Archive for the ‘DS106 Assignments’ Category

Farewell DS106!

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Ugh. Time to choose another gen. ed.

After successfully avoiding ALPP classes for three years, this thought lingered in the back of my mind last August. Of course, being a rising senior, I waited until the last minute to do anything about it–and the thought of taking a gen. ed. during senior year made me wonder why I hadn’t done anything about it sooner. This isn’t to say I’ve disliked my liberal arts experience, but by the beginning of my fourth year, I was ready to break free from these requirements. Knowing my dilemma, my roommate, a CPSC106 alumna, recommended that I attend a digital storytelling class during the first week of the semester. I missed the section she’d actually suggested and found myself in Jim Groom’s class instead, anxiously awaiting whatever challenges an artistic “performance” course would throw my way.

In retrospect, I have no regrets about waiting to finish my ALPP gen. ed., because, fortunately, DS106 was nothing I’d anticipated. At all.

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I have few complaints (if you’d really call them that) with how all the assignments went in class. I enjoyed the time I spent working on them, and usually this homework didn’t feel like work at all. It was a nice break from the monotonous routine of regular college classes. Occasionally, I found myself struggling to keep up learning about and producing with the tools required for projects, but a little planning went a long way, and I think the assignments were staggered at a manageable pace with a logical progression. Granted, some weeks were more successful than others, but as I sift through both my project and digital story posts, I can’t pinpoint anything with a truly disappointing outcome.

In particular, the challenge of understanding audio and video tools offered a welcome break from more traditional assignments. My two favourite projects were “El Mashup” and fan fiction. While these assignments were time consuming, they forced me to think critically about and work creatively with media with which I have no prior experience. From these assignments I gleaned the satisfaction of creating new from old, which is also something my traditional coursework has never covered.

That being said, I think more emphasis could be placed on image and audio storytelling in lieu of video. More specifically, while the group videos were fun to make, I think I learned more from the commentary, mashup, and screencast assignments since the group video didn’t require me to try tools or techniques that I hadn’t used in the other assignments. Perhaps this project could be replaced by a graphic design assignment? After trying my hand at fan fiction postcards, I felt like I was just getting started with design and wished we’d had more direction with it in class. Actually, thinking of it, I think graphic design would follow image stories and photography quite naturally.

Although Gardner Campbell’s article and presentation took awhile to digest, this early exposure to the notion of a “personal cyberinfrastructure” gave meaning to our blogs, and particularly blog customization. For this reason, I think WordPress itself was the most important tool I learned to use this semester. At least for my major, I may never again need MPEG Streamclip or Audacity, but it’s likely that I’ll have to establish and manage personal Web space somewhere down the road. Additionally, I now have a better understanding of the Internet’s helpful and harmful capabilities, as well as how to use this powerful tool to my advantage. In a similar vein, while there weren’t any tools that I feel a need to specifically criticize, I recommend telling future DS106ers to keep track of all downloaded programs for purging purposes come the end of the semester.

Another suggestion I’ll make is the use of a syllabus (if only a loose one) to help students plan ahead. At the beginning of the semester, it was difficult to gauge how much time I’d have to allocate for DS106 assignments without a basic syllabus and outline of course expectations. (I did find one posted to the Spring 2010 course blog, but was unsure of its relevance to the upcoming weeks.) Fortunately, I didn’t waiver at the prospect of work-intensive weeks to come, and had no qualms about making time to complete the assignments thoughtfully and thoroughly. After all, this is what college-level learning is about. I’d recommend that students considering DS106 in addition to a heavy workload should probably wait on taking the class to make the most of the assignments and digital story, and, again, an up-front syllabus would help them make this decision.

Way back in August, I seriously considered Jim Groom’s warnings of uninteresting or unmanageable blogging topics, and was running low on ideas until Daily Shoot miraculously inspired my project. Like the official assignments, my digital story required substantial forethought to successfully keep up, but my genuine interest in photography made it relatively easy to maintain weekly posts. Without a doubt, I consider my digital story a narrative of my progress and interest in a new hobby. Moreover, the most satisfying facet of my digital story is that it will not end with the semester; it would be a shame for the journey to end simply because I’ve stopped earning grades for it.

Lastly, I’ll admit that my primary weakness was in commenting distribution. I often found myself commenting on the same blogs over and over again–but not consciously; it just sort of happened. There was a clear set of digital stories that held my interest, and kept drawing me back for more. My suggestion for future classes is to require installation of the Subscribe to Comments plugin at the beginning of the semester. Once I could track my comments on other blogs, it was much easier to engage in online discussions. I think this plugin, or something similar, is an essential part of Internet-based discussion since remembering to check for new comments on a post you’ve already read is fairly unlikely.

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Maybe my right brain’s been starved for attention, or maybe it was the unstructured, self-driven nature of DS106 that made this semester a success. Regardless of what “it” was, I’ve found DS106 to be definitely what you make of it; and after seven semesters at UMW, I struggle to think of a more enjoyable gen. ed. course to round out my liberal arts experience.

