Summer Week 5: Four Days Left.

Everything for the final week is due June  22, 2017

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

 

As a final project for this course, you are asked to produce a story around a character that explores all media forms we’ve investigated this semester: visual, design, audio and video, you are combining all techniques to create one blog post that uses all media.  That may mean it is one piece of media that you create out of all forms of media we talked about or you weave the story with four distinct media pieces that culminate to one grand story. The idea is that you need to create a narrative arc for a character that is played out in the products of all the assignments you have done and woven together with context and writing as a standalone blog post.

Step One: The Character

Typically a story centers on the actions and internal growth of central character. Your first step is to identify the character you wish to focus your project on. You could pick a character from a movie/movie/play, a historical person, an imaginary person, a modern day figure. Your options are limitless. But start with the character.

And you are open to play with the idea of character. Can it be an object? How can you make an object have a story?

This is a chance to fabricate story about the character you choose. This is not a factual report or biography; instead, you’ll be creating a fictional narrative around the subject you choose. You have license to bend and distort reality.

You then need to develop a narrative arc for this person; what challenge, unexpected event, unusual journey will you set them out on? Can you put them in an unusual situation or context? What will happen to them in the story? What might be the outcome (“living happily ever after” is not an option!). Reflect back to the ideas you worked on about the shape of a story.

Step Two: Using Assignments to Generate Media

Using the ds106 assignment bank for inspiration, come up with a plan for how to develop a narrative involving the character you chose in Step One. Your plan should include creating at least four media pieces that use at least three forms of the media assignments you worked on in ds106…

For example: 
If you chose Cinderella as your topic in step one, you might decide to produce the following set of media pieces:

  • Visual/Design: A set of posters for the upcoming royal ball
  • Audio: A sound effect story of the sisters getting ready for the ball
  • Visual: A playlist poem of the songs played at the ball that also explore the narrative of the story.
  • Video: A video for golden slippers or Consumer Reports report on the features of Pumpkin Carriages, how they are unreliable and left Cinderella on her own, where she got the idea for a better form of transport turning her into a mega successful business woman.

But look, this are all media true to the story, how can we make a different narrative for Cinderella than the one we all know? That is the story challenge, to go beyond the literal.

Yes, you can use assignments you have done before. But no, you cannot use media you have done for those assignments; you must create new stuff for this story.

You are creating a media landscape to support your narrative (but not be the narrative alone) built out of the kinds of assignments you’ve been doing all semester. For your project to be substantial you should aim for the total points of your assignments to be worth 20 – 30 stars. However, we do NOT want to limit you to ONLY those assignments that already exist in the repository. They can serve as inspiration, and you can come up with your pieces, even if they are not explicit, existing assignments.

And hey, if you see a need, it is allowable to create a new assignment for media you might need.

Creating the media pieces is part of the project, how you weave them together and present them in your web site as a complete story is the goal. But all media should serve the arc of the story.

Step Three: Weaving the Story

Produce your project and publish it on as a single post on your blog. It should be a completely self-contained story, with all the media embedded, and sufficient written narrative in the post to connect the pieces. This should not be just a list of links to media, nor a series of media alone. It has to be a story that stands by itself. It should not contain references to the assignments or how it was made (that comes separately).

You might want to review examples done by UMW students.

Be very thorough, check your links and embeds.

Final Weekly Summary

  1. You are to create tutorials for all media created on a separate page.
  2. You summary page should be a link to your tutorials and to your final story and a reflections on everything you learned this semester.
  3. The final story must be a weave of written storytelling and media storytelling
  4. What you learned, what you would do different if you had to take the class over and what was the most exciting project.



Week 4

Everything is due June 18, 2017 by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/EeSW9i-MD4Q

Here is the topic most students find both the most challenging and/or rewarding portion of ds106: video. It presents challenges with file formats, creating more complex narratives, and working with more complicated software.

But it is also one of the most engaging forms of media — hence the current statistic that in the span of one minute, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

 Video Ready Your Tools

For the work in the next week, you will need to be using software that allows you to combine, edit, augment, re-sequence video, as well as being able to add or even replace the soundtrack within a video.

Reference the Tools for the Trade for links to software you might want to use as well as our new Video Guide for video resources and tutorials.

We most strongly recommend for the future assignment that you use the applications that come with your computer either Windows Movie Maker Live or Apple’s iMovie, these are generally the easiest to get started with and should be available on your computer.

We recommend using video editing software that allows you to cut and re-arrange clips on a timeline, and to add, and layer audio tracks. Most typically this is the software that came with your operating system- iMovie on Macs and MovieMaker on Windows PCs.

Many of the assignments will require downloading of clips from web sites such as YouTube and vimeo. You will need to use a tool that can download videos to a file format you can use on your computer (usually MP4). Our tool of choice is SaveFrom.net but we review a few other techniques as well.

Windows users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files into Movie Maker (We have been told that the Windows Movie Maker Live can import MP4)- you may have to use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats. See the ds106 Handbook for some video converter options.

Other resources that may help you include:

Focus on the storytelling aspect of your video making- -do not get caught up in the technical points or making the video just for the assignment points…  Be very sure that your videos tell a story, that it surprises us, that it perhaps jars us, and that when you write-up your blog post you are providing full details and context for your videos

Learn How to Read a Movie

You have likely watched plenty of movies, but when we say “reading” movies, we mean looking at them with a keener eye for the cinematic elements that make them successful (or not). This is not about reviews of “good” or “bad” movies, but how well they convey the story to all our senses, how well they suspend our disbelief to make the plot real, to draw us in– how well they tell a story.

For your work in this week, you are expected to look for details in movies, many of which are found in Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” which you must read this week.

In addition, to get a deeper appreciation for the power of cinematic techniques, watch at least 3 of the following videos about filmmaking.

Look, Listen, Analyze

Now apply some of the criteria you reviewed above to a classic movie scene. From the YouTube playlists below, pick one scene from a classic movie you will analyze — do not watch it yet! — just choose one that might interest you. If you want to use another clip, it should be a complete scene, not a movie trailer.

You will now analyze the clip by watching it three times, in different ways.

  1. Analyze the camera work. Before watching the first time, turn the volume on the clip (or on your computer) all the way down. Take notes on the visual aspects of the clip. Look for camera angles, cuts, how many times the camera switches view, the quality of light, the cuts or transitions. Look for the ways the camera tells, guides the story.
  2. Analyze the audio track. Now turn the volume up, but play it without looking at the screen (or turn off the screen); just listen to the audio. Take notes on the pacing of the dialogue, the spaces in the audio, the use of music or sound effects (think back to our work earlier on listening to audio).
  3. Put it all together. Finally, watch the scene as normal. Pay attention to something you may have missed the first time or how the elements you saw in the first two steps work together.

Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?

Also use what you have read in Ebert’s column or anything else you observed in the cinematic technique videos to identify key elements of this scene. Include specific reference to Ebert’s ideas of left/right character placement, what the camera angle suggests, how the way the scene is shot builds the story element. We are looking for the video aspects that makes this work well (or not) – not just “this is a great scene” or “this is my favorite movie”.

Video Assignment Bank

For this week you should complete two ds106 video assignments of at least eight stars, each should be posted to your blog, appropriately tagged and categorized. All videos should have an opening and closing title/credits sequence.

I have to reiterate because many people are not doing this.  Each assignment blog post should include:

  • Write about thinking behind the assignment, the inspiration, what it means to you. What is it’s story? Does it make a story spine?
  • The video you produced for the assignment is embedded into your blog post. Your videos should have an opening title sequence and a closing credits sequence. Check your video software for it’s title creation features.
  • Share your process. What tools did you use? What techniques? Think of this as information that would help someone else doing the same assignment. Include a screenshot of your video editing screen. You must provide URLs/sources for all media you included that were not ones you created yourself.
  • To have your work connected back to the assignment, your blog post must include the two tags for the assignment, one will be VideoAssignments and the other will have a name like VideoAssignments447. Look for the tags entry box on the right side of the WordPress editor, below the Categories.

Weekly Summary Checklist

Your summary blog post for this week should include and link to the following requirements. Remember, I am also looking for more that a list of what you did; take some time to reflect on what you learned or discovered this week. Include in your weekly summary again a sense of what kind of feedback you are getting on your blog and how you are giving feedback to others.

  • Reading Movies Write a blog post that includes your response to the methods suggested by Ebert- why might they work (or not)? Summarize what you learned from the two videos you watched about cinema techniques.
  • Look. Listen. Analyze. Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip for the scene you reviewed, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?
  • Assignments: You should link to and discuss the posts for the two ds106 video assignments completed. Each post should be put in categories that you made for your site, and should also include the tags specific to each assignment. Be sure that your assignment blog posts contain the elements out line in the ds106 Handbook.
  • Comment on other blog post: Make sure that you do different people for each comment.  Make sure you comment on at least 4 blog post and that you take a screenshot and put it in your summary.
  • Daily Creates: Do four daily creates.



Summer Week 3

Everything is due June 11th by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

http://youtu.be/Xv3HFLd74o0

Introduction to Audio

This week in ds106 we’re going to be diving into our first storytelling genre: audio. Working with sound can be a bit daunting and unfamiliar, so we’ll be easing you into it this week. Nearly all previous ds106 students start here dreading this media, and in a few weeks they totally change their mind.

