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In the writing classroom, collaborative learning often takes the form of co-authoring, peer workshops or critique sessions. While useful, what other active learning approaches might be effective, particularly in light of the range of media with which students are increasingly familiar? World-building—creation of an alternative/speculative or futuristic land, world or universe—offers an approach to fiction writing amenable to both creative collaboration and digital modalities. This article examines how a team-based world-building project in an advanced writing course engenders creative-making through active learning and collaboration; builds upon the multi-modalities and genres through which many students already engage with fiction (video, online and/or fantasy role-playing games, horror, speculative and science fiction); and leverages both physical and virtual space as creative collaborative environments. With this approach, students in a seated class team up to create original alternative worlds in an online environment--including production of both digital and physical artifacts--within which their own (individual) stories are set. The result is movement between real and virtual space, as well as between shared creative acts and personal imaginative writing.
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