What flows below are the bits, ideas, experiments, projects, assignments, and assorted weird ideas all associated with my participation in ds106, the most innovative open course every, first launched in January 2011. I am currently teaching my own section online at University of Mary Washington!
ds106: Digital Storytelling Tagged Stuff
Probably the most well received talk at TED Tea Party City was Alien Woman, who shared her personal and moving story of thwarting the alien invasion.
This Fantasy TED Talk assignment is brought to you by the ds10zone:
Create a scene from a TED Talk being given by a fictional character. Obscure or well known, feel free to have your fictional character pontificating on their story, and their “essential truth” that has come to be known as TED Talks.
Week’s 1 assignment suggested using one of my all time favorite episodes, The Invaders, which in typical TZ fashion, leads you into an assumption of character that gets flipped in the end. A power of this episode is is spareness, one actor (A pitiful “victim” played by Agens Morehead), almost no dialogue, and music that builds the suspense. The woman’s contortions, moans, and screams draws us into seeing her as the victim of an invasion from beyond.
The “essential truth” here is one of presumption, ignorance, language barriers, and use of violence over reason.
When Jim Groom discussion re-filming episodes of the Zone, I speculated a redo of this episode using my mountain remote home in Strawberry AZ, which, of course carries a bit of side meaning given my home states rather regressive attitude towards immigration (IMHO). Before Arizona SN 1070, when I told people where I was from, they would respond with “Oh yes, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Tombstone” nut post 1070, it was more of a odd query of, “What is going on in your state?”
So just like Alien Woman, we may have some confusion/assumptions/predispositions towards people from other countries, we paint as invaders,
And thus TED, in reaching beyond its liberal bias, may someday have talks for spreading ideas that don’t matter. Alien Woman would be perfect as a speaker.
I have to admit working with the video from the UMW media server, was a bit of a struggle to use- since I could not pawn it, and getting a still was though if the movie was paused. But I grabbed my images ok. I downloaded the PSD template Ben Rimes created initially for this assignment. The poster shown on screen was borrowed from the It Makes Sense Blog (a site I feel dirty just looking at). In Photoshop I used the distort tool to stretch the image to the corners of the screen. I pasted in a few copies of the alien non aliens from the episode, and then did some erasing to make them appear to be behind the sign and the dude’s head.
I do like this creative challenge of finding assignments from ds106 that could be done with this episode.
— Jim Groom (@jimgroom) May 13, 2013
When Jim Groom lights up #ds106 you can feel the energy waves transmorgify. I for one am darned excited because I now get to be a humble open participant in ds106, and the 5 week may summer session of the #ds106zone already has that giddy feeling as people are riding the momentum.
When jim had first described the idea of re-writing/producing classic twilight Zone episodes with a modern slant, one that jumped out me was the last one from Season 1, A World Of His Own. Writer Gregory West apparently is so good at character creation, he can actually conjure them up in real peace just be describing them into his microphone. His wife, Victoria, is not pleased to see the blonde vixen Gregory creates to talk to, and alas, we see he undoes his creation by removing the tape and tossing it on the fire.
That is some creative power.
What I always liked about this episode is the fun play in the closing comments- usually Rod Serling is off in his own space with the commentary, but here he interacts with the characters, and we see how powerful Gregory West really is:
To make this GIF, I grabbed the second part of the series from YouTube, used pwnYouTube to save as MP4, and trimmed (MPEG StreamClip) the closing bit where Serling gets his dose. I save as a .mov since thats what PhotoShop CS5 can import into layers (using every 10th frame). I then went through the frames to remove as many non essential ones as needed, played with the timing. It’s a longer sequence than I normally do, but black and white videos are good fog GIFfing because you can reduce the color palette- I got it down to just `6 colors, so although 36 frames, its just a shade over 1 Mb.
I thought of this episode as maybe a recasting for the idea of moden digital identities. We create them ourselves, and maybe some people get good enough that their constructed personas are mistaken for real people. I cannot seem to find the info, but there was some case in New Zealand in the late 1990s, where some librarian won an internet award, and her whole persona turned out to be conjured up by some IT dude.
But it struck home at last week’s C|NET story about Google’s Schmidt: The Internet needs a delete button:
The Internet needs a delete button, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday.
Actions someone takes when young can haunt the person forever, Schmidt said, because the information will always be on the Internet. He used the example of a young person who committed a crime that could be expunged from his record when he’s an adult. But information about that crime could remain online, preventing the person from finding a job.
