If you have been looking for a DS106 experience to join, your boat comes in March 18. That is when an online course I have been invited to teach in DS106 style starts. EDIT 572: Digital Audio/Video Design and Applications is part of a graduate certificate Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) Program at George Mason University.

Last summer Nada Dabbagh asked me if I could teach this course with a storytelling approach, even bringing the ds106 mode to it. “Are you sure?” I asked.

This class will be 7 weeks long, and is two credits, so I have been paring back a bit of what I typically do in the UMW courses (see the general syllabus).

What’s different for this course is that the students are all working employees of a major consulting firm, working on the IDT program at GMU. They have been described to me as “road warriors” meaning people who continually travel to client sites, and that their typical work week was intense Monday through Thursday, leaving the rest of the week for their studies. The folk at GMU were fine if I did not use the Blackboard LMS and require students blog in a WordPress.com site. But they were wary of asking them to create many more accounts.

The idea behind the title “DS106 Goes to Work” is asking how do/can the methods and techniques of digital storytelling be put to use outside of academia, e.g. in a work environment? This was approached so successfully last fall by Rochelle Lockridge in bringing the open DS106 inside the corporate intranet of 3M, and the paper I will co-present with her and Mariana Funes at OER14.

I see this GMU course as being somewhere between the “behind the firewall” design that Rochelle did, and the wild west open space of typical ds106.

The big question for me is not really knowing what to expect from attitudes and experiences of these students. I will have to find out and adjust as I go (same story every time I teach). That was the reason for making the video above, and to outline some information about the experience I will be emailing to students this week (the intro post for the students is baking in the blog oven)— a different flavor of the “scare email” Jim, Martha, and I have used at UMW.

So here is what is happening, I have two sections at GMU who will get the same course content (I believe one is a new cohort in the program, the others have been in it for a year). In the first week, they will be asked to set up wordpress.com blogs, and email me their sites, which i will add to ds106. There will be a page to see the posts in section 1 and another for posts from section 2, plus a way to see ones from all GMU students combined (the beauty of tagging feeds in Feed WordPress).

It will help them understand the power of an open class if the ds106 community can chip in some comments as these students start lighting up the course in 2 weeks. This is crucial- as a big important chunk I am leaving out is using twitter/Google+ with these students. It was a hard decision, but I have to limit the number of things I ask them to focus on. I did open up their Blackboard sections with just a discussion forum for Q&A, if they want a place to ask, but the amount of social interaction might be slim. I am trying to make that all take place within their blog conversations, and things I will reiterate in course videos.

But it an open course too, so if you want to follow along, tune into the weekly assignments (it even has an RSS feed for you old school readers). If you already have a blog connected to ds106, use it; otherwise sign up a blog and associate it with the open online participants.

If you are new to ds106, see our suggestions for getting started.

Maybe a shorter course commitment and not as full nuclear blast intensity as the usual DS106 might be your speed?

This is a new approach, full of unknowns and potential Bengal tiger traps.

There are some things I could use help with. For a project< i want them to identify something they come across that is some sort of instructions, explanations, that could benefit from redesigning with a more "storied" approach. I need help finding some things as examples, dull manuals or worksheets? The thing is because of the proprietary nature of their work, and for creative exercise, I want them to choose something out of their normal scope. My original idea was to play with the genres of how companies are portrayed in movies, which seem to be mainly comical/farce or dark/evil (that was the reason for the clips used in the video above) -- and probably not the only real narratives out there. Open participants are welcome to use that as a possible frame for assignments (and yes, the clips I found were largely white guys in ties, how true is that?) Of course, in open DS106 people mostly choose to whatever they want. That too is be design. I hope you will join us. And that's the last time I put on a suit for this class!

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Good stuff. Fun to follow its evolution and kudos to you and George Mason for making a certificate available to grad students.

  2. Awesome video idea! Nice representation of you and the course. I’ll try coming in to the course sometimes.

  3. Fun video; it’s always difficult to explain DS106 to the uninitiated. How cool to think that by the end of May, under your inspired guidance, the GMU students will be talking up DS106 for you.

  4. Very exciting to see ds106 exploring new territories (and approaches)! I will definitely try and follow along as much as I possibly can!! Off to look at the syllabus now. . .

  5. I’m in. I’ll be trying to get my folks over at the 3M-DS106 Salon to stop by and maybe even interact by leaving comments. Knowing that another member of the business community is taking part in the madness of DS106 will help them rationalize why it’s okay for them to be taking part at 3M. With or without my 3M colleagues, I’ll be here.

  6. Hello, Still True Friend Alan!

    Well, as you know, I am always on the lookout for New Friends and so I will be glad that you will be having another serving of #ds106 course so that I can have another helping! Yum!

    So, will you be having an introduction video one this time like other times? Maybe I will make one. Plus, did March 7 already happen?

    Well, bye!

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