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The Future of Story: Storytelling in the Digital Age - TFT00063H

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jenna Ng
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

In this module, students will acquire an advanced understanding of stories created with digital media as crafted across diverse contexts, from advertising to entertainment to data visualization. You will examine various case studies of creative digital stories to understand whether and how their telling is effective, and how stories and meaning are shaped using Web platforms (podcasts, YouTube, Vine, Instagram), social media, text adventure games, interactive dramas, computational fictions, mobile media, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, transmedia and other forms of digital media. The narrative impulse is a universal one: in this module, you will learn how that impulse plays out in today’s shifting technological landscape. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

  • To provide an understanding of the practices through which stories are told in the 21st century media landscape
  • To explore how digital technologies shape the experience, identity and notion of stories
  • To critically think through the ideologies and other cultural ramifications of digital storytelling
  • To broaden students’ understanding of the relationships between technology (including pre-digital precursors) and the changing cultural values, political contexts, and theoretical concepts of story

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the ways in which we tell stories with digital media
  • Demonstrate an understanding of  how digital media and technologies have changed the narratives that shape contemporary society
  • Demonstrate an understanding of  how digital stories create impact from form to production to distribution
  • Demonstrate the ability to critique and analyse different narrative works created in computational environments
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically think about digital storytelling and how it affects contemporary digital culture and practices
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyse theoretical texts and apply theory to other media texts
  • Demonstrate the ability to read and write critically about digital storytelling practices and applications

Module content

Week 2: Introduction: redefining the relationship between story and audience (open source authoring tool communities, personal game authorship (Twine); redefining the relationship between collaborators; developments towards generative storytelling; re-shaping screen-based practices of storytelling; new processes and creative workflows

Week 3: Transmedia storytelling: interactive serial online and TV content, cross-media projects 

Week 4: Storytelling on/with social media: stories on and using social media (Instagram/Snapchat/Twitter/Facebook) 

Week 5: Ambient/spatial/AR storytelling: “walking simulators”; projects that use locative-aware narratives; mobile storytelling

Week 6: Immersive/360/VR storytelling  

Week 7: Live/performative storytelling 

Week 8: Non-fiction storytelling

Week 9: AI/algorithmic storytelling: projects that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic writing practices



Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio or Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio or Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback on coursework assessments using a proforma identifying key marking criteria and marks awarded for each section of the assessment. This will be available within 20 working days of submission, except in exceptional circumstances which will be communicated to the students.

Indicative reading

Alexander, Bryan, The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media, Praeger, 2017.

Dunford, Mark and Tricia Jenkins, Digital Storytelling: Form and Content, Palgrave, 2017.

Gitner, Seth, Multimedia Storytelling for Digital Communicators in a Multiplatform World, Routledge, 2015.

Klanten, Robert, Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, Die Gestalten Verlag, 2011.

Knaflic, Cole Nussbaumer, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals, Wiley, 2015.

McCandless David, Information is Beautiful, Collins, 2012.

Miller, Carolyn Handler, Digital Storytelling: A creator’s guide to interactive entertainment, Focal Press, 2008.

Penn, W.S., Storytelling in the Digital Age, Palgrave, 2013.

Quesenbery, Whitney, and Kevin Brooks, Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design, Rosenfeld Media, 2010.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.