Twine as a Digital Community Engagement Tool

Justin Wigard


This is a pedagoical plan for teaching using Twine, which is an open-access digital tool for creating nonlinear and interactive texts. I particularly like using Twine as it gives users a lot of freedom to create simple or powerful digital artifacts, whatever their focus. The program is community-driven and community-supported and can be worked on collaboratively or individually. It can support text-only creations (as my example illustrates) or images, sounds, and even videos. Lastly, it is requires no coding knowledge, so the barrier for entry is low, while the output reward is high.


Context: How Should Instructors Use the Material?

The first reading is my brief introduction to Twine that I implemented at the 2019 Teaching Toolkit Tailgate. I used hard copies of this handout to teach non-DH instructors how to integrate Twine in their classrooms. I intended this handout to have everything one would need to understand what Twine is, how to implement it, what kind of coding/programming knowledge is necessary (none), and what can be done with it; in essence, I wrote it for the public with undergraduate students in mind.

The second reading is Twine’s site itself, which features an online/web version of Twine along with a downloadable version. The first reading can be used in conjunction with Twine’s built-in instructions.

The third reading is my own example of a Twine text. I created this for a 2017 graduate seminar on American popular culture (ENG 802), where our class worked with the Williamston, MI Theatre to create public exhibits for their production of 1984. For my contribution, I created this Twine activity to critically emulate the classic interrogation scene of 1984 to illustrate elements of agency, power, and panopticism in the play. While I don’t have specific numbers on how many times the product was activated, it was engaged with frequently during the play’s run. My intention in including it is to offer DH students an example of a Twine product that has been deployed specifically with community engagement in mind.

The fourth reading is a new open access book by Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop on Twine, particularly different approaches to using the program within pedagogical settings. The introduction is particularly helpful, but the entire book blends critical study with practical guides, alternating between chapters in such a way that instructors could choose only 1 or 2 chapters for a project OR teach the entire book.

The fifth and final reading is an example of a digital article that blends Twine with a very simple arcade platformer. It demonstrates Twine’s breadth, and should inspire both students and educators as to the possibilities of Twine, as well as prompt discussion about Digital Humanities’ potential within the academic/public realm.



  1. My Teaching Toolkit Tailgate entry on Twine for iTechMSU.
  2. Learn more about TWINE.
  3. My own pedagogical community Twine emulating 1984’s interrogation scene.
  4. Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives by Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop.Salter,
  5. Anastasia and John Murray. “Blocked In.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 21, 2019




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