Week 1 Final

Everything is due Sunday, June 26 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.

Part III Photography

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


      a $0 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 balance 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 events trying to be ready for the kick that scores the goal?
      • Look to the light. Probably the most key lesson- be aware of the 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 on one photo (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 the 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 other 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 assignment period 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 blog post and make sure you write a portion based on the 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 photo blitz!
      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 up at something or looking down at something, or from the view of an ant.
        • Take a photo in 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 two Daily Creates this assignment period. 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 5 AM EST. The assignments will vary in mode– photography, drawing, audio, video, writing, and maybe an oddball one now and then.
      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. Then make sure to keep the URL of your tweet because your summary at the end of the assignment period will have to have all three URL embedded into the summary.
    4. Complete Visual Assignments: SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT

This assignment period, you’ll be doing at least 4 different assignments total 10 or more stars of visual assignments from Visual Assignment DS106 Assignment Bank.  Additionally, you will be required to do the Draw It assignment (2 stars)  (this counts toward your 10 points total) Make sure you’re tagging your assignments correctly (the required assignment tags are VisualAssignments and VisualAssignments504, and review the advice about writing up assignments.  The following is the rubric for these assignments

      • Make sure to embed your draw it photo into a blog post.
      • The blog post must have a written story that refers to the draw it photo, not an explanation of the draw it photo but a story, for example, the draw it photo was taken at the grand canyon(put a map with the grand canyon in the post), when you were at the grand canyon you took a donkey ride down (embed a video or gif of a donkey ride), at that exact moment the donkey almost threw you off almost plunging to your death) and finally, write about how you survived and maybe add a Soundcloud of you singing yeah I alive.  That is a digital story that completes the assignment.  Mixing digital media and support the actual assignment.
      • After the story, you must create a tutorial of how you created the draw it (how-to guide so someone else could recreate what you did).  Step by step instructions with images that show the steps or a youtube video of how you did it.
    1. 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
      • 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.”


Part IV Assignment Summary: Example

For every assignment, you will be required to submit a summary post by the assignment 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 assignment summaries are what we will use to find all of your assignment 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 an assignment 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.  A link to a reflection about all the material you viewed/read about visuals of storytelling. (1 BLOG POST)
  2. A link to your Photo Safari (1 BLOG POST) just the photo but format them so they look nice and easy to view
  3. A link to your Photoreflection (1 BLOG POST) this is on your favorite photo and why you think it is the best
  4. A link to your reflection on the photo safari (1 BLOG POST). This is on the entire process
  5. Links to Two Daily Creates (1 BLOG POST) no text just the daily creates
  6. Links to 4 different visual assignment blog post (4 BLOG POST)

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade your work, 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. 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 by midnight on the due date.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.