Communication Studies (CMNS) 419

Digital Storytelling (Revision 1)

CMNS 419 Course

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None.

Precluded Course: MAIS 620 (CMNS 419 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in MAIS 620)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies home page

CMNS 419 has a challenge for credit option.

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Communication Studies 419: Digital Storytelling explores a variety of storytelling frameworks. Stories—and the ability to tell them—are assuming a new primacy in contemporary culture. As the data glut of the World Wide Web threatens to drown out personal stories, social media is responding by providing a powerful forum for digital storytelling. Blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, Pinterest, Facebook, and are symptomatic of the popularization of personal narratives in digital media. Even as the nature of contemporary stories morph in their articulation into new forms as diverse as computer games, narrative medicine, and organizational storytelling, they remain as essential as breathing.

Students will learn the practice and theory of digital media production, including working with images, audio, and video. This course will include

  • visual storytelling and photography;
  • comics and the conjunction of image and text;
  • time-based storytelling in digital video; and
  • space-based or environmental storytelling in online works, games, and locative media.


This course has 10 units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Story
  • Unit 2: Story Structure
  • Unit 3: Framing the Story—Point of View and Discourse
  • Unit 4: Visual Storytelling
  • Unit 5: Graphic Stories, Storyboarding, and Production—Making Your Story
  • Unit 6: Thinking about Sound—Radio Stories and Audio Slideshows
  • Unit 7: New Media/New Stories—How Digital Technologies Create Opportunities for New Forms of Storytelling
  • Unit 8: New Media Narratives
  • Unit 9: The Search for Meaning—Massively Multiplayer Online Games and the Future of Storytelling
  • Unit 10: Postmodern Challenges to Traditional Forms of Storytelling


To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 50 percent.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Story Creation 20%
Assignment 2: Storyboard 30%
Assignment 3: Final Story 35%
Assignment 4: Reflection Paper 15%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Madden, M. (2005). 99 ways to tell a story. New York: Penguin.

Other Materials

All other course materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the CMNS 419 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Opened in Revision 1, December 7, 2018.