From Sharenator which has no readily discernable statement of re-use. Whatever.

I’ve written or tweeted or just mumbled in my sleep incoherently before about the power of ds106 in challenging our students, of making some things hard to do, or not so cookie cutter 1-2-3 recipe step. This came to my clearly from our 4th week unit on Introduction to Audio. Part of this was introducing students what to listen for in terms of good audio storytelling, but we also gave them two assignments to create audio… and we gave little more than some links.

This was another benefit I see now in moving Audio ahead of Visual and Design a we have structure the course in the past, because editing audio is something most students have never done before, and generally one of the harder things they deal with (hee hee until video).

But the thing is I see that students generally come to this conclusion having never done audio work! So this arc of moving from a preconception of what they think they can or cannot do, and achieving it is… well the stuff we are supposed to be doing. What good is it asking people to do things they already know how to do?

I was truck by the contrast of the before/after statements in the weekly reflection posts by my students. I decided to pull them out for some comparison; these are listed not in parallel order.


  • This was a different week. Working on audio is new too me.
  • Woo, a nose dive into audio this week. Audio is a little intimidating, just because I think hearing yourself speak sounds weird, do I really sound like that?
  • It was a lot of work, but I think I got the gist of audio storytelling for now”¦. Throughout the week I found myself very overwhelmed and frustrated with all of the audio based stuff. I’ve never really been good with working on sound and audio related things, I have always lacked that talent. I felt like there were so many things I had to do and I just couldn’t figure out how to get started. Although the video’s and things helped I think I just put a lot on myself and panicked before I even gave it a chance.
  • I remember using Audacity two years ago and I nearly yanked out all my hairs. Thanks to the progression of technology and the very awesome changes that were made I spent more time looking for audio clips that fit just right than actually putting my sounds together and editing. In the past it has taken me longer to edit than anything else.
  • Wow, what a week. Audio is definitely not my favorite thing. Can’t wait to do photography next week, though, and hopefully video work will be soon.
  • This week was not a good work for technology and me. I tried early in the week to log on to the DS106 site with no luck at all, apparently the site crashed or something”¦ I don’t really know, but it was out for a good bit. I also had some trouble downloading the software I needed to do the assignments like I wanted and kept accidentally deleting my work or messing it up and having to start from scratch or something weird thing. Internet kept crashing in the middle of posts and all kinds of crazy stuff happening.
  • This week I believe was the most challenging as of yet, just for me personally, at least. It was mostly so difficult or overwhelming because it was something completely new to me, I had never fiddled with anything audio before. I had always thought it would be a cool thing to be able to do. Trimming audio files so I can only hear exactly what I want and piece things together and create sounds of my own. Cool beans!
  • For some reason, I thought this week was going to be super stressful. Audio is not my strong point. For editting anything, really.
  • Audio was something that kind of scared me, so I tried avoiding it at all costs. But in the end, I knew I needed to get it done
  • This week seemed to take me A LOT longer than the previous weeks. But not in a bad way, I think it just took me a few tries before I was content with my outcomes.
  • While watching some of the sound effect samples i though it was time to tackle this week’s big assignments which was to create a Radio Bumber for DS106 Radio and to create a Short Story with only sound effects. I honestly thought this was going to be impossible…
  • After blogging about the audio/sound story I created my own radio story using clips from and a specified theme, being at the beach. At first it was difficult but I had a former ds106 student answer questions when I felt lost.
  • This week proved to be a tough one! Week 4 consisted of a lot of audio, which I was unfamiliar with until now.
  • Week 4 was a interesting week since I have never worked with audio editing before. I had no idea of the amount of work that goes into making even the simpliest sound bit.


