ds106 on EDUCAUSE Now

Audio from an interview with Gerry Bayne of EDUCAUSE Now about ds106

A couple of days ago I had a discussion with Gerry Bayne of EDUCAUSE Now fame about ds106, the digital storytelling course Martha Burtis and I have been experimenting with at UMW. It’s a useful overview of the course and I think I capture the spirit of the experiment, the only thing it really misses is just how many people around the web helped to make this course so fun. In February Alan Levine, Martha Burtis, Gardner Campbell and I had a discussion with Gerry about ds106 that was a much more intense and free wheeling, unfortunately that one has gone missing and I really hope it shows up again because that interview was a ton of fun.

As for ds106, it has been a total panic to teach, and the Dr. O’Blivion experiment this Summer has been epic in many regards. What’s more, the whole teaching face-to-face, online course, and entirely open, invitational online courses has been a huge shot of energy for DTLT more generally. We are swirling with ideas, we have been experimenting like never before, and we are having a ton of fun. I can;t think of anything better for a cutting edge instructional technology group like ours, and I highly recommend it to others. All that said, I for one am absolutely burnt out. Of the 210 posts I wrote over the last 7 months, 200 of them have been about ds106 (including this one). It has consumed me and my blog entirely, and I think I need a little breathing room from the whole thing to try and understand it a bit. I was recently given the opportunity to teach ds106 again at UMW this Fall, but I think I am gonna have to pass it up just so that I can become a normal human being again. I have two more days of class before I finish the Summer of Oblivion, and right now that is more than enough to keep up with. But in the end, ds106 has been the greatest thing that has happened to me as a teacher, instructional technologist, and web denizen to date—it was a total b-movie blast and the coolest thing I have ever done professionally. #4life!!!

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9 Responses to ds106 on EDUCAUSE Now

  1. Ben says:

    I don’t think I’ll be the only one to say that this experience (and it has been a very surreal experience) has been one of the most energizing and amazing dialogues I’ve had in education in a long time. And considering I got to spend 6 weeks in Geneva, working with world-changing NGOs for my ed tech master’s program, that’s no small compliment coming from me!

    I have poured more time, energy, and creativity into this deceptively simple 4 week course than I ever put into any of my “for credit” paid online courses, and despite the fact that my colleagues might question my sanity for having said that, it’s a testament to how you’ve managed to make collegial learning engaging, thoughtful, and above all else, fun! I can only imagine just how burned out you must be after having done a full year of this course; my wife threatens me with veiled looks whenever I mention ds106, and my 6 year old daughter is up in arms whenever I mention the name Jim Groom (“how dare he banish my daddy!”).

    I can only hope that you will return from your ds106 hiatus well rested, and ready to rock the interwebs again, but I fully understand if you’d rather start a new chapter in your educational journey, as there are always more mountains to climb.

    #ds106 #4life!

  2. Lou McGill says:

    hey it’s not as good as my musical interview with jimgroom; )) but a nice capture of what ds106 is about. Impossible to sum up such an experience in an interview but the amazing outputs from the students speaks for themselves.

    One thing for me that has been significant as a course particpant is the blurring of boundaries that the course brings. Personally I think this has been very significant in enhancing my learning experience. A teacher has to be very brave to let go of traditional roles – to acknowledge that they are also learners and mixing up roles and boundaries like this can be really challenging for students too. The DS106 course encourages playfulness and I am sometimes still unsure of which are enrolled students, which are open students, which are staff, and which are previous course teachers/attendees, etc. It just doesn’t matter – because everyone has a go at the assignments – everyone gets creative and that sense of community is supportive enough to encourage our own experimentation and help us test our own boundaries and tread new ground.

    I can see how consuming it must be for you and the team – and while you take a back seat for a while I’m sure the army of ds106ers will be producing throughout the year. I have a long list of things I want to do now – definately a ds106er 4life. thanks for that…

  3. Gerry Bayne says:


    The piece was worth 15 minutes or more to be sure. I was limited by time, which is unfortunate because there are so many more concepts I wanted to impart about the class. It did feel introductory at best, but I was hoping to capture some of the main points in the 6 or 7 minutes used. I’d have liked to get in some of the names you mentioned and was perhaps remiss for not at least mentioning the multitude of souls that have helped this class along. But I hope that I got the spirit across- the mixture of openness, collaboration, and creativity; as well as the loosely based structure of the class which is, in itself, a digital story. There will definitely be a part 2 when I locate our original audio.


  4. Well, let me put it this way, nothing, or nobody can get me to stay up all night, ‘cept a DS106 project. Enuf said about engagement. PS: my neighbor was mad at all the noise too. Can the Bava appease the neighbors?

