A few weeks ago I got an email from Justin Reich asking if I wanted to run a workshop on connected courses with him at DML 2016. Heck yeah! I’m a big follower of his work, and it was Justin who got me on board doing an aggregation hub a few years ago for the Future of Learning Institute.

I got a lot of value out of DML 2015, and sure, doing something in June sounded doable. Then I checked. The DML 2016 conference is in October this year. Far away. But they are planning out early and DML is trying to get info out early about the pre-conference workshops.

Our workshop is called Crafting Connected Courses:

Connected courses are learning environments where participants form a networked community in order to explore a topic of mutual interest. Connected courses have been used to teach and learn about photography, digital storytelling, large-scale learning, feminist pedagogy, data analysis, and many other topics. They are characterized by an emphasis on student interest and agency, and they build upon ideas embedded in theories of Connected Learning. The technology platforms that support connected courses empower student ownership of online spaces, and they emphasize building networks over delivering content. Participants will investigate the theory and pedagogy behind connected courses, explore and and experiment with participating in existing courses, and then begin to develop the technology infrastructure to facilitate their own connected courses.

A week or so ago, Claudia Sullivan from DML asked for any other media that we might want to go live on their web site this week.

My DS106 brain went into active mode, bouncing off of metaphors and pop culture. Maybe it was the influence if thinking the last weeks/months about Western 106. The movie title How the West Was Won sprung up, and playing with swapping “Web” for “West” had some good vibes.

I looked a bunch of posters from the movie, and this one was one I really liked-

Movie poster for How The West Was Won found on DVD review site

Movie poster for How The West Was Won found on DVD review site

It had the right amount of text I needed to re-write, and there was potential to replace the railroad scene in the middle with smething more about connected courses.

I’ll just jump now to the final remix I made:


Slipping in the “Was/Is” is a way to recognized the past of how the web was built/won by its late night staying up wizards and alluding that how this same web is continued to be won is by thinking of systems that operate under the same principles as the open internet.

I replaced the train and exploding rails form the original with a morphing of two images. On the left is a portion of the creative commons licensed image from the DML’s Connected Learning Infographic. It is fit into the mask, so some parts are not visible, and tinted to match the hues of the old poster. The image on the right is one of the internet map images (licensed creative commons) from http://www.opte.org/maps/.

I was able to find relative close font matches for the body text, and the large western font just needed a few new letters – the font is Playbill Regular, with some of the swirly stuff painted in.

For fun, I converted the “CINERAMA” logo to “DML2016” – each letter it’s own layer and skewed.

And yes, “Connectedist” is not a word. But it sounds wild.

This was fun to do. But in doing so, it helps be back of the mind think about what these metaphors mean (and also where they fall down, the western genre has a lot not to like. And I am not suggesting this as a metaphor will be carried out in the workshop.

But still. I like it. I like remaking old posters into modern messages. I like the open web.

If you like it, sign up for our workshop.

Top / Featured Image: Some searching around “wild west” without finding much appropriate, then on “how west was won”, and not really being too sure of what image felt right, took this one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. This one comes up a lot– Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Wild West Show and Congress of Rough Riders of the World – Circus poster showing cowboys rounding up cattle and portrait of Col. W.F. Cody on horseback. 1899.

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An early 90s builder of the web 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.

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