We’ll ask you to do some listening exercises as well as do some audio story editing.


PART I:  About Audio Storytelling

Look, Listen and Watch below.  Pay attention and keep track of the “nuggest” that grabs your attention- and write a blog post summarizing what you learned about how these experts describe their craft. Come back to these later when you review some audio shows I recommend listening to.

For many of you radio may seem like old technology, but there is a lot of current powerful creativity done in a single media. Audio is most effective when sounds generate stories in the minds of listeners.  You might be familiar with the panic caused in the late 1930s when Orson Wells produced the radio show of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds– it was so effective, people thought it was real. If you think we are much more savvy in the modern age, read about what happened when producers of an Italian movie tried to play out a promotional video as something like looked like a real news broadcast.

I’d like you to listen to some experts on audio storytelling describe a bit of how this is effective, probably no one has their game on for this than Ira Glass, host of This American Life, a weekly radio storytelling show on National Public Radio.

Listen to least two parts of Ira Glass’ Series on storytelling (all together they’re about 20 minutes)

https://youtu.be/f6ezU57J8YI

Find Part TwoPart ThreePart Four.

For another point of view, listen to a short interview with Radiolab‘s Jad Abumrad on “How Radio Creates Empathy”:

http://youtu.be/kSJ4Rd-V-K4

or listen to his longer talk where he shares how he and his colleagues go about the process of creating radio shows.

http://vimeo.com/58119161

Jad Abumrad: Why “Gut Churn” Is an Essential Part of the Creative Process from 99Uon Vimeo.


PART II: Introduction to Audio Techniques

Some things to notice when listening to audio are the pacing (think of the equivalent of paragraphs in sound), the use of music, sound effects, ambient/environmental sounds, the introduction of radio “bumpers” to remind us of the show, introduction and exits. Of key importance is trying to hear the layering of sounds, of how audio can create a sense of place by being more than just a recording, but a deliberate stacking of audio.

For a great reference reference, you might listen to an episode of Howsound, the radio show that takes you behind the scenes to understand how these shows are produced- Dissecting Joanne Rosser, Papermaker.

As another example, we took out elements of an hour long episode of RadioLab, a 2007 show called Detective Stories, and uploaded a shorter version to Soundcloud, where the comments indicate how some of these are used in the show. See if you can pick these out in this example and then in other audio you listen to this unit.

https://soundcloud.com/cogdog/detective-stories-examples

Another technique that is counter-intuitive, is when sound is left out. Listen to this annotated clip, an intro to an episode of the TED Radio Hour, for what happens near the 3 minute mark when the background music suddenly stops

https://soundcloud.com/cogdog/ted-radio-hour-audio-demo

Here are some references for audio techniques:

View the story “ds106 Tips for Audio Storytelling” on Storify

And, if that is not enough, among the open participants of ds106 is Scottlo, a guru of audio and radio technique. Scott was one of several ds106ers who gathered in the summer of 2013 in Kamloops, British Colombia for SoundCamp, a one day hands on experience in learning audio recording and editing technique– check out the SoundCamp site for audio resources and tutorials.

Also useful from Scottlo are archives from his daily series from the Summer ds106 Zone class of 2013, below are some selected episodes where he reviews audio and shares Audacity tips:

Lo Down Episode 1
Lo Down Episode 8
Lo Down Episode 9
Lo Down Episode 10
Lo Down Episode 11
Lo Down Episode 12
Lo Down Episode 13
Lo Down Episode 14


Part III: Listening to Stories

listeningOne of the best ways to understand how audio can be used to create stories is to listen to some great examples. We’ve assembled a list of audio stories for you.

Overall, how effective do you think audio was for telling the story(ies)? What types of audio techniques did the producers use — sound effects, layering of sounds, music, etc. — to convey their story? While we are interested in reading what you thought of the story being told — but we’re just as interested in your reflection about HOW the story was told. Try and step back from the story itself, and reflect upon the technique that the storytelling/producers used. What choices did they make that impacted your understanding of and feelings about the story? What are the techniques from the references above that you may not have noticed before?

Pay very close attention to not only the stories told but how they are constructed in audio format. Take the time to focus on listening, not just in the background of being on your computer. Put the phone down, turn off the TV, tell the family to leave you alone. Just listen.

Listen to “Moon Graffiti” This is an excellent example of audio storytelling. Think about how the sounds, both the sound effects and the changes in sound, tell you what is going on, how they create a sense of place, a sense of space and a sense of atmosphere. We hear these same techniques used in film and video, where they are vitally important but often unnoticed. Consider what we watched, read and listened to this week and in the previous weeks. How does sound drive stories? How does it impact mood and create atmosphere? Write a blog post on your thoughts on audio storytelling. Use specific examples and embed them in your post. Tag the post audioreflection.


Part IV: Your First Audio Stories

Start your work on these assignments by reviewing this list of audio resources and/or the Audio Section of the ds106 Handbook section on Tools. You will find information here about software you can use to produce your own audio, as well as links to sites where you can download free clips, music, and sound effects.

  • We strongly recommend Audacity, a free and open source audio-editing program, further details below. If you have access to and experience with a different audio editing system, you are free to use it instead. Along with Audacity, you will need to download and install the LAME mp3 Encoder in order to save audio as .mp3 files.Download and Experiment with Audacity: Unless you have a lot of previous experience with audio editing, you should plan on spending some time this week getting comfortable with Audacity. It is recommended that you do this right away, because you will find that audio editing can be quite time-consuming. If you have another audio editing platform that you’re familiar with, you can skip this step. But everyone needs to get their hands dirty with audio editing. If you’re overwhelmed by Audacity, make an appointment with at the Digital Knowledge Center for help: http://dkc.umw.edu.

Complete 12 Stars of Audio Assignments: This week you must complete at least 12 stars of assignments from the Audio category in the Assignment Bank.

 Involve the character you created in at least one of the assignments in some way. One assignment everyone must do is the sound effects story (3 ½ stars): This is a challenge to tell a short story (no longer than 90 seconds) using nothing but sound effects! And make it something more interesting than waking up, taking a shower and eating breakfast. We highly recommend using http://freesound.org to find free sound effects for this project.

Make sure all your completed assignments are uploaded to SoundCloud, and write up a post for each assignment in which you embed that audio from SoundCloud. Note: If you use copyrighted content in your audio projects, the SoundCloud content police may block them. You can use CC Search to find content that you can safely use.

Share each of these contributions in separate posts on your blog, and tag them according to the instructions on their assignment page.


Part V: Weekly Summary

Your weekly summary is due by Sunday, June 11, 2017 at midnight. As always, link to or embed all of your work from the week. Use this as an opportunity to reflect upon your initial foray into audio. What did you struggle with? What ideas/exercises were most challenging or interesting?

Now we are moving into the main part of the course where the bulk of your work is writing up assignments, you are going to be expected to follow the criteria  – just posting “here is my assignment” is not going to be enough to earn credit. There needs to be writing with your media, a story about the story.

This week’s checklist includes:

  • Summarize the key points you learned about audio storytelling from the Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad videos.
  • Summarize TED Radio Hour and ScottLo.
  • Summary of the “Moon Graffiti” you listened to, making special notes of the techniques used. Be sure to link to the show you listened to.
  • Summarize/link the Audio assignments
  • Summarize/link At least 4 Daily Creates
  • Summary of your feedback from your Comments and what you gained by looking at other people’s blogs.  You must make at least 5 comments on other people’s blog, they must be different people.  It must be construct feedback not this is great.
  • At least a paragraph on what you learned this week, what questions/complaints you have.
  • Weekly Summary Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:
    • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
    • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
    • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
    • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, I may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week! By the way proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. I use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: you MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.




Summer Week 2

  • All work is due by midnight on June 4rd, 2017.

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/KCmdDrxrNjM

Week 2 will be focused on the design. For this week you will be ramping up your command of image editing as well as closely considering design elements such as color, font, iconography, etc. Additionally, you will be required to reflect on questions of copyright as it relates to creative works online.

General Design & DesignBlitz Resources

Below you will find a set of general design resources as well as brief descriptions and resources for several concepts of visual / graphic design (Typography, Color, Minimalism, Affordance, Balance, Proportion, Unity, etc) that you will be using in your DesignBlitz assignment. You should refer to and review the general resources as a way to familiarize yourself with concepts and approaches to design — they will prove helpful as you complete all your design work this week.

You should review the DesignBlitz concepts, specifically, to help you with that particular assignment. Your task is to get a basic understanding of these concepts, and spend this week searching for examples of them as you complete your DesignBlitz. Refer to this week’s assignment post for details about what you must do to complete the DesignBlitz.

NOTE: We’re not expecting you to read every article or watch/listen to every video or audio on this page. This is a resource list and you should refer to it, as needed, this week while you complete the design unit. We DO recommend that you spend some time reviewing at least some of the resources here because we think you will find them useful. 

General Design Resources

What is Design?

What exactly is design? It factors into almost every object or thing we see on a regular basis. It involves the planning of an object’s presentation so that it achieves its purpose, be it a advertisement for chewing gum or a door knob.  Is good design as noticeable as bad design?

We Are All Artists

Listen to Tim Owens ” We Are All Artists”  (MP3 file) as well as the list of sites below that he refers to in his talk. You may find several of these resources very useful to you as you complete your design assignments this week!

