in which I animate my  high brow formative cultural influences...

in which I animate my high brow formative cultural influences…

My class of ds106 UMW students are off and running. If anyone sees them, tell them to keep going.

The semester start pulls at both ends for me. It’s exciting to bring a new group of (now 26) into the fold; at the same time it is daunting to realize that they are starting from scratch, that its going to take a range of time for them to get to the part of really writing and creating they ways we hope they do.

This week, that time span was for some… one day. To say this is an amazing group is an understatement. It’s not all of them, a few are still grappling with setting up domains, social media accounts, and probably wondering what they have gotten themselves into.

I can say a year ago, when I introduced class to my students, there was some awareness of twitter, but for nearly all, it was braind new. I see my new group with profiles of hundred, thousands of tweets (not all but I see more experience represented across the board). Many know blogging because they are experience with great UMW teachers like Zach Walen and Mara Scanlon. Some have told me of having 10 years of internet experience.

Let me share what is keeping me happy on the ds106 treadmill this week…

In the first episode of the new ds106 weekly show, which students are not required to attend, four new students showed up already. Just to see what was going on.

New student Nancy ( she has already figured out creating a landing blog for her domain and making subdomains for her other pieces) asked why we were not doing anything in reddit. She is leading the way, and we have resurrected a ds106 subreddit that has created 2 years ago by a redditor named fracking-awesome. Former student Daniel Zimmerman is helping trick out that space.

Let me repeat that.

A student from a previous semester is, on his own, as a volunteer, contributing to ds106. Does your Coursera MOOC do that?

I’m a reddit n00b. I don;t know what we will do there. Nancy sees it as a place to have richer conversations around content then twitter, maybe to have students share works in progress and get feedback. I don’t see reddit as a place where you go in with a strategic plan, you let it evolve. Stay tuned to or help us figure out what to do there.

Amber enrolled via an override (usually add 2 students during the first week because I know at least 4 or 5 will drop). I peek at her twitter profile where it says “Im pretty good at voice acting…..yuup…” and a link to her YouYube channel . She has hundreds of thousands of views there (I swore the first time I went there it said over a million), but she has some serious YouTube / video talent:

She is already off an rocking with setting up her landing page domain, her ds106 blog, and also, on her own, connecting a blog her UMW English 202 class. Woah. She already is writing in her ds106 class blog about things that are not ds106 assignments- check out You Might Want to Keep Your Receipt: Discovering Personal Information Online.

I have helping out too in class, again on her own interest, Haley, an exceptional student from last semester, who is doing her own project on ds106 Independent Study Proposal: Edtech Boogaloo:

So if you’re interested in what the Big Scary Research Project is (more or less) going to be about, read on! The short version is that I’m going to be picking apart what makes ds106 such a unique educational experience, connect and juxtapose it to larger trends within edtech and online education, and from there wax poetic (or wax critical, I guess?) on where I see edtech/online ed heading as the field continues to evolve. I’ll be framing my critique and discussion from the perspective of a student participant, and using the University of Mary Washington’s edtech initiatives as a starting point.

Stay tuned to Haley- she is going to be a future edtech heroine. Actually she is already, she just does not know it.

There’s more.

Jennifer already comes with a craft a day filled lovely blog. Last night she tweets about “her first video”? I was not sure if she meant first video ever or her first stop animation video:

My jaw is still n the floor at the beauty of her video. Let me remind you- this student is creating stuff that is not even assigned.

Then there is Leah, who I met last year when she was a student in Martha’s Identoty class. She has been exploring about creating a new blog space / portfolio separate from her 10+ years of stuff she has been doing in YouTube and other places. She is cognizant and thinking about shaping her online digital space.

Brooke is doing Daily Creates that are not even assigned, trying new tools

Then I saw this student’s first reshaping the basic out of the box wordpress blog. Her unique interpretation of the Daily Create to fabricate a story about an ordinary object? She takes it to a new place via a time-lapse drawing:

She writes:

It has been an overwhelming week for a social media neophyte booting up. Never before have I had such an internet presence, learning about so many new tools and their use so quickly. As a consequence, I turned to my strengths in making my first Daily Create. I used Quicktime to record my screen activity whilst drawing a cherished, ordinary, functional object; then used iMovie to accelerate the recording.

And then it dawned on me that I knew her, she has some amazing 3D printing chops.

More woah, Neo, more Woah.

Watch Kristen really take up that challenge of making up a story, with the tale of a sacred, treasured laundry detergent bottle:

And this just the beginning. Meet the new students (and some others from the great beyond) via the Daily Create video from this week

This is going to be a wild ride, and I am locking in on it. You can too.

Get involved with ds10t as an open participant. Do Daily Creates. Give feedback to my new students on their blogs.

Do you have a ds106-ish class that you want to become part of our community? We have two on board already, and I am about to link in the York College ones via Michael Branson Smith.

It’s crazy, but if Jane stops this crazy thing, I’m, gonna bite someone.

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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. Holy student initiative, Batman!! This class just keeps getting better and better. I’m so impressed with the awesome stuff my fellow ds106-ers keep bringing to the table. I think that’s one of the coolest things about this class—it’s so clear that everyone in this class has unique talents, skills and interests and ds106 makes it easy to showcase that.

  2. Thanks for pointing to those specific student projects, which I would have missed. Can’t figure out why reddit is cool/useful, but I’m sure that will become obvious. This is going to be an EPIC DS 106 term…I can feel it!

  3. “A student from a previous semester is, on his own, as a volunteer, contributing to ds106. Does your Coursera MOOC do that?”

    No, it won’t, because there’s so little emotional investment. I’ve seen this in some of the courses I’ve done with teachers in the last few years. Some of them survive through one course and come back one more time to live it from a different perspective. So they experiment with the things they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do the first time, while contributing to the learning of new participants. But it has to do, I think, with emotional investment.

    So, no, at least for now your gazillion students Coursera course won’t do that. 🙂

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