Endings and Possibilities: Life after ds106?

Tonight marks the last time I teach ds106 officially at UMW for a while. I’ve taught it six times in two and half years, and it’s become more awesome than my wildest dreams. At the same time, it’s time to “step aside” (at least from the role of instructor, I can never leave the community—it’s #4life) and let others experiment wildly on a theme. ds106 is nothing if not a course that needs to be re-appropriated, remixed, mashed up, and re-imagined. Martha Burtis and Alan Levine are ready to take it to the next level this Summer in a 10 week course starting May 21st and I’m locking in for the ride.

I really want to be on the student end of the equation this Summer. I’ve been focusing so much on organizing and keeping up with the class—which I failed at a bit this semester—that I haven’t been creating stuff, learning new skills, and generally practicing what I preach. I’m looking forward to engaging both the UMW students and the open community without some of the administrative overhead, but more importantly I want to have a bit of creative fun this Summer.

Image credit: "Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation" by USCapitol

I’ve also been thinking a lot about an open, online film class in UMW’s American Studies program (or maybe somewhere else?) that I want to teach next Spring and I think it’s high time I did the legwork over the next few months. The rough details of the class are as follows: teach an online class about film history, aesthetics, programming and archiving in conjunction with the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation just 40 minutes down the road in Culpeper, Virginia. The class would examine film history, genre study, as organize a few scheduled classes on site at the Packard Campus to meet with their archivists, copyright folks, programmers, etc. All the discussions around the films, history, genres, etc. would be done in the open and online, and the idea would be for the class to build up to programming an entire month’s worth of films in conjunction with the LOC Packard Campus Theatre (if they agree, which is still a very big IF). What’s more, each of the students would present on a particular film in front of a live audience before the the movie starts. How sick would that be? It is still a pipe dream, but I can dream, right?

Just thinking about the rough outlines of the course, I dig the way in which the online and physical are interfacing in ways that seem more focused on seeing and doing specific things in physical space while preserving the discussions for the distributed, online venue—kind of an anti-flipping of the course experience 🙂  You can get a sense of how varied and immense the audio visual archives are by just glancing at this month’s schedule here, this next month alone they have Solaris, The French ConnectionAndrei Roublev, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and much more—they have everything!

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10 Responses to Endings and Possibilities: Life after ds106?

  1. Nancy White says:

    Awww, I LOVE this kind of dreaming. I can almost smell the popcorn. (You WILL cover and consider the sacred importance of film snacks, right???)

  2. paul says:

    I like the open online film class idea. You couldn’t really replicate the theater experience online, but Netflix streaming or something like that would have possibilities.

    Looking at the Packard Campus film schedule makes me homesick. I used to go to the Dryden Theatre (http://dryden.eastmanhouse.org/) at the George Eastman House when I lived in Rochester. They always had a pre-movie presentation too.

  3. Linda says:

    So… That’s what that building is!!! We always wondered about that every time we drove by.

    That would be an awesome class! I like how you dream. 🙂

  4. Ben says:

    Sad that some of the people I’m hoping to bring on board with ds106 won’t be able to experience some strange summer-time permutation of Dr. Oblivion, but excited to see how you can shake up other courses using the open-online model. Can’t wait for the ultimate step, JGOOU (Jim Groom Open Online University), more affectionately known as “Where the Frak did All This Awesome Come From College”.

    Still really excited to pursue the idea of ds106 within the K-12 setting, perhaps might pitch it to my administration as a completely online course in direct conjunction with ds106 for high school students.

  5. Ben says:

    P.S. an open online film course might be a great excuse to start tinkering with PHP Motion (http://www.phpmotion.com/) as a “build your own YouTube” site.

  6. Jim says:

    @Ben,
    I will not be leaving ds106 by any stretch of the imagination, and I am working on a Master’s class in education here at UMW that fits the bill. I would just have other people teach it so I can do more like you do, create awesome art. And the Jim Groom Open Online University would never work because other people make it awesome, not me, I just take the credit 🙂

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