Final Grades…

…are posted in the OpenLab Gradebook. Take a look and let me know if I’ve made any math errors or if you have any questions.

Otherwise, have a happy holiday season. Stay safe!

Week of 12/15-12/18

Here we are. End of the term! Tough term for everybody. If anyone has questions, please text me on Slack or email me.

The Final Portfolio is due this Friday 12/18 end of day. It should be on the Google Drive in the Final Portfolio folder. What you include in that Final Portfolio document:

  1. Revisions of Units 1 and 2.
  2. A short paragraph at the beginning of each revision explaining what you revised, why, and how.
  3. The 1000-word Final Reflection.

If you can put them all in a single document, that would be great. If not, that’s okay, too. As long as I can find everything, I’m happy.

I hope your games turned out well. By the way, you do NOT need to do any revisions on Unit 3. It is what is it. Remember: it should have included the visual/concept map, your game narrative text, and your Artist’s Statement. The grade for Unit 3 is in the Grade Book which you can find on the right-hand menu under “Check Your Grade.”

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Week of 12/8 through 12/14

Only two weeks left!

Here’s what’s up this week:

1.I’ll be looking at and leaving very quick feedback on the Final Reflection drafts that were due Monday 12/7. Remember: all the information you need is further down this Announcements page and in the Final Portfolio assignment.

2. There will be only one session Tuesday 12/8 and that’s at noon. I’ll be there to answer questions about the Final Portfolio, grades, and anything else you need to talk to me about.

3. Here’s the assignment for the week (aside from continuing to work on your Revisions and Reflection, all of which is due Dec. 18).

Due by end of day Friday, December 11:

 WRITE & POST ON OPEN LAB: Post an update about how things are going. If you would like a one-on-one appointment to go over anything from revisions to Units 1 and 2, to feedback on your draft Reflection, add that to the post.

Title it “Update – your name” and post using Category Final Portfolio, tag “Update.”

And that’s it! Keep working, let me know if you have questions or problems. And stay safe — it’s getting scary out there again.

Week of 12/1 through 12/7

Now that Unit 3 is finished and shipped off to Prof Cunningham, you’re ready to start the Final Portfolio & Final Reflection. Here’s the link to the Assignment  and Schedule.: Here’s  a brief rundown of what you’ll be doing:

There are two parts to this Final Portfolio (which is worth 60% of your final grade):

  1. Final revisions on the Unit 1 Digital Literacy Narrative and Unit 2’s Reflective Annotated Bibliography. I’ve left Comments on the Google Drive and in the Grade Book to give you some feedback about how to revise those pieces. Once you do the revision, you need to add a paragraph at the very beginning of that final draft explaining what you revised and why, and proving that you made revisions (and what you learned about doing it) by quoting at least three sentences from your work, both the DLN and the Unit 2 project. In other words, don’t just say “I fixed things” — show how you fixed them.
  2. Final Reflection. This is a 1000-word essay about what you learned over the course of the term. The Assignment sheet has all the specifics. One word of caution: there’s a list of brainstorming questions to get you started, but you are NOT to simply bullet-point answer them. Think of this like an article from a website or blog or magazine.

To get you started, you’ll be re-reading your Time Capsule from the beginning of the term (as well as the other things you posted on OpenLab) and writing a follow-up letter to yourself about where you are now as opposed to where you were at the beginning of the term. The easiest way to find your first Time Capsule is to go to the right-hand menu bar, scroll down to Members, and click on your name. Everything you’ve done on OpenLab will be there (you might have to go to Older Posts if you can’t find the Time Capsule since we did it early in the term). Read through your Time Capsule post and take a look at the other things you posted — that will give you a great sense of what happened this term.

I also encourage everyone to let me know if you want a one-on-one Zoom conference to go over revsions and/or the assignment itself.

And that’s it!


Week of 11/24 through 11/29

I sent all of the Game Stories and Visual Maps to Prof Cunningham this morning (11/24). Neither of us is accepting anything late.

