Archive for the ‘Assignment 13’ Category

Farewell

Friday, December 10th, 2010

If I had to choose which assignment I liked the best I would have to say the Halloween Story. Making that movie was a blast and I think we came out with a great product. I liked to hear how it made people laugh and still serves its educational purpose. The assignment I did not like as much was the reading in the beginning, because I feel like we jumped into the deep stuff without learning much. I liked doing the film in six frames because it challenged me to put a crazy story like Zoolander into 6 frames. I also really liked doing the mash up, because mine turned out so much different than everyone else’s. When you asked us to do a mash up I immediately thought music and decided that’s what I was going to do but as I saw people posting mostly videos from one movie and speech from another I was skeptical, but I stuck with it and I like the tune that I ended up with.

These fifteen weeks have been great, I feel like I haven’t done my part though. I started off well with my digital story making posts on Photoshopping, but after a few, I could not think of what to do a tutorial on. I only had limited knowledge about Photoshop and I think it showed in my lack of posts at the end. Also, my other courses decided to bombard me with work at the end of the semester for some reason which did not help my blog. I feel bad that I slacked off in the end because I got behind on the assignments and they kept coming, then I did less work on my Photoshopping. I feel like I did not do the class the justice it deserves, but being less formally structured than all the others somehow it got put on the back burner. At the end when I was about caught up on assignments, my computer decided to format itself and start anew…great. If I were to make suggestions on this class I would say that you should hold people to their digital stories more, and make them post at least once a week. I think if I knew that my grade would drop every post I did not do, I would make more of an effort to do them. I’m not saying that my grade won’t drop because I did not do some posts, but you did not express it as much. I would also suggest that the syllabus be longer and more detailed. I would also suggest a few less assignments or at least let them choose let’s say 8 or 10 out of the 12 you will assign. That way people will be able to take one off when they may have a lot of work in their other classes.

Regrets

I feel like I did my part in this class, but only just getting by. I did not go beyond what I had to do with my blog. It may be because blogging isn’t my thing or because I ran out of ideas. Either way looking back I should have done more and put more time into my blog. I also regret that my computer formatted itself because it made me look like I was slacking more on my blog than I really was.  I feel like I did not show you how on point of a student I can be and I will be looking to sign up for some of the other classes you teach in the future.

Course Reflection

Friday, December 10th, 2010

In the weeks since registration for the spring 2011 term, I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve heard say they are taking digital storytelling, are on a waiting list or wish they had signed up to take the class.

Hearing about it so much makes me wish DS106 were part of a two-course sequence, because after 15 weeks, I only want more. I’ve never been in a college class that encourages students to think so creatively about developing content and gives such freedom to create a digital identity. In my reflection paper for my literary journal class, I said the phrase “you’ll get out of it what you put into it” is an appropriate why to put that class in context, and I think the same applies to Digital Storytelling. Yes, the workload was heavy, but you warned us about that on day one.

As a student I tried to approach assignments with the mindset that because of the heavy workload, I was picking up skills that would not only help me create a better final project, but also be useful in my future career field. In hindsight, none of the assignments actually felt like “an assignment” to me and I think that’s because with each of them, we were allowed to explore what interested us rather than being told specifically how to approach the task. You always gave suggestions to get us thinking, but made it clear we could go beyond these.

With some classes I think it’s easy to approach an assignment with an attitude of “How quickly can I get this done?” or “Why are we even doing this?” and I never associated those outlooks with DS106 because of the way the course is largely focused on the students’ process of creating, sharing and discussing content that is significant to them.

The assignments, projects and tools I enjoyed most were the ones I knew little about prior to taking the class, but craved to have more experience with in their use. I think knowing how to use tools like Audacity and work with video will help me a lot in the field I hope to pursue in the future. It was always helpful when you went over the tools in class and had us experiment with the tools in groups first. I know the both might be sacrificed to an extent in the online course, but there are ways I think that can be substituted, especially through the use of video tutorials. I know someone suggested filming the sessions of the class that meets, but honestly, that would probably make me drop the online course. I wouldn’t want to watch a 75-minute video of a regular class each week if I signed up for an online course. I’d be more interested in shorter video tutorials or screencasts walking me through a specific tool. For example, I think a screencast (or even just a post of screenshots) guiding us through switching to new webhosts at the end of the semster would have been helpful. Obviously meeting with you was a huge help, which I appreciate, but as I tried it on my own prior to meeting I had trouble following the directions and knowing where to go, click and download within cPanel.