DesignBlitz Resources

Color

Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use bold color or none at all (lack of color or monochrome makes a message too). What colors work well together? What methods of using color are more effective? What do saturate colors say as compared to pastels?

Resources

Typography “is the visual component of the written word” – It is the form in which text is displayed, and the characteristics of the type used- Is san serif always better? why or why not? What do aspects of font weight, style, spacing, kerning have to do with how a message is transmitted and received?

Resources

Metaphors & Symbols

What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas? What works? How can complex ideas be represented in symbols?

Resources:

Minimalism & Use of Space

How can designers do more with less? What makes elegant designs?

Form, Function, Message

How well does design convey its meaning or potential use or real world objects?

Resources

Balance

“Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.”

Principles of Design

The Everyone video Symmetry is a fantastic study on the ways things can display visual symmetry

https://vimeo.com/83935246

Rhythm

“Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.”

Proportion

“Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. ”

Dominance

Unity

What you need to do this week.

1. Read and Reflect on The Vignelli Canon: A design resource that’s worth looking at is The Vignelli Canon. It’s a short booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. The booklet is light on text and heavy on space and imagery, so it’s a quick read. His purpose in writing it was to share his knowledge for the benefit of other designers. As he says, “Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”Vignelli did most of his work in the pre-Internet era, when graphic design meant ink on paper, so some of the information is not so relevant to our online environment, but the principles still stand. So take a look at it, and let us know what you think. Categorize your reflection post under Thoughts/Ideas and tag it “vignelli” (no quotes).

2. Complete a DesignBlitz: To reinforce your understanding, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate at least four of the ten concepts listed below (one photo per concept).   The concepts are discussed in length above but here is a list of the concepts.

    • Color
    • typography
    • metaphors/symbols
    • minimalism & use of space
    • form/function/message
    • balance
    • rhythm
    • proportion
    • dominance
    • unity
    • Share all your photos on Flickr and tag them designblitz; also make sure you write up a blog post sharing what you found and tag it “designblitz”.
    • When you have completed your Blitz, write a blog post that includes (THAT MEANS EMBED!) the photos and your analysis of the design elements and what makes them effective or not. (You should do this in one single post.)
    • PRO TIP: Sometimes we can learn just as much from badly designed things as we can from well-designed things!

3. Do your Daily Creates: 4 TDCs this week.

4. Complete five different design assignment of least 12 stars

  1. Complete five different design assignments of at least 12 stars of Design assignments from Assignment Bank.
  2. Everyone must complete Are We There Yet? Three Stars
    • Example Photos Not A Complete Blog Post

fourthreeone
two

3. A least one assignment you complete this week needs to be 4 stars or higher. It’s time to push yourself.

4. Each design assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Don’t forget to review Writing Up Assignments some of you have been very light on the write-ups, and that’s not a good thing.

5.  2 animated GIF assignments: Go to Animated Gif Assignment Bank . Pick two assignments, each assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Also, here’s a tutorial for creating GIFs using GIMP.

7. Weekly Summary Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:

  • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
  • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
  • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week! By the way proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: you MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.




Week 1

Everything is due on Sunday May 28 at 11:59pm on Canvas.

Intro and Visual/Design

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/bRq9l7vYy9Q

Please note that most of the assignments/tasks listed below are due no later than Sunday night at midnight, though I can’t tell you enough that if you wait until Sunday to do them you will be screwed. Also, the Daily Create assignments need to be completed and published on the day they come out (hence the daily!) and I am mandating you do one Wednesday by midnight to get in the swing of things.

Please note that this class moves at a lightening fast pace, and if you don’t stop to look around once and a while it will pass you by.

You can find the syllabus here: Syllabus Summer 2017.

Part I Bootcamp

The first thing you should do this week (and every week) is watch the video (above). In it, I will lay out the plan for the week. These videos are a vital resource for you and you should never skip them! I cannot emphasize this enough. If you try to rely on just the list below of what you need to complete, there is a good chance you will get confused or miss out on important tips and information!

Below is a detailed list of what’s to be completed this week.

  1. Review the Syllabus
    You need to spend some time reading and familiarizing yourself with the syllabus for this class. As we said in our welcome email last week, this course is likely like no other you’ve ever taken. The syllabus is your roadmap for understanding the work of the class and what your activities will entail.
  2. Get a Domain and Webhosting
    After review the syllabus, first thing you need to do is choose a domain name for yourself. A domain name is a just a fancy name for a URL or Web address. For this class, you will register a domain name (free through UMW’s Domain of One’s Own project) of your own. Check out some advice about choosing a domain name.  Once you choose your domain name, you need to register it and set up web hosting through Domain of One’s Own (login with your UMW netid/password). Detailed instructions. If you already have a domain through Domain of One’s Own, then you are one step ahead For more details on how to navigate your web hosting account, i.e. cPanel (your control panel), creating subdomains, using Installatron, etc., we have extensive documentation here:http://docs.umwdtlt.org/ . Shortly after you sign up for your domain and Web hosting, you will receive an email requiring you to verify your domain. This is a legitimate email, and you must follow the instructions in it! If you do not, in two weeks, your domain will go into a state of “limbo” making your site basically unavailable.
  3. Install WordPress
    This tutorial will take you through installing the publishing platform WordPress. Keep in mind if you already have WordPress installed on your UMW Domains, you can use your existing site (and just tag or categorize your ds106 work accordingly) or choose to create a new WordPress site in a separate subdomain, such as ds106.myawesomedomains.com.Find out what a subdomain is and how to set up a subdomain on our documentation site. You will be using WordPress A LOT in this class. If you’re not already familiar with it, please keep this set of WordPress resources handy.
  4. Register Your Blog at the Main ds106 Web Site
    Once your blog is available on the web (it should be almost immediate) register yourself and your new blog on the DS106 site. You MUST do this in order for everyone to see the posts you’ll be writing for the class. NOTE: In order to register your site, you will need to give us a Twitter userid. You may want to skip ahead to the Twitter portion of #5 if you don’t already have a Twitter account.
  5. Get an Avatar
    You will need to select an “avatar” for yourself. This is an icon or image that can represent you online (it need not be your face). This should preferably be a square image. Create a “gravatar” for yourself at http://gravatar.com using the email address you most likely will use for course work (and keep in mind you can associate your gravatar with several email accounts). Many sites (such as our class site) will automatically use this image as your avatar.
  6. Set up Your Social Media
    Create accounts and fill out profiles for yourself (if any of these let you set an avatar, use the same icon as you set up on Gravatar) on:
  • Flickr(photo sharing) http://flickr.com
    If you are new to Flickr or have no images in your account, you MUST post at least 5 images to your flickr account right away (they can be whatever you want); Flickr may not verify and make your account public until there are 5 images there. When you upload your photos, tag them with ds106. Get in the habit of doing this!
  • Soundcloud(audio publishing)  http://soundcloud.com/
    Set up an account if you don’t already have one.
  • Google / Youtube (video sharing) http://www.google.com/accounts/
    If you have a Gmail account, you are already set with this. If not create a Google account. This is what will allow you to join any synchronous video discussions we have (in Google Hangout) and gives you access to YouTube.
  • Vimeo (video sharing) http://vimeo.com
    Alternatively, if you don’t want to (or can’t) get a YouTube account, feel free to use Vimeo for your videos.
  • Twitter http://twitter.com
    Twitter will be one of the main channels for communication in ds106. If you already have an account for personal purposes, you are welcome to use it or create a new account for communication related to this class. Make sure you customize your profile! Send your first message of greeting and be sure to use #ds106 hashtag in your tweets. Learn how to search on the #ds106 hashtag.
  • Make some Multimodal Introductions
    Now that you have all your accounts, it’s time to use them to introduce yourself to the class. Use Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Flickr to introduce yourself to the community, be creative. Once you’ve done that you need to embed them all into a WordPress blog post. Here are some tips for embedding media in WordPress.

Part II Customizing Your Blog and Building Participation

1. Customize Your Blog: This week, I want you to also spend some time customizing and personalizing your blog. Here are some things you should work on:

  1. About Page: You need to create an about page on your blog and let folks know who you are. This is one of your virtual homes on the web, time to decorate and nest  You do not need to share very personal information about yourself, if you’re not comfortable doing so, and, generally, we don’t recommend that you post your email, your phone number, or your street address. You’re welcome to only use your first name or a nickname, if that makes you more comfortable, too.
  2. Exploring Themes: Here’s a tutorial on how to work with Themes in WordPress. You should try out some different themes until you find one you really like.
  3. Exploring Plugins: Plugins are extensions to WordPress that change or enhance the way it works. Here is a quick run through on installing plugins. In addition, on the Video page of this site, you can find a section full of WordPress help videos. There is one specifically about installing plugins.
    • To start, everyone needs to install Akismet — a plugin that blocks spam comments (which you will all be getting very soon). If you start having issues with spam and you haven’t installed Akismet,  we will cry crocodile tears. [NB: You don’t have to pay a cent for Akismet, just move the slider to $0 when signing up.]
    • We also recommend you install Jetpack, which is like 40 plugins in one. Many of them are extremely useful (check out the Publicize component of JetPack which let’s you share on Twitter every time you write a blog post).
    • These are the list that DTLT recommend.
  4. Moderating Comments: There is nothing more annoying than when you take the time to comment on someone’s blog, and it never shows up because it is stuck in moderation. You will receive an email whenever someone leaves a comment on your blog and it goes into moderation, and you need to approve it. It is your job to moderate all comments, although feel free to delete anything you find untoward or inappropriate. You can moderate comments in the Comments section of your WordPress site. (The WordPress help videos on the Video page of this site includes one on Managing Comments.)
  5. Blog Titles: No site shall be called “My blog” of “DS106” by the week’s end. If there is one—we will sacrifice you to the sun and ocean. A lot of them. You change this in the Settings area of the WordPress Dashboard.For a more in-depth overview of WordPress check out the documentation we have provided at wordpress website. 