“In America, there’s a sense of fairness that’s culturally true for all of us,” Schmidt said. “The lack of a delete button on the Internet is a significant issue. There is a time when erasure is a right thing.”
Now if any entity has the ability to make content disappear, it is Google. They have numerous times made content “deleted” by removing it from the search results.
Introducing Googly West, who has a World of Its Own?
I know many people can nod with agreement about the sad case of created by Schmidt- but check this assumption at the door- “But information about that crime could remain online, preventing the person from finding a job.” This is not a technical issue but a policy one.
Now of course if said false news was out there about me, I might feel differently right?
It is a weak argument to suggest that one false fact about me on the internet would prevent me from getting a job. And this is the thing about the internet- we have to accept that for the value of everything gained from free and open information, that there can be wrong information out there, maybe dangerous.
And that is why being an advocate of openness means that I am not a mere victim of someone else’s erroneous information, if I am actively maintaining and publishing my own stream of positive content. That is the heart fo Reclaiming Our Identity- not “taking it back” but Asserting it Ourselves. So if you are leaving your online tracks to be cast by Facebook/Google/Twitter et al, well you are not asserting.
But who am I to think I know more about the internet than the Executive Chairman of Google? I make no claim. But his claim that “we need a delete button” throws a stake in the heart of the concept of the open web, because it says then that someone. some entity some company say located in southern California, controls what is on or not on the internet. It says that someone gets to make a judgement call.
From my 20+ years of being online, that is not how the ecosystem works.
And we do not want to live in that Twilight Zone? It’s not Gregory West tossing our tapes on the fire or Eric Schmidt pressing a Big Red Button- that is one us to be actively doing/managing/asserting in out online activity.
Woah, what started as a GIF ended up in a rant. I’m eager to play some more with the Zone, but GIFs are low hanging fruit, it will get more interesting when we see more design riffs and mashups/remixes happen.
Get in the Zone!
During a presentation last month for the TCC World Online Conference a participant noted in the chat with some irony, that despite the unconventional form and function of ds106 I pointed them to a traditional (long) syllabus for my 2013 class.
I said that it was a university course at UMW, so it needed a syllabus.
Somewhat later (like yesterday while sitting on a beach) it struck me that it’s another case of Korzybski’s line of the map not being the territory – the syllabus is not the class, the experience, but some representation of it.
In wrapping up a year’s experience teaching ds106 I was thinking of how the syllabus was like a mode of bread making, following someone else’s recipe, but changing up the ingredients and the process, iteratively, and getting one’s hands in the dough. And each time you bake, you tweak.
So down the post I am going to write up some of the things that went into the class map, how it evolved; there is stuff here that is not explicitly in the ds106 assignment bank that may (or not) be of value to someone else.
But there is something else.
I remain astounded that anyone with a fully functioning neocortex talking seriously about MOOCs being some model of saving educational costs when the word is each course rings up a tab of $250k (edx) or even more. What does an institution get for dropping a quarter of a million per course?
I can tell you what you do not get- an ongoing open sharing of the processes, of what worked, what did not work. Not a Udellian narrating of the process. It’s more like another loaf of pre-packaged Wonderbread off the racks.
And it ties back to what Leslie Madsen-Brooks recently summarized eloquently in using UMW as a case example of innovation on higher education. That’s right, look beyond the Ivies and the Silicon Valley darlings, and you land at a tiny, public liberal arts college in Virginia. Jim Groom writes it all in the title- the Innovation isn’t Technical, It’s Narrative.
I spent 6 months working at UMW thinking they had some magic in the water (did not taste any). But it’s a culture of open sharing, not the final products, but the makings thereof. It’s not a mindset of saying, “Look what we experts hand you like Greek gods”, it’s an ongoing narrative of trying, asking, failing, reflecting, of process, not just product.
And so, for your $250,000 course, do you get the story of how the sausage was made? Or just sausage?
When my Fall 2012 ds106 class rolled around, I realized it was ridiculous for me to proffer a definition of what “Digital Storytelling” is- a place where most courses start as their map. My map for it was- I don’t know what it is, but we will spend 16 weeks asking the question again and again. Learning should never be an end game of an answer, but the quest, right?
So for ds106, you have a history (at least all the bits I could find) of the class back to Spring 2010, it has its own digital story. You get 9 iterations of the class at UMW, both 16 week semester versions, and the summer “performance” types.
