• Assignment Riffing:

  • What Happens in DS106

  • Does Not Stay in DS106

MLA Conference Presentation (Jan 8, 2015)


Assignment Riffing: What Happens in DS106 Does Not Stay in DS106

Alan Levine • @cogdogcogdogblog.com

image by @amyburvall


This presentation expands our session’s conversation beyond the course, unit, or a particular institution.

Unlike MOOCs (of c and x variety), the open digital story course ds106 uniquely stands as more than one course, but as overlapping ones from multiple institutions with a cloud of open participants. Its Internet radio station and Daily Create challenges offer opportunities outside the course. An open assignment bank not only gives flexibility to choose assignments, but also invites participants to add new ones, a living example of the “adjacent possible” in a course. It may appear ludicrous to house assignments for editing images of famous paintings to include fat cats, creating poetry from titles of songs, or putting fast food in the hands of internet pioneers, but the media created are not the end goals in ds106. Participants open their apertures of creative interpretation, incorporate works of others in a constructive fashion, and narrate their creative process. A frequent spirit of spontaneous "riffing" occurs, not unlike that of improvisational jazz musicians, that ripples far beyond the confines of one course.

Session 125: Visionary Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century: Teaching the Humanities with Digital Technology
Thursday, 8 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 210, VCC West


Learn More

Components of DS106

More information about ds106 than might fit in a single deck of slides.


What People Say

Reflections from students and open online partipants

  • students explain ds106
    UMW Students Explain DS106

    Part of their last reflection as "pay it forward" advice to future participants, University of Mary Washington students talk about their ds106 experience, the value of managing their own digital web spaces.

  • Brian Metcalfe
    Engaged Learning Is Authentic Learning

    Veteran K12 educator and open participant Brian Metcalfe blogs about his ds106 experience two years earlier.

  • learning
    ds106: Teaching an Ethos

    UMW ds106 student Haley reflects on her honors paper written about the ds106 learner experience and it's relationship to open education.

  • Tim Owens
    Tim Owens Testimonial

    Starting as an open participant in DS106, Tim Owens was able to elevate his skills so much that he eventually landed a job as an instructional technology specialist at the university that offered the course.

  • Giulia Forsythe
    How DS106 Changed My Life

    In a video where she narrates over her own sketch notes, Giulia Forsythe shares how the creative practices and community brought her into a broader network of colleagues and experiences.

  • Zach Dowell
    You wanna buy a ds106?

    As a playful, dark and mysterious character, Zach Dowell clues you into his own creative addiction that he shares widely in DS106.