ds106: We’re open and you’re invited!

       Image credit: CogDog’s “Open is Welcoming”

That’s right, ds106 is running again in the Spring of 2012. If you have no idea what ds106 is, read more about it here. We’re still ironing out the syllabus for the Spring 2012 run, but you can see the Syllabus from last Spring here, and the course calendar here. One major change for this semester is there will be no predefined assignments, everyone will simply pick the assignments they want to do based on a rating system. I will explain in more detail how the rating system for assignments will work in another post coming soon.

Also, there will be a daily ds106 assignment generator in which students can do an assignment everyday—or whenever they want—and share it with everyone in the course. These assignments will be very low overhead in terms of time, and will hopefully satisfy the drive-by assignment folks while at the same time providing a space to share and comment on each other’s work. More on this element of the class coming soon as well.

The assignments submission form and repository got an overhaul thanks to the great Martha Burtis, and we are stepping that part of the class up a notch with the rated assignments I mentioned earlier, as well as a space for submitting tutorials and viewing and doing assignments. You can have a sneak peak at the new assignments space here, and you can submit assignments here. Keep in mind we still have some styling to do and everything isn’t moved over yet. I’ll be sure to post about that when it is all done, thank you Martha, the best instructional technologist in the world! —even though she hates that label.

I’ll be teaching a section at UMW starting January 17th, as will the great Alan Levine—but I’ll let him elaborate on that some more on his not-as-great-as-the-bava-blog. What’s more, I believe both Michael Branson Smith and Scott Lockman will be teaching this course at York College and Temple University, Japan respectively, as they did while carrying the ds106 torch this semester.  Additionally, I’d like to invite anyone else who might be interested in teaching something like this course—or just parts of it—this Spring semester to simply let me know and we’ll be sure to make it happen.

It’s been a year since the first ds106 open course launched, and the Spring 2010 version was pretty amazing, what made it amazing was that anyone can do as much or as little as they wanted as part of the open, online section and leave the rest. We don’t accept apologies and we don;t believe in guilt, there is no sorry in ds106. Simply come prepared to make some art, have some fun, give some feedback, and leave when you want. That’s it, the for-credit students at each of the respective institutions don’t have the same luxury, but that’s why they are both paying and getting credit for this course and you aren’t.

I think the real power of ds106 from what I have seen so far is the amazing community of feedback, encouragement, and network effects that happen as a result of sharing your work within this community. Give what you wanna get, and come ready to have some fun.

If you are interested do two things:

  1. Sign up for an account on the ds106.us site and fill out as much information there as possible. If you already have an account on ds106.us then this step is not required—just update any information in your profile that has changed.
  2. Fill out the form below including your name, email address, and blog URL.  All posts tagged (or labelled if you are using blogger) ds106 will be pulled into ds106.us. So please be sure to tag all posts for the course with ds106.

Let’s get it on!

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20 Responses to ds106: We’re open and you’re invited!

  1. Love the sign-in, but I’m not sure you want to make the entire list of emails publicly available. Just saying.

  2. Reverend says:


    You are right I don;t want to have any emails publicly available, where are you seeing them? The spreadsheet for the above form is private, is it through the ds106 site? I’d love a lead on this cause I can;t see it, maybe cause I am blind.

    Nevermind, I found it, it is included when you add your email and fill out the form. What a weird bug for a “private” form. I’ll get on fixing that right away. Good looking out, working on that now.

    Update OK, I fixed it. Seems like the radio box “Publish response summary” is automatically checked in Google forms embed option, a bit tricky. And like you note, Stephen, a terrible policy for giving away people’s emails.


    And now to get you a long overdue abstract, I suck.

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  4. boshastruve says:

    Gravatar and Terms of Service – All of this this just to change an avatar profile picture? Has anyone really read the Terms (and this is just part of a paragraph)???… Are you sure this is what you want?

    “More specifically, you hereby do and shall grant to Automattic (Gravatar) a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free and fully-paid, transferable (including rights to sublicense) right to perform the Services (e.g., to use, modify, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, perform, and otherwise fully exercise and exploit all intellectual property, publicity, and moral rights with respect to any User Submissions, and to allow others to do so).”

  5. John says:

    considering (yet again) joining in, I can find anywhere it tells you which sort of blogs will and will not work. I use pivotx for my main blog and wonder if it would fit in?

  6. Alan Liddell says:

    Boshastruve, I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that that kind of boilerplate is the minimum necessary for them to put your picture on various sites supporting Gravatar without exposing them to frivolous litigation. Thank your legislature and court system for that.