The syllabus I have been using is part of a lineage that goes back to the beginning, with changes incorporated along the way, and not just mine, but the ones of co-teaching along side Jim and Martha Burtis.
I will add that this course asks a lot of the students. We tell them up front, the scare email I learned from Jim. I encourage newly enrolled students to drop the course. We don’t want them in there without knowing the demands. And as usual, the end of class feedback is usually of the of “this is way too much work for a 100 level class”. It’s usually, but not always followed up by a “but I learned so much”.
I felt less bad about this for Spring 2013- Nearly all of my students were seniors, getting their last credits in. They are experienced students.
But there is something else that ought to be its own post– I firmly believe that learning should be hard. We need to push learners- not make it hurt or hard just for the sake of being hard, but I feel like a lot of education hinges on making it easy, not hard. What accomplishment is truly worth achieving if it is easy?
Also, note that my year of ds106 includes teaching it once as face to face, and 3 semesters (one a 10 week summer session) as a fully online class. In all cases, 90% of my students finished and passed (out of 25 students). There was no change in that in an online class.
A cornerstone of the students work is a weekly summary of their work as a blog post on their blog. It was Martha’s idea that we require them to enter that as a URL in Canvas to document their assignment work for the week. I still am in favor of this approach- I get a snapshot of their blog at the time of submission, I can review and give some grade, and students get a better measure of where they stand. I can comment there on things might not do on their blog, and it makes the final grading really straight forward.
The downside is I have a glut of work, since 90% of their blogging happens in the last 2 days of the week. I read easily over 1200 student blog posts this semester.
So here’s a bit of over the shoulder analysis of my most recent syllabus for Spring 2013.
We do not do a tremendous amount of reading chapters or articles in the course. We have no textbook beyond this free one called “The Open Web”. There are weeks when their are required viewings of videos or audio content, but the gist of the course is making stuff, and writing in their own digital space about the process of making stuff.
The other thing I love about the class is that I am not teaching software. We do not require tools they should use. They can use whatever software they oen for image, audio, video editing; we provide a resource of open source and free web based media tools. They qiuckly learn to first try finding the answers to using tools themselves. There are more how to tutorials out there than I could create in a lifetime.
I should also note that my online class has no weekly lectures. All of the class is done by a weekly post of work to do. I offered each week an optional live session on Google Hangout, themed as “The ds106 Show” (students had a participating requirement to join me for at least one episode). I found these incredibly valuable to have conversations with the students and the open participants who joined me. The production of these was nil — my cost was I decided to do a series of silly promo videos for each week
I also set up optional open drop in labs for students, but participation falls off quickly as their schedules get busy.
The keys to me are frequent commenting on their blogs, and responding to their questions on twitter- that community space only makes sense if they see a quick value to it.
Weeks 1 & 2: Bootcamp
This is an idea that came from Martha and I teaching in parallel in Fall 2012. The first two weeks are focused on getting the students up to speed quickly in managing their install of WordPress, blogging, organizing things in categories, customizing with themes, plugins, widgets.
We wanted to get this out of the way, so in week 6 I was not having to remind them about using hyperlinks and embedding media. I start them early with an understanding what I want in their writing up assignments, that its more than just posting a piece of media.
They start right away doing Daily Creates. In the first week, I made sure there was a simple video one as we saw it powerful to be able to see each other and the place we did our work. I would link to it, but YouTube gas totally fubared their own tagging system, so finding videos by tag is seriously broken.
They are asked to look at advice from pervious students, something they will come full circle to do at the end of the class (another brilliant Martha Burtis idea)
Students love the Daily Create.. for weeks. I usually require 3-4 per week. They are not graded on what they do, but I give feedback. Their attitude towards it seems to plateau mid-semester. I can tell when they reach this point when it starts to look more perfunctory. Not all the students get to that point, but I keep tabs on it, and drop it as a required thing usually when we start doing video.
I had the most blog ready set of students in my last class, liekly because a good number of them had been writing on UMW Blogs for 4 years. That goes a long way to explain the “water” theory at UMW (it’s not in the water, it’s in the WordPress).
In the challenge part, their last bootcamp task is that we give them an assignment (make an animated GIF) and do not provide any instructions on how to do it (besides a few reference links). The goal here is not the media they create, but that they learn the “ds106 way” of not expecting the course to provide all the steps, but to find their own way.
Week 3: What is Storytelling?
We finally get into the topic here.