  5. Stella Meme says:

    Your endless giving and love seems effortless because of you who you are but I know its probably taxing for those closest to you. Extra love & hugs for the wife + kids from all of us, since their loss was our gain. You deserve some serious rest and relaxation.

    When @jimgroom says, “I MADE YOU” – it is pretty much true for me, since StellaMeme was created just for #ds106 and #sp711. Nothing has opened the door to my imagination and released my dormant creative artist like #ds106. For that, I will be forever grateful.

    #ds106 #4life!

  6. Reverend says:

    Thanks, you have been insanely awesome in the Summer of Oblivion, and you have to tell your daughter you will be back in the circle of trust. And it could very well be Jim Groom wasn’t behind the whole thing to begin with. One never knows 🙂

    I think you are rihgt, not only do the blurred boundaries up the uncertainty and excitment of the class in my mind, but the idea that ds106 is in many ways a lot more thana class is also key. It is almost weird to be writing such a post given that the open, online course has never really depended speicfically on me, but i guess this is my way of saying I’m taking a break 🙂 I have no question the work will go on, and one of the tasks I am giving myself over the next several months is to work on tutorials for all the assignments as a way of doing them all and then documenting the process for anyone interested. Documentation for me is very fun, and I want to find a way to make the ds106.us/wiki a space for that, as well as to start link up all the past participants tutorials. I need to do some general organization of the site, an overhaul of the assignment bank, and some assignments that I’ve been dying to do. In many ways I plan on experimenting with doing the course without having a group of students at UMW to focus on—at least this semester. So, in short, I think you are very right, ds106 has only just begun 🙂

    Quite frankly, I like this interview a lot, it gets at some of the points about ds106 I am trying to frame. it is always hard to do a rollcall of people who have been involved, I’ve been trying to do that through this blog but I ultimately fail. Fact is, another reason to take a break is to calm the Jim Groom’s ds106 talk, it is hard not to attribute something to someone, and I fall into the trap all the time, but I think it is a larger, collaborative project. And I think when we do part two of this interview, which I would love to, we should open it up to a variety of folks and get some general ideas, feedback, and more pluralized idea of what ds106 is. I have one idea, but it is biased by my particular place in the class which is often administrative and between two world. I’d like to hear from folks who see it as UMW students, open ed students, bystanders, etc. It has a ton of facets, and getting at some of them may help all of us understand some of the interesting nuances of networked classes like this. I have to thank you for the interview, and what’s more. i would love for you to do a session in ds106 wherein you show folks how you make your editing decisions and go through the process, cause this is pretty clean and quite impressive. You take a lot of rambling and make it sound like a cohesive whole, that would be a huge session for the audio part of ds106. Any interest?

    Give me your neighbors number, I will call them immediately 😉 I love the pushing the project to the outter limits, and you have been awesome about that. What’s more, you Ben, Stella, and Cheryl have been amazing in terms of teaming up with UMW students and doing projects. I mean that is kinda what I dreamed of for this class, and while it didn’t happen last semester, it did happen during the Summer of Oblivion, and I tend to think it was because the open, online students were so awesome and into this Summer. Big kudos to you, Stella, Cheryl, Ben, Tod Conaway, Lou, MBS, and many others—this has been a remarkable experiment in terms of blurring those boundaries as Lou mentioned earlier.

    What do you want me to say? You are a machine of creativity. You have been at it nonstop for almost 6 months now, you must be more exhausted than me, because between ds106, ds106radio, and general visual awesomeness you have been one of the most on fire people I have seen in my network. Your an inspiration, and I hope you teach ds106 in the Fall. I mean, why not? Can’t we circulate those responsibilities and share the wealth and fun? I’ll put it on the books and send you the measly adjunct paycheck if you (and others if you’re interested) want to teach it. Seems like the natural next step in my mind, what do you think?

  7. Alan Liddell says:

    Wait, wait, wait, wait. Dr. Oblivion was you?

    Total mindblower.

    Anyway, Jim (it feels weird calling you Jim as a student), this has been awesome. Take a much-deserved break. As long as you’re at least around UMW in the fall.

  8. Hey wait… ? You mean the class is over? What happened to week 5 – Fan Fiction? What happened to DS106 4life? Am I hallucinating. Oh well. My final parting shot:
    Summer of Oblivion – Fun Times
    http://vimeo.com/26523185 (remixed for the LAST damn time)

  9. Great interview Jim, and I’m game to help with documentation. I’m planning to do a series of FCP demos that I teach for basic editing of documentary (It’ll help you get out of your iMovie rut!). But I’m up for doing any of the ds106 assignments – divide the work and grow the ds106 fort.

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