This is the general structure and shape of the open Networked Narratives course that ran from January-May 2017.

Kean University Digital Storytelling poster

This open, experimental (and likely a bit weird course) is based on a Digital Storytelling graduate and undergraduate course being taught Spring 2017 at Kean University by Dr. Mia Zamora (in person) and Alan Levine (via the ethers).

As a Connected Course we invite anyone else interested to follow, participate for as much or as little as possible. If you like getting updated via email or just honestly do not get sufficient email, sign up for our weekly email updates. There might be secret gems planted in the emails.

The overall structure of the course is outlined below; each month will feature a different theme and/or modality for the activities, but threaded across all will be a series of media creation and story making assignments, as well as regular daily doses of smaller creative challenges.

Each week will start with a blog post announcement of all activities and assignments for the week. Kean students will be meeting Wednesdays 4:30PM – 7:15PM ET (check your local time). Some weeks there may be live video sessions or twitter chats from the class, but all activities will be detailed in the weekly announcement.

Got it? Keep on scrolling.

“Alchemist Lab” flickr photo by ilovebutter https://flickr.com/photos/jdickert/6238841616 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

January: Enter the World of Digital Alchemy

In January we ask you to think about the ancient practice of Alchemy applied in the present with digital tools. What would it mean to you to have that title? And there are many things to get set up for this explanation- accounts, blogs, tools. You will start building your own digital alchemy laboratory.

Week of January 16, 2017 (Kean class meets January 18)

  • Introductions and ice to be broken
  • Walk through of course inspiration and elements
  • What is Digital Alchemy
  • Thoughts on Play and Fun and Games – first daily alchemy together
  • Tools and beakers and lab equipment
    • Create / Use / Dust off Twitter accounts
    • Annotating the Web with Hypothes.is
    • Setting up your Digital Alchemy notebook, a blog, and connecting it to the course site.

Week of January 23, 2017 (Kean class meets January 25)

  • Course infrastructure and long view
  • Your Alchemist’s Grade Contract
  • Checkup on blog and account set up
  • Blogging like an Alchemist
  • On Constructive Commenting
  • First twitter chat
Week 1: The Adventure Begins - And so it begins. Welcome to Networked Narratives. In The Matrix Morpheous offered Neo only two life choices in red or blue form; we have here a full rainbow of options to explore storymaking with digital media in the networked space of the internet. Your choices, participating here may as well change you. We are using a frame of asking what might the ancient practice of alchemy mean in a digital era, when we are trying to combine different elements […]
Week 2: To Net Narratives.. and Beyond - This week we continue finding our way, sorting out our blogging, tweeting, meet a new web annotation tool, start taking on daily creative challenges, media creation, and exploring the “real” alchemy via a live twitter chat. Yes, this post is gonna be a long scroller, but includes everything you will do for the next week. Kean students, your aim is to complete all work posted to your blog by next Tuesday, midnight EST. Speaking of Blogging If you are not […]

“Chaos Room” pixabay image by levelord shared under a CC0 license

February: Studio Visits

In this month, Mia and Alan are going to hop in the Digital Alchemy Hangout Jeep for live video visits to practitioners of networked narratives; we will drive right into their studios to see and learn how they craft stories.

The tours will take place on Monday or Tuesday of each week; we will offer a signup sheet with spaces for 8 budding digital alchemists (Kean students or open participants welcome) to join us. But don’t worry, they will be archived for anyone who wishes to watch the tour later.

The weekly assignments will be related to the kind of storytelling we saw on the tours as well as a few other general media ones to keep your skills fresh.

During the Wednesday class meetings for Kean students, we will run live twitter chats, led by the students, tied into specific segments of that week’s tour.

The exact tour date/times will be posted ASAP. Or sooner.

Week 3: Meet E-Literature - This week we embark on our first Studio Visit, learn about E-Literature, and get our web annotation skills into full gear. And more Daily Digital Alchemy...
Week 4: Netprov and the Complex Shape of Networked Narratives - Traditional analyses of story structure focused on a story having an arc, a trajectory that in Hollywood is a formula (the 3 act structure). But as we saw last week with bots and generative poetry, and this week with netprov, the shape of networked narratives may be more complex. Because Bots With our activity last week of following / interacting with Twitter bots, a number of people have expressed interest in making their own bots (open participant Kevin @dogtrax already […]
Week 5: The Sounds of Story, Fanfiction, and Blackout Stories - Those who grew up with the internet, an infinite virtual store of every kind of music and podcast, may not appreciate the joy of waiting until nightfall to twist the dial of a transistor radio to catch a radio show from a station a thousand miles away. Maybe it was not so great. But with so much video endless information, news, we may forget the power of a story that generates fear, desire, suspense, or fond joy in the singular […]
Week 6: Chaos, Order, Internet, and Us - Are you feeling in control of your Networked Narratives experience, lost in the chaos, or perhaps sometimes both? This week we’ll explore this spectrum and our place on it, both in writing and in some media creation. The Network Effect Network Effect is an immersive and overwhelming information experience meant to ask about the effect of the Internet on our humanity The Internet is said to show our common humanity. Through its data, it is said to provide a kind […]

Week of January 30, 2017 (Kean class February 1): Considering stories in the Digital Age

Studio Visit: Leo Flores (Professor of English University of Puerto Rico: Mayagüez)

  • What makes a story? / The shape of stories
  • Digital + Storytelling = ?
  • Introduction to Eliterature
  • Media Assignments: Telling Stories with Photos

Week of February 6, 2017 (Kean class February 8): What is #Netprov? Telling stories in Networked Spaces

