INTE5340 Summer 2019



Brad Hinson | Office: LSC724 | Hypothesis: bradhinson | Twitter: @THiNGkeriNG

This is low/no email course. Beyond our initial emails to get acclimated, we will communicate almost exclusively via other course channels.  If you need to communicate with me privately you may use Slack Direct Messages (DM) or email at

“I prefer minimal email and no slideshows.  Definitely do not email me about slideshows or create a slideshow about email.” - Brad


"This course reviews the uses of digital storytelling (DST) for learning. Develop and publish a short digital story that tells something important about you and your interests. Explore ways of creating or using digital stories that can aid learning and personal growth." ~ CU Catalog

Our Roots

DS106: We are a remix of DS106 - a digital storytelling community of practice in which students complete multiple mini-assignments over the arc of the course using a variety of media (audio, video, graphics, web, and social media).  Students share their creations via their personal blogs and social network channels. Individual student blogs serve as a personal canvas for each student – a public portfolio of sorts. You can learn more about DS106 here and here.

Hard Fun: Overall, we review and analyze digital storytelling as a catalyst of culture, creativity, and learning; and we experiment with our own digital stories along the way.   We do not have textbooks, exams, or formal essays.  We do have weekly activities that are required to succeed in this class.  Activities include reading/annotating articles; watching videos; making and sharing media; researching storytelling tools; and actively engaging in class discussions.  We will engage in what Seymour Papert termed Hard Fun.

ZPD: According to Vygotsky, every learner exists within a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) which acknowledges that we are individuals in our respective comfort zones. To learn, we must stretch beyond those comfort zones and venture out - typically with a little help from our friends. Here then, learning is essentially a social-constructivist phenomenon in which learners are motivated by the social rewards of the greater knowledge community.

“The level of actual development is the level of development that the learner has already reached, and is the level at which the learner is capable of solving problems independently. The level of potential development (the “zone of proximal development”) is the level of development that the learner is capable of reaching under the guidance of teachers or in collaboration with peers.” ~ Lev Vygotsky

Or, more succinctly

I get by with a little help from my friends" ~ The Beatles

Our Objectives

  • Critically examine and critique multiple forms of digital storytelling and participatory learning experiences;
  • Iteratively and rapidly produce multiple digital stories by leveraging a variety of tools, methods, and design principles;
  • Stretch beyond our respective Zones of Proximal Development (comfort zones) to discover non-traditional educational practices, ideas, and systems;
  • Develop a critical stance toward digital storytelling as a social learning platform and community of practice.

Our Communication

  • StoryLab is a public website that we share; where students publish and share their stories openly and publicly.  You will have an account there and be asked to publish your work on the site.  You may use a pseudonym if you like.  StoryLab runs on the Ghost blogging platform. I will send you an invitation during the second week of class.
  • Personal blogs and social media are optional.  Tag all related posts with #inte5340.
  • Slack is a team-messaging platform that will serve as our primary communication channel.  You will need to check-in so Slack multiple times a week to keep up with announcements and class activities.  Slack allows for open class discussions as well as private, direct-messaging.  I will send you an invitation during the first week of class.
  • is an annotation tool that attaches discussions to web pages and pdfs. Annotations are public by default, but we will use private groups for our class. requires an account and a browser add-on for the Chrome browser.
  • Zoom is available for dialogues and other video discussions, as-needed. All @ucdenver faculty and students have Zoom-Pro accounts - just go claim it.
This is our class mixtape, i.e. a crowdsourced playlist for the roadtrip. Annotate the syllabus to make your contribution.

Our Privacy

DS106 has historically been an open and public course with student work posted on student blogs and individual social media accounts. This is a defining and critical component of open education, which we are studying and practicing in this course. However, the internet being what it is; INTE5340 will function as a semi-public course. We will engage the public by sharing our work via the StoryLab blog and we will retain private communications via and Slack.

Working publicly does not mean we forsake privacy. If you'd like to retain anonymity on the open web, I don't blame you.  Let me know and we'll set-up pseudonym accounts for you.

Our Materials & Media

The Interwebs.  You need a good computer with persistent internet access and capable of basic media editing and playback. You will need  a webcam/microphone for video discussion and assignment production. You will need to download and install software to complete assignments, so having appropriate system permissions is necessary.

Accounts/software. You need accounts with StoryLab,, Zoom, and Slack.

Diverse Media. You will be working with diverse types of media and tools.  You have some choice-of-assignment and choice-of-media, but you are required to demonstrate substantive and diverse use media for each assignment.  Do real work. Create a variety of things.

