Week 1 Midweek

Submit your summary URL on Wednesday, June 22rd at 11:59 pm 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 minutes, one-on-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

Please note that most of the assignments/tasks listed below are due no later than Wednesday night at midnight, though I can’t tell you enough that if you wait until Wednesday 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 lightning-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 on canvas.

Part I Bootcamp

The first thing you should do for this assignment (and every assignment) is to read the entire blog post for that assignment. In it, I will lay out the plan for the assignment. 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 in this assignment.

  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 reviewing the syllabus, the first thing you need to do is choose a domain name for yourself. A domain name is 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. 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
    Go to the collaboration on google drive
  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.
    • BE CREATIVE NOT JUST “HI” on each of the digital media.
    • Create a fluid story on all the different tools, Flickr, Youtube or Vimeo, Twitter, and Soundcloud.
    • 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.  
    • Create one blog post which combines all your introduction into one comprehensive and cohesive blog post.  Do not put here is my introduction of blah, here is my introduction of next blah.  Be creative.

Part II Customizing Your Blog and Building Participation

1. Customize Your Blog: In this assignment, I want you to also spend some time customizing and personalizing your blog. You can read up here on how to get started.  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 lets you share on Twitter every time you write a blog post).
    • These are the list that DTLT recommends.
      • Jetpack: a bundle of plugins for WordPress that add a variety of commonly used capabilities, such as image galleries, site traffic stats, and security.
      • Akismet: provides security against comment spam.
      • Disable Comments: This allows you to disable comment and reply fields on pages and posts.
      • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded: limits the number of login attempts to prevent brute force attacks on your site.
      • Advanced noCaptcha & invisible Captcha: Show no captcha or invisible captcha on a variety of forms across your blog. This will protect your site from spam user registrations, comments, and submissions. You need a Google account to use this plugin.
      • PDF Embedder: allows you to embed PDFs and adds navigation buttons to help viewers interact with your documents.
      • Widget Context: allows you to show or hide widgets on certain sections of your site.
      • WordFence: robust security tool which allows you to track attempts to log in to your site, and offers a firewall for added protection.
  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 include one on Managing Comments.)
  5. Blog Titles: No site shall be called “hello world”, “ds106”, “cpsc106”, “digital storytelling”, “My blog” or “DS106” by the assignment due date. 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 on the WordPress website. 

2. Build Your Participation: Participation is not only a component of your grade in this class, but 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 Assignment 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 form 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!)

Assignment Summary: Example Summary

For each assignment, you will be required to submit a summary post by each deadline. These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the assignment period: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections, etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the assignment period:

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

These summaries are what we will use to find all of your work as we determine your grade for that assignment period. In addition, they are an opportunity for you to 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 summary post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a summary, you will get no grade for that assignment period!

In this assignment period, 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 blog post with your  multimodal introduction blog post
  3. Commentary on Customizing your blog

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every assignment period, 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 assignment period. 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 summary post in Canvas. NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.