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ENGL342 Digital Literature: Technologies of Storytelling

A survey of digital literature that applies narrative theory to digital fiction and poetry, interactive fictions, multi-user discourses, and blogs.

In an increasingly digitised, networked and visual culture, it has become clear that narrative is only one among many forms that is used to organise information and represent our world. The movement from print to digital media, however, has by no means left this cultural form behind, nor is the literary imagination confined to the print medium. In this paper students analyse a range of narrative fiction that has emerged with the ascendancy of digital media, including web-based fiction and poetry; textual adventure games/Interactive Fictions (IFs); and text-based, multi-user discourses (MUDs).

It will also address the role of narrative in structuring and shaping artefacts of contemporary popular culture that are exclusive to screen media, such as blogs, wikis and video games.

Students will engage with questions that arise when narrative fiction migrates to digital environments, such as those that concern the concepts of multi-linearity, immersion, spatiality, simulation and collaborative composition. They will also respond critically to the distinction between "literature" and "games" and that of "interpretation" and "play." Broadly, students will consider the implications of digital narratives for the reading and writing (authorship) of texts.

NOTE: Only basic computer literacy is needed for this paper. No specific technical skills are needed.

Paper title Digital Literature: Technologies of Storytelling
Paper code ENGL342
Subject English
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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18 200-level ENGL points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
May not be credited together with ENGL252 passed in 2010 or ENGL352 passed between 2010-2014.
Teaching staff

Associate Professor David Ciccoricco

Paper Structure
There are two 1-hour lectures per week.
There is one 1-hour hands-on workshop that is held in the computer labs.
Teaching Arrangements
All lectures are taught by the course co-ordinator with the exception of one guest lecture.
All workshops are taught by both the co-ordinator and a teaching assistant.
All primary and secondary texts will be provided online via the course website, or as otherwise directed online.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will have

  • Gained a basic understanding of narrative as a "cultural form" that transcends disciplinary boundaries
  • Become familiar with narrative fiction that belongs to the field of digital literature and gained a familiarity with the working vocabulary and critical concepts of that field
  • Demonstrated basic ability in the use of hypertext and web applications for the reading and writing of texts
  • Utilised asynchronous textual communication applications online to extend classroom polemic and engage in critical debate with peers
  • Identified main points and claims in a variety of secondary sources and triangulated these claims in relation to other sources and readings in the process of conducting research for individual assessments
  • Understood higher concepts that underpin the relationship between literature and media and demonstrated that understanding in written assessments

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Not offered in 2021

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system