In semesters past, we had them read a selection from Bryan Alexander’s excellent book but I got tired of seeing parroting of readings. They get some videos to watch that offer some insight (Kurt Vonnegot’s Shape of Stories always a hit).
I actually want them to blog their oen ideas on entering the course, of what storytelling conjures up, and what they think adding “digital” means. At the end of the semester I ask them to revisit this and reflect on what has changed, or not. They start ramping up their creating, with some story creating activities.
Week 4: Introduction to Audio
Martha and I moved audio earlier in the semester– they get a heavy dose in the middle when they do radio shoes .Nearly every student dreads audio, and we thought by starting them earlier gives them a longer run with it. We introduce the mid term group audio show project so they can start thinking about it and forming teams, so the work is segmented in the next weeks when we move into visual and design activities.
So we start like all of our media- an observation/listening activity. I have them listen to selected audio storytelling from This American Life, The Truth, and Radiolab, so they can start paying attention to the nuances they may not normally hear- use of music, cuts, overlaid tracks, sound effects (foley), ambient sounds. I use an edited down version of a Radiolab episode where I have marked these things to listen for as soundcloud comments
I ask them to listen to a few videos by the makers of these shows. And they get their first audio creation assignment, a five sound story. It’s just to get them doing simple audio editing.
Alsot every student dreads audio going in. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of media, it just gets no respect. By the time we move past audio, most of them have a new appreciation for it. A few still hate it. But I emphasize that good audio on its own makes other projects (e.g. when they do video).
These are often the favorite portions of the semester. The assignments here are fun and very doable. They get experience image editing; I really encourage them to use an editor that allows creating in layers (as it becomes obvious that stuff done in Microsoft Paint just looks crappy). They dont need Photoshop, GIMP has all they need, even if the interface can make you cuss, and the online editor pixlr is pretty darn sophisticated.
Each week has a “Safari” type challenge, something Jim and I found worked well in our face to face class, was to give them a creative challenge to do in a limited time frame and using what was around them.
Both of these fall into a meta layer of ds106 I call “Seeing the World Differently” — students end up looking at their surroundings and noticing what they did not even see before.
I want them to start using their cameras (or mobile phones) for going beyond snapshots, so provide them a collection of techniques to try.
And one that I love, and the timing works for it, is the Valentine Day’s challenge — because it was created for us by a former ds106 student. Sarah contacted Jim in Spring 2012, and challenged our classes to modify some cheesy sappy valentine’s day card with new captions. It’s not a huge technical task, but doe shave them probing a bit more with their visual editing.
For week 4, there is a “photo blitz”, essentially a scavenger hunt of things to capture photos of in a 20 minute time span (their first and last images need to be a clock).
- Make an ordinary object look more interesting, almost supernatural.
- Take a photo that makes use of converging lines.
- Take a photo dominated by a single color
- Take a photo of something at an unusual angle
- Take a photo of two things that do not belong together.
- Take a photo that represents the idea of “openness”
- Take a photo that expresses a human emotion
- Take a photo emphasizes mostly dark tones or mostly light ones.
- Make a photo that is abstract, that would make someone ask, “Is that a photograph?”
- Take a photo of an interesting shadow.
- Take a photo that represents a metaphor for complexity.
- Take a photo of someone else’s hand (or paw)
The outcome is predictable, as they write of looking at their rooms, class buildings, campus in a new way.
When we move into Week 6 and doing design assignments (the line between visual and design is always fuzzy), they are getting more experienced at picking things from the assignment bank, and writing them up.
As a variant on the photo blits, there is a design assignment to review some design concepts outlined in a shared doc, and to find examples of 3 or 4 of them as they go about their week. Again, it’s trying to see these design principles not in some book or video, but where they live. They add their example links to the google doc.
They also get in here the specifications for the mid term group audio project- and they have to start their process in these weeks of visual and design.
Weeks 7 & 8: Group Audio Projects
This segment amps up the stakes, because not only do they have to deal with a media they still may dread, there is the expected dysfunction of group projects, and it is a segment where the deadlines are moved from weekly to having 2 weeks span (and this time, it was 3 because spring break was in the middle).
The final audio shows are broadcast the week later on ds106 radio, an event I just love. Its fun because their work goes live, we challenge them to grow us an audience (I think we did top 30 listeners), but also because at least one team member has to join me live on the radio to talk about their shows.
