MODULE OUTLINE Created: 20-Jun-2007, Updated: 04-Jul-2007
Module Code UAR2205
Semester Semester 1, 2007/2008
Modular Credits --
Faculty University Scholars Programme
Department University Scholars Programme
Timetable Timetable/Teaching Staff
Module Facilitators
DR Alex Mitchell Lecturer
Tags --

Learning Outcomes | Teaching Modes | Syllabus | Assessment | Workload


This module will look at interactive media from the perspective of narrative and play. Through hands-on experience playing, critiquing, and designing interactive systems, this module will explore how these two potentially contradictory concepts can be employed within interactive media to create meaningful and engaging experiences. Issues addressed will include: traditional and contemporary theories of narrative and storytelling; hypertext, intertextuality and non-linear narrative; interactivity and play; and recent theoretical developments in the area of game studies.

Note that no experience with computer programming is required for this module.


The module will be taught using a seminar/workshop approach. Each week I will present some concepts, but will try not to talk for very long. We will then engage in discussion of the issues raised in the readings, and go through hands-on exercises and design activities which explore these issues. Time will also be given to sharing of ongoing project work for critique by the rest of the class.

Each week there will be at least one reading, plus several suggested works which will be discussed in class. You should make sure you complete the readings before class. Looking at the relevant works is not essential, but will help you to understand the concepts being discussed.

Please see the lesson plan for weekly syllabus and readings. Note that there will not be a physical reading packet. All readings will be available either online (URLs will be provided in the lesson plan), or through IVLE as E-Reserves.


Projects (50%, group)
Project work will be done in groups of 4-5 students. Projects will involve the design and implementation of interactive stories, which can either be based on existing stories, such as myths or fairy tales, or based on original stories. Note that although computer-based tools for the creation of these works will be introduced in class, all of the projects can be completed without the use of the computer. Projects will be shared with the class during development for critique and feedback, and will be presented in class on the due date.

Project 1: Non-linear narrative (25%)
Create a collection of fragments or “lexia” (text, images, sound, video) which, when taken together and experienced/navigated by the participant, forms a coherent narrative. (due week 7)

Project 2: Play-based storytelling (25%)
Create a story which focuses on play as a key element of the interactive experience, and which produces a different story experience with each interaction. (due week 13)

Paper (30%, individual)
For ONE of the projects, write a short (maximum 2000 words) paper discussing the concepts behind the project, and connecting it to the issues covered in class. (due week 14) 

Class participation (20%, individual)
Short (maximum 300 words) blog entries in response to weekly readings. There will be 10 such blog entries during the course of the semester, each worth 1.5%. The remaining 5% will be based on in-class participation in discussions, activities and critique sessions.

Note: The grading for the module is based partially on team performance (50%) and partially on individual performance (50%). A group grade means that every individual in the team receives the same marks for that component. An individual grade means that each individual will be evaluated separately for that component.