MMS3403 Creating Narrative in Multimedia , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Tom Chandler
Berwick : Tom Chandler

The unit aims to develop the student's knowledge of the concept of narrative structure, and its importance in the development of their understanding of how to create, and implement contextually appropriate narrative forms for multimedia products and systems.

Topics will include: linear, visual and non-linear narrative, historical perspectives on the evolution of the narrative forms, and concepts such as representation, characterization, point of view, genre, closure, the role of the user, interactivity, immersion and engagement.

Students will learn the varied forms of narrative structure and the main techniques of narrative construction which are used in different media. Students will also learn to create user-centred interactive narratives for use in the business, entertainment, education and social environments.

Objectives Knowledge and Understanding


  • understand the concept of narrative structure and a range of techniques employed in the construction of traditional media
  • appreciate the main forms of narrative construction which might be usefully employed in a multimedia environment
  • understand the key areas of research and development in the creation of narrative structures in multimedia environments


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs


  • appreciate the importance of narrative structure to the user's experience of multimedia environments
  • appreciate ways in which narrative forms might be adapted to the contextual diversity of different media
  • appreciate narrative techniques appropriate to the multimedia environment
  • appreciate the goals of multimedia production in relation to the input of narrative structure


Practical Skills


  • Integrate and further develop skills acquired in the MMS 2402, 3402 to create multimedia for business, entertainment, education and social environments
  • Analyse and identify the key elements in the narrative structure of a variety of media and technologies
  • Create narrative structures appropriate to both context and user
  • Evaluate the ways in which narrative structure contribute to the user experience of the multimedia product or system


Relationships, Communication and TeamWork


  • Learn from, adapt and transform narrative models from other disciplines to multimedia environments where appropriate
  • Understand that they produce meaning through a ?language? (visual, audio, written etc) and that this language manifests in multimedia representations in order to exchange meaning ? to communicate
  • Understand the nature of the developing trends in narrative structure within the context of an historical perspective


Prerequisites Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed MMS2402, or equivalent.

Unit relationships MMS3403 is a core unit in the Applications major of the Bachelor of Multimedia Systems degree. Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed MMS2402/FIT2012, or equivalent.
Texts and software

Required text(s)

There is no set textbook required for this subject due to the dynamic nature of this topic area – you will be provided with relevant material in the weekly lectures and tutorials where appropriate.

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements:

The software required for this unit is available in the multimedia labs at the Berwick campus.

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

Hardware requirements:

On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 10 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

The following recommended texts are available from the Berwick library.

Boje, David M. Narrative methods for organizational and communication research / David M. Boje. Publisher: London : SAGE, 2001.

Culler, Jonathan D. Literary theory : a very short introduction / Jonathan Culler. Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.

Currie, Mark, Postmodern narrative theory / Mark Currie. Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Garrand, Timothy Paul. Writing for multimedia : entertainment, education, training, advertising, and the World Wide Web / Timothy Garrand. Publisher: Boston ; Melbourne : Focal Press, c1997.

Hart, John, The art of the storyboard : storyboarding for film, TV, and animation / John Hart. Publisher: Boston : Focal Press, c1999.

Kress, Gunther R. Reading images : the grammar of visual design / Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. Publisher: London ; New York : Routledge, 1996.

Lacey, Nick,  Narrative and genre : key concepts in media studies / Nick Lacey. Publisher: Basingstoke : Macmillan, 2000.

Meadows, Mark Stephen. Pause & effect : the art of interactive narrative / Mark Stephen Meadows. Publisher: Indianapolis, Ind. : New Riders, c2003.

Thompson, Kristin, Storytelling in film and television / Kristin Thompson. Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2003.

Fiction 2000 : cyberpunk and the future of narrative / edited by George Slusser and Tom Shippey. Publisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1992.

Tufte, Edward R., Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative / Edward R. Tufte. Publisher: Cheshire, Conn. : Graphics Press, c1997.

Mythologies of violence in postmodern media / edited by Christopher Sharrett. Publisher: Detroit, MI : Wayne State University Press, 1999.


New screen media : cinema/art/narrative / edited by Martin Rieser, Andrea Zapp. Publisher: London : BFI Pub., 2002.

A list of recommended Internet references (URL’s where appropriate) will be made available as required during the course of the semester.


Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
Study resources

Study resources for MMS3403 are:

The MMS3403 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, sample solutions and supplementary material will be posted.

