Brainstorming for ds106 course design

Image of Lebowski (animated GIF)

Thanks to Peter Naegele for the link to the awesome Lebowski animated gif 😉

I just got off a Skype call with Martha Burtis, Tom Woodward, and Alan Levine, all of whom have very graciously volunteered to help me think about the design of the open and online portion of the course. I am unbelievably grateful for their time and unbelievably useful ideas, so I took notes the best I could, and I am using them as a rough guide/model for how the course will be structured—it will be loose and very un-course-ish, but at the same time there needs to be some rules, this isn’t ‘nam after all.

So, here are our notes, I tried to give credit where credit was due, but the conversation was fluid—much like the class will be. I really want to follow up on the idea of the course as a game where you accumulate a series of points. This was Tom’s idea, and it plays off of what David Wiley did with guilds with his second iteration of the MOOC (I can’t find an actual link to that class on the web any more?—seems broken). What Tom was saying is that in terms of those few who will be getting grades, you could run the assignments along the lines of a game. You have them do daily shoot for two weeks, and then those who keep going get more “points”—kinda like a high score. I like that idea a lot—need to figure it out.

Also, Martha’s submit your assignment via Google Spreadsheets, which republishes as a post with a unique category through FeedWordpress is awesome—as is her “repository” of digital storytelling examples gathered by the class over time (repository probably not the best word—we are working on alternatives 🙂 ).

Finally, I really like Alan’s suggestion to set aside times after the end of each section of the course—for example when we are done with the design section—to provide a space on twitter for micro feedback. It would provide a way to give people the chance to get feedback should they be falling through the cracks, and also provide one of the few somewhat synchronous events during the course. We also seemed to agree that there probably won’t be any elluminate sessions, nor will there be forums, but I guess we’ll see about that.

Anyway, you can review the notes that I put on the wiki here. If you are registered for the course, you can also edit and add you ideas at will to the wiki page should you be so inclined—and that’s a lot of inclination if you actually do.

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18 Responses to Brainstorming for ds106 course design

  1. Trip Kirkpatrick says:

    Assessment modelled on gaming is an idea whose time has come. You could also talk to Roger Travis at UConn (, who ran (runs?) a Latin course entirely as a game.

    • Reverend says:


      It’s time has come, and I think I need to talk to someone who has done this. It makes the whole idea of grading that much less odious and subjective.

  2. I used to have those pants…

  3. Seth says: is having some technical problems. Don’t give up on the URL – I think the hope is to have it up in the next week or two.

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  5. peter naegele says:

    The Rev abides…

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  10. Wesley Fryer says:

    Can you elaborate a bit more on the idea: “…submit your assignment via Google Spreadsheets, which republishes as a post with a unique category through FeedWordpress?”

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