Computer Science (COMP) 230

Storyboard Design and Development (Revision 1)

COMP 492 Course Web site

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 230 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


‘COMP 230 - Storyboard Design and Development’ introduces you to professional storytelling and storyboarding techniques, particularly for live action and animation sequences. It guides you through steps involved in storytelling, leading you to techniques of drawing and other media for motion and emotion. It then discusses specific aspects of directing a storyboard such as visual clarity, depth, semiotics, semantics, and dramatic irony.

The overall goal of this course is to guide you through the text book, engage you to study individual storyboarding elements, enable you to practice these elements in the right context. There are assignments and a project to test your progress and storyboarding competence. There is no final exam since your learning experience cannot be measured in a 3-hour written exam.

Storyboards typically result in pictures. You could use a paper and draw on it, or you could use a software such as SketchUp. You are also welcome to use any other software of your choice. We also encourage you to use freeware such as Celtx to prepare your scripts.

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to provide undergraduate students with the comprehensive, hands-on, and in-depth knowledge of Storyboarding and Storytelling concepts, methods, practices, and strategies using a learning-by-doing approach to learning.

Learning Outcomes

After completing COMP 230, students should have deep understanding of storyboarding and storytelling concepts, methods, practices, and strategies and have the ability to create storyboards using powerful storytelling ideas. The outcomes are:

  • disseminate the events of the story
  • define the threshold of awareness in the story
  • create the structural level of the story for clarity and dramatic presentation
  • guide audience’s attention to narrative questions and metaphors that drive the story forward
  • direct the viewer’s eyes and ears with composition and perspective
  • signify meanings and associations through semiotics
  • construct meaning with respect to continuity and causality
  • evoke emotional response and measure it using thematic analysis
  • evolve and sustain the story using storytelling ideas, enacted through software


  • Week 1: Chapter 1. The Goal: Why Do We Watch?
  • Week 2: Chapter 2. Common Beginner Problems
  • Week 3: Chapter 3. The Beginning Basics
  • Week 4: Chapter 4. How to Draw for Storyboarding: motion and emotion
  • Week 5: Chapter 5. Structural Approach: tactics to reach the goal
  • Week 6: Chapter 6. What Do Directors Direct?
  • Week 7: Chapter 7. How to Direct the Eyes
  • Week 8: Chapter 8. Directing the Eyes Deeper in Space and Time
  • Week 9 Chapter 9. How to Make Images Speak: the hidden power of images
  • Week 10: Chapter 10. How to Convey and Suggest Meaning
  • Week 11: Chapter 11. Dramatic Irony
  • Week 12: Chapter 12. The Big Picture: Story Structures
  • Week 13: Chapter 13. Aiming for the Heart
  • Week 14: Chapters 14, 15, and 16
  • Week 15: Project Preparation
  • Week 16: Project Presentation


To receive credit for COMP 230, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on each assignment and 50 percent on the final project. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment Activities Weight for grade Maximum Marks Minimum required to pass
Assignment 1 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 2 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 3 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 4 10% 10% 5%
Assignment 5 10% 10% 5%
Assignment 6 10% 10% 5%
Assignment 7 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 8 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 9 5% 5% 2.5%
Assignment 10 5% 5% 2.5%
Project 35% 35% 17.5%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Directing the Story: Professional Storytelling and Storyboarding Techniques for Live Action and Animation, by Francis Glebas, Focal Press, 2009. Paperback or Kindle edition.

Other Materials

SketchUp – a free 3D modeling program for storyboarding

Celtx – a free scripting program for storyboarding

Special Course Features

CIS courses at Athabasca University require that students use computer mediated communications. We expect students to have access to computer equipment with certain requirements.

The course work in COMP 230 requires students to have a storyboarding software and a storyboarding scripting program installed in their computer.

Special Instructional Features

Delivery of COMP 230 (contacting the tutor, submitting assignments) is dependent on computer mediated communications. Students are required to have access to the World Wide Web.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the COMP 230 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Online Exam

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 30, 2014.

Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services