A class now being offered by the Alberta College for Arts and Design (ACAD) is proving that studying English doesn’t have to be boring – it can be as exciting as a game of dungeons and dragons – literally.

Instructor Derek Beaulieu has developed a new way of teaching his English 217 class, which he has developed from traditional studies of poetry, to comic books and now, with a vintage twist, choose your own adventure books and other narrative-style board games.

That’s right – you can play your way through English class.

“Officially it’s called introduction to narrative and what we’re going to do is to look at how readers create their own narrative,” Beaulieu said. “Basically, different forms that involve the reader in a writerly role, which basically makes you and the writer equivalent people.”

Class will consist of analyzing choose your own adventure styled books and creating a storyline tree, playing narrative games like dungeons and dragons and other reader driven story games.

“The whole idea is these are all print-based forerunners for the Internet,” Beaulieu said. “Choose your own adventure games are rudimentary video games.”

“How we understand what reading is has changed. Reading is the traditional form, picking up a book, reading it cover to cover, but also reading has become way more interactive,” Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu will be looking for board game donations as well as book donations to beef up his repertoire for students in class. He is even considering a lunch time board game club for interested students.

Although the class seems a little off the wall, it’s still an applicable credit Beaulieu said – adding it’s designed with artists and tactile learners in mind. He is teaching them to apply what they learn to web design, video games and other modern storytelling techniques.

“We’re going to basically turn a literary course into a game for us to teach us the decision-making process around video games…this is going to be the most fun, most weird, most engaged class ever.”

Wanna give up your old DM stuff?
Donations can be arranged by sending an email to derek@housepress.ca or dropping them off for Beaulieu at the ACAD office.

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