To echo what was said in class last week, I agree a schedule of assignments would have been helpful early in the semester in addition to the syllabus, even if it were just as simple as “Week 1-Daily Shoot, Week 2-Uninteresting Audio Story, Week 3-El Mashup…” so we would have maybe known what to expect timing-wise in relation to assignments in other courses.

I really appreciated the feedback you gave all of us in our blogs and individual meetings. Honestly, I’ve never had a professor who gave the level of feedback to every student that you gave to each DS106er, and I think this is one reason why the class is such a hit. Your enthusiasm about our blogs and the course content was contagious. It was always great to receive feedback and your highlighting of classmates posts and projects always sparked my interest to explore their content more or reflect on it differently that I might have on a first reading. I know you’ve said you want to highlight individual work more next semester, which I think is great.

One area where I could have improved was in commenting. In the beginning of the semester, I was doing well with keeping up with posts and responding to their work. However, as my assignment load increased in school and work, I didn’t budget enough time in my schedule for commenting. I was visiting the site frequently and reading the majority of posts (skimming others), but my mouse didn’t always meet the comment link in the last few weeks.

Overall, I consider my experience in the class was a positive one, because I enjoy assignments that challenge me to be creative. What’s nice about ds106 is that because of it’s digital nature, the class gives students exposure to several different types of tools that at first might seem unconnected, but can really all be incorporated into one piece (like our final digital storytelling projects). The Daily Shoot Project…El Mashup…Uninteresting Audio Story…the tools associated with these are different-photography, video, audio-but each can become one component of a larger project on the web. This is something I was trying to do with my own digital story.

The Final Project was my favorite project, because for me, it gave me the opportunity to do something I love and incorporated so many of the tools we were introduced to in smaller assignments. Given such freedom to pursue and present a topic of my choice also was motivating. I constantly asked myself, “How can this story be told digitally-what tools does the digital environment provide that I might not be able to use elsewhere?” and from blogging about it to the final project itself, I think my digital project shows I put a lot of time and thought into sharing the Swope’s story.

I hate to leave you but I really must say.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

… “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.

Sound Off 1, 2…

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Has it really come to an end?  I can honestly say it has, unfortunately.  Oh and by the way, in Professor Groom’s assignment on the DS106 website, he mentioned that this was the last swan song.  The only thing I could think of for the next 10 minutes of after reading that, was that ridiculous TV series on Fox a few years ago.  That show got canceled, but luckily this swan song of a post will be thought of, to me at least, in positive terms. This was my favorite class this semester.  I really enjoyed having my own place that was mine.  I own this website, and I can put almost anything that I want on it.  There are some things here and there that I had trouble with over the course of this class, but not really anything I couldn’t do.  My only piece of advice for this next generation of internauts would be: ask. for. help.  But only if you truly have tried your best in order to solve the problem yourself first.

So, a reflection.  We started talking about this in class a little on Thursday, but Professor Groom asked us if we thought that the class was, overbearing.  I thought that all of the assignments were doable, but sometimes we us 106ers were lost in the dark in how to do an assignment.  But fortunately, Professor Groom was helpful if we could not figure it out on our own.  I know for me, I had to get a couple extensions when we had a cluster of assignments due.  But this was partly due to my other classes and with stuff I had to do for them.  Trust me, I would have much rather been working on the ds106 assignments than doing a research paper on squirrel populations on the UMW campus.  True story.  I already voted on my favorite assignments, which included: The Daily Shoot project, the fan fiction homage, the movie video commentary, the all soul’s day video, and to round them off, the mash up.  Personally, I also liked the Google video assignment as well.  I don’t remember who said it during class, but I agree with them in that the Google Maps was fun to do, but it was not easy to listen to other people talk through a 10 minute video.   I love photography, so the daily shoot was right up my ally.  I believe I did pretty well with that assignment overall.  My favorites were the Green Foliage and The Reflective Shades pictures I took.  The fan fiction was AMAZING.  We already had free reign in this class, but this assignment gave us permission to do something that we were obsessed with.  My homage was to Lord of the Rings, as you can see in two of my posts.  The movie commentary was a lot of fun because, again, it was something that we already loved.  The Halloween project was challenging because it was a group project, but it was still a blast.  If you were lucky, you could work with someone you didn’t really know before in the class.