Studio Visit: Mark Marino (Universty of Southern California and Rob Wittig (University of Minnesota, Duluth)

Week of February 13, 2017 (Kean class February 15): What is Fan Fiction and why is it important? Fansplaining & More

Studio Visit: Co-hosts of the Fansplaining podcastFlourish Klink (Chaotic Good Studios) and Elizabeth Minkel (Author)

  • The world of fan fiction
  • In what ways do we rely on our community and pop culture for inspiration?
  • Media Assignments: Telling Stories with Sound

Week of February 20, 2017 (Kean class February 23): Net Smart and Network Effects

Studio Visit: Howard Rheingold (online community pioneer and artist) & Mamie Rheingold

  • Universes
  • Humanity and the Network Effect
  • Creating your Digital Alchemist Alt-Identity
  • Media Assignments: More Audio Storytelling

“Bus” pixabay photo by MichaelGaida shared under a CC0 license

March: Sharing Communities with Bus Tours

Our travel theme continues in March, but we’re gonna need a bigger bus for all of the Digital Alchemists coming to #NetNarr. Like the Studio Visits in February, each week we will schedule a Google Hangout visit, but this time we are going to (hopefully) different corners of the world to meet other teachers and students.

We will be doing digital alchemy activities together across this space, sharing with each other media and stories which examine what is special, precious about the places we live and also what it’s problems are.

Week 7: Repose (relax, reset, recharge, re–) - What comes after last week’s theme of chaos? How about a pause? re·pose rəˈpōz/ noun — a state of rest, sleep, or tranquility. “in repose her face looked relaxed” synonyms: rest, relaxation, inactivity; This week in Networked Narratives is for you to choose your own path. We have one scheduled activity, the first virtual bus tour (see below). But what you do with your time might be: Return to something you perhaps did not finish or even start from an […]
Week 8: Writing with Sound / Sound with Writing - We understand what writing is with a pen, with a keyboard, but what is writing when we do it with sound? What can we convey about ideas, story, who we are only in sound? and what can those sounds inspire us to write in response? Those are but some of our questions for this week, but one we’d like to plant deeper is, “What does it mean to be a digital writer?” Virtual Bus Tour to the Vermont Young Writers […]
Week 9: Storied Places - Grand places are memorable. But equally memorable are places that appear ordinary but are attached to our personal, grand experiences. They are part of a larger narrative, and what we will explore this week.
Week 10: Frayed - This week unraveled a bit. Chaos overtook order. Things are being righted. Courses corrected. Actions taken. Kean University students got an email on lieu of a blog post; but for the record, this is what they did this week.

We have not finalized the stops yet, but stay tuned for more details

Week of February 27, 2017 (Kean class March 1): Bus Stop 1 TBA

  • Tour Assignments TBA
  • Media Assignments: Telling Stories in the Web

Week of March 6: Kean Spring Break

Everyone deserves a break! If not use this time to catch up

Week of March 13: (No Kean class March 8): Bus Stop 2 TBA

  • Tour Assignments TBA
  • Media Assignments: Animated GIFs

Week of March 20: (No Kean class March 15): Bus Stop 3 TBA

  • Tour Assignments TBA
  • Media Assignments: Reading Movies

Week of March 27: (No Kean class March 23): Bus Stop 4 TBA

  • Tour Assignments TBA
  • Media Assignments: Making Movies

“Sortie de l’opera en l’an 2000-2” Wikimedia Commons image by Albert Robida shared via Public Domain

April: Arganee: A #Netprov Game to Build a Near Future World

Each week in April we be engaged in collaborative quests toward creating and exploring a world designed by all of our Digital Alchemists.

Week 11: Redirect is the new Intercept, on to Arganee - Calling all Digital Alchemists… Rebeg Maestro and I are here. We have been watching with interest the past 10 weeks your efforts in Networked Narratives. You have great potential. Please trust that we re not hackers or destroyers. There are things we can do for you in exchange for what you can do for us. We have been trying to work across our dimensional plane differentials to communicate with you (the complexity of the para physics is beyond description) by […]
Week 12: Cooking With Netprov in Arganee - Cooking is alchemy is cooking is chaos is order is structure is disorder is cooking.
Week 13: The Alternative Narrative is Out there (not in the can) - Guvegrra vf n cresrpgyl tbbq ahzore, cevzr rira. Guvf jrrx, gur ragenapr gb Netnaar vf vafvqr n pna bs fbqn
Week 14: Transformation & Return - Change. Transmutation. Variation. Action. Modulation. Differentiation. Metamorphosis. Transmogrification. Permutation. These powers are yours to deploy. Bring them back from #arganee return, but be resident in both worlds. M and R. Featured Image: 2013/365/264 Perhaps the Most Ornate Grasshopper Anywhere flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

“Magic Sun” pixabay photo by dimitrisvetsikas1969 shared under a CC0 license

May: Weaving It Together

The Digital Alchemy goes into high gear in the first two weeks as we put together all our media skills and experience to create a summative story, and then celebrate everyone’s work.

Return from Arganee - Welcome back from #arganee, welcome back to writing in your own space, welcome back to exploring your use of digital alchemy. The most recent video intercept message from Rebeg and M has just arrived, and there is, as usual, a message that may not be overtly explicit. Your Response Letter Your work this week is to compose a blog post that is a response to the one sent to you from your digital alchemist friend in #arganee. What did you […]

Featured Image: “File:A wisent skeleton.JPG” Wikimedia Commons photo by KenNet shared under a CC BY-SA license