2. Build Your Participation: Participation is not only a component of your grade in this class, it’s also an essential element of building our online community. If you’re doing the work but not actively engaging with everyone else in ds106, then you need to step up your game. Here are three important ways you can build up your participation in ds106:

  1. Commenting:  Commenting is the life’s blood of this class, and it is a large part of your overall work in this course. Read your fellow students’ blogs widely and comment freely. Commenting builds community. If you want to be sure we see the comments you left, you should consider linking to them in your Weekly Summary post.
  2. Twitter:  Twitter will be a vital space for the work we’re doing all semester. If you’re not there, you’re missing the conversation, and that can’t help but affect your work. (You may also miss important information, advice, or announcements!)  Follow the hashtags #ds106. Also, I recommend using Tweetdeck (a Twitter application you can install on your computer) for tracking specific hashtags.
  3. Responding on Your Own Blog: This is a more advanced from of participation, and it’s indicative of a student who truly understands the meaning of building community in ds106. If you find yourself leaving a very long comment, you have significant thoughts or reactions to a classmate’s work, or someone else’s work inspires you to create something yourself, write up a post on your own blog and be sure to link back to the post that inspired you. It can be incredibly satisfying to discover that something you said or created didn’t just prompt a comment, but inspired someone to write or create something of their own, on their own blog. (You can also use this technique to write about something someone said with which you disagree, but you must always do this in a polite and constructive way!)

Part III Photography

https://youtu.be/VAUcDSk_5Y8

Getting into the visual storytelling.  This section deals with how we use visual elements to capture meaning and tell stories. We’ll be doing some work with photography and I’ll ask you to review some resources about improving your photography (and being more thoughtful about what you take pictures of). Additionally, I’ll be asking you to continue organizing your blog.

    1. How to Be a Better Photographer

      The suggestions are borrowed from TEN: Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involve Buying Gear a $5 ebook by David duChemin. You don’t need to buy the book, we’ve lifted some key points.

      • Get Pickier: Instead of using your camera like a rapid fire machine gun, spend more time pre-composing in your mind. As you get more practice, you can be more selective, and more deliberate.
      • Better Contrast Makes Better Stories Contrast can be in terms of colors and lighting, but also elements in your photos- look for things that maybe not belong together. Look for near and far perspective.
      • Change My Perspective By Changing Yours: Find different and unique points of view. Look down, up, lay down on the ground. Seek perspectives of lines.
      • Create Depth: Look for ways to add dimension of visual depth in your 2 dimensional images- play with foreground, lines, use of wide angle lenses, use of dark backgrounds
      • Get Balanced. The rule of thirds is not only about placement on a grid; duChemin describes visual mass, elements that draw more attention in a photo and how to balance that effectively. “Becoming more intentional about creating and playing with balanace in your images will help you create images that are more intentionally express what you have to say.”
      • Pay Attention to the Moment: Sometimes it means slowing down, but also being more aware of the action in a scene, trying to anticipate the moment of something interesting before it happens e.g. watching a family at the table preparing for when baby might spill the glass of milk? at sporting evens trying to be ready for the kick that scores the goal?
      • Look to the light. Probably the most key lesson- be aware of light that works and what does not. Knowing about shadows, directions, aiming for directions where light is strong (or not). Good light makes every photo. Learn how to sense when light is good (and when not, and you can skip lousy shots).
      • Use the Best Lens If your camera uses different lenses, understand better what a wide angle does versus a telephoto not only in terms of what it can fit in a photo, but what effect it has one potos (squashing or expanding space). If your lens is fixed, understand what its limits are (how close you can get, what happens at severe angles).
      • Expose for Aesthetics Learn how to use aperture, shutter speed, iso to control the image- what the effects of these all play on depth of field, motion freeze vs blurring. For fixed lens camera/mobile, at least understand what the level of light means for your photos (why those low light photos are blurry?)
      • Put a Great Foreground in Front of a Great Background Pay attention to the near and far. A landscape scene is dull without something in foreground to give depth and scale. Learn to avoid clutter and distracting elements.

      These are of course, very general guides. You get better as you look at your own and others photos. You get better when you think more before you press the shutter. You get better when you try new approaches. You get better when you break the rules.

      Review the following materials about photography and using visual elements to create stories.

      Write a blog post towards the end of the week that summarizes the tips you tried. Include:

      • Link and credit for the tip
      • Embed an example of a photo where you tried the technique
      • Describe how you thought about this, or what approach (or variation) you tried.
      • Take your photo that you are most proud of in terms of learning a new photo technique, and write a summary blogpost and make sure you write a portion based on reflection of the material read/watched/listen to.
    2. Complete a Photo Safari: Below are a list of subjects I ask you to convey in photos– but you must try and capture within a 15 minute window of time. It’s a photographic scavenger hunt. Pick a place that is likely to have a good variety of subjects (your basement, a shopping mall, a busy city block). Be inventive in trying to interpret the list of subjects, in a location you choose (many of my previous university students completed this in their dorm room).Carve out a time and place to try the photo scavenger hunt; write a blog post that includes a gallery of your images, and some thoughts on the experience.There are no prizes for who gets the most done. Just try to think of interesting ways to capture the items or convey the ideas in a photo. Here is what to seek in your photoblitz!
      1. Your first photo is of something that shows the current time! Document when you started the blitz.
      2. In the next 15 minutes, try to capture as many of the following photos as you can
        • Take a photo dominated by a single color.
        • Take a photo of an interesting shadow.
        • Take a photo of something futuristic.
        • Take a photo at an unusual angle, e.g. looking looking up at something or looking down at something, or from the view of an ant.
        • Take a photo into bright light.
        • Take a photo of someone else’s shoe or foot.
        • Make an inanimate object look alive.
        • Make a photo that uses converging lines to draw us into the photo
        • Take a photo of two things that do not belong together.
        • Take a photo that shows a repeating pattern.
        • Take a photo where you move the camera as you take the photo, so it gives the subject a suggestion of motion.
        • Take a photo that is looking through a frame or opening to something else.
        • Take a photo that represents joy.
        • Make a photo that is abstract, that would make someone ask, “Is that a photograph?”
        • Take a photo that represents a metaphor for complexity.
      3. Take another photo of a timepiece that shows the time you stopped. It should be fifteen minutes since step 1, right?
      4. Upload your images to your blog, and create a WordPress Gallery for them.
      5. Write a blog post about your experience. Describe the place you chose to do this, and why you chose it. What was the experience like? What photos worked for you best? What do you think was the most inventive?
    3. Do three Daily Creates: Complete three Daily Creates this week.The website is http://daily.ds106.us/Here’s how to get started:
      1. Follow @ds106dc on Twitter. New assignments are posted each day at 5AM EST. The assignments will vary in mode– photography, drawing, audio, video, writing, and maybe an oddball one now and them.
      2. Once you’ve completed your assignment, follow the instructions on the Daily Create to reply via twitter. For your response to show up here you must include @ds106dc in your tweet as well as the tag specific for that day, e.g. code>#tdc1666.
      3. That’s it! It may take up to an hour for your response to show up here.  Make sure in your weekly summary you give the links to each of your daily creates.
    4. Complete Visual Assignments: This week, you’ll be doing at least 4 different assignments totally 10 or more stars of visual assignments from Visual Assignment DS106 Assignment Bank.  Additionally, you will be required to do the You Very Own Spubble assignment (2 stars)  (this counts toward your 10 point total) Make sure you’re tagging your assignments correctly (the required assignment tags are VisualAssignments and VisualAssignments190, and review the advice about writing up assignments.  The following is the rubric for these assignments
    5. Organize Your Blog: As you start to write more and more posts for the different genres of assignments we’re doing, your site is going to have a lot of content. Set up categories for your posts so that you (and others) can easily filter and find your work. Here is a recommended category structure you can use (feel free to modify/expand as you like:
      • Assignments
      • Daily Create
      • Thoughts and Ideas
      • Weekly Summaries
      • Best Work
      • Final Project

Now create these additional sub-categories and set the Parent to be Assignments:

      • Visual
      • Design
      • Audio
      • Video

Note: if you’re using your blog for other things besides this class, you may wish to add an overarching category for all of these of “ds106.”

Check out the Videos under “WordPress Help.”

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Part IV Weekly Summary

Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:

  • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
  • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
  • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week!  The follow is the rubric I use for assignments.
This week you should write minimally about the following.  By the way proper English and good writing are required!