It is both pain and joy to see the group dynamics pan out. We had some drama this time around, and a lot of ideal group activity too. They have to figure out how to work together. I did not see any groups this time where it all fell on one person. And the production value this time was really high.
It would be easier, if all they had to do was individual audio assignments, but the group dynamic is one of those things that are hard for them, yet the challenge is one of those growth ops.
They also had their own audio assignments to do. One of the required one was taking a 30 second segment of a Charlie Chaplin sequence, and recoding the foley sounds that might work with the action (this idea came from Scott Lockman in Spring 2012 when my in class students performed their foley live). For this time around, their segment to do was based on a formula of what month was their birthday; I wanted a mix of segments for a later assignment.
Week 9: Stories in and of the web
This is one of those “only in ds106″ ideas- that we have students explore how stories might be told within the construct of the web itself, within neither the comment space of sites, or of creatively re-writing web pages to tell a new story.
We’ve come a long way since the first few times of wrestling with the Firebug tool, Mozilla’s Hackasaurus is a gem of a tool, and students have a lot of fun seeing how they can recast a web page. Some of them get a better sense of how web content is assembled. Generally, most of them dont go as far as I would like with changing up a web page.
To add some juice to student commenting (I still struggle for a magic postion to have them learn to comment just for the sake of commenting), I came up with a new idea- they were to create a fake persona and have that character leave comments (or engage with other fakers) on each other’s blogs. That was a win.
Week 10: Reading Movies
Again, another level of noticing a media before starting to create it. I had a few required viewings on movie making, and yes, a reading of Ebert’s How to Read a MOvie (sadly he passed away the week before!).
I have an activity I came up with for Fall 2012 I am really happy with, the three part scene review. I provide a list of YouTube collections of famous movie scenes, and ask the students to view it 3 times and to record their thoughts:
- Turn down the volume, and notice the camera work- cuts, angles, character placement.
- Turn down the visual, and pay attention to just the audio- dialogue, foley, sound effects, ambient.
- Watch it normally, and comment on how the first two work together.
Weeks 11 and 12: Movie Making
Video editing brings together much of the semester so far, so their only task for these two weeks is doing video assignments from the bank. This time, I required them to do opening titles, closing credits, and I was looking for their writeups to reference sources for all of their video.
I seemed to have to do less support for Windows Movie Maker (maybe because Andy Rush was my guest that week on the ds106 show).
Weeks 12 & 13: Remix and Mashup
The last content sections of the course, involved work that again continues movie editing in terms of putting together bits they have done all semester.
I have to say after discussion a few weeks ago (was it Giulia Forythe or Micheal Branson-Smith when we hung out in New York?) who noted that students were doing remix/mashup work all semester long, and it might be artificial to present it as something of its own at the end of the course.
Actually Brooke said it best:
So, remixing. Like I said before, this week really didn’t clear up what remixing really is. As I talked about in my video, is editing a photo I found on the internet remixing? I call it photoshopping.
I don’t even think there should be a name for either of those, to be honest. I’m taking a course on the Memory of the Civil War, and we’ve discussed a lot about how memory comes into being. Everything comes from somewhere. There are no original ideas. So why do we have to have a name for something we do naturally? Intrinsically, even? Is it because it has become part of the legal system that we need a name for it?
I had them watch videos like Everything is e Remix and Remix Manifesto- I was lucky that Andy Baio’s New Prohibition one came out that week, which may be the most insightful piece to see on the topic.
Students had already been getting YouTube copyright flags, and of course they got mad. “Don’t they know I am a student? I am not trying to make money. I am doing this under Fair use”
And thats the crux of Baio’s message- Fair Use is not a law. It offers no protection. All it provides is a way to argue a case if you want to spend a few hundred thousand dollars defending yourself in court.
I have to admit falling down on introducing creative commons and copyright like we typically did in earlier ds106 classes. I always found students did not really “get” creative commons just because I told them it was important. I had hoped to come back to it after they had a few rounds of creating with media, and they might reflect on the idea that they should have access to all media in their culture to create from. I cannot say I got to that message in the end.
Most of them just wanted to know how to post their video and not get flagged for copyright- to complete the assignment. We do want them to have this experience of being flagged so they can question the laws, because its going to be on them going out in the world and making these changes our generation has failed to do.
The first time I taught ds106, the projects were wide open as to what students could do, and so ended up their final products. Over the last few rounds, I had honed it. This time I asked them o start with a character to be the focus, the hero, it could ba real or fictional persona. Their story had to be told in multiple media created in response any of the ds106 assignments, but they had to put their character on an arc (Vonnegut’s story shape was a useful reminder). They had to assemble it all in a single blog post that combined their embedded media with narrative of their blog post.