Which brings me to another thing about the class: not knowing who people were.  The very first class we each told a short story and kind of introduced ourselves, but then we got lost on the internet and then I know I did not know who’s blog I was commenting on or viewing.  I personally think this is hilarious, the beauty of it is being able to hide behind the internet and the web through our websites.

There were a few different tools that gave me headaches and then there were others that I love and still use.  I really did not enjoy the audio projects, I don’t know if they just happened to be assigned at a hard part of the semester for me, or if my computer problems added on to it, or who knows maybe I’m just incompetent when it comes to it, but bottom line I was not thrilled.  I think audacity is great for a few uses, but after a while it seems to crash on me constantly, and that’s frustrating.  But, programs that I love are the youtube fastest converter, VLC Media Player, and Camtasia Studio.  Unfortunately, Camtasia will expire soon, but it was definitely fun using it over Windows Movie Maker (which a whole other can of worms).  I used the VLC Media Player for a large chunk of my DS106 project, and it was fairly simple to use in general.  I have used the Youtube converter a few times for the project as well as assignments that were given in class.

My DS106 project did not turn out how I expected it to when I first thought about what I was going to do for the class.  In fact, I like it even more.  I used my video camera built into my laptop to record myself drawing things that I felt like drawing, and then through a time consuming process, sped it up and posted it to my website.  My original concept was trying to draw animals, and you can see I tried to do that through the snake.  But then we dove into video projects and I just could not spend that much time on one thing with everything going on this semester ( in all of my classes).  I still like my snake drawing, but it just took too long, and then I discovered I could speed up video on VLC.  That’s all she wrote from there.  Besides, it became more of a digital story than my original idea.  A video tells a story in itself, but a drawing shows the process of the artwork, and that’s why I love it.

I think my downfall was trying to keep up with everything in the class and commenting and keeping up with my other classes.  But I’d like to think I kept up for the most part, nothing like some people in the class.  I had a blast this year, it was strange, but I actually enjoyed going to class.

Reflection

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Well I must say this is one of my favorites classes I have taken at UMW. No other class would I be blogging about Sneakers, and looking up sneaker art. It was fascinating to me how professor Groom is so enthusiastic about the subject matter we talked about, I feel like more professor need to be like that when they are teaching the material. From day one, from the first lecture he gave us I was hooked.

The assignment that were assigned challenged one creativity, and this is something I really like. We were able to create what we wanted, without much guidelines. Guidelines is much what we get in any other glass, but we had freedom here. The daily shoots was fun, even though mine didn’t look as interesting or well taken a some others. I still had good time thinking about how to do the prompt of the day. I also enjoyed the mash-up I thought looney tunes and scarface went well together, wish I had a bit more time so I could of smooth some things with that. I also had much work for my other classes so the time I wanted to put into that assignment I couldn’t. I think most of the assignments, we learned how to use a new program or how to use different techniques when developing our work for a particular assignment.

For my digital story, I was able to showcase sneaker art and try to show people that their is a whole community just dealing with sneakers. Sneakers arn’t just things on your feet with no meaning but are able to tarnsform into art, like I showcased. No other class I can think of would of let me express myself like this one did.

Overall the class was fun. I just would of like to have a set schedule of assignment so I could of known when things were due ahead of time. Yet the class I think was well done. Professor Groom carried the class in a fine manner because he was passionate about material and this gave a since that the assignment are one creations. Because they are ones creations and some were very well done I just wished in class we would of showcased more of peoples works. We could have discussed them in class and also made suggestions on different techniques on certain assignments. Yet I can’t complain much because it was one of my favorite class here at UMW by far.

All for JAWS…

Monday, December 6th, 2010

One of the best things about this class is finding out just how much we all have in common with each other. Case in point: someone has already linked to the “Reflection” song from Mulan! Just jealous I didn’t get there first!

As I think back to the first day of class, I can see why I decided to brave it and stay for the semester. When I registered for the class I pretty much thought I was shooting myself in the foot. What do I know about computer science!? With a pessimistic outlook for the semester, I arrived at the first day of class and was, well, enlightened!

