Week 15 & Finals: “The End is a new Beginning”

Everything for the final week is due Dec. 11, 2015 by 5 p.m. 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.

Creating Tutorials

If you need to know what  a great example of a tutorial is look at the following tutorials on Pixlr Tutorial by former ds106 students Jess Reingold and  Make a GIF using Photoshop by Jack Hylan.


You are required to create at least two tutorials for pre-existing assignments in the repository, they must be worth a total of 6 stars or more. These tutorials must be blog posts with specific instructions and screenshots, screencasts walking an audience through the process, or some other approach to helping others complete the task. A way to consider how these are done would be to ask what sort of tutorial would have helped you best to do the assignment.  If a tutorial already exist then you cannot do another unless the tutorial did not work for you or you feel there is a better tool to use.  When creating the tutorial think of someone that does not know how to use the tool, maybe your grandmother, grandfather, mom, dad so be detailed.  You may want someone with no experience to try it out before submitting.

  1. Write the instructions professionally. Using a friendly and professional tone is often the most effective. There are many ways to undermine the professionalism of your writing. Stay on target with your writing. Avoid going off subject. E.g. Talking about your personal life. It’s best to stay on topic, being focused on what you are writing. That doesn’t mean that it should lack of having a personality, but don’t let it undermine the professionalism of your writing.
  2. Credit your sources. Copyright is an important issue in the tutorial publishing. You need to link to each image and asset you’ve used. This way people can verify the usage rights of the photos and materials. This is not applicable if you’re not using assets, if you created your own assets, or if you photographed your own images.
  3. Practice the subject on what you make your tutorial about. You can create your project first. Then you go back and make it a second time, while recording your projects process for the second time. The other approach is to create your project and record your steps as it goes.
  4. Capture screenshots or make screen videos. The most basic way to capture screenshots is to use tools, and shortcuts, built into your computer. Press Print screen and Ctrl to make a screen shot. Then clean them up in a photo editing software program like Photoshop or Gimp if needed. That being said, you can also make a video of your work for example if you are making a Photoshop tutorial. You can use programs like Camtasia or an open source program like Camstudio. Use what you prefer the best, experiment with it until you get the hang of it.
  5. Review your tutorial. Keep your readers in mind. For which audience you are making your tutorial? Is the tutorial meant for beginners or for advanced users? You need to answer all these questions, and work to improve the tutorial based on these types of issues.

Like assignments, tutorials have tags that need to be added to the post on your blog in order for it to be associated with the proper assignment. You need to check the tutorial tag for the assignment you are writing the documentation for. You will need to correctly use the tutorial tags to get full credit.

Week 13 & 14 I remixed a remix, it was back to normal.

I am going to use Jim Groom Lecture from 2012 for remix.  You need to really start listening around 3:30.  You will want to watch RiP: A Remix Manifesto first (given below).

For the next two weeks you’ll be exploring the culminating ideas of ds106–remixes and mashups– the artistic recasting of existing media into new forms by creative combination and editing. This will build off of your previous work in all media forms. And we will even remix our own assignments.

What is Remix?

Before you get started making your own remixes, explore the concepts of remix and mashup, and see if you can try and sort out the differences. As part of your understanding, you are tasked with reviewing at least two of the references on the concepts listed below and at least three of the examples.

Instead of writing up an explanation of what you learned, instead formulate your own understanding about remix and mashup, and record a video or audio of you explaining it to someone who is not familiar; this could ba a family member, friend, neighbor, random stranger. The point is to capture a recording of your explanation and make sure we hear the other person, perhaps asking a question. If you show them any examples, do it before you record (we do not need to hear them again).Write up a blog post that includes this recording and anything else you want to share to show your understanding of remix, and explaining how the examples you watched demonstrated the form. Put some thought on whether this is a creative act and as well explore what it means for the entities that retain copyright over the media forms that are remixed. Include links and/or embeds of all media you reference.

References on Remix

RiP: A Remix Manifesto a documentary by Brett Gaylor on remix culture featuring the work of Girl Talk. The video is 90 minutes long, watch at least half of it!  Note, you can watch the video directly on vimeo

Everything is a Remix is a four part series by Kirby Ferguson; most important are Part 1

and Part 3.

The New Prohibition by Andy Baio is a must view insight into copyright, fair use (“fair use is not a law”), and remix culture.

For some interesting perspective on art and remix, see Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist a book based on a compelling blog post– review the Steal Like An Artist Book Trailer.

Let Us Never Speak Of This Thing Again resources and audio from a ds106 session in 2011 from Brian Lamb

A Fair(y) Use Tale itself a remix that uses Disney clips to explain copyright

Remix Examples

Below is an assortment of remix examples, review at least 3 of them for your assignment or feel free to locate your own examples, just be sure to justify how they are remixes.

Running into Copyright

If it has not happened to you while working on video projects, it will likely in this section- a notice from YouTube about copyright violation. They use a technology called ContentID that is automatically able to determine if a users upload includes video or audio that matches copyrighted content. Sometimes you just get a warning, sometimes it prevents you from embedding media, and in some cases your video night be removed outright.

You have a few options if this happen; see the ds106 handbook.

http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/xns_Yes, this first interferes with your work on assignments. But give it more thought in your weekly reflection, and try to weigh the balances of being able to “take” video clips and make them into something new (including looking at your own creations and asking how it might change if it is your creativity being used by others).