  1. Commentary on Setting Up your Domain and Social media
  2. A link to a mutlimodel introduction blog post
  3. Commentary of Customizing your blog
  4. A link to a reflection about all the material you viewed/read about visuals of storytelling
  5. A link to your Photo Safari
  6. A link to your Photoreflection
  7. A link to your reflection on the photo safari
  8. Links to Three Daily Creates
  9. Links to 4 different visual assignment blog post
  10. Reflection on how you felt about the Visual Storytelling.

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: You MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.




Week 5: And so it ends.

Everything for the final week is due July 21, 2016

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

As a final project for this course, you are asked to produce a story around a character that explores all media forms we’ve investigated this semester: visual, design, audio and video, you are combining all techniques to create one blog post that uses all media.  That may mean it is one piece of media that you create out of all forms of media we talked about or you weave the story with four distinct media pieces that culminate to one grand story. The idea is that you need to create a narrative arc for a character that is played out in the products of all the assignments you have done and woven together with context and writing as a standalone blog post.

Step One: The Character

Typically a story centers on the actions and internal growth of central character. Your first step is to identify the character you wish to focus your project on. You could pick a character from a movie/movie/play, a historical person, an imaginary person, a modern day figure. Your options are limitless. But start with the character.

And you are open to play with the idea of character. Can it be an object? How can you make an object have a story?

This is a chance to fabricate story about the character you choose. This is not a factual report or biography; instead, you’ll be creating a fictional narrative around the subject you choose. You have license to bend and distort reality.

You then need to develop a narrative arc for this person; what challenge, unexpected event, unusual journey will you set them out on? Can you put them in an unusual situation or context? What will happen to them in the story? What might be the outcome (“living happily ever after” is not an option!). Reflect back to the ideas you worked on about the shape of a story.

Step Two: Using Assignments to Generate Media

Using the ds106 assignment bank for inspiration, come up with a plan for how to develop a narrative involving the character you chose in Step One. Your plan should include creating at least four media pieces that use at least three forms of the media assignments you worked on in ds106…

For example: 
If you chose Cinderella as your topic in step one, you might decide to produce the following set of media pieces:

  • Visual/Design: A set of posters for the upcoming royal ball
  • Audio: A sound effect story of the sisters getting ready for the ball
  • Visual: A playlist poem of the songs played at the ball that also explore the narrative of the story.
  • Video: A video for golden slippers or Consumer Reports report on the features of Pumpkin Carriages, how they are unreliable and left Cinderella on her own, where she got the idea for a better form of transport turning her into a mega successful business woman.

But look, this are all media true to the story, how can we make a different narrative for Cinderella than the one we all know? That is the story challenge, to go beyond the literal.

Yes, you can use assignments you have done before. But no, you cannot use media you have done for those assignments; you must create new stuff for this story.

You are creating a media landscape to support your narrative (but not be the narrative alone) built out of the kinds of assignments you’ve been doing all semester. For your project to be substantial you should aim for the total points of your assignments to be worth 20 – 30 stars. However, we do NOT want to limit you to ONLY those assignments that already exist in the repository. They can serve as inspiration, and you can come up with your pieces, even if they are not explicit, existing assignments.

And hey, if you see a need, it is allowable to create a new assignment for media you might need.

Creating the media pieces is part of the project, how you weave them together and present them in your web site as a complete story is the goal. But all media should serve the arc of the story.

Step Three: Weaving the Story

Produce your project and publish it on as a single post on your blog. It should be a completely self-contained story, with all the media embedded, and sufficient written narrative in the post to connect the pieces. This should not be just a list of links to media, nor a series of media alone. It has to be a story that stands by itself. It should not contain references to the assignments or how it was made (that comes separately).

You might want to review examples done by UMW students.

Be very thorough, check your links and embeds.

Final Weekly Summary

  1. You are to create tutorials for all media created on a separate page.
  2. You summary page should be a link to your tutorials and to your final story and a reflections on everything you learned this semester.
  3. The final story must be a weave of written storytelling and media storytelling



Summer Week 4: Video Killed the Radio Star

Everything is due July 17, 2016 by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/EeSW9i-MD4Q

Here is the topic most students find both the most challenging and/or rewarding portion of ds106: video. It presents challenges with file formats, creating more complex narratives, and working with more complicated software.

But it is also one of the most engaging forms of media — hence the current statistic that in the span of one minute, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

 Video Ready Your Tools

For the work in the next week, you will need to be using software that allows you to combine, edit, augment, re-sequence video, as well as being able to add or even replace the soundtrack within a video.

Reference the Tools for the Trade for links to software you might want to use as well as our new Video Guide for video resources and tutorials.

We most strongly recommend for the future assignment that you use the applications that come with your computer either Windows Movie Maker Live or Apple’s iMovie, these are generally the easiest to get started with and should be available on your computer.

We recommend using video editing software that allows you to cut and re-arrange clips on a timeline, and to add, and layer audio tracks. Most typically this is the software that came with your operating system- iMovie on Macs and MovieMaker on Windows PCs.

Many of the assignments will require downloading of clips from web sites such as YouTube and vimeo. You will need to use a tool that can download videos to a file format you can use on your computer (usually MP4). Our tool of choice is SaveFrom.net but we review a few other techniques as well.

Windows users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files into Movie Maker (We have been told that the Windows Movie Maker Live can import MP4)- you may have to use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats. See the ds106 Handbook for some video converter options.

Other resources that may help you include:

Focus on the storytelling aspect of your video making- -do not get caught up in the technical points or making the video just for the assignment points…  Be very sure that your videos tell a story, that it surprises us, that it perhaps jars us, and that when you write-up your blog post you are providing full details and context for your videos

Learn How to Read a Movie

You have likely watched plenty of movies, but when we say “reading” movies, we mean looking at them with a keener eye for the cinematic elements that make them successful (or not). This is not about reviews of “good” or “bad” movies, but how well they convey the story to all our senses, how well they suspend our disbelief to make the plot real, to draw us in– how well they tell a story.

For your work in this week, you are expected to look for details in movies, many of which are found in Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” which you must read this week.

In addition, to get a deeper appreciation for the power of cinematic techniques, watch at least 3 of the following videos about filmmaking.

Look, Listen, Analyze

Now apply some of the criteria you reviewed above to a classic movie scene. From the YouTube playlists below, pick one scene from a classic movie you will analyze — do not watch it yet! — just choose one that might interest you. If you want to use another clip, it should be a complete scene, not a movie trailer.

You will now analyze the clip by watching it three times, in different ways.

  1. Analyze the camera work. Before watching the first time, turn the volume on the clip (or on your computer) all the way down. Take notes on the visual aspects of the clip. Look for camera angles, cuts, how many times the camera switches view, the quality of light, the cuts or transitions. Look for the ways the camera tells, guides the story.
  2. Analyze the audio track. Now turn the volume up, but play it without looking at the screen (or turn off the screen); just listen to the audio. Take notes on the pacing of the dialogue, the spaces in the audio, the use of music or sound effects (think back to our work earlier on listening to audio).
  3. Put it all together. Finally, watch the scene as normal. Pay attention to something you may have missed the first time or how the elements you saw in the first two steps work together.

Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?

Also use what you have read in Ebert’s column or anything else you observed in the cinematic technique videos to identify key elements of this scene. Include specific reference to Ebert’s ideas of left/right character placement, what the camera angle suggests, how the way the scene is shot builds the story element. We are looking for the video aspects that makes this work well (or not) – not just “this is a great scene” or “this is my favorite movie”.

Video Assignment Bank

For this week you should complete two ds106 video assignments of at least eight stars, each should be posted to your blog, appropriately tagged and categorized. All videos should have an opening and closing title/credits sequence.

I have to reiterate because many people are not doing this.  Each assignment blog post should include:

  • Write about thinking behind the assignment, the inspiration, what it means to you. What is it’s story? Does it make a story spine?
  • The video you produced for the assignment is embedded into your blog post. Your videos should have an opening title sequence and a closing credits sequence. Check your video software for it’s title creation features.
  • Share your process. What tools did you use? What techniques? Think of this as information that would help someone else doing the same assignment. Include a screenshot of your video editing screen. You must provide URLs/sources for all media you included that were not ones you created yourself.
  • To have your work connected back to the assignment, your blog post must include the two tags for the assignment, one will be VideoAssignments and the other will have a name like VideoAssignments447. Look for the tags entry box on the right side of the WordPress editor, below the Categories.

Weekly Summary Checklist

Your summary blog post for this week should include and link to the following requirements. Remember, I am also looking for more that a list of what you did; take some time to reflect on what you learned or discovered this week. Include in your weekly summary again a sense of what kind of feedback you are getting on your blog and how you are giving feedback to others.

  • Reading Movies Write a blog post that includes your response to the methods suggested by Ebert- why might they work (or not)? Summarize what you learned from the two videos you watched about cinema techniques.
  • Look. Listen. Analyze. Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip for the scene you reviewed, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?
  • Assignments: You should link to and discuss the posts for the two ds106 video assignments completed. Each post should be put in categories that you made for your site, and should also include the tags specific to each assignment. Be sure that your assignment blog posts contain the elements out line in the ds106 Handbook.
  • Comment on other blog post: Make sure that you do different people for each comment.  Make sure you comment on at least 4 blog post and that you take a screenshot and put it in your summary.
  • Daily Creates: Do four daily creates.