Your next assignment for this class is the Artist’s Statement:

The Artist’s Statement is where you think back through the process of creating your game story and writing it as the basis of a text-based adventure game. A successful Artist’s Statement reflects your understanding of the genre of interactive fiction, and of your specific rhetorical situation (your reasons for composing, your audience), and it takes us on a journey:

  • As you began: what were you trying to accomplish? What audience were you trying to reach? How hard was it to think in terms of non-visual game-making? What were you most worried about?
  • During the process: what problems did you have? Who, what, or where did you turn to get feedback and help? What was going through your mind as you wrote it?
  • Now that it’s done: how well do you think it turned out? What would you do differently? Congratulate yourself!

As always, email me or send me a text via Slack if you need some individual help: I’m always available via Zoom or Google Doc to go over things.

Due Monday 11/29 EOD.

The schedule for this week is very simple:

Week of Nov 24 – Nov 30

Class sessions:  Writing the Artist’s Statement.


Due by end of day Monday, Nov 30:

WRITE: Post your Artist’s Statement in the Google Drive – Unit 3.

Have a safe Thanksgiving.


People keep sending me messages asking how to do the sections of the Game Design Document, the things I used for examples. I did NOT ask for a Game Design Document if you actually read the assignment sheet. I asked for/required two things:

  1. A visual/concept map of your story.
  2. Sections of the written text of your story that you’ll be using to program in Python.

I did NOT ask for Challenge, Review of Competing Games, Mechanics, or ANY OF THAT!!! Again, if you read the Assignment Sheet or kept up at all with the Announcements, you would have seen that.

AGAIN… what is due Monday Sept 23 at midnight is:

  1. Visual/concept map of your story.
  2. All of the game story laid out like those in Choice of and the Walkthrough sections of the examples.

Period. That’s all. Nothing else counts.

Week of 11/17 through 11/22 (and beyond!)

Good morning! A couple of quick notes.

I’m posting the very abbreviated schedules for the next two weeks below. As you can see, all that’s due this week is the next section of your narrative, and the completed narrative is due next Monday on the Google Drive. That’s when I bundle them up with your visual maps, and send them to Professor Cunningham. There is no late to this because it’s the next assignment in your CST 1101 class! Late equals 50% of Unit 3 for this class — the Artist’s Statement counts for the other 50% — so get them in!

Meanwhile, I’ve been leaving feedback on the visual maps and will do the same for the first two sections of your narrative as soon you post them.  If you’re still unclear about how to write the narrative, look at Resurface in the Resources section. And remember: this is only a 3-5 minute game, so you’re not writing Final Fantasy XV.

Week of Nov 17 – Nov 23

Class sessions: General feedback and help.

Due by end of day Friday, Nov 20:

 POST on OpenLab:  Write the second 1/3 of your game story. This will be going to Professor Cunningham for review.

        • Title it “Second section – your name” Category – Unit 3. Tag “Second Section”
        • Due by end of day Monday, Nov 23:

Due by end of day Monday, Nov 22:

 POST in the Google Drive folder for Unit 3: Full game story. This will be going to Professor Cunningham and will be what you’ll be programming in Python.

Week of Nov 24 – Nov 30

Class sessions:  Writing the Artist’s Statement.


Due by end of day Monday, Nov 30:

WRITE: Post your Artist’s Statement in the Google Drive – Unit 3.

Artist’s Statement: This isn’t due until after Thanksgiving, and I’ll be leaving more detailed instructions next week, but here’s what you’ll find in the Course Assignment sheet:

The Artist’s Statement is where you think back through the process of creating your game story and writing it as the basis of a text-based adventure game. A successful Artist’s Statement reflects your understanding of the genre, and of your specific rhetorical situation (your reasons for composing, your audience), and it takes us on a journey:

    • As you began: what were you trying to accomplish? What audience were you trying to reach? How hard was it to think in terms of non-visual game-making? What were you most worried about?
    • During the process: what problems did you have? Who, what, or where did you turn to get feedback and help? What was going through your mind as you wrote it?
    • Now that it’s done: how well do you think it turned out? What would you do differently? Congratulate yourself!

As always, email me or send me a text via Slack if you need some individual help: I’m always available via Zoom or Google Doc to go over things.

