I hate to leave you but I really must say.

… “goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.”

I’m referencing one of my favorite childhood movies here– three men and a baby. Check the scene.

In many ways, this class feels like all of our baby. Sometimes stressful and a lot of work, but SO worth the end result and ultimately a fun ride. I hear that’s parenting for you. And that’s been my relationship with DS106.

I loved the unique design of this course that allowed us creative space and control of our own product. The freedom involved in sending us off with an assignment that simply asked us to do our best to produce something of quality really made me, personally, not want to settle for less. Much more so than if there was a strict rubric applied to every assignment. I just think that when literally all a teacher is looking for is a student’s best, the student is more inclined to give it. That’s what Jim Groom did for us. And I think it paid off– specifically, in my opinion, with the mashups and the homages. People just do well with things they’re passionate about. After all, real life is about finding a passion and pursuing it. If anything is worth a grade, it’s the ferocity of that pursuit.

Online, we had a great community going. I loved the emphasis on commenting on other people’s work. On some level it was a lesson in common courtesy and respect of the work others put into do a job well. We weren’t expected to comment on everyone’s blog– just those posts we felt were well done. In this way, we got to grade each other. If you had comments, you could feel that you’d done well long before any official grade came from the professor. Having 20 people grading might sound more difficult, but for me it provided that much more reason to do well. It’s one thing to fear a “C” and another issue entirely to think of just not doing well in front of an online audience. Commenting is a huge part of my enjoying this class so much.

The only critique I have regarding this is that we knew each others blogs so well. We did not know each others’ faces quite so well. Online we were best friends, but we couldn’t pick each other from a lineup in class. For this reason, I suggest that once everyone establishes their project blog in future (though not as awesome… couldn’t resist) courses, there be a 20 minute portion of class dedicated to each person having a minute or so to pull up their homepage and literally stand next to the “face” they create online, while explaining to the class why they chose that project.

Regarding the assignments themselves, I actually really enjoyed the articles and videos at the beginning of the semester. Well, that’s only half true. I liked the content, but I think scattering them over the course of the semester would be a better fit. I know much of the reading assignments in the beginning is because we’re gathering our bearings and getting our blogs online and it isn’t yet feasible to do the projects that require being posted to blogs, so I’m not sure if it can be helped. Still, I would’ve enjoyed during all of the producing we did in the second half of the semester a break to just take in some information and I think I would’ve understood especially the Web 2.0 if it’d come later in the semester.

I personally was not very good at the webcasting assignment, I know. This is mostly because I found street view difficult to navigate. Ultimately, I just think we could’ve done the captioning to get a sense of what google is doing with street view, but then we would’ve lost the screencasting aspect of the assignment, which I found very helpful to learn. Maybe a better assignment (here I go making up assignments instead of helping Jim Groom decides which ones to cut!) for screencasting would be to ask us to include each other on some sort of creative process we engage on the computer, not just street view. This could be a small tutorial on video-making, picture-editing, blogging tools like the footnote plugin, etc.

As for my personal project, I did not keep up with the regularity I expected of myself. I feel disappointed by that here at the end, since I am switching to regular (free!) wordpress and will not have the same creative control as I currently enjoy and, I think, took for granted. Still, I take a certain amount of pride in my work, knowing what it will mean to me and my family in the days to come when we will not get to re-enter through that red door with the “4.” This is such a raw experience, and I hope I conveyed that in the posts I did manage to get up. I will keep paying through December in order to keep updating through the move once I return over Christmas break. I did not take the time to figure out a recording of video through skype, either, so there was never an interview to post on my project– I think having the voices of my family members would’ve greatly enhanced the blog and I do plan, again, to work on this over the break.

I know full well that that work will not count towards my final grade. But I want to do it anyway. This brings me back to my original point. The stuff we did– though sometimes hard and occurring at inopportune times that conflicted with other class work, etc–we ultimately completed because we wanted to. We wanted to take care of this baby, difficult as it might be at times.

I give major credit to Jim Groom for creating that environment and allowing that space for us to realize that more than anything, most of us just really wanted to get more acquainted with the internet and the tools needed to produce material for sharing on the phenomenal medium that is the web. We are, for all intents and purposes, internauts.

I really hate to leave you, DS106, but I really must say, goodnight sweetheart goodnight.

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