cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by SimonQ錫濛譙

Tonight I guest lectured Daniel Phelp’s Documentary Production class at York College. The students came to class with story ideas for their final projects which were to include a link to an article online.

My job was to help the students discover which stories they should pick to produce for the remainder of the semester (only 5-6 out of 16 will be chosen). So I decided to use some ds106 assignments to help them focus their story pitches. I also decided that I should do each assignment as well to represent my ds106 teaching style (pedagogy of uncertainty maybe?)

First up was Haiku it Up – I asked students to tell the proposed beginning (5 syllables), middle (7 syllables), end (5 syllables) of their documentary in a three line haiku. My haiku represents my hope for this exercise:

Tell your story in a
Few words that ring truth, passion
I want to feel it.

Next in the same post I asked students to create a fantasy dialogue between two characters in their proposed film. They used the Phake Tweets assignment and the Twister Tweet generator to illustrate the dialogue. Here’s my interpretation of a conversation with a student tonight:

Third for the evening of ds106 documentary, we did a riff on Alan Levine’s five card flickr assignment. There was a lot more flexibility for the students (no random generator) as they could choose any five cc licensed images they could find in flickr to represent their story. Here’s my five images for class so far, based on these five terms (teaching, documentary film, ds106, discover, story):


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Cali4beach


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by sean dreilinger


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by umjanedoan

Finally we did a version of the un-scene stories fanfic assignment. Students were asked to think of a moment in their proposed film in which a character behaves a certain way or does something specifically. Then they were to describe an imagined history before and after that moment. This one was pretty hard for me to do for my teaching, but I thought I would imagine myself guest lecturing for this course before ds106 and now after.

Before: If I were asked to teach this class a couple of years ago, I would have been excited at the prospect of hearing all the various students’ proposed documentary ideas. I would have asked each student to read their pitch to the class and asked everyone for feedback. Likely a number of students would not give feedback, notes may or may not have been taken. I would have pitched a lot of my own ideas, and wondered whether the students believed they were interesting or useful.

After: The students in the class created a number of artifacts reflecting new perspectives on their proposed documentary. They discovered themes, dialogue, images, and back stories that can be used to better understand each student’s sensibility about the proposed documentaries. Whether the artifacts become part of the documentaries chosen, hopefully more informed choices can be made by students regarding which films to produce for the remainder of the semester.

Homework: We were to narrow down the number of proposals, but I’m not sure I should do that without Daniel here. I did follow through with his request to have students create a blog post by next class.

Everyone has worked on a post in class, but students should do a little ‘tidying’ as well as reflect on how this process has informed interest in their stories. Please refer to specific artifacts you created in class as part of this reflection. Also describe which kinds of storytelling techniques you might use and how you might tell the story.

Do not create a new post, just edit the existing post and write the reflection at the end. And please link to your original pitch for reference in this post.

Finally comment, comment, comment on each others work.