Diverse Tools. You may use what tools work best for you, but you must discover & try new things. I prefer you not use the same tool twice. There are numerous free and open source tools available for digital storytelling, and you are encouraged to seek out your own tool-set; to experiment with and critique those tools. To find tools – you may review the Product Hunt Collection, the Schrock Guide to Everything, or simply ask Google.  A part of the coursework is researching and identifying the right tool for the job.

Our Work & Process

Weekly work will be steady.  Read, watch, annotate, discuss, produce, share, and grade.

Presence & Participation (due Fridays): Eight weeks of active discussion and experimentation with digital storytelling.   Tasks and topics vary from week to week.  A typical week involves reading and annotating journal articles, watching videos, exploring tools/stories, and discussing all of the above. Each Wednesday a weekly-thing will be announced in Slack that you are expected to complete - a low-stakes fun/creative activity relevant to the topic of the week.
Your class presence is evident by your weekly participation in our discussions and activities via Slack and/or   Show up! Speak up!

  • 8 weeks of reading, watching, reviewing stories & discussing
  • 8 weekly-thing activities
  • 8 Check-Ins - tell me what you did this week

Story Works (due Sundays): Produce one thing per week for 7 weeks.  All story-works must adhere to the StoryLab Rubric.

  • 3 Digital Stories from the challenge-list, published to the StoryLab blog.
  • 2 Dialogues recorded with fellow classmates about a topic from the The List.
  • 2 Self-reflections / self-evaluations / portfolio-reviews about your learning.

Our Process:

  • Mondays - Instructor posts a fresh set of notes, materials, and tasks for the week on StoryLab/Slack.
  • Wednesdays - Instructor posts the Weekly-Thing (Slack)
  • Fridays - Presence & Participation activities are due (Slack,, etc.)
  • Sundays/Mondays - Story Works & Check-Ins are due

Our Artistry:  Success is based on effort, participation, and engagement, not artistic ability.  The concepts and ideas we explore are what count, not the aesthetics of the media you make.  I am primarily interested in your presence and your authentic engagement. Your creations do not have to be a Picasso for you to demonstrate growth, effort and understanding.

Our (un)Grading

I subscribe to a basic tenet of ungrading.  I’m not interested in tracking you or surveilling you. I am interested in talking with you and providing guidance/feedback on your thinking and your work. That is where I devote most of my energy in this course.  Here are some articles on this philosophy and practice:

My observation is that students like points.  Students like to know what they have to do to check-the-box, get the score, and win the game. You like to know where you stand at any point in the course - and that's fair.  Grading is a game we have all played through decades of schooling and it is hard to imagine another way - - we are comfortable with grading and resist leaving it.  

Think of ungrading as a call to adventure in the hero's journey - challenging you to leave your comfort zone.

Grading Games, Check-Ins & Not-Yets:

Given our affinity for tracking and points, we will be self-reporting and self-grading throughout the term.  Each Sunday or Monday you will submit a simple Check-In form that verifies what you did that week. You will receive points or no points for each item that is satisfactory.  Satisfactory is full credit.  Unsatisfactory (or not submitted) is no credit.   Your points will automatically accumulate and your grades will automatically calculate. You are in charge of your grades. We will play the grading game.    

  • Presence & Participation: 5 points/week for 8 weeks = 40 points
  • Story Works: digital stories (3) and reflections (2) are worth 10 points each.  Dialogues (2) are worth 5 points each.  = 60 points
  • I reserve the right to adjust grade calculations and points as necessary.

Your grade for this course is an A if you satisfactorily participate each week and satisfactorily complete all activities. If you want to skip an activity and lose points, you may.   Do the math and track your choices.  It is not expected that everyone will be trying for an A and there’s no problem at all if you make a decision to go for another grade.  It’s your grade.

I am reviewing all of your participation and works.  I will be chatting with you regularly in and Slack.  I will be sending you feedback and asking you questions about your thinking and your ideas on an ongoing basis.  I will be evaluating your digital stories, reflections, and dialogues - maybe joining in.   I will know if you are truly present, truly participating, and giving us a genuine effort.  I reserve the right to adjust grade calculations and points as necessary.  

Not-Yet:  Occasionally I might return your work with a grade of Not-Yet.  Not-Yet means the work shows promise but needs something more.  If you fix-it, finish-it, and/or adjust-it as noted, then you can still receive a satisfactory grade and full points.  If you don't fix-it, finish-it, and/or adjust-it as noted,  you will receive an unsatisfactory grade and receive no points.  This is essentially a do-over.  

