Greetings from ds106! We are in the second week here of the Spring 2013 (yes in Canada, this is a winter semester, sigh) University of Mary Washington course. Last year, the first time through teaching this class in person, I attempted to do audio reflections Ã¡ la the great Scottlo (where is that dude?). That was interesting, but time consuming.
So this semester I will start a series of reflections of teaching the class. I already gushed about the first impressions of my students.
The first two weeks is something Martha and I coined last semester as “Bootcamp”, where in week 1 and week 2 we focus on all the logistics and setup they should do to be proficient in their blogging and media producing the rest of the semester.
I tried a weak housebuilding analogy – week 1 is putting in the framing and foundation; week 2 is painting it and filling in the decoration touches, in in very short time, the neighborhood will not look at all like one of those cookie cutter housing divisions.
It’s a lot I throw at them and was even asking myself this week if it is too much. Maybe 6 students dropped (4 new ones added). They get frustrated. One thing I wanted them to do is have a better understanding of their UMW Domains control panel. usually once they set up a domain and install a blog, we never go back there. I hope to interject some tasks through out the semester to have them use other things there (this week I had them set up a forwarding email address).
Also in the house building analogy, I am making them set up their ds106 blog as a subdomain- after class, it makes little sense to have this as a primary site. I want them to understand how to create not just one online space, but to know how to do several. I am asking them to install a second copy of wordpress at their primary domain, and throughout the semester to go back and make that one more of a welcome card site (I suggested a few free themes that would work well for that).
By Monday when I was reviewing their sites, i could not be more pleased. Blog posts were titles like “phew” “Bootcamp Game Me the Boot” and “Why I Never Fit inside the Computer Science Department”. But after those first sentences, they all pretty much accomplished the set up, the blogging, the media embedding, using categories.