Digital Storytelling Students: Start your Engines!

Get your seat belts buckled and queue up some awesome music because we’re going on an interesting ride this summer. Welcome to INTE 5340 – Digital Storytelling! My name is Lisa Dise and I am your TA for this course (read more about me on my website). I’ve traveled down this road before, experienced some bumps and potholes first hand and held tightly onto the steering wheel, bracing myself the whole time. This time I’m here to serve as a guide for this course; I’m sitting in the backseat, looking at the beautiful scenery as you drive, with a map in hand, ready in-case you need help with directions.

Image of windy road
This is what it felt like last year at times!

Hopefully you have all read the syllabus by now (maybe even a couple of times!). As you can probably tell, this class is intense. Will this course be challenging? Yes. Will it be rewarding? Most definitely. Will you learn something? Absolutely. Will you have fun in the process? I hope so! This class is HARD, I’m not going to hide it. It was the first class I took as a graduate student, and I learned a lot, about digital storytelling, and about myself as a student. One thing it forced me to do, was to learn how to manage my time. What worked for me was to create a schedule of what days I aimed to have course tasks accomplished. Here’s an example of my weekly schedule from last summer:

*Note that the course I took last summer had a slightly different form than the one you’re taking now.

Monday – Read course announcements, First Daily Create, Finish reading if necessary, Pick DS106 Assignment Bank

Tuesday – DS106 Assignment Bank

Wednesday – Digital Story Critiques

Thursday – Reading Response

Friday – Flex day

Saturday – Respond to Peers, Second Daily Create

Sunday – Weekly Reflection, Read for next week

Lather, Rise, Repeat. I tried to stick to this schedule as best I could. There were times where I needed to be flexible and moved some of the assignments around. The key to success in this course is to be organized!


Now, a few notes regarding course specifics…

Learning with Remi

I’ve learned with Remi twice now. Remi expects a lot from his students, but in return you will get a present, engaging and caring professor. Here’s a few tips I can share about learning with Remi:

  • Watch every screencast and read every announcement: Remi won’t share anything superficial or unimportant.
  • Ask questions if you have them: Remi wants to see you succeed, not fail.
  • Be honest. Did you struggle this week? It’s ok. Challenges are expected and experimentation is encouraged. Keep trying until you get it!


Choose something you like, something you’re passionate about, something that’s important to you. You’ll be working with this theme all summer, the last thing you want is to get bored with it! My theme from last year was “Becoming a new mother”, I enjoyed creating media around my experiences as a new mother, and my son. Remember, at least four of your ds106 assignments must be related to your theme.


ds106 is an open digital storytelling course offered by the University of Mary Washington. We will be interacting with the ds106 community A LOT. I suggest taking some time to get acquainted to the site, and watch some videos on YouTube about other’s experiences. Also, get creative! Find an assignment you want to complete, or really like today’s daily create but want to change it up a bit? Go for it! One more tip about ds106, read the how to blog like a champ rubric and use it when writing your blog post submissions.

About those blogs…

You will be blogging, multiple times a week. The first thing you need to do for this course (after you’ve read the syllabus) is set up a blog if you don’t have one already. If you’re an ILT student, then use your base camp blog. If you need to set up a blog I recommend WordPress or Blogspot, they’re free and easy to use.

You will also be reading and comment on your peers blogs, because of the amount of people in this class I recommend using a service like feedly to help keep everything organized.


Twitter is a fantastic tool to help you connect and network with your peers and others in the digital storytelling community. You will be required to promote your blog posts through Twitter. Get used to using the hashtag #ILT5340 for all your coursework, and #ds106 for any ds106 related assignments. On top of following everyone in the course, you should consider following these Twitter accounts: @ds106 – The official ds106 Twitter handle, @ds106dc – The ds106 daily create account, @jimgroom – Creator and professor of ds106, and @cogdog – Creator and professor of ds106.

Once you become active on Twitter you will notice that the actual Twitter website won’t be able to track everything as well as you want it to. I like to use TweetDeck (Chrome app) to keep myself organized. There are many tutorials available to teach you how to use TweetDeck effectively.

Speaking of Chrome apps… Hypothesis!

We will be conducting the majority of our class discussions through an app called Hypothesis. Get yourself set up with an account on the hypothesis website. Once you have created your account, download and install the Chrome extension. This application is only available through Google Chrome, please install the browser on your computer if you don’t already have it. Once you have your hypothesis account and extension already set up, please join our course group by clicking on this link. That’s it! You’re ready to start annotating and discussing. Watch the video below to get an idea on how to get started.

You can find multiple resources for using hypothesis as a student here.

Note that starting in week two you will be annotating and discussing in your groups. More information on that will be coming shortly.


Congratulations! You’ve now completed your initial Digital Storytelling driver training. You’re now ready to take the wheel. Watch out for those speed bumps and remember to holler if you have any questions!


2 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling Students: Start your Engines!”

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights, Lisa! I didn’t realize there is a Chrome app for TweetDeck (I’ve just been loading the page every time) – I’ll have to check that out:-)


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