Blog Pile, ds106 Class Notes and Stuff

10 Ways You Can Be Part of ds106 Without any Cruddy MOOC Drop Out Feeling

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by dmixo6

For open participants in ds106, we can dispense of the entire “I dropped out of another &$*#ing MOOC” because there is nothing to drop out from. No one-pace-for-all ramming speed schedule, no weekly lectures, no multiple guess quizzes.

We have a very easy to understand Getting Started Guide, itself with not one way to do this course but TWO, the Fast And Easy Way and the Blogging Way.

But here are ten things you can do to be part of ds106, without even signing up. How massively un MOOC is that?

(0) The Stephen Downes Clause Feel free to ignore all of the following and make up your own.

(1) Do one daily create a week. Just because it says daily does not require you to do it every day, it requires us to publish one every day! Each day at 10:00 AM EST, a brand new creative challenge, none of which should take more than 20 minutes to complete. It might be Photography,, Audio, Video, or Writing. You just need to post them on the designated social media site.

And there is no reason to be stuck to the present ones. We have a collection of almost 400 past Daily Creates many suitable for creative activities. Try one at random or explore the archive.

(2) Comment on a few student blogs. If blogging is old hat, you might have forgotten how electrinic those first comments can be. Pay it forward by giving feedback to our registered tudents, by they mine at University of Mary Washington, or Bill Generuex’s class at KSU, Briant Short’s class at the University of Michigan, or Michael Branson-Smith and Chloe Smolarski’s class at York College/CUNY. Even one comment is golden to these new bloggers.

(3) Do or Borrow a ds106 Assignment If there was a heart to the class it would be the Assignment Bank. This includes over 500 visual, design, audio, video, mashup, fan fiction, writing, web created by ds106 participants, plus connections to over 4000 examples created for these assignments. Sure you could call these OERs you could call them Fandangoes. You do not even need to have a blog connected to ds106, we have a loinked form on each assignment where you could submit a single response. Not sure whare to start? Spin the random wheel or see the ones that are featured.

Or follow the ds106bot on twitter– it tweets out random assignments.

(4) Answer questions or share resources in twitter We use a single hash tag for all things ds106. Students ask questions, people share related resources, or just informally exchange ideas. Take one day a week to pop into the #ds106 stream, how hard could that be?

(5) Create a New Daily Create You think our ideas are lame? You have something better? Toss one in vis our suggestion box and it should appear in the next weeks.

If you follow step (4) above, it just might lead to step (5). Ask Joe MacMahon:

and a few days later?

That’s how we roll.

(6) Tune into or take over the microphone for ds106 radio. We have a live web radio station, and not only is there music, shows, and people to listen to, anyone can broadcast at any time. Does Coursera do that? No. Does Udacity do that? No. Blackboard? Nope.

We do, we give it away.

(7) Create a ds106 Assignment Got a creative idea bigger than a Daily Create? Well, just make it part of the assignment bank (preferably doing it yourself so there is an example). That’s how we grow. Not by any mass replicant scaling, one creative brick at a time.

Now just tweeting out “This would be a cool #ds106 assignment” is not up to snuff for us. Step up and make something! And you may run into our snarky bot:

(8) Share ds106 work that inpsires you If you see something from a ds106 participant that causes a “WOW” reaction, then submit it to the in[SPIRE] site, our effort to collect the Best of ds106. This site itself was created by students in last year’s class.

(9) Help Us Figure out What to to with a subreddit One of our current students, asked us if we had a subreddit. Huh? Well, in fact there was one about two years old with only 2 things in it — So if you have reddit experience or want some, jump in and help us imagine how o use it. Maybe its a place to upvote good examples of digital storytelling. or away for students to get early feedback on their work. We don’t know, we are looking to you to help us make it emergent.

(10) Be part of our weekly show We are experimenting with a live weekly ds06 show via Google Hangouts. We have students from UMW, outside experts, and anyone else who wants a seat (if it fills, it can be watched via the YouTube stream).

(11) Remix an Assignment Ok it is wild enough we have over 500 different creative assignments, but then do the math on our Assignment Remix site which applies a random “card” and gives you the challenged to to that assignment in a new way.

Like doing the Big Caption assignment played with the Yo Momma card .. or the Spreadsheet animation one played with a Dr Suess Character Card.

Woah, how about those 10… turned up to 11. And I could go on.

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by me and the sysop

So while other MOOCs cause feelings of remorse (or lack of remorse over the death of aprticipation), not ds106. In fact, the opposite happen. Drop the obligation, the breakneck pace, and you can do as little or as much as you want.

And pretty soon you are tweeting #ds106 $4life

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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. I consider myself to be an ongoing permanent participant in ds106 – though that said, I probably don’t follow any of the rules above at all reliably. I assume my letsmakesomeartdammit blog is still being harvested, even if I routinely forget to do things like use the ds106 tag.

    1. The are “ways” not rules, but you reminded me to add the number (0) way- make your own.

      Yes, we still dutiful knock on your blog’s feed a few times each day, and say, “Hi Stephen, do you have any art for us today?” “No? that’s okay, we’ll come back.”

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