Structure and organisation



Study Guide

Key Dates

1 The Role of Narrative
2 Plot and Narrative Structure
3 Time, Dialogue and Genre
4 Archetypes and Myths
5 Role of the Reader/Writer
6 Images and Meaning Assessment 1 Linear Narrative Project and Analysis– 30%
7 Image, Frame and Text
8 Sound, Image and Motion
9 Image and Society Assessment 2 Visual Narrative Project and Analysis – 30%
10 Non-Linear Narrative
11 The Architecture of Non-Linearity
12 Emergence and Interactive Environments; Agency and Participation
13 Summary Assessment 3 Non-Linear Narrative Project - 40%

The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment for the unit consists of n assignments with a weighting of 100%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Task 1: Linear Narrative Project and Analysis:                                               30%

Write a story integrating Vogler’s 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey (the Monomyth) into a work of 1500 words. You may choose to cast the story in any genre of your choice.

A further 750 words (two pages) should be written to justify and analyse not only your use of the Monomyth but your use of plot, point of view, characterisation, and symbolism.

Assessment Task 2: Visual Narrative Project and Analysis:                                               30%

Develop a visual story or comic, integrating still images and text, consisting of 15-20 images/frames. Students will compose the action, poses and framing for their story using either hand drawings, digital cameras, 3d modelling software or 2D digital compositioning applications (ie Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator etc).This digital source material should then be converted into a finished work which can be viewed on screen or in print. You may choose to cast the story in any genre of your choice.

A short report of 750 words (two pages) should be written to justify and analyse your use of plot, images and symbols, framing, point of view, and characterisation.

Assessment Task 3: Non-Linear Narrative Project:                                                            40%

Develop a computer-based non-linear story or game which transforms a traditional strictly linear narrative form into an interactive, non-linear form. In doing so, students will become familiar with the key features of an audience driven narrative.

The linear narrative forms you will use as source material will be provided to you as as a selection of myths, legends, folk/fairytales derived from various cultures. Your aim is to “rewrite” the narrative in a non-linear, interactive form.

A full description of the assessment tasks  can be found on the MMS3403 web site on MUSO.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

Attempt all assessment tasks.

Obtain a total score from all assessment tasks of 50% or more.

Attend a minimum of 80% of both lectures and tutorials, unless medical certificates are provided.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

The final grade will be calculated by adding  scores for all component assessment items which may be scaled.

Assessment Feedback – Raw Scores.

In assessment feedback you will be allocated a raw score that will indicate your general level of performance aginst the criteria supplied and will be used to determine the rank order of students. You will also be given a short comment that may assist you in the completion of future assignments by discussing the aspects of the assessment response that were completed to a high standard and areas that may be improved.

Scaling of Raw Scores.

When raw scores for all assessment tasks are combined the total raw score may be scaled. The scaling of raw scores will not effect your rank order in relation to other students. Scaling of raw scores is intended to provide consistency of assessment outcomes across units within the degree and across courses within the university.

Assessment Requirements


Due Date


Assessment Task 1: Linear Narrative Project and Analysis Friday 3 pm week 6 30 %
Assessment Task 2: Visual Narrative Project and Analysis Friday 3 pm week 9 30 %
Assessment Task 3: Non-Linear Narrative Project Friday 3 pm week 13 40 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the MMS3403 web site on MUSO. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

Assignment Submission Methods

On-campus Students Submit the assignment to the labelled Assignment Boxes in the foyer of the Berwick School of Information Technology at the Berwick Campus by 3 pm on the due date, with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of a 5 % reduction in marks for each day (including weekends) the assignment is late. Assignments will not normally be accepted if handed in more than 2 weeks after the due date.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Students requesting an extension must apply, using the standard 'Extension Request', to their unit adviser at least two days prior to the due date. You should also confirm your extension request via e-mail. Extensions may be granted for medical or personal reasons supported by appropriate documentary evidence. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. Students will be provided with a reply slip documenting the extension, a copy of which should be submitted with the assignment.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

Feedback Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.




990 47109

Phone Messages

990 47109


990 47169

Postal address

Monash University
Berwick campus
Clyde Road
Victoria 3806

Room 903.1121


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times


If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Mr Thomas Chandler
Phone +61 3 990 47109
Fax +61 3 8622 8999

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2006