Week 04: World Building

Our goal this week is to transition from individual digital storytelling to participatory digital storytelling.  

You will complete your first digital story project. (due Sunday)

We will begin your second digital story project. (due July 26)

We have reached a point of ACT02 where you are given greater student agency and independence - - and responsibility.   There will be fewer specific tasks and more broad expectations.  WHAT you do, is largely up to you. HOW you do it is largely up to you.  You are more accountable to your teams than you are to me.

Your team has expectations to fulfill and a timeline to follow, and how you get there - is up to you.  Just get there.   I will not be prescribing details, just outlining expectations and timelines.

Incubate. Activate. Participate. Don't let your team down.

The gist of this project is to (a) articulate a storyworld with your team and (b) create intersecting stories within it.  

As a team you will do something with a participatory storytelling project of some sort, e.g. the Harry Potter Alliance, Hermoinie Granger 2020, World Without Oil, or any storyworld you like.   You can spin-off an existing fiction or non-fiction or you can create your own storyworld if you so desire - - -  Shakespeare, Zombie Apocalypse, or a What-If rewriting of history.   It is your choice.  

Because summer runs quickly, I will be offering each of your teams a jumpstart option, i.e. an optional premise to help you get going.  I'll post the jumpstart to your Slack team channels later this week.  

Each team has expectations to meet and decisions to make - outlined below. We'll spend this week with a bit of reading, and activating our teams.

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." --Henry Ford

Team Expectations

Leads.  Each team will have a lead who organizes and guides teamwork.  These are not decision makers, but organizers.  Initial leads will be randomly picked and identified.   Teams govern and organize themselves. Teams may reassign leads or assign other roles as they like.

Tools.  Each team has it's own Slack channel to get organized and make decisions together.  Each team has its own group. Each team may use additional collaborative and project management tools if they like, e.g. Padlet, Google Docs, etc. You must include me and Paul in any "places" you choose to work, so we may follow along.

Storyworld.  Each team will select or create a storyworld as their context.  You may spin-off an existing genre or popular story; you may participate in an existing storyworld or story community; you may create our own world from scratch. Whatever you choose, stay true to it.   A few examples and inspirations are linked below.

Individual media.  Each team member should make an individual creative contribution to the project.  Tell a story.  Play a character.  Produce a spin-off. You cannot reuse the same platform used in an earlier project, i.e. if you did a video in for your first project you cannot do one here.  Choose something else.

Transmedia.  Each team project will be a transmedia project, i.e. use a variety of media and narratives.   Each member of the team is expected to produce and contribute digital media in some capacity.  Your story, or stories, must have a cohesive aesthetic and affect, i.e. it all should make collective sense.

Participatory.  Your audience should be able to contribute, participate, or influence the story in some way.  They should be a part of it.

Dialogue.  A synchronous team dialogue is required at some point.  This could be Zoom, or some other platform - but it must be synchronous and recorded. Meet. Dialogue. Record. Post the dialogue to the appropriate #week-xx Slack channel.

Assessment.  There will be some component of peer-review in this project, as I will be asking you to evaluate equity of workload and contribution across your team. You are accountable to one another.  

This Week's Tasks


  1. Read, watch & annotate all of the above. If you have questions about the team project, post them in on this page.
  2. Read & annotate the following article(s) in your team. Consider the various examples of transmedia storytelling as inspiration for your team project.

  3. Gambarato, R. R., & Dabagian, L. (2016). Transmedia dynamics in education: the case of Robot Heart Stories. Educational Media International, 53(4), 229-243.


  1. Create, publish and share your individual project by Sunday. You can publish anywhere online - there are number of free publishing spaces - ask if you need guidance. Once published, introduce your creation and share the URL in the #week-04 Slack channel. Give us some context for your story - what's it about and how did you make it?
  2. Brainstorm storyworlds with your team in your team Slack channel. Review the jumpstart I post for you there, and decide what storyworld your team will be using by the end of the this week.
  3. Team leaders guide your team through a discussion and vote on a storyworld - get everyone's input. Post your formal decision in the #week-04 channel for the class to see.

  4. Smile and complete the StoryThing, posted to Slack on Tuesday.

Author image

About Brad Hinson

Teller of stories; drinker of coffee; father of kids; tinkerer of tools; geek. I am an SEHD Assistant Dean, an LDT Instructor, and a ThinqStudio Director @ CU Denver.
  • Denver
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