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Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences

University of New South Wales via Coursera


Transmedia storytelling is the practice of designing, sharing, and participating in a cohesive story experience across multiple traditional and digital delivery platforms - for entertainment, advertising and marketing, or social change.

Have you ever read a book, seen a movie, watched a television show, or played a game that centred around different aspects of a larger story or universe? You may be familiar with popular examples of such universes like Star Wars, Marvel, and The Walking Dead (to name a few).

How do the professionals develop such expansive narratives? How do they ensure that each element stays true to the original story? How do they innovatively use different technologies to share the stories, grow audiences and create an active and involved community of fans?

More and more, we are also engaging with elements or franchises of larger and more complex stories across a much more diverse range of platforms like interactive web experiences, social media communities, mobile devices, theme parks, and even augmented and virtual reality. A major challenge that current and future storytellers face is being able to engage different audiences in a story that is seamlessly told across all of these different platforms.

This course will help you to design a strategy for developing and telling your own transmedia story. You will learn about what it takes to:
• Shape your ideas into compelling and well structured narratives and complex story worlds
• Identify, understand, and engage different audiences in your stories
• Create cohesive user experiences across different platforms
• Evaluate existing and emerging technologies to share your story with the world, and help your audience participate in the larger storyworld you create

The course provides you with a unique, authentic, and industry relevant learning opportunity. You will have access to current theory, industry examples and advice and undertake learning activities that will equip you with the tools you need to start developing your own ideas.

You will learn effective transmedia design strategies from leading UNSW Australia Art & Design academics. You will also examine case studies that demonstrate how amazing ideas, technology and audience contributions can be brought together to create dynamic storyworlds. You'll see examples of major, successful transmedia storytelling projects involving movies, digital entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and more. In collaboration with our industry partner X Media Lab, the course will give you inside access to the personal stories, insight and advice of the following innovative transmedia storytelling professionals from Hollywood USA, Canada and Australia.

• Susan Bonds, 42 Entertainment, Los Angeles, USA
• Flint Dille, Screenwriter, Game Designer and Novelist, Los Angeles, USA
• Cindi Drennan, Illuminart, Australia
• Tom Ellard, UNSW Art & Design, Sydney, Australia
• Catherine Fargher, Dr Egg Digital, Sydney, Australia
• Hal Hefner, 3AM Creative, USA
• Brian Seth Hurst, StoryTech, Los Angeles, USA
• Henry Jenkins, School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, USA
• Mikey Leung, Digital Storytellers, Sydney, Australia
• Alex Lieu, 42 Entertainment, Los Angeles, USA
• Geoffrey Long, Annenberg Innovation Lab, University of Southern California, USA
• John McGhee, UNSW Art & Design, Sydney, Australia
• Joseph Narai, Transmedia Entertainment, Sydney, Australia
• Jeff Nicholas, The Uprising Creative, Los Angeles, USA
• Sergio Paez, Graphic Artist working in animation, TV, video games, and film. Co Founder, StoryboardArt, California, USA
• Steve Peters, No Mimes Media, Los Angeles, USA
• Stuart Samuels, Stuart Samuels Productions, Toronto, Canada
• Charles Santoso, Concept Artist, Sydney, Australia
• Seth Shapiro, New Amsterdam Media, Los Angeles, USA
• Scott Snibbe, Eyegroove, San Francisco, USA
• Tracey Taylor, The Pulse, Sydney, Australia
• Robert Tercek, Public Speaker, Digital Media Strategist, and Executive Leader for Creative Ventures and Business Innovation, • University of Southern California, USA
• Kevin Williams, Founder & Director of KWP Ltd and DNA Association, UK
• Brent Young, Super 78, Los Angeles, USA
• Maya Zuckerman, Transmedia SF, San Francisco, USA

Karin Watson, Iman Irannejad, and Dr. Simon McIntyre.


  • What is Transmedia Storytelling?
    • This module will introduce you to the instructors of this course, and give you an understanding of how the course works and what you will learn. We will also introduce you to what Transmedia Storytelling is and how it is important to the way we interact and communicate. We’ll explain the anatomy of story and the importance of developing a narrative, and show you some examples of contemporary transmedia storytelling. The information in this module will form the backbone of your own transmedia strategy that you will develop over the duration of the course.
  • Creative Ideas Generation - Building a Storyworld
    • This module introduces you to creative thinking techniques that you can use to help you develop a cohesive and rich story narrative. You’ll explore important models of creative thinking, along with different tools and techniques that can help you expand your narrative into a storyworld that will become the basis of an effective transmedia strategy.
  • Understanding a Transmedia Audience
    • Understanding the different audiences that engage with elements of a transmedia experience can help develop and improve the reach and impact of your storyworld. This module explores the concepts of ethnography and participatory design as a means of identifying, engaging, and learning from your audience, to help you to focus your strategy to better meet their needs.
  • The Transmedia User Experience
    • The success of your project is ultimately determined by the quality of the audience's experience. Will your transmedia strategy capture people’s imagination and continue to engage them in multiple facets of the larger storyworld over time? In this module you will being to think about how the convergence of narrative, audience, and technology affects the design of a transmedia strategy. You will also explore theories and frameworks that will help you better understand how to design and evaluate engaging, persuasive and enjoyable transmedia user experiences.
  • Using Creative Technologies
    • Working in a transmedia context means taking a flexible and inclusive approach to technologies - old and new. Within this module, you will be exposed to evaluation and design strategies for different technologies in a transmedia storytelling context. It showcases several examples of creative uses of technology in storytelling, and explores how emerging digital technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are creating new possibilities for narrative personalisation and audience immersion in a story.
  • Stories from Industry - Professionals’ Career Journeys and Advice
    • Meet the instructors who will be guiding you through the course, and benefit from the stories of personal career journeys of some of the biggest names in transmedia storytelling from the USA (Hollywood), Canada, and Australia. Hear their advice about getting started in the industry, and examine examples of their work in movies, digital entertainment, virtual reality and more.

Taught by

Geoge Khut, Jeffrey Koh, Emma Robertson, Simon McIntyre and Ollie Bown


3.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 805 ratings

Start your review of Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences

  • Pilar Reyes
    This is an outstanding course and I highly recommend it to people who want to get familiar with the topic and also to those who want to start a career as a transmedia storyteller. The course structure is motivating and coherent (key concept explanations, interviews to a number of world leading transmedia professionals to learn practical tips and strategies, practical activities). Furthermore, recommended readings and sites are useful to complement the course material. Finally, there is a project for participants to apply their knowledge and creativity.

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