ENG 101: Choose Your Own Adventure

Here you will find a first year composition syllabus that uses the online storytelling game, Storium. You can see the first post about this project here, and you can read more about course design here and here.

Adamson ENG 101 Syllabus


In ENG 101: Choose Your Own Adventure, student texts are central to creating a collaborative learning environment. Each week, students will be responsible for teaching a new rhetorical figure from a provided list to the class, not only learning the terms themselves, but practicing audience awareness and effective rhetorical choices with low risk. Using the online storytelling platform, Storium, They will then research and compose a storytelling project that will become the basis for reflection and peer feedback for the rest of the term. With Storium, writers can collaboratively compose a multimodal story with text, images, and sound, as each participant takes turns contributing to a scene as either a narrator who introduces the scene or a character who continues its development. Writers choose or design a theme and setting from, with input from Storium’s library of story-development tools. For every scene they write, students will engage in workshops and begin gathering examples of effective rhetorical choices from each other’s work. From those workshops and accompanying reflections, students will then design a style guide as a class, which will be assigned as a foundation for students in future iterations of the course.

The first year composition students will be assisted in their mutual learning by Everyone’s an Author. I’ve chosen this particular rhetoric because it includes chapters on research, document design, and collaborative projects, which are all essential for student success in a multimodal project like Storium. I will supplement the main text with Losh and Alexander’s Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing as an accessible way to introduce new rhetorical concepts. For instance, I generally begin any rhet/comp class with their first chapter, “What is Rhetoric.” Once we read through the comic as a class and discuss this potentially new understanding of rhetoric, I then turn the tables on the Losh and Alexander and walk the students through a rhetorical analysis of it as an artifact. Moving beyond the disciplinary boundaries of rhet/comp, I will have students read about Sarah Harvey’s model, Creative Synthesis, which defines the unique way Pixar storytellers and programmers collaborate. Since I want these readings to be at the service of the students’ further growth as writers, I omit them on days when a major written project is due.

This course is designed so that students will gradually compose interwoven documents that are open to further revision. Early assignments, such as rhetorical analyses, prepare students with the language needed to later critique one another’s work. The annotated bibliography and story proposal directly prepare students to collaboratively tell a story together. By the end of the semester, students will revise all of these scaffolded activities and include them in a digital portfolio that traces their contribution to the Storium project. Throughout the term, they will have responded to feedback and revised Storium scenes through in-class freewriting sessions, and they will be thinking reflectively about each Storium scene through writing the style guide for future students. During the final week, students will be given time to freewrite, peer review, and revise a final reflection that looks back on their accomplishments over the term.