Digital Narrative ENG-R211: Rhetoric & Sports

What (are we doing)?

Students are required to create a scrolling, digital narrative (or, in some circumstances, a scrolling, digital exposition) using the Adobe Spark Page platform. These artifacts must effectively utilize multiple media forms to not only tell a sports story (and/or explore a critical inquiry), but to provide a meaningful experience for readers as they work their way through the digital experience. As we discussed in class, these should not be just general retellings of lore, local history, iconic community sports stories or sports figures, and such, but should operate from a particular perspective and/or adopt a particular angle on the subject focus (reflected in the representational act). The goal here is to attempt to represent, in some unique and significant capacity, a sport or sport-adjacent story/issue in a scrolling, digital format. While narrative is the operative frame of this activity, the creations themselves (like some of our examples) may, as appropriate, drift more (or less) toward expository practices--depending, of course, on each student's individual focus, research, and goals in telling their particular story.

Why (are we doing this)?

Not only does completing this task allow students to explore, as creators, the relationships between the rhetorical strategies of different media representations and the intersections of sports and storytelling, but it also provides students the opportunity to:

  • engage in archival and field-based research practices: gathering and synthesizing information, assets, and artifacts as pertaining to a local/personal sports story;
  • utilize their research findings in the crafting of multimedia narrative (as a mode of response to a guiding critical inquiry);
  • combine rhetorical strategies with narrative practices to create unique digital representations.

Who (is this creation for)?

As part of the proposal activity for this assignment, students must identify their role in this creation (storyteller, investigative reporter, documentarian, etc) as well as the primary and secondary audiences for their projects. Students should think about their role in this narrative creation and factor in how that role helps create a particular relation between author and audience (and/or helps foster a particular kind of storytelling). Additionally, given their authorial roles, students should not only work with a critical attentiveness to the needs and expectations of the primary audience, but also critically consider the kinds of devices on which that target audience is likely to experience these artifact creations and adjust accordingly.

Where (is this turned in)?

These assignments are meant to be of a mixed media nature, bringing together images, video/audio as appropriate, and including 800-1200 words of text. To complete these tasks, student will use Adobe Spark Page (spark.adobe.com - login with IU account), which means the final digital stories will live online as webpages. Thus, students will not only have to publish the creations when finished, making sure they are actually live online, but they must also be submitted (via URL) through the Digital Narrative assignment prompt in Canvas (canvas.iu.edu; Course: R211 --> Assignments --> Digital Narrative --> Submit).

How (will this be assessed)?

As with all the primary works in this course, the overall quality of the work, the depth of engagement, and the performative aspects of mediation will play a significant role in the assessment. But at a more pragmatic level, we will use the Kuhn+2 model of assessment (per the work of Virginia Kuhn, augmented by Cheryl Ball) as a loose heuristic in this course. We will more fully discuss these criteria (and their applications) in class, but as a general orientation it is important to note that this assessment tool operates as an ecology. Meaning, it is not simply a matter of check-boxes and point schemes, but rather an approach where the qualities of the project are understood in terms of how all the elements come together/relate to one another/influence one another to create (or convey) meaning/value.

The six core areas of consideration of the Kuhn+2 model: Conceptual Core, Research Component, Form & Content, Creative Realization, Audience, and Timeliness.

Conceptual Core

  • What is the project's controlling idea? Is it apparent in the work?
  • Is the project productively aligned with one or more multimedia genres? (If so, what are they? How do you know?)
  • Does the project effectively engage with the primary issue of the subject area into which it is intervening?

Research Component

  • Does the project display evidence of substantive research and thoughtful engagement with the subject matter?
  • Does it use a variety of credible (and appropriate) sources and cite them appropriately?
  • Does the project deploy more than one approach to the issue?

Form & Content

  • Does the project's structural/formal elements serve the conceptual core?
  • Does the project's design decisions appear deliberate and controlled? Are they defensible?
  • Is the project's efficacy unencumbered by technical problems?

Creative Realization

  • Does the project approach the subject in a creative or innovative manner?
  • Does the project use media and design principles effectively?
  • Does the project achieve significant goals that could not be realized on paper?


  • Is the target audience for the project apparent in the work?
  • Does the project work at the appropriate levels (of language, design, function, etc.) for its target audience?
  • Has the project been created with an attentiveness to the experience it offers its targeted audience?


  • Is the project timely in its engagement/focus?
  • If not, does the project attempt to demonstrate why it is relevant to contemporary matters/concerns?

When (are things due)?

  • Assign Digital Narrative: Feb. 6
  • Topic Inquiry (and research): Feb. 6 - Feb. 18
  • Proposal work (research, drafting, identifying resources): Feb. 11 - Feb. 18
  • Share & Discuss Proposals & Project Plans: Feb. 18
  • Core of Research Work & Resource Gathering/Production: Feb. 18 - Mar. 5
  • First Draft of Digital Narrative due Mar 12
  • Revised (Final) Draft due Mar. 24

For Students (adjacent works)

Below are a few examples from my ENG-R209: Digital Monumentality course. Students can view these sample projects (shared here with permission) as a way to glean a basic orientation or to grasp a general sense of how to approach these projects. But please note that these creations were for a different class operating with a different circumstances (with these primarily being of an expository nature).

For Teachers (more iterations)

Created By
Justin Hodgson


Created with images by Rodion Kutsaev - "untitled image" • Giu Vicente - "VR Smurfs" • Carl Heyerdahl - "My current desk setup as of 2016. I am a wedding and portrait photographer and have always believed the space you do work in has a big impact on the quality and kind of work you complete. I have been refining my workspace since I was in high school and I am really happy where it is now!" • Marvin Meyer - "untitled image" • hj barraza - "Digital Nomad at Buna Cafe" • Andrew Neel - "There is no substitute for hard work. ― Thomas A. Edison" • Adrien Ledoux - "Moving Water and Ink"