A ds106 wish list

Image credit: Bionic Teaching's Michael Chasen sits on edupunk Santa's lap and hopes not to suck so much this Xmas
Image credit: Bionicteaching’s “Michael Chasen sits on edupunk Santa’s lap and hopes not to suck so much this Xmas

As I mentioned in my last post, a number of folks have offered to help with the design and execution of ds106. In fact a few have already publicly pledged their undying loyalty—and that’s a party right there! I’m eternally grateful, and the only way to show true gratitude is to actually give folks some more work for no pay—the neo-liberal way! So below is a quick Santa Claus Wish List, very much in the spirit of the season. You give, I take. That said, I plan on adding to this list regularly, and please feel free to do the same via your own blog or the comments.

  • The syndication and republishing of comments represents a particular issue, part of which is solved. All posts tagged ds106 from the contributing blogs will republish on the ds106.us site using FeedWordPress. And as Cogdog notes here, we can use FeedWordPress and the way it turns tags into categories as a way to come up with a more structured tag taxonomy for each assignment so we can represent all the different projects/assignments visually and contextually using tags and categories Given that, each post will be syndicated and categorized, but the permalink and “leave comment” link will both point back to the original post so people can comment on the source.Image of Lego Death StarWhat we need is a way to represent the number of comments on the actual blog on the syndicated post showing up in ds106.us. Moreover, we need a way to feed out comments from all the different blogs to a recent comments widget (or something like it) in the ds106.us sidebar. So, in short, the same old issue of syndicating and aggregating comments like we do posts. This is kinda like getting the Lego Death Star for Xmas, probably not gonna happen, but why not dream big. or at least let folks tackle one aspect of this problem—like maybe Slave 1?
  • I would love to see some idea around integrating Wikipedia into this course effectively. My initial idea was to open up discussing the Wikipedia article on Digital storytelling, which I have each time I started this class, and for the first week try and generate so ideas around making the article better. Or at least dealing with some of the issue Wikipedians have pointed out exist. There are a lot of missing sources and citations. Can we come up with some? Can we read through the article and tighten it up as a way to get a sense on how one of the most powerful sites on the internet works—all the while highlighting that we make it so. So, in short, a little help on editing Wikipedia, Jon Beasley-Murray and Brian Lamb taught us this years ago, and I would love to see some resources, citations, sources etc (and I need to get on this) so that we can keep this as a distributed, ongoing project over the course of the semester. And it can obviously branch out. The other idea I had was everyone take one an article, or adopt one and just track the process of editing Wikipedia. In every Wikipedia article their is a cultural story, and no one has made this clearer than Jon Udell in his Heavy Metal Umlaut screencast.
  • Image of Boba Fett InvoiceIdeas for assignments of all kinds. What comes to my mind immediately is the need for a graphic design assignment. I talked abut the Megashark infographic and the Boba Fett invoice during this semester, are more than a few students bemoaned the fact we didn;t play more with graphic design in the space between images/photography and audio. I think we could do that this time around, and I would love ideas/assignments. Tom Woodward introduced me to the Superpunch blog, and I think this might need be the “text” for this section of the course 😉 You are required to follow that blog regularly all week —all 400 weekly posts!
  • Tutorials for setting up a web hosting service, a WordPress blog, subdomains, etc. I have some of this already, but I am thinking that perhaps turning the ds106.us/wiki into a more comprehensive space to document the process of setting up your own web host, mapping your domain, and generally managing and manipulating the options in CPanel might serve many an educator, student, and everyday web citizen well in the future. And while I don;t want to reinvent the wheel, I think such documentation is something I will be working on anyway for those coming on with no experience in these matters, and I would love to work with others on this. I am one of the odd people that really enjoys writing support documentation, and of you other nuts out there?
  • Image of Tom WoodwardSome recommendations for plugins and ways to make the ds106.us site more user friendly and perhaps a plugin I can use to send registered members of that blog email updates using a specific category or tag only. Like announcement. Also, what sucks about the site, how would you do it different? Ideas for using the wiki more powerfully? Some general ideas, thoughts, visions I am not seeing? The syllabus is up and kinda raw, it’s from my last two semesters, and hasn’t changed much. Any ideas for that—feel free to edit it, just register on the ds106.us log and you can edit away? I put < a href=”http://ds106.us/category/assignments/”>6 or 7 assignments up, which were voted the best from this past semester, any ideas, thoughts, or recommendations for those? Better ideas to replace them? Tom Woodward mentioned the idea of having folks submit assignments at a given time and let people choose what they want to do, a kind of real life choose your own assignment/adventure based upon the particular theme we ar covering, i.e. video, audio, images, design, fan fiction, etc. How would this work? What would allow for this to be integrated into the experience?

