m of open

remixed from Alphacoders wallpaper http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=204775 with OER 14 photo by Simon Thomson (@digisim)

This was the academic theme for today’s presentation at OER14 in Newcastle, UK by Rochelle Lockridge, Mariana Funes, and moi, “A DS106 thing happened on the way to the 3M Tech Forum“:

DS106 (http://ds106.us/) is a computer science course in Digital Storytelling at the University of Mary Washington (UMW), framed on principles of the web as a platform for storytelling. Students learn to manage their own digital domain in the process of understanding storytelling and creating media. In 2011, DS106 opened up to a global community of online participants.

This case study explores how DS106 tools, methodology and philosophy were adapted into the corporate world at 3M to build community, collaboration, and effective global communication skills. Our hypothesis was the pedagogy and assignments of the DS106 open course could be modified for delivery on a corporate intranet, using internal creation and communication tools standard for 3M employees. We hoped to learn how the course experience could work within cultural and technological constraints of a corporate environment.

Participants in 3M-DS106 were based in Minnesota, Texas and California. A majority were active members in the 3M Technical Collaboration chapter, a subset of the 3M Technical Forum (12,000 plus global members), which fosters communication across a diverse technical community.

Blame me for the Blues Brothers theme. It was a few weeks ago, thinking as usual of some sort of conference shtick, and the neural jumps led me to the classic line, “We’re on a mission from God”, leading to the modified version, “We’re on a mission of Open”.

It was meant to be, given the relevant line in the movie

It’s 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark and we’re wearing sunglasses..
hit it!

My suggestion to my colleagues was donning black suits, sunglasses, briefcases and walk in to the tunes of the Peter Gunn theme, which ended up as

I think I look more Hassidic then Blues Brother, but thats another story. The grand plan was entering with each of us having a letter on front of the brief case, which we would plop on the table spelling “O” “E” and “R”, and then popping them open, spinning around, to reveal “3M” “DS” and “106”. Finding brief cases was a challenge (thanks to David Kernohan for bringing one to use), we decided that was not quite needed.

But the idea of opening with a bit of music grew to a slide show featuring quotes from DS106 participants. For a few days two weeks ago, Rochelle and I went back and forth trying to find a way to get keynote to play a looping slideshow with music that would fade down when the quotes came in. I thought we could export it out as a quicktime movie, then found that the animated GIFs were not looped in Keynote ’09 (what I have). But Rochelle figured out an odd end around, by saving from Keynote ’13 to ’09, the GIFs got saved as video, which would loop. She also figured out that she could edit the audio in Garageband to make the music levels duck under the individual sound clips. It became a running joke of when we would let this one go, but in the end, this video which we opened with really is a thing of DS106 quality

The idea we hatched was to break out of the presentation mode of the conference slot 20 minutes of linear slide flipping and 10 minutes of Q&A, to pretend it was a business meeting (Mariana deftly played the impatient CEO) and that the audience was with Rochelle and I at the table to ask and answer questions.

Both Mariana and i felt that the bulk of the presentation was really for Rochelle’s story of what ti took to run a version of the open DS106 course inside the corporate firewall of 3M. The whole concept alters the typical binary perception of “Open” vs “closed” to one of degrees, layers, or just principles of openness, that open approaches can work inside what might be seen as a closed system, yet is not closed given a network connector, or patroness, such as Rochelle.

There were some good questions in from the “audience” meeting members; at the end it was from… someone in the back of the hall, about whether the biggest challenge inside 3M was the issue of openness or what happens when you encourage creativity.

If you want to know more about our session, the full paper is available online and more in the series of blog posts on Rochelle’s blog. And if that is not enough, Rochelle created a version of our talk as a drab, text heavy, terrible color chosen slide deck, what we call Not The Presentation Deck

Needless to say we had a bit lot of fun presenting here. But it has been a fantastic two day conference experience where there was a lot of excellent interchange between session, great discussions, and even some playing with legos.

The Mission to Open does not end here…

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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


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