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.

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