Update on Saturday, Nov 14:

Due yesterday: your visual/concept map of your game story. If you’re still confused, look at Marc’s in Unit 3 — he built if off a combination of the Red Riding Hood GDD example that’s in the Resources section and my example that’s here on the Announcements page of minor, moderate, and major branches.

Think of the story like this: aim for a best ending, a worst ending, and possibly a not-so-bad ending. Think about what would get your character to those endings, then work backward through the decisions they would have to make to get there. Remember: minor branches are for flavor and for fun, moderate branches are alternate ways to get to the same ending (almost like side quests if you’re a gamer but ones that actually do feed into and have an impact on the main storyline), and major branches really send the story into different directions and headed specifically for different endings.

Once you get your map done, then figure out what goes in each box — that’s your narrative! The first part of that narrative is due Monday EOD; see Red Riding Hood or Resurface for examples.

Comments/Grades up date: All the Digital Literacy Narratives are in the Grade Book (finally!) and I’ll get posting Unit 2 comments this week. I’ve also commented on the Pitches and Visual Maps that are here (as of 4:00 Saturday), so take a look at what I left for you.

Week of Nov 10 through Nov 16:

Quick grading update: As I started posting Unit 2 Comments in the Grade Book, I suddenly realized all of the Unit 1 grades and comments have disappeared. Jeez… technology. I’ll be fixing all of that in the next day or so. My apologies for that…

As I write this on Monday about noon, there are no pitches posted and very few Dragon-based stories. That means most of the students in this class are now at risk of having nothing for Unit 3, which is 12% of the final course grade. Even more importantly, it means you’ll have nothing to send to Professor Cunningham for you to use in the Python programming part of her class. That means two epic fails.

If you’re having trouble with the Pitch document, Slack and email are always open.

Here’s what’s up this week:

Weekly Schedule 11_10 through 11_16

Here’s an image of what Branching Narratives mean (Minor branches that don’t do much of anything but go back to the main story; Moderate branches that take the story in different directions but always come back to the main story line; Major branches that lead to completely different endings). Click on the image to enlarge it. For this game narrative, you’ll need at least two major branches — in other words, two very different endings for your game story.






As for what the written game narrative that should go to Professor Cunningham should look like, the Resurface game design document (in Resources — > Class Materials) shows you a complete walkthrough. Yours doesn’t have to contain the explanations, but should have the text for that panel as well as the choices. You can also look back at the game you played to see how they laid it out. And if you want to see IF in action, and try it yourself without needing to program, go to and walk through the tutorial (the whole thing is free if you want to try yours out first, and it’s easy enough that I’ve been teaching 5th grades to write stories with it).

I did put a little template for creating branching narratives in the Google Drive that shows you one way to organize your game story into sections and choices. It says Text Box Template.

No video lecture this week.

Saturday morning comment 11/7:

For those of you who did the Padlet homework, it was interesting to see your reactions. As Giancarlo noted about the lack of visuals, and Ria said about reading versus playing a game, it’s pretty weird playing a “video game” that doesn’t have any visuals! Yes, it’s a lot more like reading — if you’ve ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure type book (or graphic novel — there a lot of those, like Captive or Meanwhile or Your Grandparents are Zombies) you can tell they’re part of that same genre.  A couple of people commented that their game was interesting because the choices had consequences… which is sort of the whole point of a game, right? Hope everyone enjoyed the Choice of games!

And as for the five Dragon stories that have been posted… I looked at them quickly and really enjoyed them. I’ll be going back to add Comments today.

Week of 11/3 through 11/9

Now we get to the fun part — writing and (in Prof Cunningham’s class) programming choice-based interactive fiction games. There are three (count ’em, 3) videos this week just because nobody wants to sit through really long ones, so you’ll be able to take a break between them.

Hope to see you in the optional session on Nov 3!

Intro video:

Interactive Fiction and overview of the Unit:

Writing good stories (and this week’s homework): Below is a very short list of the things that we need to create a good game story:

Designing a good game story:

      1. Immersion — how well we’re drawn into the story. Details. Story world.
      2. Identification – how well we connect with the main character. Characters should have an arc. 
      3. Reward – both for player and character. 
      4. Interactivity — games. How much does the player have control of.