Week 3: July 4th Celebrations

Everything is due July 10th by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

http://youtu.be/Xv3HFLd74o0

Introduction to Audio

This week in ds106 we’re going to be diving into our first storytelling genre: audio. Working with sound can be a bit daunting and unfamiliar, so we’ll be easing you into it this week. Nearly all previous ds106 students start here dreading this media, and in a few weeks they totally change their mind.

We’ll ask you to do some listening exercises as well as do some audio story editing.


PART I:  About Audio Storytelling

Look, Listen and Watch below.  Pay attention and keep track of the “nuggest” that grabs your attention- and write a blog post summarizing what you learned about how these experts describe their craft. Come back to these later when you review some audio shows I recommend listening to.

For many of you radio may seem like old technology, but there is a lot of current powerful creativity done in a single media. Audio is most effective when sounds generate stories in the minds of listeners.  You might be familiar with the panic caused in the late 1930s when Orson Wells produced the radio show of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds– it was so effective, people thought it was real. If you think we are much more savvy in the modern age, read about what happened when producers of an Italian movie tried to play out a promotional video as something like looked like a real news broadcast.

I’d like you to listen to some experts on audio storytelling describe a bit of how this is effective, probably no one has their game on for this than Ira Glass, host of This American Life, a weekly radio storytelling show on National Public Radio.

Listen to least two parts of Ira Glass’ Series on storytelling (all together they’re about 20 minutes)

http://youtu.be/loxJ3FtCJJA

Find Part TwoPart ThreePart Four.

For another point of view, listen to a short interview with Radiolab‘s Jad Abumrad on “How Radio Creates Empathy”:

http://youtu.be/kSJ4Rd-V-K4

or listen to his longer talk where he shares how he and his colleagues go about the process of creating radio shows.

http://vimeo.com/58119161

Jad Abumrad: Why “Gut Churn” Is an Essential Part of the Creative Process from 99Uon Vimeo.


PART II: Introduction to Audio Techniques

Some things to notice when listening to audio are the pacing (think of the equivalent of paragraphs in sound), the use of music, sound effects, ambient/environmental sounds, the introduction of radio “bumpers” to remind us of the show, introduction and exits. Of key importance is trying to hear the layering of sounds, of how audio can create a sense of place by being more than just a recording, but a deliberate stacking of audio.

For a great reference reference, you might listen to an episode of Howsound, the radio show that takes you behind the scenes to understand how these shows are produced- Dissecting Joanne Rosser, Papermaker.

As another example, we took out elements of an hour long episode of RadioLab, a 2007 show called Detective Stories, and uploaded a shorter version to Soundcloud, where the comments indicate how some of these are used in the show. See if you can pick these out in this example and then in other audio you listen to this unit.

https://soundcloud.com/cogdog/detective-stories-examples

Another technique that is counter-intuitive, is when sound is left out. Listen to this annotated clip, an intro to an episode of the TED Radio Hour, for what happens near the 3 minute mark when the background music suddenly stops

https://soundcloud.com/cogdog/ted-radio-hour-audio-demo

Here are some references for audio techniques:

View the story “ds106 Tips for Audio Storytelling” on Storify

And, if that is not enough, among the open participants of ds106 is Scottlo, a guru of audio and radio technique. Scott was one of several ds106ers who gathered in the summer of 2013 in Kamloops, British Colombia for SoundCamp, a one day hands on experience in learning audio recording and editing technique– check out the SoundCamp site for audio resources and tutorials.

Also useful from Scottlo are archives from his daily series from the Summer ds106 Zone class of 2013, below are some selected episodes where he reviews audio and shares Audacity tips:

Lo Down Episode 1
Lo Down Episode 8
Lo Down Episode 9
Lo Down Episode 10
Lo Down Episode 11
Lo Down Episode 12
Lo Down Episode 13
Lo Down Episode 14


Part III: Listening to Stories

listeningOne of the best ways to understand how audio can be used to create stories is to listen to some great examples. We’ve assembled a list of audio stories for you.

Try to listen closely to at least one this unit and write up your reaction and thoughts about it.

Overall, how effective do you think audio was for telling the story(ies)? What types of audio techniques did the producers use — sound effects, layering of sounds, music, etc. — to convey their story? While we are interested in reading what you thought of the story being told — but we’re just as interested in your reflection about HOW the story was told. Try and step back from the story itself, and reflect upon the technique that the storytelling/producers used. What choices did they make that impacted your understanding of and feelings about the story? What are the techniques from the references above that you may not have noticed before?

Pay very close attention to not only the stories told but how they are constructed in audio format. Take the time to focus on listening, not just in the background of being on your computer. Put the phone down, turn off the TV, tell the family to leave you alone. Just listen.

OR

OR


Part IV: Your First Audio Stories

Start your work on these assignments by reviewing this list of audio resources and/or the Audio Section of the ds106 Handbook section on Tools. You will find information here about software you can use to produce your own audio, as well as links to sites where you can download free clips, music, and sound effects.

We will not force you to use any software, but most highly recommend using Audacity, the opensource (free) audio editing software. Besides having many useful tools, a key features is its ability for multitrack editing, so you can layer your sounds. Some more tool references:

This week, we do want you to get your feet wet with creating two audio assignments adding up to five stars; these are the first ones you will do that come from the ds106 Assignment Bank. Here are some popular ones.

  • Create a DS106 Radio Bumper. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with ds106 radio, try your hand at making your first radio “bumper” – a 10-30 second short audio that announces a radio station that is played between songs to remind listeners what they are tuned in to. (2 stars)This should be saved as an MP3 file, and then upload it to SoundCloud. Make sure in soundcloud that you enable to option to allow downloads (so we can add it to ds106 radio!) Your audio must be embedded in your blog post summary of this assignment. You can embed soundcloud audio just like you have done for Youtube and flickr, put the plain text URL on its own line, and when you publish, WordPress will create a player to allow visitors to listen.
  • Create a sound effect story. This is a challenge to tell a short story (no longer than 60 seconds) using nothing but sound effects! Again, upload it to SoundCloud and make sure you embed your audio in your assignment post.2 (4.5 stars)

Share each of these contributions in separate posts on your blog, and tag them according to the instructions on their assignment page.


Part V: Weekly Summary

Your weekly summary is due by Sunday,July 10th by 11:59.. As always, link to or embed all of your work from the week. Use this as an opportunity to reflect upon your initial foray into audio. What did you struggle with? What ideas/exercises were most challenging or interesting?

Now we are moving into the main part of the course where the bulk of your work is writing up assignments, you are going to be expected to follow the criteria  – just posting “here is my assignment” is not going to be enough to earn credit. There needs to be writing with your media, a story about the story.

This week’s checklist includes:

  • Summarize the key points you learned about audio storytelling from the Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad videos.
  • Summary of the radio story you listened to, making special notes of the techniques used. Be sure to link to the show you listened to.
  • Summarize/link the Audio assignments
  • Summarize/link At least 4 Daily Creates
  • Summary of your feedback from your Comments and what you gained by looking at other people’s blogs.  You must make at least 5 comments on other people’s blog, they must be different people.  It must be construct feedback not this is great.
  • At least a paragraph on what you learned this week, what questions/complaints you have.
  • Weekly Summary Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:
    • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
    • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
    • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
    • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, I may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week! By the way proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. I use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: you MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.




Week 2: Where did the first week go?

  • All work is due by midnight on July 3rd, 2016.

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/KCmdDrxrNjM

Week 2 will be focused on the design. For this week you will be ramping up your command of image editing as well as closely considering design elements such as color, font, iconography, etc. Additionally, you will be required to reflect on questions of copyright as it relates to creative works online.

General Design & DesignBlitz Resources

Below you will find a set of general design resources as well as brief descriptions and resources for several concepts of visual / graphic design (Typography, Color, Minimalism, Affordance, Balance, Proportion, Unity, etc) that you will be using in your DesignBlitz assignment. You should refer to and review the general resources as a way to familiarize yourself with concepts and approaches to design — they will prove helpful as you complete all your design work this week.

You should review the DesignBlitz concepts, specifically, to help you with that particular assignment. Your task is to get a basic understanding of these concepts, and spend this week searching for examples of them as you complete your DesignBlitz. Refer to this week’s assignment post for details about what you must do to complete the DesignBlitz.

NOTE: We’re not expecting you to read every article or watch/listen to every video or audio on this page. This is a resource list and you should refer to it, as needed, this week while you complete the design unit. We DO recommend that you spend some time reviewing at least some of the resources here because we think you will find them useful. 

General Design Resources

What is Design?

What exactly is design? It factors into almost every object or thing we see on a regular basis. It involves the planning of an object’s presentation so that it achieves its purpose, be it a advertisement for chewing gum or a door knob.  Is good design as noticeable as bad design?

We Are All Artists

Listen to Tim Owens ” We Are All Artists”  (MP3 file) as well as the list of sites below that he refers to in his talk. You may find several of these resources very useful to you as you complete your design assignments this week!

DesignBlitz Resources

Color

Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use bold color or none at all (lack of color or monochrome makes a message too). What colors work well together? What methods of using color are more effective? What do saturate colors say as compared to pastels?

Resources

Typography “is the visual component of the written word” – It is the form in which text is displayed, and the characteristics of the type used- Is san serif always better? why or why not? What do aspects of font weight, style, spacing, kerning have to do with how a message is transmitted and received?

