ed. Abingdon: Focal Press.
Murray, J., 1997. Hamlet on the holodeck: the future of narrative in cyberspace. New York: The Free Press.
Philips, A., 2012. A creator's guide to transmedia storytelling: how to captivate and engage audiences across multiple platforms, New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Ryan, M-L., 2015. Narrative as virtual reality 2: revisiting immersion and interactivity in literature and electronic media. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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