      1. Aristotle
      2. Hero’s Journey

Week of 10/27 through 11/2

The last week of Unit 2! And then it’s on to writing interactive fiction… so there’s hope.

This week, finish up your Source Analyses AND write/post your Individual Report. I’ve been adding Comments to the Source Analyses to help you with revisions… and remember that final revisions aren’t due until the Portfolio is turned in on the last day of class.

Quick video this week, AND I would like you to come to the optional sessions on Oct 27, especially if you need help with the Source Analyses, Individual Report, or midterm grade. More below —

This is the information about how to do the Individual Report:

Now that you’ve gathered all of this very amazing information – and I’m sure some of it has been truly amazing – each of you has to write an Individual Report of about 500 words where you talk about what the process of doing this Annotated Bibliography was like, and what you learned from it. Here’s what goes in it:

  1. Introduction: Remind us again about why you chose this issue, what you were curious about, what you hoped to learn more about, and what your position or opinion about the issue was when you started.
  2. What you got from the conversation/the sources/the research: Talk about what you learned doing this – the things that surprised or infuriated you, or made you hopeful – and how your thinking about the issue deepened or changed in the process.
  3. What’s the most important thing you learned: Two things here: 1) talk about what you think is the most important thing you got from the process of doing this type of research (questions first). Was it odd? Good? Hard? Better? And of course, say why. And 2) talk about the most important bit of information you got from the research. This is going to be extremely important in Unit 3 since you’ll be writing the narrative text for a videogame that deals with your issue. So think carefully about it.

It must look like an MLA essay:

    • Name block in the top left corner
    • Title
    • Each paragraph is indented one tab
    • Page number in upper right corner

How to post all of Unit 2:

    • Gather your Source Analyses together.
    • In a New Word or Google Doc:
      • Individual Report first
      • The Source Analyses below
    • Upload it into the Google Drive Folder for Unit 2 in the Group folder.

Here’s the Weekly Schedule .

It’s Midterm and the midterm grades will be given to you by Oct 29. You’ll see in the Grade Book that the midterm grades are P, BL, and U. No letter grades! At least not in this class. The P stands for everybody who’s been doing the assignments, etc., and reflects A/B/C grades. The BL means you’re missing a lot of stuff, and reflects a D grade; it also means get in touch with me sooner rather than later to see what’s going on. And the U means unsatisfactory in the sense that almost nothing has been done for the class, and reflects an F grade; it also means get in touch with me yesterday!

As part of the Midterm week, I’ve created a Padlet for you to post how you’re feeling about being in college and being an online student… and what you’d like instructors (including me but not necessarily just for me) to know. It’s totally anonymous, so say whatever you want to. It’s not required, but it’s certainly a good place to vent. Here’s the link (it’s also in the Weekly Schedule):

A little help with Source Analyses 10/22

I’ve been leaving Comments for people on the Source Analyses, and I thought I’d give you a little more help about how to write them (our departmental assignment isn’t written all that clearly, I don’t think). So here’s a way to think about it in general: 

Image by Sandra Schön from Pixabay

  1. Summary is about the content of the source.
  2. Rhetorical Analysis is about how that content is put together for an audience.
  3. Short Analysis/Reflection is about how you feel about the content and about how it was presented.

And here’s a longer, more detailed version/description of what to put in each section: 

1.Summary: This is an [article, video, poem, chart, image] that [explains, describes] this information/situation. You can include as much or as little as you want.

2. Rhetorical Analysis: Cover the things on this Rhetorical/Genre Analysis Worksheet, but only those things that are important.

    • For example, if it’s a news article in a journal, you don’t need to say “why choose this genre” because the news is the news, and we all know why it’s there. If it’s a blog, you can talk about why someone would blog about the information rather than write a traditional article in a journal. 
    • If you establish the credibility of the author/source, that’s ethos, so you don’t have to say “ethos” anywhere.
    • When talking about situation, it’s always good to give context, even if it’s a current event.
    • It’s also good to give examples: the author interviewed this person in order to make us feel the emotion of the situation OR the author used a lot of data and charts to convince us that their information was correct.