Resources

Metaphors & Symbols

What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas? What works? How can complex ideas be represented in symbols?

Resources:

Minimalism & Use of Space

How can designers do more with less? What makes elegant designs?

Form, Function, Message

How well does design convey its meaning or potential use or real world objects?

Resources

Balance

“Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.”

Principles of Design

The Everyone video Symmetry is a fantastic study on the ways things can display visual symmetry

https://vimeo.com/83935246

Rhythm

“Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.”

Proportion

“Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. ”

Dominance

“Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design.”

Unity

“The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety.”

What you need to do this week.

1. Read and Reflect on The Vignelli Canon: A design resource that’s worth looking at is The Vignelli Canon. It’s a short booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. The booklet is light on text and heavy on space and imagery, so it’s a quick read. His purpose in writing it was to share his knowledge for the benefit of other designers. As he says, “Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”Vignelli did most of his work in the pre-Internet era, when graphic design meant ink on paper, so some of the information is not so relevant to our online environment, but the principles still stand. So take a look at it, and let us know what you think. Categorize your reflection post under Thoughts/Ideas and tag it “vignelli” (no quotes).

2. Complete a DesignBlitz: To reinforce your understanding, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate at least four of the ten concepts listed below (one photo per concept).   The concepts are discussed in length above but here is a list of the concepts.

    • Color
    • typography
    • metaphors/symbols
    • minimalism & use of space
    • form/function/message
    • balance
    • rhythm
    • proportion
    • dominance
    • unity
    • Share all your photos on Flickr and tag them designblitz; also make sure you write up a blog post sharing what you found and tag it “designblitz”.
    • When you have completed your Blitz, write a blog post that includes (THAT MEANS EMBED!) the photos and your analysis of the design elements and what makes them effective or not. (You should do this in one single post.)
    • PRO TIP: Sometimes we can learn just as much from badly designed things as we can from well-designed things!

3. Do your Daily Creates: 4 TDCs this week.

4. Complete five different design assignment of least 12 stars

  1. Complete five different design assignments of at least 12 stars of Design assignments from Assignment Bank.
  2. Everyone must complete Are We There Yet? Three Stars
    • Example Photos Not A Complete Blog Post

fourthreeone
two

3. A least one assignment you complete this week needs to be 4 stars or higher. It’s time to push yourself.

4. Each design assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Don’t forget to review Writing Up Assignments some of you have been very light on the write-ups, and that’s not a good thing.

5.  2 animated GIF assignments: Go to Animated Gif Assignment Bank . Pick two assignments, each assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Also, here’s a tutorial for creating GIFs using GIMP.

7. Weekly Summary Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:

  • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
  • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
  • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week! By the way proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: you MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.




Summer Week 1: So it begins again.

Everything is due on Sunday May 28 at 11:59pm on Canvas.

Intro and Visual/Design

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

https://youtu.be/bRq9l7vYy9Q

Please note that most of the assignments/tasks listed below are due no later than Sunday night at midnight, though I can’t tell you enough that if you wait until Sunday to do them you will be screwed. Also, the Daily Create assignments need to be completed and published on the day they come out (hence the daily!) and I am mandating you do one Wednesday by midnight to get in the swing of things.

Please note that this class moves at a lightening fast pace, and if you don’t stop to look around once and a while it will pass you by.

You can find the syllabus here: Syllabus Summer 2017.

Part I Bootcamp

The first thing you should do this week (and every week) is watch the video (above). In it, I will lay out the plan for the week. These videos are a vital resource for you and you should never skip them! I cannot emphasize this enough. If you try to rely on just the list below of what you need to complete, there is a good chance you will get confused or miss out on important tips and information!

Below is a detailed list of what’s to be completed this week.

  1. Review the Syllabus
    You need to spend some time reading and familiarizing yourself with the syllabus for this class. As we said in our welcome email last week, this course is likely like no other you’ve ever taken. The syllabus is your roadmap for understanding the work of the class and what your activities will entail.
  2. Get a Domain and Webhosting
    After review the syllabus, first thing you need to do is choose a domain name for yourself. A domain name is a just a fancy name for a URL or Web address. For this class, you will register a domain name (free through UMW’s Domain of One’s Own project) of your own. Check out some advice about choosing a domain name.  Once you choose your domain name, you need to register it and set up web hosting through Domain of One’s Own (login with your UMW netid/password). Detailed instructions. If you already have a domain through Domain of One’s Own, then you are one step ahead For more details on how to navigate your web hosting account, i.e. cPanel (your control panel), creating subdomains, using Installatron, etc., we have extensive documentation here:http://docs.umwdtlt.org/ . Shortly after you sign up for your domain and Web hosting, you will receive an email requiring you to verify your domain. This is a legitimate email, and you must follow the instructions in it! If you do not, in two weeks, your domain will go into a state of “limbo” making your site basically unavailable.
  3. Install WordPress
    This tutorial will take you through installing the publishing platform WordPress. Keep in mind if you already have WordPress installed on your UMW Domains, you can use your existing site (and just tag or categorize your ds106 work accordingly) or choose to create a new WordPress site in a separate subdomain, such as ds106.myawesomedomains.com.Find out what a subdomain is and how to set up a subdomain on our documentation site. You will be using WordPress A LOT in this class. If you’re not already familiar with it, please keep this set of WordPress resources handy.
  4. Register Your Blog at the Main ds106 Web Site
    Once your blog is available on the web (it should be almost immediate) register yourself and your new blog on the DS106 site. You MUST do this in order for everyone to see the posts you’ll be writing for the class. NOTE: In order to register your site, you will need to give us a Twitter userid. You may want to skip ahead to the Twitter portion of #5 if you don’t already have a Twitter account.
  5. Get an Avatar
    You will need to select an “avatar” for yourself. This is an icon or image that can represent you online (it need not be your face). This should preferably be a square image. Create a “gravatar” for yourself at http://gravatar.com using the email address you most likely will use for course work (and keep in mind you can associate your gravatar with several email accounts). Many sites (such as our class site) will automatically use this image as your avatar.
  6. Set up Your Social Media
    Create accounts and fill out profiles for yourself (if any of these let you set an avatar, use the same icon as you set up on Gravatar) on:
  • Flickr(photo sharing) http://flickr.com
    If you are new to Flickr or have no images in your account, you MUST post at least 5 images to your flickr account right away (they can be whatever you want); Flickr may not verify and make your account public until there are 5 images there. When you upload your photos, tag them with ds106. Get in the habit of doing this!
  • Soundcloud(audio publishing)  http://soundcloud.com/
    Set up an account if you don’t already have one.
  • Google / Youtube (video sharing) http://www.google.com/accounts/
    If you have a Gmail account, you are already set with this. If not create a Google account. This is what will allow you to join any synchronous video discussions we have (in Google Hangout) and gives you access to YouTube.
  • Vimeo (video sharing) http://vimeo.com
    Alternatively, if you don’t want to (or can’t) get a YouTube account, feel free to use Vimeo for your videos.
  • Twitter http://twitter.com
    Twitter will be one of the main channels for communication in ds106. If you already have an account for personal purposes, you are welcome to use it or create a new account for communication related to this class. Make sure you customize your profile! Send your first message of greeting and be sure to use #ds106 hashtag in your tweets. Learn how to search on the #ds106 hashtag.
  • Make some Multimodal Introductions
    Now that you have all your accounts, it’s time to use them to introduce yourself to the class. Use Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Flickr to introduce yourself to the community, be creative. Once you’ve done that you need to embed them all into a WordPress blog post. Here are some tips for embedding media in WordPress.

Part II Customizing Your Blog and Building Participation

1. Customize Your Blog: This week, I want you to also spend some time customizing and personalizing your blog. Here are some things you should work on:

  1. About Page: You need to create an about page on your blog and let folks know who you are. This is one of your virtual homes on the web, time to decorate and nest  You do not need to share very personal information about yourself, if you’re not comfortable doing so, and, generally, we don’t recommend that you post your email, your phone number, or your street address. You’re welcome to only use your first name or a nickname, if that makes you more comfortable, too.
  2. Exploring Themes: Here’s a tutorial on how to work with Themes in WordPress. You should try out some different themes until you find one you really like.
  3. Exploring Plugins: Plugins are extensions to WordPress that change or enhance the way it works. Here is a quick run through on installing plugins. In addition, on the Video page of this site, you can find a section full of WordPress help videos. There is one specifically about installing plugins.
    • To start, everyone needs to install Akismet — a plugin that blocks spam comments (which you will all be getting very soon). If you start having issues with spam and you haven’t installed Akismet,  we will cry crocodile tears. [NB: You don’t have to pay a cent for Akismet, just move the slider to $0 when signing up.]
    • We also recommend you install Jetpack, which is like 40 plugins in one. Many of them are extremely useful (check out the Publicize component of JetPack which let’s you share on Twitter every time you write a blog post).
    • These are the list that DTLT recommend.
  4. Moderating Comments: There is nothing more annoying than when you take the time to comment on someone’s blog, and it never shows up because it is stuck in moderation. You will receive an email whenever someone leaves a comment on your blog and it goes into moderation, and you need to approve it. It is your job to moderate all comments, although feel free to delete anything you find untoward or inappropriate. You can moderate comments in the Comments section of your WordPress site. (The WordPress help videos on the Video page of this site includes one on Managing Comments.)
  5. Blog Titles: No site shall be called “My blog” of “DS106” by the week’s end. If there is one—we will sacrifice you to the sun and ocean. A lot of them. You change this in the Settings area of the WordPress Dashboard.For a more in-depth overview of WordPress check out the documentation we have provided at wordpress website. 