That’s all I got for now, but I know there is much, much more. And if you wanna help there is no better time than now. Whadya got? 😉

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11 Responses to A ds106 wish list

  1. Tom says:

    Couldn’t you create an ongoing pool of assignments to choose from? I’m not sure time would matter but through a combo of tags you could create a page of possibilities under a few main categories – like images, audio, video or something like that. Tagged/categorized assignment possibilities would show up there and when you published your work you’d trackback to the post and that would tie the work to the prompt.

  2. Jim says:


    How do you like the idea of a pool of assignments being visibly displayed and aggregated like Daily Shoot (http://dailyshoot.com/)? That is increasingly the model for me, I think this could be done with branches of possibilities as we—a choose your own assignment adventure. What we need is a team of designers—or some mad edtech survivalists.

  3. Tom says:

    That works well for photos and maybe video, I’m not sure how it’d do with text or audio but I believe in the aggregational nature of the concept. (Would content that likes content that is like itself be homophilic?)

    It’d be nice to be able to do the linkbacks around the assignment with minipreviews of the page it’s coming from- that way everything would have a visual element. I’ve tried that in the past but ended up stalled by $ or programming skills beyond what I was willing to invest the time to procure.

    There’s some meta meta stuff like this I’m thinking about that would be cool but drawing it would work much better than words.

    I’m game over break to do some serious work.

  4. Tom says:

    My language is no good but this might, I stress might, give you an idea of what I’m thinking.

  5. Jim says:

    Yeah, that visual works well, and what we need to consider is how we can allow people to potentially scroll through a lot of examples for one assignment quickly. That is what I love about dailyshoot.com, you can see the thumbnails for more than a 100 photos is a minute or so. That will be crucial in terms of spreading the love should there me a good amount of folks contributing for anyone assignment. Does that make sense?

  6. Tom says:

    Yeah, that’s what I was trying to describe (but failing).

    I think this course would have an additional level because they go assignment>submissions whereas I think this might go concept>assignments>submissions (per assignment) if you have multiple options per concept.

    I like the submission count.

  7. Steven Egan says:

    What about a multi-tag/category organization to the assignments? For instance the media type, assignment “slot”, points (XP points?) and so on considering the ideas tossed around. Technically speaking; assignment descriptions, comments and submissions could be another way to organize these things. Though I wonder about the cross-referenced display possibilities, perhaps using a little JS magic. It just seems like a decent way to let people look for assignments to do.

    Anyways, I think the assignment ideas is one place where I can do some damage.

  8. Zack D says:

    You should make ’em do things like http://www.superpoop.com/110110/

    and the 6 Word Story Project http://bengrey.wikispaces.com/6+Word+Story+Project

    and it’s really too bad that I Left This Here For You To Read isn’t digital, because it’s bitchin’ http://bengrey.wikispaces.com/6+Word+Story+Project

    Attention Akismet – this ain’t spam

  9. Zack D says:

    I keep having these damn “thoughts” relative to your project – this time about the mechanics and dynamics of the PhotoshopContest.com community, a place I lived in for a number of years. I have often wondered why some college courses don’t simply structure themselves exactly like photoshopcontest, which provides a platform, structure, incentives and community, all the while allowing one to hone one’s skills (technical, media selection, etc.) and storytelling abilities. How much can be said in a single image? Nothing like a time crunch (coupled with swagger potential/bragging rights) to focus the mind and get the creativity juices flowing.

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