module specification

SJ7108 - Digital Storytelling (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Digital Storytelling
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
161 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   3000-word piece of digital writing with 1000-word commentary
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday 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.

The module will provide opportunities for students to develop their own writing practice in relation to digital transformations of narrative and rhetorical technique, form and effect. It will also develop students' conceptual, critical and experiential understanding of the current state of the field of electronic literature and digital forms of narrative writing.

Prior learning requirements



The syllabus will develop students’ capacity and awareness as writers in the context of a variety of new media developments, such as: blogging for personal and literary purposes and as part of content marketing for organisations and businesses; multimodal and interactive narrative, text adventures and game writing; e-books, self-publishing and writer cooperatives; online collaborative writing and online writing communities; historical and emerging genres of electronic (born-digital) literature and related theory; transmedia narratives. LO1, Lo2, LO3 

Students will be introduced to case studies of sample authors’ uses of digital platforms (e.g. Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Naomi Alderman) and to some relevant tools (such as Wattpad, WordPress, Twine). Students will be expected through independent study to selectively investigate and pursue digital forms of publication as appropriate to their own purposes as a developing writer, and to use relevant tools to generate audience and manage feedback. LO1, LO3, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching and learning will consist of weekly classes comprising a combination of practical writing workshops, discussion seminars and mini-lectures, supplemented by tutorials and use of the University’s blended learning platform, 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 cultures/ communities 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:

Subject specific skills
LO1 plan, develop and produce an original piece of digital narrative or electronic literature that balances creative experimentation with publishing considerations;

Knowledge and understanding
LO2 articulate conceptual knowledge and evaluative understanding of an area of digital writing practice;

Cognitive intellectual abilities
LO3 reflect critically on the role of new media in shaping contemporary literature and literacies;

Transferable skills
LO4 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.


Where possible, the most current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module. Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks. Reading Lists will be updated annually.

Core textbooks:
Baron, D. (2009) A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution, Oxford University Press
Hayles, N. K., (2008) Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, University of Notre Dame Press
Miller, C.H. (2014) Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide to Interactive Entertainment, 3rd ed. Focal Press

Other textbooks:
Goldsmith, K. (2011) Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, Columbia University Press
Handley, A. (2014) Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, John Wiley and Sons
Jenkins, H., Ford, S. and Green, J. (2013) Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, New York University Press
Lambert, J. (2013) Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, 4th ed., Routledge
Murray, J. (2017) Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, updated ed., The Free Press
Philips, A. (2012) A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences across Multiple Platforms, McGraw-Hill Education
Ryan, M-L. (2015) Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, Johns Hopkins University Press
Sheldon, L. (2014) Character Development and Storytelling for Games, 2nd ed., Cengage Learning

Electronic Literature Collection
IF:book UK
The literary platform
The writing platform

Electronic Databases:
Project Muse

Other: tutorials, for example
Batesole, B. Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter
Leland, K. Personal Branding on Social Media
Matthews, J. Ebook Publishing Fundamentals
Rothman, D. Content Marketing: Blogs