  • But I enjoyed it and it wasn’t that stressful. However, I do have a tedency not to read instructions so knowing “hey, press export to get an MP3 in Audacity” would have been alot easier than having to google it and get frustrated. But hey. C’est la vie. I did feel like I learned a lot this week, though. Mostly through trial and error (ahem), but sometimes that is how you learn best.
  • Audacity is a great tool for me to use now and I’m excited to play around with it more in the future.
  • I enjoyed creating the soundclips a lot more than I expected and am glad that I have a friend that took this class previously who was able to help me when I had questions.
  • I loved becoming familiar with Audacity and messing around with FreeSound. I think my favorite part of this week was creating my sound effect story. I am very proud of it (hopefully it doesn’t suck).
  • At first, the 5 Sound Story was really scary. But once I got the hang of it, and knew what I wanted to accomplish, it was pretty smooth sailing from there. I created the radio bumper after the 5 Sound Story because as I was preparing to do these assignments, I was viewing what students had already published, and one mentioned doing the 5 sounds before the bumper. That way, she was able to get a better handle of manipulating sounds before adding her own personal voice to the mix. I think this organization worked out for me!
  • but once i downloaded audacity and made an account for i flew through this and was actually proud of the outcome of my work… This week was fun and interesting and cant wait for next week!
  • It turned out to be a lot easier than I thought! It was also kind of fun! I started with the easy things first, just listening exercises. Then gradually moved into creating my own audio… There wasn’t much to them at all and I am thrilled with the way my 5 sound story turned out. Knowing how to upload and put together audio opened up new things for further projects and even the daily daily creates
  • I learned how to layer sounds and make my own stories. It’s funny because now when I listen to the radio I find myself thinking about how i could put together the same beats. I enjoy audio storytelling, honestly, i’ve never given it this much thought so it’s been interesting.
  • It was a daunting task. I figured it out though with a LOT of trial and error and toying around with it but I still wasn’t happy with what I created”¦ I was content though and had exhausted my efforts and options so this is what I came up with, though the fully completed work is still spinning around in my head.
  • Luckily I got through it all and know that I tried my best. Although I faced some challenges during this week, I’m glad to say I completed everything the way it needed to be done. I think the hardest thing for me this week was learning how to use Audacity and then making my Sound Effect Story using it. This probably took me two or so days to finish just because I allowed myself to get frustrated. I’m glad I got through it and finally learned how Audacity works “¦. all this technology is crazy!!
  • The work I did complete however I feel I did to the best of my ability! (: I enjoyed the radio for background music during my studying (: I really enjoyed the hour radio show I listened to, as well as the videos I watched at the beginning of the week! I am looking forward to next week’s work in hopes that I just keep chuggin along!
  • It was less traumatizing then expected though (I didn’t even have to record myself), as most ds106 assignments have turned out to be. I liked listening and being able to interacting with DS106radio. The sound effect story was fun to be creative with, but learning to use Audacity was was a little confusing the figure out, once I got that down though the bumper wasn’t too bad.

This, to me, is the why to what we do.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. EXACTLY!!! This is what I was talking about today with the guys in the ThinkLab–classes like ds106 challenge students and give them all the tools to empower them to take charge of their own education. In the process, they find out they’re much more competent than they thought, they can do more, create cooler stuff, and don’t need to be afraid of trying new things.

    Even in my case, working as someone who was fairly familiar with Audacity, I learned where I need improvement. I discovered places where I could do more or work smarter, and that was invaluable.


  2. I’m an “Open participant” (and let’s just say way non-traditional student in terms of my age) in ds106 and recently struggled with Audacity in a recent dailycreate so I really appreciate seeing the younger generation wrestle with the software learning curve side of things and succeed.

    After the dailycreate I sort of mumbled to myself “audio is really not my thing”. But now after reading these comments I’m inspired to get back in there an bust out some audio tracks that match the tracks in my head.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Trish. We do not always tap into what many of the open participants face. The key here which our students do not always get either is when to stop banging your head against the wall, and to ask for help. And as a teacher, I cannot sense whether they understand the techniques like we (usually) can in class.

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