Watch this video to see 'Collaborative Storytelling' in action...

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The purpose of 'Collaborative Storytelling'

Promote a sense of community and break the ice in class with collaborative storytelling activities.

Activity description

  • Useful for
  • Preparation
  • How to do it
  • Duration
  • Adaptations

Can be used at any time in the semester and even as an on-going activity throughout the semester.

Fun way of encouraging students to pay attention to details, engage in close reading, and think of logical possible scenarios. Teaches how to follow a unified style and voice. Is an outlet for students’ creativity.

Setting up a shared editable Google Doc or a Wiki within your LMS.

Deciding whether you want to let students collectively create a prompt to begin the story or wish to use an online random plot generator to get things started such as or  Another alternative is to get the ball rolling by creating a basic story plot related to the course (e.g. An anthropologist conducting field research or a scientist working at a research lab or an entrepreneur setting up her business).

Post preparation, make it clear how many times you’d like each student to contribute to the story per semester (e.g. 3 times) and how much content (e.g. a paragraph each time).

Create ground rules for students. E.g.:

Please don’t delete or edit the work your classmates added.

Read what has been written so far carefully. You have total freedom to create exciting twists and turns and move the story forward, but whatever you add has to make sense and seem logical given what comes before it. That means being true to the characters, plot, and style so far.

This is an asynchronous activity. It can run from the start to the end of the semester, or can be done for just a few days.

  • Microsoft Word online and any other tool that lets multiple people work on the same document.
  • Can be done using video/audio/visuals and not just text.
  • Can be done on Twitter using a hashtag.
  • Can be done using Twine for interactive non-linear storytelling.
  • Can be done synchronously on Slack or WhatsApp, or via text chat on Zoom or orally on Zoom
  • Can be done synchronously as ”Improv” with additional restrictions like, beginning of each sentence starts with the next letter of the alphabet (A, B, C) or each person has a certain length sentence (3-10 words)


How do I use these resources?

We have created a welcome video and some introductory text that explains in detail how to use these resources. You can also find answers to some key questions below. 

Yes you can. We have included descriptive text and slides that you can reuse / adapt for this reason. We have suggested some variations for activities to help you make adaptations.

We show how much time an activity should take and what resources you need to help you make a decision.

As we include more resources over time you will have a greater choice of activities and more information about the different contexts within which they work best. 

Any technique can block some people out, make them feel unwelcomed, or be used in a way that privileges some and makes it harder on others.

All of these techniques should be used in conjunction with pedagogies of care and what we call Intentionally Equitable Hospitality

If you try an adaptation of this activity, or try it as is and have interesting results to share, please contribute your adaptation/reflection in the comments or get in touch through social media / email.

Coming soon: there will be room to discuss these activities in private discussion forums in OneHE’s.

Please join the OneHE mailing list to make sure you know when this community space has been launched.

You can also get in touch by completing this feedback form

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