They first had to write a post about their character choice, and that gave me room to suggest that the consider how to place their character in a different context or challenge than we know them. I asked them to surprise the audience, to play with reality.
I was highly impressed with their output this time, I assemble all the stories in a storify. I also ask them to use categories on their blog to organize what they think of their best work, and lastly the “pay it forward” assignment of recording a message or media that represents their advice to future ds106ers.
Whew this post was a marathon, and still feels like it is scratching the surface of the experience. I’m super proud of my students, even the one who’s reflection considered the class busy work and recommended to future students “drop this course” ;-).
It’s not only the media they created but the extensive narration most of them did for their work- again, at UMW, that is what is in the water, the idea of narrating ourselves. There are pure chunks of golden bag substance on the way students articulated their experience.
Yeah, and if anyone makes it this far, let it be known how crappy my breadmaking analogy is– look at my bread!
Tomorrow is the deadline for final projects from my Spring 2013 UMW ds106 students. A few grades punched in the system later, and I close out my current era of teaching ds106. After being part of the 2011 horde of open participants, I taught it in person at UMW in Spring 2012 (a parallel section with Jim Groom), co-taught with Martha Burtis the online summer 2012 “Camp Magic Macguffin” experience, and taught a parallel online section with Martha in Fall 2012, and this current semester was the solo teacher at UMW.
It’s been quite a ride, but I’m hopping off the bus.
Jim is lined up to teach a 5 week summer session starting in May; it should of course be over the top, but you will need to check with him for details. I’ll be around, but not as a teacher.
It’s time to do something different (that is TBD). I was talking with Martha last week about another topic, but like usual, ds106 came up. It looks like no one will be teaching it at UMW in the Fall (as far as I know), so it will be interesting to see where the community flows. The level of activity among open participants fell off a lot since the first buzz year in 2011. It’s not surprising, I would likely more my attention elsewhere after an intense following of ds106.
And while there is a lot of things in the ds106 universe, on first entry as someone who maybe just signs up, there’s not a whole lot of direction or a road map. I tried to outline some routes in the Quick Start Guide.
I had dreams of building a part of the site that would be a kind of “build your own syllabus”. Between the Assignment Bank, Daily Creates, and the 2+ years of lessons we have assembled for our UMW class, we have a rather large pile if resources. What if there was some way to identify and interest area or level, and them pick and choose resources to make a syllabus for yourself or others?
I had the idea, but not the time to make it happen.
Coming off a mini ds106 immersion workshop last week for faculty at Wagner College, and in talking with Martha, it seems there is room for perhaps some other “sizes” of doing ds106- maybe a faculty development series, or maybe a month focussed on doing say design or audio (which is what it sounds like Scottlo is cooking up).
So while I am done teaching ds106 at UMW, I am at the peak of my game (maybe), so if someone, somewhere else is interested in running it as a course, workshop, interpretive dance, give me a bark.
There’s a short list of things to wrap up on the ds106 web site; a nice diversion yesterday was inserting all media by current students into the header on the home page:
and I have a few storify collections to assemble as I review the current students work- their final projects, student’s identified “Best Works”, and one of my favorite, the advice to future ds106ers (again these will fill out as I grade slug tomorrow).
I cannot say for sure what will happen with the Daily Create – I will likely fill it up for at least May and June. There might be some rethinking that needs to be done there since YouTube has pretty much killed the functionality of tags (so we cannot retrieve videos by tags), and SoundCloud is still stingy on letting accounts create but a single group. It might be time to figure out a way to parse out the submissions from twitter and tags, like the old DailyShoot used to do.
There’s likely a boat load of my more post game reflections. This class by far had some of the best creativity and blog writing of any class I’ve had before. It says a lot about UMW and an environment where web publishing is kind of a regular thing. I look forward to seeing how these students put their #4life skills to work (and play).
But after next week, someone needs to shut the porch light off for ds106.
UPDATE: I looked at my computer clock right as the post was publishing. It has a 106 in it!
MORE UPDATE: And now someone steps in with a new summer 2013 project that plans to use ds106! I will add them to the registration system ASAP.