In the same way that the movie The Social Network had nothing to do with Facebook and everything to do with friends, so to was this class something quite unexpected. Although the course title puts ‘Digital’ in front of ‘Storytelling,’ I soon realized that at its core, this class was about storytelling. The ‘Digital’ part was simply the medium we would be using to tell our stories.

Admittedly, I took this class to fulfill a general requirement for performance where something is created. I wasn’t really sure how it would fulfill anything, but I soon understood after about the first week just how much we would be creating… a LOT.

Honestly, I was hooked in with our JAWS discussion of the first day. But as each of the early assignments progressed, I began to question my judgment. We still hadn’t started our projects and all we did was read and comment about Web 2.0! Just as I was beginning to get anxious for what the rest of the semester held, we did the “Film in 6 Frames” assignment and all my fears were allayed. The class momentum really picked up after the Daily Shoot, and I don’t think I was the only one to feel a little blue to say goodbye to that assignment.

The assignments really stepped it up after that, and I honestly don’t think I was really ready. (Maybe I was still mourning the loss of the Daily Shoot.) I think I kind of dropped the ball a bit on the “Uninteresting Story” and I think that was simply brought on by a total lack of focus working at home. I still liked the idea for the story, but dissatisfied with my own final product. The video commentary proved to be a bit frustrating for me, but I blame my computer.

Honestly the idea for that project is one of my favorites, because I’m always the one watching all of those movie extras with directors’ and actors’ commentary. After using the Ultimate Mac of all Macs to solve my commentary problems, my assignment was finished. Thinking back, I think I would have chosen a different movie to comment on; despite my fondness for it, I don’t Dead Poets Society was the perfect choice for this class. The Mashup was, well, challenging. I’m certainly glad I did it, and don’t regret my choice, but this was the first time I felt truly limited by my own technology. Upon completion I felt good, satisfied even. However, after viewing and commenting on everyone else’s videos, my video felt, well, amateur. (Which makes sense, because that’s what I am!) Still, I’m glad we did something so challenging, and it gave me a newfound respect for artists like POGO. I loved the idea of the “View from the Street” assignment, and I’ve shared the technology we used for that assignment. But in the end I didn’t feel like we had enough time for that assignment, or maybe I just didn’t have the time. The fan fiction was certainly fun, but I had difficultly seeing how it connected to the rest of the semester. I think it would have done well  being introduced earlier on.

The only assignments I can really look back with any degree of satisfaction, is my semester project. My semester with the Korean exchange students was a blast, and I hope this showed in my Tooth posts. (Of course I took any opportunity to fit sharks into my blog.) I’m also really grateful that this class offered an opportunity for me to record my thoughts and reflections during such a meaningful semester.

Despite the overwhelming workload, the hours spent riddled with frustration and anxiety, and the persistent urge to hurl my laptop across the room, I would definitely take this class all over again.

 

 

 

 

:]

 

Reflection: Lasting Thoughts on DS106

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Before I start critiquing the work from both Jim Groom and I, I would first like to say that DS106 was truly a pleasure. It is very rare in college that I can say that I’ve truly enjoyed a class and gained something valuable from it at the same time, and I give DS106 the honor of completing both of those. Anyone who is reading this and debating whether to take the course, do it. From listening to the lectures, to taking daily shoot photos, to doing mash-ups, I have truly enjoyed every part of this class.

(more…)

Reflection

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The first thing I would say about this class is that it is not what I was expecting, at all.  Jim Groom always says that he’s not a computer scientist or a programmer; well I am both of those things.  I love programming and logic, and this class ended up being based on creativity. I have always considered creativity as my biggest weakness.  I saw that it was a computer science class and assumed it would be somewhat like all of my other comp sci classes, I was very wrong.

I actually enjoyed our first two reading assignments, I could relate them back to a lot of things I had seen or heard about in my other classes but did not know very much about. Then came the daily shoot assignments, which required a degree of creativity.  I was a little discouraged on a few of the daily shoot prompts because I could not think of something to photograph to save my life, and meanwhile my classmates were putting up awesome photos.  I did really enjoy looking at everyone’s photos though, and people’s different interpretations of the prompts.  An example that comes to mind is when Sadie took a picture of a little girl eating ice cream when were told to take a picture of something soft.  I saw that and I was so impressed by her the creativity.  Next came the image story assignments, which I enjoyed.  I had a lot of fun completing the group assignment and trying to make a funny story through images.  Telling the story of a movie in 5 images turned out to be pretty difficult because it is so hard to convey everything that is going on in the movie simply through images.

