Exploring Literary Texts

Exploring Literary Texts Using Virtual Worlds


(need course number)

Faculty Member: Mary Balkun, Senior Faculty and Chairman, English 

Instructional Designer: Heidi Trotta and Mary Zedeck

Fall, 2007


Primary Responsibilities in Project:  



New technologies are enabling students to explore the role of narrative in creative and unique ways. Theater, film and television have provided us with new ways to understand texts; however, the viewer cannot play a part in the story itself. Virtual worlds such as Second Life, offer the participant an opportunity to be immersed in a story in interesting and productive ways. Not only can scenes from a narrative be recreated but students can role-play and interact with artifacts from the story itself to develop an understanding of literary analysis from the inside out.


House of the Seven Gables, the classic Gothic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne,&was recreated to allow students to engage with the book ;on a more creative level and to understand the cultural and historical context for the novel. Students can certainly read a traditional version of the novel and then be asked to look at some pictures posted online, listen to some sound clips, and post in a Discussion Board forum, however, it was our goal to engage students in the material in “playful exploration rather than navigation through a hierarchy of knowledge.” Students were to become co-constructors of this virtual space through such projects as designing;parts of the house and surrounding landscape, adding artifacts, and assuming character roles.










Critical Analysis of Literary Works Using Virtual Worlds 

(Co-presented with Mary Zedeck, and Mary Balkun)  

Symposium on the Evolution of Communication

Schedule of Events

New Media Consortium - NMC Conference Center in Second Life

December 4, 2007