Week 4 Summary

This week really emphasized the important role that sound has in contributing to storytelling.  A lot of this week’s assignments were practical, either encouraging us to engage with and discuss media or directly interact with it.  We were also exposed to ds106 radio, which was a fun resource that I wasn’t particularly familiar with before this week.  Live-tweeting was also a great way to engage with the larger ds106 community.  Getting exposure to the types of shows that are broadcast also helped me with the development of radio show ideas for the upcoming project.  I also really enjoyed getting to create a radio bumper for the station, which was a fun way to practically mess around with narration and music in a quick mix.  All of my thoughts on this week’s resources can be seen in my audio reflection post.

The assignments really encouraged us to mess around with pieces of sound in order to understand how its structure contributes to a certain atmosphere/tone.  This was especially apparent in the dramatic reading assignment (which essentially focused on how emphasis and tone can change the meaning of a piece) and the slow-mo song assignment.  This last assignment in particular was somewhat challenging, mostly from simply attempting to gather the media to edit in the first place.  MPEG streamclip wasn’t working, so I eventually had to resort to a direct download from YouTube.  Luckily I’m somewhat familiar with Audacity, which made the majority of this week’s work much easier.  The Familiar Sounds assignment also reinforced the importance of maintaining a sense skepticism when evaluating any sort of information, while also allowing us to see how a story can be constructed from ordinary objects.  Finally, the must-do Sound Effects assignment was a fun way to gain exposure to freesound.org as a means of finding sound effects.  It also reiterated the basics of storytelling while also providing us with an opportunity to practice sound layering with multiple tracks in Audacity.

The daily creates were fun this week, even including some interactions with other daily creates.  I think I especially liked creating an explanation for the phone app icon (as honestly phones look nothing like that image anymore).


Overall this week was a fun way to directly engage and alter media to get a better understanding of audio structure and the properties that come with changing it, while also allowing us to build some practical skills with software such as Audacity.

Week 3 Summary

This week was a fun foray into the world of photography.  The Thinking About the Visuals of Storytelling assignment helped me evaluate my current photography skills and areas where I could make improvements (essentially in most areas).  I was also able to find images on Flickr that demonstrated these photography-improving techniques (many of these images were absolutely gorgeous, and provided a great series of goals to work towards).  Meanwhile the Photoblitz actually got me up and taking pictures!  This exercise in particular was quite fun, as it was truly experience-oriented.

I also found that the assignments themselves were quite fun.  The Meme assignment forced me to experiment with GIMP, which, while frustrating (as I was not at all familiar with the software), lead the creation of incredibly rewarding products.  Then came the Wanted Poster assignment, which allowed me to evaluate one of my favorite character’s history if she was viewed strictly as a villain by society (a very fun exercise).  I was also able to experiment some more with GIMP through editing a photograph to resemble a drawing, and creating an inspiring image from a bad photo.  I found that the more experience I gained with GIMP, the easier these projects became.  I also discovered that video tutorials were much easier to follow than written instructions when it came to learning how to properly use GIMP.  I’m hoping that by the end of the semester, I’ll be able to have a proper handle on this software.

Finally, I really enjoyed the daily creates this week.  Interestingly, two out of the three I chose were image-oriented (thus particularly fitting for this unit).


Week 2 Summary

I felt that this week had a great deal of variety.  We first had the opportunity to reflect on how storytelling is adapted or changed when used digitally.  I will say that with this aspect of our coursework, Hypothesis was acting oddly.  Sometimes I would go to add a new annotation and it would start editing an old annotation, thus continuously interrupting my work flow (even with using Google Chrome).  However, I was able to rangle Hypothesis and see how the “digital” in digital storytelling provides us with more flexibility and avenues for creativity.  In a similar manner, we also were able to see how future technology was anticipated, and how to successfully write-up a ds106 assignment post.  This particular reading was extremely helpful as a reference when writing up assignments (I had to keep reminding myself to be creative with titles).

Speaking of assignments, I really love the flexibility of ds106.  The few requirements present ensure that we achieve a certain amount of depth over the course of the week, while also ensuring that we have a diversity of experience.  I loved the creativity behind the trolling assignment.  The project essentially focused on finding common character tropes, and allowed me to better analyze some of my favorite characters.  I also loved that I finally know how to use the Wayback Machine!  That’s been a goal of mine for a long while, and it turned out to be much easier to use than I thought it would be.  I also really enjoyed learning how to work with the effects room in my video-editing software.  Working with subtitles is a pain, but it was well worth the satisfaction that came with completing the final product: a silent film version of Wonder Woman.

I also enjoyed the concept of the Daily Create.  They’re very quick, but make you think critically, oftentimes creatively, and ultimately encourage you to share your work with the wider ds106 community.

I also felt that customizing my blog went well.  I had the Akismet and Jetpack plugins already established, so I focused on changing my theme and added some more widgets, while beefing up my about page.  My one qualm is that my pages don’t necessarily have the titles displayed when you click on them (besides in the navigation menu).  As such, I’ll probably keep tinkering as the semester continues.

Finally, I also appreciate the emphasis on interacting with the work of others.  This can of course help inspire your own creativity by exposing you to new ideas, while also allowing you to draw comparisons between your work and the work of others.  This week, I especially enjoyed seeing that we have our very own ds106 flag!  In addition to this, Jim Groom, who introduced me to video-editing over four years ago, must have found some of my ds106 stuff and now follows me on Twitter!

Week 1 Summary

I was very lucky in that I already had my domain set-up, which made preparing a site for ds106 much easier.  I will say I wasn’t entirely sure whether to consider my digital studies blog a fully devoted ds106 blog or not, but was able to successfully link to the ds106 course feed (which is what matters!).  I enjoyed setting up some new social media accounts, and was particularly impressed by how smart Twitter was.  As I was choosing accounts to follow, Twitter immediately began suggesting sites related to interests I’m particularly passionate about.  While I found this exceedingly cool, perhaps I should be a bit more perturbed that Twitter seems to have access to my Internet searches…

I really enjoyed the introductions!  It was a quick way to experiment some with all of these different platforms.  I also thought Austin Kleon’s post was pretty thought-provoking.  I believe the Internet has evolved to a point where creator-fan interactions are increasingly being facilitated, and this ultimately should be embraced and leveraged by the creator.  On a technical note, my usage of hypothesis went well.  I’m a little undecided as to whether I should just annotate or also highlight (I ultimately decided the more the merrier).  All of the tagging also took a little bit of getting used to, but was ultimately successful.  In regards to our Internet post, I appreciated its philosophical nature.  The Internet has profound implications, but we often overlook these due to its omnipresence in our everyday lives.  I also welcomed the opportunity to pick and choose an article that particularly interested us.  Generally I feel that more options makes assignments more easily embraced as opposed to being viewed as a chore.

Overall it seems pretty clear that working on these assignments in small doses over the course of the week is key!  ds106 seems like it will require a lot of effort, but luckily many of the topics seem to be ones I’m passionate about (so hopefully I won’t really view those assignments as work).

Below are my media creations for the week!


ds106 Introduction