Once I got the hang of audacity, playing with audio and sounds was interesting.  I didn’t really like having to tell a story with just sounds, I found it hard to come up with any type of interesting story that can be told through just sounds.  It was also hard to interpret everyone else’s stories and I was usually just confused.  I did enjoy the uninteresting audio story assignment.  This assignment was what really started up my commenting.  I was really interested in what everyone’s story would be about and if they were able to make it more interesting through the use of sounds and added commentary.  Of course Kevin’s mom talking about the dishwasher and his little comments throughout are a perfect example of this.

The video commentary project was probably the most difficult, in a technical sense, for me.  There were so many tools we had to download and then figure out how to use and it was stressful.  After hours of struggling, when I had all of my clips in the right place, I did enjoy actually commentating on the movie.  People don’t usually want to hear all of my thoughts about a specific movie and it was really nice to just share my thoughts about it and have people that have to listen to it (haha).

After completing the video commentary, the mash-up wasn’t too hard technically, but coming up with a good idea proved to be a real problem.  I ending up with the idea that I kept by just going through tons of trailers on YouTube and a movie that I hadn’t even thought of was recommended and ended up working pretty well.  It was really cool to look at all of the mash-ups that are online, and also watching all of my classmates mash-ups.  The ideas that people come up with never cease to amaze me, and it was really easy and fun to comment on everybody’s work.

I am neutral on the Google street view assignment.  I had a hard time trying to think of a story that wouldn’t bore everyone to death and I also had a hard time getting through everyone else’s.  I liked the idea when you gave us the assignment, but it just turned out to be less exciting than I thought it would be.

Finally I loved the fan fiction assignment! I love ranting about my favorite shows and movies and such, and once again this time people were required to listen to me! I had a hard time coming up with an idea for the homage but once I did I really enjoyed doing that also.

Now onto my digital story.  I decided to write about my preparation for Ireland, and I overestimated the amount that I would have to write about.  I guess that since I am thinking about Ireland all the time I assumed that I would have a lot to write about, but it turned out when I wrote down everything I was thinking, it was not that much.  After posting about my classes, housing, the friend that I am going with and clothes in Ireland I was at a loss about what to write about.  That is when I realized that my entire life revolves around food, so I should do a post on that and finally my schedule for when I will be there and just any more details about the trip I hadn’t already shared.  I think I could have gone further with my digital story, I could have found more things to blog about that weren’t necessarily about me going to Ireland.  For example, maybe just a post about Ireland, and some fun facts about the country.  Honestly it was hard to balance all of our assignments with posts for the digital story because we always had an assignment due and I would have to choose to either work on the assignment or do another post for my digital story.  All and all I think I did a pretty good job of keeping up with it, I lagged a bit during all of the video assignments, but I think that is understandable.

My final thoughts on this class are that it was unlike any of my other computer science classes because I am never pushed to be creative in those courses.   It really made me step outside my comfort zone, which I hadn’t really had to do yet in my college career.   It was very nerve-racking while it was happening, but in hindsight I think it was good for me to be pushed.  I would recommend this course to creative brains for sure, and to people like me if they are looking to be challenged.

When Will My Reflection Show Who I am INSIIIIIDDDEEEEE

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

If you don’t know what this title is referencing, I am so sorry click here. As to the actual reflection/evaluation of this class, I am not going to express THAT in song. You wouldn’t want it hear it, I promise.

When I signed up for this class, I was determined to get the ‘right’ course. My roommate had signed up for it last semester, but dropped it after the first night, having been terrified to hear of everything media-y she would have to do in the class. As she told me about it, however, I thought it sounded really cool and wanted to take it immediately. There are two different sections for Digital Storytelling, and I went to the first night of the other one, unsure of which one I needed to be in. Clearly, I found the right one. =]

I was excited to create my own website (though it wouldn’t be the first time, it had definitely been several years) and even though I didn’t completely understand everything Jim Groom talked about, it sounded interesting. I immediately began thinking of ideas for my digital story. Vague notions of following the rest of the NASCAR season floated through my brain, as did ideas of photography or image editing. Seeing as I lacked the needed equipment, I finally decided to take on cooking. But that part of the semester hadn’t quite come yet, and instead we were reading articles and blogging about them.