The time has come for this Internaut to leave the nest!

buna

Mordor & More

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

For our last creative assignment, I decided to tackle design because it’s something I’m interested in and haven’t really had many opportunities to work with. I was inspired by Boba’s invoice more than anything, and after some initial frustration with learning Corel Photo Paint, I had a lot of fun designing LOTR fan fiction postcards. I’ve added links to the postcards’ counterparts for comparison.

Gondor Postcard

(Inspiration!)

Rivendell
Rivendell Reverse
(Inspiration!)

Doom Postcard

Doom Reverse(Inspiration!)

I’d originally thought I could design some t-shirts, but it turns out making the design fit to the model’s shape is probably more complicated than I can handle right now, so I have to give Braden credit for photoshopping Gollum for me!

Fan Fiction Brainstorming

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I can definitely relate to Karen’s reaction to our latest assignment; I’m a non-obsessor when it comes to TV, movies, stories, etc.  There is, however, one example that comes to mind.  Yes, LORD OF THE RINGS.  I probably won’t be the only person to post about it, and there’s certainly a plethora of LOTR fan fiction out there (e.g. DS106′s own LOTB).  The trilogy has been one of my faves since I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring back in the day (7th grade, actually) with my “bffs”–my sister and two neighbors. We’re still kind of addicted to this day, and have been known to consecutively watch all three movies when visiting each other. It’s a tradition that’ll probably never die for us.   Of the three movies, I’d have to say The Two Towers is the best. When the movie starts, the plot’s already been established and ready to go,  and the epicness isn’t over by the end of the movie–plus there’s always the Battle of Helm’s Deep.  I don’t even like violent movies, but the action in this scene is just too good to pass up.  I can’t count how many times I’ve seen these movies, although I confess that I’ve yet to read the books.  I’ll get to them someday…

Admittedly, the one thing The Two Towers doesn’t have on The Return of the King is the March of the Ents. Treebeard is the best:

Streetview Screencast

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Here’s my screencast for Lexington & Rockbridge, County, VA.

I apologize for my sniffley voice! I’m currently fighting off a major head cold. Gross.

Louis & Marie Meet B.I.G.

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Louis & Marie Meet B.I.G. from Lindsay Walker on Vimeo.

Mash-up Brainstorming

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

When I stumbled across this mash-up, I thought it was a neat blend of two things we discussed in class–Mean Girls and Disney movies!  I would never think of the Disney princesses this way without the Mean Girls audio.  Also, my boyfriend reminded me that Girl Talk is a good example of an audio mash-up artist.

At first I was intimidated by the thought of doing a mash-up because the examples from class were so good! I’ve been brainstorming, though, and I think I’m going to try to work with two drastically different films: Notorious and Marie Antoinette. I don’t want to say too much more to keep it a surprise! I really hope this idea works because I think it has potential. Opinions or ideas, anyone?

The Witching Hour

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Disclaimer: Consider this a “mockumentary” only and not something to be taken too seriously!  Thank you to all testimonial volunteers! :)   Story by Gretchen Houser, Brian Berglund, and Lindsay Walker.

Photo credits to UMW Centennial and freesound.org credits to:

Argitoth: archi_soundscape_space3.wav

Fishdog: metasynth_bugnite.aif

geoffbarkman: door_knock.wav

NoiseCollector: squakechairship.wav

sagetyrtle: rattledoor.wav

The_Baron: 17_Evil_laugh.wav

Video Commentary

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Finally!  It’s complete.  Here’s my video commentary for assignment 8.  I plan to embed this video into the post once I can get YouTube and WordTube to cooperate.

DazedCommentary

Update: View the YouTube version here.

Video Tips

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I spent most of the morning working on my video commentary and came up with a few tips for anyone who needs help and runs a Mac. For starters, I used MPEG Streamclip with Perian installed to trim out movie clips from a movie (.avi) saved on my computer. To capture a clip from a movie saved on your computer: 1.  Find the time interval (i.e. hr:min:sec) your clip runs through and write it down; I did this while watching the movie with QuickTime. 2. Open the movie file in MPEG Streamclip 3. At the top of the screen: Select Edit->Go to time… 4. Enter the time selection you recorded.  When you’re done, note that this part of the film is highlighted in the bar under the video. 5.  Edit->Trim (cuts out the highlighted clip you want) 6.  When you’re happy with the trim, go to File->Export as MPEG4.  At least for my video files, the following export settings produced decent results after uploading to YouTube.  The encoding time was fairly short, too.

  • Compression: H.264
  • Quality: 100%
  • Limit data rate: 600 kbps
  • Frame size: 16:9
  • Turn “deinterlace” on

Then export as .mp4 and your video should upload to YouTube.  I’m currently in the process of importing the clips to iMovie, so I haven’t tested uploading after creating my commentary. Importing to iMovie has been the most time-consuming step so far (maybe my files are big because of the 100% quality preservation?), but at least the waiting time’s allowed me to compose this post. These steps may not work for everyone, but I thought they might be worth sharing.  Here’s a test clip I created and uploaded to YouTube using these settings. (For copyright reasons, YouTube won’t let me embed this clip into my post.) I hope this helps anyone who’s as confused as I was!

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Okay, since the video’s blocked on YouTube, here’s the version uploaded to my WP media: Busted