Final grades will be based on this scale:

  • A  96 -100 pts
  • A- 90 - 95 pts
  • B  86 - 89 pts
  • B- 80 - 85 pts
  • C  76 - 79 pts
  • C- 70 - 75 pts
  • D  66 - 69 pts
  • D- 60 - 65 pts
  • F below 60 pts

Policies & Procedures (EULA)

Late work. Assignments are to be turned in on or before their due dates. Late assignments are penalized 10% per day.

Participation. You are expected to be fully engaged and participate actively in the course activities each week of class – especially interactions with other students.

Academic integrity. You should feel free to help one another and collaborate in the learning process. However, you are responsible for completing your own work. Any form of academic dishonesty or its facilitation will be subject to disciplinary action. Institutional policy specifics are published in the UCD Catalog – you are responsible for knowing them. A creative and enjoyable environment is a better learning environment. If, for some reason, you are not enjoying this class, bring it to my attention. Use of others’ work without providing proper acknowledgment is not acceptable and will lead to failing the course.

Special needs. If you have a disability, including a learning disability, please contact your instructor via phone or email to discuss any necessary accommodations.

Technology use. Using UCD email and networks require adherence to usage policies – e.g., avoiding commercial profit-making enterprises or inappropriate personal or political uses. You are responsible for knowing the standards and rules governing computer use. For more info see the IT Services policies page.

Accommodations. The University of Colorado Denver is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to persons with disabilities; see the University of Colorado Denver Accommodations website for specifics. Students with disabilities who want academic accommodations must register with Disability Resources and Services (DRS), North Classroom 2514, Campus Box 118, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364, 303-556-3450, TTY 303-556-4766, FAX 303-556-4771, email I am happy to provide approved accommodations, once you provide me with a copy of DRS’s letter.

Incomplete Grade Policy. Incomplete grades (I) are not given to replace low grades. To be eligible for an incomplete grade, students must (1) successfully completed at least 75% of the course requirements, (2) have special circumstances (verification required) that preclude the student from attending classes and/or completing graded assignments, and (3) make arrangements to complete missing assignments with the original instructor before more than one year has elapsed since the end of the semester in which the course was taken.

Incomplete Grade Process. Students must be in close communication with the instructor PRIOR to the end of the semester regarding special circumstances precluding them from successfully completing the remainder of the course. Faculty may assign students an incomplete grade of “I” to signify that special circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented the student from completing a small portion of the course (no more than 25%) and that a final grade cannot yet be assigned.

IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO COLLABORATE WITH THE INSTRUCTOR TO COMPLETE AN INCOMPLETE AGREEMENT FORM prior to the end of the semester for which the incomplete is given. A copy of the form, signed by both the student and the instructor should be submitted to the SEHD Student Services Center (LSC 701). Both the student and instructor should also keep a copy. The instructor sets the conditions under which the course work can be completed and the time limit for completion. The student is expected to complete the requirements within the established deadline. If the missing assignments are not completed within the allotted time, the “I” converts to an F on the student’s transcript. Students making up an incomplete should not re-register for the course.

Upon completion of the missing course work, a Change of Record Form is completed by the original instructor to change the “I” to a letter grade. Faculty should work with the Faculty Services Center to complete the Change of Record Form.

Students with Disabilities. The University of Colorado at Denver is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to students with disabilities. UCD strives to comply with the portions of the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) dealing with students. The Disability Resources and Services Office (DRSO) serve the needs of the diverse community of students with disabilities attending UCD. For information, please visit this site.

CU Denver Honor Code. As members of the CU Denver community, students are expected to uphold University standards, which include abiding by state, civil, and criminal laws and all University policies and standards of conduct. These standards assist in promoting a safe and welcoming community. The full UCD Student Code of Conduct can be found here.

SEHD Honor Code. The School’s honor code is currently under review by faculty in the Student Committee.

Ombuds Office. The CU-Denver Ombuds Office offers free, voluntary, and confidential consultation and information. It’s a safe place to discuss any conflicts, questions or concerns you may have about University expectations, policies or procedures. It’s located in the CU-Denver Building, Suite 100. For further information, call them at (303)-315-0046 or visit their website.

Support from the Writing Center. The UCD Writing Center offers individual and small group consultations for students seeking to strengthen their writing. Students meet with a consultant live for a 50-minute appointment, just like they would face-to-face. More information is available at their website. An informational video, appointment video, and pdf brochure are available at their website as well. See also their APA style guide.

What about post-term access?

The course is open during the teaching term, but not indefinitely after that. Remember that you will present projects in your portfolio from different classes – always back up your data and collect all needed files from all courses as you complete the work. You will be responsible for having access to these files as you prepare your portfolio.

Change Clause

This syllabus is subject to change, and it very likely will.