Remixing A ds106 Assignment

For this week, we are going to remix an existing ds106 assignment.  Here is how it works… go to the ds106 remixer site at http://remix.ds106.us/ and follow the link for the Remix Generator. When it loads, it will randomly choose one of the hundreds of ds106 assignments; as well it will serve up one of what we call “Remix Cards” which is a certain twist or variation to apply to the assignment.

Your task is to then interpret this as a new assignment — and complete it. Not only that, we want you to look at the examples that were done for the original assignment, and use media from one of these as your starting point.

For example, one combination is combining the Wiggle Spectroscopy (visual assignment) with the Go Emo remix card – so the challenge there would be to create a wiggle visual that features an emo type character.

It’s tricky! (And some combinations may not even be possible!) We are not as interested in what fabulous creations you can make, but how you can write up your and justify your interpretation of the remix assignment. If the remix generator gives you something that does not make sense, just reload it and try another combination. Note that the remixed assignment is not created until you click the big Remix It button. Be sure to save the URL for your remixed assignment.

For this week, you must complete and write up one Remix Assignment using the Remixer. If there are examples for the original assignment, then you should aim to use media created for one of those examples (do not forget to link to it in your writeup). Be sure to include all of the tags provided by the Remix generator.

Other Mashup Assignments

Complete at least 9 stars of assignments from the Mashup Category of the assignment repository. Most of these require video editing and are are not trivial to complete. Start early!

If you don’t see an assignment you like, and you have an idea for one, submit it!  If you submit a new assignment you must also complete that assignment otherwise it won’t count

Weekly Summary & Recap

Your weekly summary for weeks 13 & 14 is due by midnight on Sunday, Nov. 29. It should include the following:

  • Link to your what is remix blog post, in which you investigate the remix resources and examples provided above, and embed a video or audio recording of you explaining remix to someone else.
  • Link to your blog post for the assignment you did with the ds106 Remix Generator
  • Link to and discussion of your 9 stars worth of remix assignments.
  • Summary of your work and final reflections on remix/mashup. Note that in your reflection I am looking to see some thought given to what you have learned about Remix/Mashup and where it may apply to other work or acts of creativity you may do or see. Or write about where they place is in realm fo culture and media. Or speculate on the implication for copyright.
  • Do three daily creates.

Week 11 & 12 I Want to See That Video

Making Movies


You’ve read movies and done your pre-work. Now it’s time to make movies! Video is perhaps the most rich of storytelling forms, and over the next two weeks you will focus explicitly on video storytelling. The only assignments on your plate are to work on video assignments, and all of which are due in two weeks time.

But here is the warning, danger danger Will Robinson– DO NOT LEAVE THIS ALL FOR THE LAST WEEKEND. You should have a good start for the two assignments you did the pre-work for last week. You will get more feedback if you do some work this first week.


You will want to be using the video editor that allows you wo 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 (but feel free to look at some of the other options in the ds106 Handbook). Many of the assignments will require downloading of clips form YouTube (we have a tutorial if you need it). PC users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files- you will either have to install codecs to read mp4 videos, or use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats.

It is also important focus on the storytelling aspect of your video making–do not focus on just the technical points or making the video just for the points..  Be very sure that your video tells a story somehow and that when you write up your blog post you are providing full details and context for your videos. Think about the shape of stories we studied in week 4.

Here is what you should be including in all of your video assignments for the next two weeks:

  • An opening title sequence and closing credits – make sure your video gives credit to media sources.
  • Makes good use of audio- keep in mind the lessons from audio storytelling- use of background music, sound effects, and/or foley.
  • Your blog writeup includes the key elements— narrative describing the ides/inspiration behind the video you created and also details on how it was made (including credits/links to media sources and at least one screen shot of your video editing screen).

It’s video, video, video.

Video Editing Resources

Check the ds106 Handbook Tools section for options on video editing tools and links to tutorials for iMovie and Movie Maker. Other resources that may help include:

Digital Knowledge Center

The Digital Knowledge Center (on the 4th floor of the ITCC) is open for business between 10 Am and 6 PM Monday through Thursday, and from 10 Am to 3 PM on Fridays. They are awesome, schedule an appointment to get focused help with using these video tools—you might even meet a fellow classmate :)

Required Video Assignment

Have a Conversation With yourself! or create a video where you sing multiple parts of a song similar to Jon Cozart or when Eddie Murphy in Coming to America played multiple people in the barber shop.

The Rest of the Video Mission

Over the next two weeks, your other task is completion of 5 assignment worth minimally 16 stars from the Video Assignments.  Focus on more than just completing the required numer of stars. Just doing 16 stars worth of work earns you a “C.”; going above and beyond and creating something interesting and compelling will move you into “B” and “A” territory.

All your video work should be uploaded to YouTube and you must write a post for each completed assignment in which you embed your YouTube video. If you are looking for a paragraph length, it should be at least 4 paragraphs.

Pay attention to Video the ds106 Way from http://ds106.us/open-course/unit-10-making-movies/ in regards to including credits, more complex audio, write-ups, etc.

Daily Create

Please complete 6 total daily creates, try to focus on video daily creates.

Weekly Summary

Due midnight, Sunday, November 15, 2015
Your week summary should not take much to do. Besides linking to the work you did for the last two weeks, make room to write some reflection on what you learned about creating stories in video — and not just the technical aspects, but what did you find were the compelling elements of story in the work you did in these two weeks.