  7. Reverend says:

    I try and avoid terms of service just for this reason, I will make sure avatar is working on the ds106.us site so you can have a local option too, sorry to push you to buy into the logic of third party control. And while I think Alan is right, it is still annoying—we’ll just need you to sign the ds106 TOS 🙂

    I can pretty much handle any blog or site with an RSS feed, you give me the feed and I will try pulling it in and let you know. A tagged feed works best so you can filter your posts of the feed and share what you want with ds106, and leave the rest. I have never experimented with pivotx, so I’d love to try it, a brave new world for me.

  8. Reverend says:


    Pivotx looks like it has feeds for categories, but not sure about tags. I am reading here:
    Let me know if you want to test this together.

  9. Hi Jim,
    Thanks for this
    I just categorised a few old relevant posts with ds106
    hopefully that should do the trick. If so I’ll fill in a form.

    (I could always install wp, but I am emotionally attached to pivot)

  10. Reverend says:


    it worked, I pulled in the following feed:

    Worked like a charm, I created a profile for you on ds106 and will send you username and a temp password shortly.

    Welcome aboard, do what you like and leave the rest.

  11. Jim,
    Many thanks for the extra help. I’ll have to try and keep u pa bit now.



  12. Hi Jim,
    I took part in DS106 earlier this year. John Johnston (who just signed up for Spring 2012 DS106) pointed me to this page where you suggest others could run similar courses.
    I had been toying with running a (Not So Massive Online Open Course) and would like to try to do something based on your idea of ‘Getting into the Creative Habit’ using online tech. It wouldn’t be a copy of DS106, but would certainly be ‘inspired by’.
    What do you think?

  13. Reverend says:

    I think that is brilliant, and I know Alan Levine is working on a DailyCreate site that may very much be in the spirit of that. What’s more, feel free to use the Assignments space if it proves at all valuable http://assignments.ds106.us. I figure ds106 will only be useful for folks if they can take what works for them and make it their own. Kinda like a remix/mashup. Let me know if/how I can help.

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  16. Glad to find that there are others like me in the mix! Jim and I tweeted the other day about my joining in with my class this semester, and when I logged on this AM to get cracking on my syllabus, I found this post.

    @colin Like you, I participated in ds106 last winter (tho minimally … till my own semester was in full swing), and now I want my students to have a similarly transformative experience. As I said in in an early assignment for that course http://www.readwriteworld.org/?p=1 , something about ds106 was a real game-changer for me as a learner and teacher educator (who had already been teaching a course on tech integration in secondary ed for years, mind you).

    Am still trying to get my head around what exactly that ds106 magic was/is, but a few things that I credit to my brief stint are: I’ve kept a blog ever since (albeit limpingly); I am a fairly regular Tweeter with a decent number of followers whom I’ve never met (!!); and I am OVER my fear of “putting myself out there,” which I’ve since discovered is perhaps the main thing that keeps my students from engaging in the blogosphere in any serious way (meaning they’re “out there” socially, but not part of the digital “public sphere,” usually).

    After ds106, I tried — and largely failed — to recreate in my classes the experience of connecting, creating, and sharing that helped me REALLY see what traditional classrooms (and perhaps traditional approaches to tech integration) were lacking, and how Web 2.0 could change all of that. So, largely out of desperation and my own frustration as a teacher, this semester we’re just throwing ourselves into the mix to see what happens. The fact that I can now hardly wait for the semester begins tells me something is right about this: am excited to see how my students will react — I have a strong feeling they’re going to love it!

    We’ll be approaching the ds106 assignments from an English language arts point of view (they’re preservice teachers and the course is an technology in education one). On our side of the looking glass — I’m hoping to have a class Ning where we discuss and reflect (as we ed folks do 😉 — we’ll be doing a lot of processing of our experiences as learners (and what can be exported to students’ future classrooms) and thinking about the ds106 assignments in terms of “English” (the narrative or digital storytelling focus makes the pairing a no-brainer for us).

    So there you have it. Looking forward to hearing more about what other “adopters” are doing and hearing about how it’s going in your classes.

    • Reverend says:


      I am thrilled to have you along, and I love that ds106 has remained a force for you over the last year. I think your students could think of the assignments as “lesson plans” for the English Arts curriculum, and many of us could have fun doing their work. Keep me updated with their feeds, etc., I am looking forward to it.

  17. Great idea. Maybe we we’ll do that!
    In the meantime, I think I’ll start working on a blog post that explores the ways ds106 has influenced me. Will Richardson writes about teachers as “master learners” (and how so few of us are), and somehow I think that ds106 has helped me at least begin to become a bit more masterful in and mindful of my own learning.

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