2. Build Your Participation: Participation is not only a component of your grade in this class, it’s also an essential element of building our online community. If you’re doing the work but not actively engaging with everyone else in ds106, then you need to step up your game. Here are three important ways you can build up your participation in ds106:

  1. Commenting:  Commenting is the life’s blood of this class, and it is a large part of your overall work in this course. Read your fellow students’ blogs widely and comment freely. Commenting builds community. If you want to be sure we see the comments you left, you should consider linking to them in your Weekly Summary post.
  2. Twitter:  Twitter will be a vital space for the work we’re doing all semester. If you’re not there, you’re missing the conversation, and that can’t help but affect your work. (You may also miss important information, advice, or announcements!)  Follow the hashtags #ds106. Also, I recommend using Tweetdeck (a Twitter application you can install on your computer) for tracking specific hashtags.
  3. Responding on Your Own Blog: This is a more advanced from of participation, and it’s indicative of a student who truly understands the meaning of building community in ds106. If you find yourself leaving a very long comment, you have significant thoughts or reactions to a classmate’s work, or someone else’s work inspires you to create something yourself, write up a post on your own blog and be sure to link back to the post that inspired you. It can be incredibly satisfying to discover that something you said or created didn’t just prompt a comment, but inspired someone to write or create something of their own, on their own blog. (You can also use this technique to write about something someone said with which you disagree, but you must always do this in a polite and constructive way!)

Part III Photography

https://youtu.be/VAUcDSk_5Y8

Getting into the visual storytelling.  This section deals with how we use visual elements to capture meaning and tell stories. We’ll be doing some work with photography and I’ll ask you to review some resources about improving your photography (and being more thoughtful about what you take pictures of). Additionally, I’ll be asking you to continue organizing your blog.

    1. How to Be a Better Photographer

      The suggestions are borrowed from TEN: Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involve Buying Gear a $5 ebook by David duChemin. You don’t need to buy the book, we’ve lifted some key points.

      • Get Pickier: Instead of using your camera like a rapid fire machine gun, spend more time pre-composing in your mind. As you get more practice, you can be more selective, and more deliberate.
      • Better Contrast Makes Better Stories Contrast can be in terms of colors and lighting, but also elements in your photos- look for things that maybe not belong together. Look for near and far perspective.
      • Change My Perspective By Changing Yours: Find different and unique points of view. Look down, up, lay down on the ground. Seek perspectives of lines.
      • Create Depth: Look for ways to add dimension of visual depth in your 2 dimensional images- play with foreground, lines, use of wide angle lenses, use of dark backgrounds
      • Get Balanced. The rule of thirds is not only about placement on a grid; duChemin describes visual mass, elements that draw more attention in a photo and how to balance that effectively. “Becoming more intentional about creating and playing with balanace in your images will help you create images that are more intentionally express what you have to say.”
      • Pay Attention to the Moment: Sometimes it means slowing down, but also being more aware of the action in a scene, trying to anticipate the moment of something interesting before it happens e.g. watching a family at the table preparing for when baby might spill the glass of milk? at sporting evens trying to be ready for the kick that scores the goal?
      • Look to the light. Probably the most key lesson- be aware of light that works and what does not. Knowing about shadows, directions, aiming for directions where light is strong (or not). Good light makes every photo. Learn how to sense when light is good (and when not, and you can skip lousy shots).
      • Use the Best Lens If your camera uses different lenses, understand better what a wide angle does versus a telephoto not only in terms of what it can fit in a photo, but what effect it has one potos (squashing or expanding space). If your lens is fixed, understand what its limits are (how close you can get, what happens at severe angles).
      • Expose for Aesthetics Learn how to use aperture, shutter speed, iso to control the image- what the effects of these all play on depth of field, motion freeze vs blurring. For fixed lens camera/mobile, at least understand what the level of light means for your photos (why those low light photos are blurry?)
      • Put a Great Foreground in Front of a Great Background Pay attention to the near and far. A landscape scene is dull without something in foreground to give depth and scale. Learn to avoid clutter and distracting elements.

      These are of course, very general guides. You get better as you look at your own and others photos. You get better when you think more before you press the shutter. You get better when you try new approaches. You get better when you break the rules.

      Review the following materials about photography and using visual elements to create stories.

      Write a blog post towards the end of the week that summarizes the tips you tried. Include:

      • Link and credit for the tip
      • Embed an example of a photo where you tried the technique
      • Describe how you thought about this, or what approach (or variation) you tried.
      • Take your photo that you are most proud of in terms of learning a new photo technique, and write a summary blogpost and make sure you write a portion based on reflection of the material read/watched/listen to.
    2. Complete a Photo Safari: Below are a list of subjects I ask you to convey in photos– but you must try and capture within a 15 minute window of time. It’s a photographic scavenger hunt. Pick a place that is likely to have a good variety of subjects (your basement, a shopping mall, a busy city block). Be inventive in trying to interpret the list of subjects, in a location you choose (many of my previous university students completed this in their dorm room).Carve out a time and place to try the photo scavenger hunt; write a blog post that includes a gallery of your images, and some thoughts on the experience.There are no prizes for who gets the most done. Just try to think of interesting ways to capture the items or convey the ideas in a photo. Here is what to seek in your photoblitz!
      1. Your first photo is of something that shows the current time! Document when you started the blitz.
      2. In the next 15 minutes, try to capture as many of the following photos as you can
        • Take a photo dominated by a single color.
        • Take a photo of an interesting shadow.
        • Take a photo of something futuristic.
        • Take a photo at an unusual angle, e.g. looking looking up at something or looking down at something, or from the view of an ant.
        • Take a photo into bright light.
        • Take a photo of someone else’s shoe or foot.
        • Make an inanimate object look alive.
        • Make a photo that uses converging lines to draw us into the photo
        • Take a photo of two things that do not belong together.
        • Take a photo that shows a repeating pattern.
        • Take a photo where you move the camera as you take the photo, so it gives the subject a suggestion of motion.
        • Take a photo that is looking through a frame or opening to something else.
        • Take a photo that represents joy.
        • Make a photo that is abstract, that would make someone ask, “Is that a photograph?”
        • Take a photo that represents a metaphor for complexity.
      3. Take another photo of a timepiece that shows the time you stopped. It should be fifteen minutes since step 1, right?
      4. Upload your images to your blog, and create a WordPress Gallery for them.
      5. Write a blog post about your experience. Describe the place you chose to do this, and why you chose it. What was the experience like? What photos worked for you best? What do you think was the most inventive?
    3. Do three Daily Creates: Complete three Daily Creates this week.The website is http://daily.ds106.us/Here’s how to get started:
      1. Follow @ds106dc on Twitter. New assignments are posted each day at 5AM EST. The assignments will vary in mode– photography, drawing, audio, video, writing, and maybe an oddball one now and them.
      2. Once you’ve completed your assignment, follow the instructions on the Daily Create to reply via twitter. For your response to show up here you must include @ds106dc in your tweet as well as the tag specific for that day, e.g. code>#tdc1666.
      3. That’s it! It may take up to an hour for your response to show up here.  Make sure in your weekly summary you give the links to each of your daily creates.
    4. Complete Visual Assignments: This week, you’ll be doing at least 4 different assignments totally 10 or more stars of visual assignments from Visual Assignment DS106 Assignment Bank.  Additionally, you will be required to do the You Very Own Spubble assignment (2 stars)  (this counts toward your 10 point total) Make sure you’re tagging your assignments correctly (the required assignment tags are VisualAssignments and VisualAssignments190, and review the advice about writing up assignments.  The following is the rubric for these assignments
    5. Organize Your Blog: As you start to write more and more posts for the different genres of assignments we’re doing, your site is going to have a lot of content. Set up categories for your posts so that you (and others) can easily filter and find your work. Here is a recommended category structure you can use (feel free to modify/expand as you like:
      • Assignments
      • Daily Create
      • Thoughts and Ideas
      • Weekly Summaries
      • Best Work
      • Final Project

Now create these additional sub-categories and set the Parent to be Assignments:

      • Visual
      • Design
      • Audio
      • Video

Note: if you’re using your blog for other things besides this class, you may wish to add an overarching category for all of these of “ds106.”

Check out the Videos under “WordPress Help.”

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Part IV Weekly Summary

Every week, you will be required to submit a summary post by the weekly deadline (generally due on Sundays at midnight). These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:

  • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
  • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
  • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week!  The follow is the rubric I use for assignments.
This week you should write minimally about the following.  By the way proper English and good writing are required!

  1. Commentary on Setting Up your Domain and Social media
  2. A link to a mutlimodel introduction blog post
  3. Commentary of Customizing your blog
  4. A link to a reflection about all the material you viewed/read about visuals of storytelling
  5. A link to your Photo Safari
  6. A link to your Photoreflection
  7. A link to your reflection on the photo safari
  8. Links to Three Daily Creates
  9. Links to 4 different visual assignment blog post
  10. Reflection on how you felt about the Visual Storytelling.

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: You MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.