3. Short Analysis: Talk about two things.

    • First: Given what you say is the purpose of the text and the intended audience, do you think the author achieved that purpose? Was the text the right one for that intended audience, or did they somehow fall short in some way? What worked in terms of achieving the purpose? What worked against it?
    • Second: What’s your opinion of the information? Do you agree or disagree? Were you surprised by anything? Did it give you more information or insight that you didn’t have before?

Don’t forget that you have to post Source Analysis #2 by Friday EOD, and Source Analysis #3 by EOD Sunday. And absolutely feel free to revise Source Analysis #1 based on my comments and on this new description.

As always, text me on Slack or email me with questions.

Week of 10/20-10/26:

The mini-lecture is below, and it’s mostly about doing the rhetorical analysis part of the Source Analyses.

A couple of notes:

KWL+ Activity is late, but do it because it will help you formulate questions for your investigation.

EdPuzzle is also late, but I’ve changed it to No Due Date on the EdPuzzle class site. So click on that tab and you can still do it — it will also give you some insight and help for the Source Analyses.

Introductions in the Annotated Bibliography Google Docs are also late. If you’ve posted something on the Docs, I’ve left comments/questions/suggestions for you. Yay!

Source Analyses: Remember that these are half of the Unit 2 assignment, the other half being the Individual Report. If you don’t post them until their final due date, I won’t be able to give you any feedback on them.

And with that said, here’s the mini-lecture

Weekly Schedule 10/20 to 10/26

Weekly Schedule 10/27 to 11/2

Weekend Update 10/17:

There are some interesting research investigation ideas in the Annotated Bibliographies. What I like is that people are taking the overall topic and going in interesting directions (the effects of gaming on future generations, for example) and one very techie idea about two platforms of gaming. I’ve left, and will continue to leave, comments in the Annotated Bibs — a few questions, suggestions, etc.

Your first Source Analysis is due end of day Monday 10/19. I’ll be leaving comments about what’s working and what you need to do to make it better. Please do leave comments for each other, as well — not about the writing, but about whether they did the assignment instructions correctly and/or what your reaction is to the source and/or suggestions about other places to look.

EdPuzzle is closed. If you want to see my Comments (and a couple of you do indeed know your filmmaking!), go to EdPuzzle, click on Completed, then on the video. When the video opens, there should be a See Results button on the right. Scroll down to see what I said. Here’s a YouTube that gives you more information:

Mini-lecture and Weekly Schedule will be up Monday end of day.

Weekly information Oct 13 – Oct 18

The mini-lecture is below (this week is all about rhetoric and Source Analysis) but here’s the new Weekly Schedule . If you’ve already downloaded it… do it again because it’s changed!!!

Update on the Digital Literacy Narrative feedback. First, I’ve been down with a flare-up of a chronic illness so I’m WAY BEHIND on the Literacy Narratives. Happily, you don’t have to do anything with them until toward the end of the term, but I’ll have them to you next week. Why wait? Because I wanted to prioritize the Discussions at the moment. It’s important what you’re doing there, and after a quick look yesterday, I want to jump in some more. So if you haven’t done your Responsibility post yet — primary and/or secondary — please jump on in.

Tuesday meeting is, of course, optional and for questions. Link is in the Resources tab.

Here’s the mini-lecture (no idea why OpenLab won’t let it embed any longer…):
  • Here is a sort of a transcription.
  • On the Resources –> Class Materials/Resources page, there are links to:
    • KWL+ activity (once you hit SUBMIT, it goes to our Google Drive. You can find yours by clicking on the purple Responses, then on the Responses tab, then on Individual and find your name.)
    • The Google Slides presentation I used for this video.
    • A Brief List of Genres
    • The EdPuzzle class link
  • Here’s the Weekly Schedule Oct 13 – Oct 18 again.
  • I also uploaded a presentation on visual rhetoric into our Google Drive. It’s a Google Slides titled Visual Rhetoric. It has slides, questions, information about how to analyze images both still and moving. If you’re analyzing images,  you might take a look at it.


