21W.765J / 21L.489J / CMS.845J Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice

Spring 2006

An art exhibit of agar plates cultured with bioluminescent bacteria.
Hundreds of agar plates cultured with bioluminescent marine bacteria displayed at Bioglyphs, an art exhibit at Montana State University-Bozeman. (Image ©2002 MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project. Used with permission.)

Course Highlights

This course features sample student work in the assignments section, and a comprehensive list of readings.

Course Description

This course covers techniques of creating narratives that take advantage of the flexibility of form offered by the computer. The course studies the structural properties of book-based narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time and of storyline. The class analyzes the structure and evaluates the literary qualities of computer-based narratives including hypertexts, adventure games, and classic artificial intelligence programs like Eliza. With this base, students use authoring systems to model a variety of narrative techniques and to create their own fictions. Knowledge of programming is helpful but not necessary.

Special Features

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .mov.

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Prof. Beth Coleman

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
3 hours / session


Undergraduate / Graduate