The articles we read were one of the few areas of this course that I think could be improved. I think there were three in a row, and I understood about 15% total. To have those assignments right at the beginning I don’t feel like gives a good image of what the rest of the course will be like, and therefore I think we lost some students in the process. Looking back at them now, I still don’t completely understand some of the concepts, but I don’t really know what concepts to ask questions about either. I think spreading them out a little more through the semester, while giving less of an informational introduction to the class, would be better for general understanding. I can relate more/understand more than I did at the beginning of the semester, and I think we could have gotten more out of them if we had encountered them later in the semester, once I had a little more knowledge.

The next few assignments had to do with images and photography, and I really enjoyed those. The daily shoot assignment was challenging, but it really made me think about the prompts and look at my daily life a little differently. I wish I had kept up with it through the rest of the semester because I think it really impacted how I looked stylistically at my surroundings. And, the six frame story was just hysterical. It was a little challenging, but I think it introed well into the ‘story’ idea and outsider perception to your work.

The uninteresting story assignment was hell for me, but only because audacity kept crashing and I had a terrible time getting anything salvageable. I know some people really enjoyed this assignment, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it in general. It was just a bunch of people talking about boring things, and as hard as most of us tried, I still thought they were still kind of boring.

Similarly with the video commentary, while I enjoyed rewatching my favorite scenes of one of my favorite movies, I didn’t feel as if other people’s videos did much for me, especially if I hadn’t seen the movie to begin with. I was a really good assignment to get comfortable with video editing and analysis, and I think overall it is a good technical assignment, but the content wasn’t as interesting to me. Also, I had to use several programs to get the right file forms and everything, and that was both confusing and time consuming. However, just because an assignment isn’t super easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have happened, and I think this one was a good precursor to our mashup.

The mashup project was probably one of my favorites, if not my number one favorite of this class. It took me a while to think up my idea and I was frustrated for a while because I felt like there were just too many options and wouldn’t be able to decide on one that was good. But, that is something I actually really liked about this class – the complete and utter freedom involved in each assignment. I think by allowing us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in things we really enjoy both made us more excited about doing it (and therefore less upset if it took a lot of time to do) and also let us show other people our interests. If we had an assigned topic for an assignment, some people might like it, but others wouldn’t. Sorry professor, but if you told me I had to incorporate zombies or sharks into something, I doubt I would have enjoyed it much. ;] The creativity aspect of this semester was sometimes difficult to handle in terms of coming up with ideas, but I think it was incredibly beneficial and a lot of fun. My mashup turned out a lot better than I expected and I am really proud of it.

Our individual projects were a good idea and I think most people feel the benefited from them, but I don’t know how much each person’s project really added to/helped/educated everyone else. By having my own individual projects, that I formatted, outlined, and carried out, I think I was able to have some flexibility in how/when I did things and know the expectations set out before me all semester. And, since I got to pick the topic, I knew it was something I would enjoy and benefit from personally. I have eaten some amazing food this semester, and it feels good to say that I cooked it myself. Cooking was a good choice for me and I am really glad I did this project. I learned a lot about something I was interested in, and even though I know I have a lot more to learn, I can now feel comfortable going to the store and coming up with a meal for myself. What does that have to do with Digital Storytelling? Maybe nothing, but I also feel as if the point of the class was to teach us ways to teach ourselves things that we can apply anywhere. I have used the technology I encountered in this class in several other outside assignments already just this semester, and I don’t know what I would have done without it. That being said, as much as I enjoyed my own project, I don’t know how many other people have actually attempted cooking the meals I posted here, or really even learned that much other than what the food is supposed to look like in the cooking process. Some other people’s projects were interesting to me, and I tried to comment on them, but sometimes I just wasn’t interested in what they were saying. =/

I know I have skipped a few assignments here, but those are the ones I have a real opinion about. But, as to the group projects, I have already given my thoughts on those in class yesterday. To sum up, I think they were really beneficial, for several reasons – they helped us get to know our classmates better (sometimes commenting is easier when we get to know the people we are talking to), we could turn to each other for help, and it was nice sometimes to break up the class by doing something new.