What’s your digital story? is a summer programme open to middle and high school students in Hanoi over June and July 2013. Digital Storytelling provides the spine of our workshops the summer in which learners will be guided by both educators and professional digital storytellers (photographers and filmmakers). Our vision for the summer is to use the tools of digital storytelling to help our participants think critically about the subjects and topics they address. Learning how to collaborate and communicate in different ways will be a focus of our workshops. You can learn more about the programme here – http://thelearningproject.asia/summer2013-2/
I dream of some magic hack that retweets this classic from Audrey Watters every time someone tweets/blogs/farts about MOOCs
Say “MOOC” one more time twitter.com/audreywatters/…
— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) March 19, 2013
We need more Jules. I am but a weak imitation, but over lunch could not rest (and actually forgot to eat lunch) to spin out some MOOC FiCTION
“What does the future of education look like?”
Say it one more time.
Allow me to retort…
Do you see those faces? That’s what a two hour dive into ds106 can do for you. At least that is what a group of faculty found out Friday at Wagner College a lovely campus on a hill at the tip of Staten Island. I was brought there by Robin and Neil Hayden, who have been working with the extremely dynamic Vice Provost Lily McNair on a Media Literacy in Teaching and Learning Program.
I’ve known Robin for years, but never met face to face until Thursday night, and was excited to be on the bill along with Matt Stoltzfus from Ohio State (who got a dose of ds06 from having seen Martha Burtis and Jim Groom present at two different events this Spring) and Karen Cowden from Valencia College.
We each had 20 minutes in the morning to talk about our interests and preview what we would each do in the afternoon as a 2 hour workshop.
Robin had asked me to talk about the student blogging in ds106 — I talked some about the structure and idea of ds106, the magic of the syndication bus, but the bulks was showing all of my current students blogs and used different examples to highlight the work they all did through the semester.
I did not quite make it through all the student blogs! You can find the slides, videos, and links for this presentation at http://cogdog.wikispaces.com/Five+Things+for+Wagner+College.
I like using this montage of UMW ds106 students to say in their own words what the experience is like
And later at lunch, a Wagner faculty came up gushing about what she found by googling “Cat Breading” ;-)
The afternoon workshop I set up first to have faculty explore each other’s digital gootprints, to see what they could find, good or bad, about each other (no bad was found, though Frank found a namesake who was in the mob), but mainly to make a case for being proactive in projecting the digital identity you want others to find, rather than leaving it up to third party services.
All materials I put up on a page at http://ds106.us/wagner-college
This was the set up for them to start some basic blogging, using a new hosted wordpress site for faculty. They each did two blog posts to seed their blogs, and I then had them register their blogs at ds106, using a feed for a ds106 tag. Then I showed how their posts are aggregated like any other class/group we set up for others
They also took on a Daily Create (a writing assignment) Compose the convincing cover letter a cartoon character wrote to win their job. I had plans for them to do a design assignment, but we fell short on time. That’s homework!
There was more to the day, including a chance to hear Wagner faculty share their technology projects and ideas. It was a great day all around, not to mention a beautiful sunset cruise into Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry, and a wave to the gift from France.
I was glad to be able to try out this workshop- I think there is a lot of potential in using ds106 materials in a program of faculty development (more than a 2 hour workshop).
If you are interested in this kind of thing at your place, well operators are standing by.
Yesterday was week 14 for ds106, the last week of classes for my UMW students, and also the last of my semi regular live Google Hangouts pitched as a weekly “show”. Thanks to Brian Lamb, Todd Conaway, and stalwart student Nancy B for showing up.
The whole series is right here!
The viewership on the series is lower than the video for Aunt Bertha’s Toenail Clipping tutorial, but that was not the point. What was the point? Oh yes, since ds106 really has now scheduled classes nor weekly lectures via video, I wanted something that was “live” as an least an opportunity to offer at least some together moment in the class.
Oh, I made it a participation requirement for my students to cohost / be present for at least one show a semester. This provided me a way to ask them about the class and give them a platform to complain (the never did), and have speak for the experience in their own words, interact with open participants from the larger community– but mostly so I at least could know them a bit better, and vice versa.
Unlike spending thousands of dollars to film sterile fixed lecture (cough xMOOC), this was meant to be as conversational as face to face interactions, to be human to each other. It was not scripted.
I decided each week to make a 2-3 minute intro reel, always the same orm of intro, music, and exit, but each week I would insert some new clips of old commercials, educational videos, etc. I used three segments from the 1958 Promotion Bypass, a vintage film about management issues, for the dude in the suit behind the desk. My shtick was each week, I would re-write a script I would dub over his lines. This was a matter of counting syllables and re-writing it.