Weekly information Oct 6 – Oct 13

This week is about gathering ideas and picking topic areas to start investigating. Remember: you’re not doing thesis-statement-supported-by-three-examples. You’re asking questions and seeing who says what about your topic — the thing you’re interested in.  The weekly discussion is all about the four short articles that deal with gaming and/or the computing industry (Primary and Secondary Responses, and I’ve added a Peeps group so you can just leave a “cool!” comment now and then). Here’s the schedule and the weekly video. And don’t forget: there’s the optional Zoom meetings on Tuesday, Oct 6 at noon and at 6:30 (the links again are in the Resources tab on the main menu).

Weekly Schedule Oct 6-12

Weekly Video:

Here’s a copy of the notes I recorded the video from: Lecture FYLC 10_6

Things are changing!

First of all, your Digital Literacy Narratives (with the Reviewers Memo attached at the end) are due in the Google Drive folders by the end of today (which is Monday 9/28). Then you’ll start leaving Comments for each other. Here’s all that information again. Second, scroll past all of that Unit 1 information to find out what we’re going to be doing next… and what’s going to be changing.

Digital Literacy Narrative submissions/comments

Due by end-of-day Monday 9/28 POST: Draft of Education Narrative with Reviewer’s Memo on the bottom due in the Google Drive folder titled Unit 1 – Digital Literacy Narrative in the Group folder with your name. The Reviewer’s Memo should address these three things:

  1. This is what I intended to do: Here’s why I wrote it. What I hoped it would do. What I want people to take away from the piece.
  2. This is how I feel about the project so far: how I think it’s going, what problems I’m having, what I think is working, and what I think I need help with, what I’m proud of, etc.
  3. Here are other questions/issues I would like the reviewers to look at such as: what do you think is working? What is confusing? Do the Source entries address the things they should (author, audience, genre, etc.)? Have I mentioned or used something from the readings? If this were your essay, what would you do next?

WRITE: Once you’ve posted your draft, you can get started leaving Comments for the other three members of your Workshop Google Folder group. Remembering what DePage says about positive peer response, do these two things to respond to your three peers’ Drafts:

  1. Use the Comment feature to make comments in the margin as you go – things you really liked, places where you wanted to ask questions either about what they’re saying or what else you would like to know. Here are some prompts for the kinds of comments you can leave:
    • I liked ( ) because …
    • I got this from reading your work:
    • I found this part interesting ( ) because…
    • I got confused here ( ) because…
    • I wanted to know more about ..

2. At the very end (either in a Comment or added to the bottom of their draft), leave an overall comment where you include at least one key quote that stands out to you. It will be very important to pick an appropriate quotation to respond to — one that expands on your comment so that the writer can get a good idea what your comment meant.

These Workshop comments are due by end of Wednesday Oct 2. After that, I’ll be making my own Comments in the margins and at the end, and also leaving a “grade” in the OpenLab Grade Book along with more private comments, all of which are to help you do your revision that’s due at the end of the term.

Here’s what’s happening next…

Now that we’ve about finished with the Digital Literacy Narratives (at least until I can grade/comment on them), I’m changing some things about the class as we get into the fun stuff (I say that with a smile).

  1. I’m moving all the Announcements from Unit 1 into an Archive folder in the Resources tab area. Just in case you need to see what we did when.
  2. I’ll be posting a Weekly Schedule here on Monday night that should make things a lot clearer about what’s happening and what’s due when.
  3. Part of that Weekly Schedule post will be a short video lecture explaining concepts and going over what we’ll be doing that week.
  4. The Tuesday class sessions, since they’re optional, are going to magically morph into a Q&A session. No real content work, just a time to come discuss the assignment, problems you’re having with it, confusions, etc. If anything important happens in the session, I’ll be sure to post it here on the Announcements.
  5. And… I’ve set up a Slack channel #assignment-questions. So if you have a question about any assignment, go check there and see if I’ve already answered somebody else’s question about the same thing. Then feel free to leave me a question anyway!

So here’s this week’s Video mini-lecture and Weekly Schedule  complete with links (it’s a pdf).