Clearly, I really enjoyed this class this semester. I know I have learned a lot that I will undoubtedly use in the future, and I had a lot of fun doing so. It was great to be able to fulfill assignments using subjects I was interested in and have expectations set for me that were challenging, but not unattainable. A friend of mine used this quote in a paper recently, and I think it really applies to this class:

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t yet been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. — Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Clinton

So, to end, as we have invested time in so many different kinds of media and my first assignment also had to do with Matilda, I can honestly say my feelings towards this class feel somewhat like this:

Also, Prof Groom, if someone had asked me if you had a bald spot before you just talked about it, I probably would have just said “errrr. I don’t think so?” hahaa.

it’s not you, it’s me. on breaking up with ds106

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

My first thought before taking Digital Storytelling was “An Art Process class. Are you kidding me? I can’t even draw a stick figure!”

My second thought was, ” Oh, good. A class where I don’t have to draw or act. I got this.”

Little did I know, I would have to draw on every ounce of creativity that I had.

I did not do this nearly as much as I should. I got overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do. I hit a point in the semester where I thought this was even more un-useful than knowing how to differentiate an equation. (I heard that term from my roommate and vaguely remember that word from when I *actually* took math classes.) Why do I  need to blog? Who really cares about what I have to write? The question I asked the most was: How in the world do I do this?

Throughout the *hundreds* (okay, maybe I rounded up a bit like Mina did in class)  of assignments, I often found myself having no clue what to do. Not just lack of knowledge with the technology, but lack of creativity. It takes a long time to think of what to write, what to say, and what to do. I did what I knew how to do first, which often happened to be my other classes.

I would try to blog when I was bored of doing other work or when I didn’t have anything else to do. The assignments came crashing in like an avalanche.  Both in this class and my other classes. I have a class every semester that is my class that I put the least effort into; this semester it just so happened to be this one. Spanish was only one step higher, and sometimes it was even lower.

When I did *finally* do the assignments, I didn’t put as much effort into them as I could. Someone in class last night said something along the lines of it taking as much time as the quality of work you want to do. I guess I just wasn’t concerned about quality. I’m not trying to do this for a living so I didn’t feel like putting as much effort into mashing, editing, creating, and telling.

One thing I had a real problem with was the lack of a syllabus. Or one that gave an outline with the assignments we would have to do throughout the semester. If I knew what I had to do all semester, I probably would have been more prepared/willing to do things. I had a class last semester where we would get seemingly unanticipated, even by the professor, assignments. It was annoying. I had so much other stuff to do that I had already planned when I was going to do it and if I knew about all these extra assignments, I could have planned accordingly. The assignments we did have were not horrible and extremely difficult, but frustrating. More details in advance would be useful and very helpful.

I’m not saying I hated this class. I really didn’t. Maybe it would have been better if I took it a different semester when I had less classes, less practicum, and less stress in general. But honestly I don’t know. I don’t particularly enjoy anything about making my own media. I don’t mind blogging, but I don’t see it as something that I could do regularly ever, or at least in the near future. But who knows?

Suggestions:

1. More detailed syllabus.

2. Maybe combine the assignments into the Digital Story more. It might be useful to say at the beginning of the semester that you will have to incorporate these assignments into the Digital Stories and list what the assignments will be so that it may be easier to plan the story. It also might make everyone’s blog look cleaner and more organized. This might not work for some assignments, but others it would work great.

3. It would have been nice to have a day where we met each other again. Maybe after we proposed our Digital Stories. It would be a good way to get to know each other’s faces and not just the layout of the blogs.

My Digital Story:

This did not happen nearly as much as I had imagined. Once it got started, I realized it wasn’t really working how I had planned. Mostly, I didn’t like Head Start as much as I thought I would. I was burnt out on Head Start. I’m writing my final paper for Sociology on Head Start, I was in Practicum there, and I was going to blog about it. Bad idea, if there ever was a bad idea. I feel like I did teach the class something with the posts that I did do. I also learned a lot along the way. I got to the point where I was so far behind on my story and so far behind on my assignments that I just gave up. It almost felt like I was in 2 classes.

My final words to ds106:

“Farewell to the world of Digital Storytelling, I got what I needed out of you. An Art Process credit. It’s not you, it’s me. I may come back to you sometime in the future and knowing that the web is, in fact, not dead, you will take me back. Right now is just not the right time.”