I ended up getting it so I could produce a new video each week in about 2 hours. For what purpose? My own amusement. But they were fun to do
After the hangout was archived by YouTube, I simply used the youtube editor to weld together the intro to the google archive recording.
I filmed these in my spare bedroom/office, using a reflector to bounce fill the window light, an worklight for a spot (super low tech by Andy Rush measures for sure). I’d play the music from my iPad out of some portable speakers.
So this was totally not necessary, but totally became a weekly obsession, and I got a lot out of the regular act of doing this week by week. It was worth it for me to at least have some talking time with the students. I call it flipping the video lecture– right into the trash. Online classes do not need lectures to transmit content. Or at least I think they don’t.
But what do I know? Aunt Bertha is killing me in the stats.
Thanks to people like Todd Conaway, Ben Rimes, Brian Lamb, Brian Short, Zack Dowell, Mikhail Gershovich, Jonathan Worth, Andy Rush, Giulia Forsythe, Jim Groom, Norm Wright, Daniel Zimmerman, Michael Branson-Smith, Bryan Alexander, Martha Burtis, and Haley Campbell for being guests.
And all my students for putting up with the weirdness.
But don’t mind me, ask Aunt Bertha.
I was born in Dixie in a boomer’s shack
Just a little shanty by the railroad track
Freight train was it taught me how to cry
The holler of the driver was my lullaby
I snapped a series of photos of this freight train going by out on the Santa Fe tracks behind La Posada (a true western gem and proof that there is much more in Winslow than a tacky corner). The quick series was in hope of doing an animated GIF, as I fiddled in Photoshop, I wondered about applying filter effects on each frame, maybe trying to make it flash like an old movie. Well that did not happen, but a combination of the black and white adjustments and some edge filters gave it a surreal effect.
No real message here, just making a GIF.
And in a few weeks I will be headed in this direction from a train I will catch in Flagstaff for a kong journey…
Why he read all of the ancient and modern parables of the Wise One, especially borrowing attributes of those who took on Empires, like Jedi Yallow, for later training. He than sought out The Boing Boing Being in the deep depths of Hainault Forest, spending weeks at his feet, taking notes on his iPad.
This is a quick remix example for an exciting ds106 project, where our students are among the first to get a crack at remixing the portrait photos of Cory Doctorow that Jonathan Worth is sharing with the world for open remixing. Jonathan described it for us
and as well visited with me and my students during this week’s ds106 show. To be a base for the site, and knowing the flood of action once Cory announces this on Boing Boing, I suggesting hanging the web site on wordpress.com- with the name borrowed from internet speak and one of Cory’s books — For The Remix
The first set of photos is available at http://fortheremix.wordpress.com/photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (please no license debates, ok?). The original high resolution images (as large as 50 Mb) are stored on Amazon’s cloud.
For my students, they have a ds106 Mashup assignment they have to do for this last segment of the course.
And that’s where I want your help. We want to have a good variety of examples of remixes before we take the project to the wide open web. We are hoping people di more than simple images, like I did here, but actually think about making stuff. I’ll be nagging a lot of you ds106ers to do this. You have been warned.
Okay, for my remix above, the original image or Cory sitting on his chair reminded me a bit of Yoda:
I found an image of the scene where Yoda is teaching Like in the woods in a post from Death Star PR A Chronological List of Things Yoda Tried (and Completely Failed) To Do:
I was thinking at first that I would replace Yoda, maybe with a flip horizontal to match the angle Cory is sitting at. I took both into PhotoShop, and used the magnetic lasso to select around Cory’s shape and remove the background. When I started moving and resizing over the Star Wats scene, I realized hw was a better match to replace Luke, and the concept made sense- Yoda learning from Cory Doctorow.
I had to do a bit of clone brushing on the original layer to wipe out Luke’s foot, but it fit pretty good. Once I had Cory’s photo in place, I used Images -> Adjustments -> Hue Saturation checking the “COlorize” box to try and match the green hue of the star wars scene. Not too bad, eh?
I left a copy of my PSD file for anyone who cares to fiddle. Since the start wars image was low quality, I did te sloppy thing and up-sampled, which I know is not good, but sue me. I made a 300dpi version PNG at 3600X2842 px (7 Mb).
I just wanted to have one quick example out the door first! My next one is going to be an animated GIF..