York College and DS106
This syllabus is based on the course DS106 - Digital Storytelling, which is a open online course created by Jim Groom out of the University Mary Washington. York College has registered students that are required to have personal blogs that are able to feed their work to the main ds106 website with the gracious support of the DTLT Team at UMW. Thanks Jim and DTLT you ROCK!!!!!
Spring 2012 Digital Storytelling Syllabus
York College/CUNY - Communications Technology 101
Instructor: Michael Branson Smith
Location: York College Academic Core Building, 4M03 & The Internet (Hybrid Course)
Term: Spring 2012
Email, Office Hours, and Location
Office: Academic Core 4G01 but consider contacting via Twitter @mbransons which is best
Office Hours: M 12-2PM, or by appointment
The Wikipedia articles on Digital Storytelling defines it rather succinctly as "using digital tools so that ordinary people can tell their own real-life stories." It then goes on to elaborate as follows:
'Digital Storytelling' is an emerging term, one that arises from a grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own ‘true stories’ in a compelling and emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes) and can involve interactivity. The term can also be a broader journalistic reference to the variety of emergent new forms of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, fan art/fiction, and narrative computer games). As an emerging area of creative work, the definition of digital storytelling is still the subject of much debate.
There are a number of ideas and assumptions here that we will be interrogating over the course of this semester, namely the idea of "ordinary people," "true stories," and the debate around the meaning of this term. The above article is rather vague about the details surrounding this emerging genre of narrative, and it is our responsibility to interrogate the term digital storytelling within the cultural context of our moment. This means each of you will be experimenting with our own digital platform for storytelling, as well as placing yourself within a larger narrative of networked conversation on the internet at large.
This course will require you to both design and build an online identity and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout that course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.
In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training and, most importantly, critical interrogation of the digital landscape all around us that is ever increasingly defining the the way we communicate with one another.
- Develop a deeper sense of why we create and value stories and how nascent communication technologies are affecting ideas of narrative.
- Develop an online identity that you will use to narrate your process as a creative practitioner and network with a community of peers to support your growth.
- Explore a variety of digital technologies for the explicit purpose of employing them to create various narrative forms.
- The internet: There is no textbook for this class, however individual readings will be assigned and will all be available online. Being successful in this class is very much dependent on a reliable, fast internet connection.
- A computer: This class does not take place in a computer lab (if it is in a classroom at all). If this class meets in a physical classroom, I STRONGLY recommend bringing a laptop computer with you to class to participate in class activities and assignments.
- A Web Hosting account: You will be expected to purchase a subscription to a commercial Web hosting service with a LAMP/cPanel Web environment. One option will be presented to you in class, but you may choose any hosting service you like, as long as it meets the basic LAMP/cPanel requirements.
- Various Social Media Tools: You are expected to sign-up for and use a variety of accounts for this course: Flickr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitter, and Gravatar.
- Class Web Site: The locus of the course's online activity will be the DS106 Web Site. You should always use this URL to enter the course; it is where you will find information about assignments and activities all semester. Over the course of the term, we will also make use of two other important DS106 sites:
- DS106 Assignment Repository: This collection of digital storytelling assignments has been developed over the course of the last few years. We will frequently be drawing upon this collection for course assignments. You will also be creating assignments as part of your coursework.
- The Daily Create: These daily creative assignments ask you to spend no more than 10-15 minutes experimenting with either photography, video, audio, or text based on a pre-defined assignment.
COURSE ACTIVITIES AND EXPECTATIONS
Overall Course Process
The work for every week will be posted Mondays [httmy personal blog as which will include the York College specific instructions for the week as well as links to the assignments on the ds106 web site. Each weekly post will outline the work for the week and will include videos and readings as assigned.
For our in-class Monday meetings, we will generally be working on an activity, 'blitz assignment' that will serve as an introduction to the type of work (digital tools and storytelling ideas) for the week. Our meetings are only two hours, and that only represent the face-to-face portion of the class. You are expected to 'meet' for the remaining portion of class time online, working on assignments, updating your blog, completing the daily create.
On Thursdays at 12PM, I will broadcast a live-stream video on which I will make a progress report of class activities and/or have invited guests talk about coursework. Please show up to the live-stream if you have questions, or you can find and watch a recording of the video later that day by looking to the syllabus for a posted link.
This class will in many ways be anchored around your ongoing, regular participation through the various technologies you will be experimenting with. If you are not present, you will compromise the success of the class (as well as YOUR success in it). We expect active and engaged participation.
For the purpose of this hybrid course, presence and participation are determined by the degree to which you are actively and thoughtfully engaging with your classmates and the course materials via the various online spaces used for the class. Participation will be evaluated based upon the following kinds of activities:
- Narrating your course experience. Throughout the semester, you are required to use your blog to regularly provide updates about your course activities. These posts should be substantive, thorough, and reflective.
- Commenting upon your classmates' work. You are expected to respond thoughtfully and critically to the work that others in the class are creating. This will be accomplished in several ways, primarily through regular, thoughtful blog comments and feedback on Twitter.
- Engagement with social media. The online nature of this course requires us all to work especially hard to build a learning community. In large part, we expect this community to emerge out of various spaces and tools that you will be asked to use. We will be looking for your regular presence in spaces like Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Complaining that you "don't understand" the tool is not a suitable excuse. You will only begin to understand by using and engaging.
The Daily Create
Regular, creative exercises are at the heart of ds106, and to this end over the course of the semester we will be expecting every student to complete between 2-4 Daily Create assignments each week (the number to complete each week will be provided by the Instructors at the start of the week). In order to get full credit for this assignment you will need to complete it the day the assignment was posted as well as tag it according to the directions given with the prompt. You will be expected to include the work you've done for your Daily Creates in your Weekly Summary posts.
Digital Storytelling Assignments
Throughout the semester, we will assign a number of digital storytelling projects using a variety of tools, techniques, and technologies. For the most part, these assignments will come from the ds106 Assignment Repository. You are expected to complete all of these assignments by the weekly deadline and share them on your blog, and in your weekly summary. Your grade on these will reflect both your success at completing these assignments as well as a detailed commentary on your blog describing your process and any difficulties you encountered. In other words, you will be expected to not only complete an assignment, but also share with everyone how you did it. What's more, if you have difficulty with an assignment we will always expect you to attempt it, but you can use your blog to share insight into what you found challenging and how you negotiated the requirements.
Again three components are required to earn credit on your assignment work:
- The work itself must be embedded as media to view directly in your blog post. You will not get credit if you merely provide a LINK to an image, video, etc.
- A narration of the story behind it, what was the inspiration? What is the meaning to you? What are the elements of storytelling within it?
- A description of the process, tools, techiques used to create it, as well as hyperlinked attribution to any source media you did not create yourself.
Generally speaking, as long as we see a commitment to completing an assignment creatively and sharing your process thoroughly, you can expect to do well on it. If you don’t complete an assignment, or do not include all three elements above, you will receive a zero.
Also, keep in mind each assignment in the ds106 assignment repository has two tags. You are required to use both tags from each assignment correctly to receive credit. It is your responsibility to double check the spelling of the tags and ensure they are correct for each and every assignment you create.
You are expected to review the course site regularly and to complete all assignments on-time.
A digital story of your making. During Week Seven of the class (or thereabouts), you will submit a topic for your storytelling concept project. The topic may be anything you choose, but if we believe it is not sufficient or appropriate for a final project, we will advise you of this immediately. You may tell the story using any of the tools or techniques we discuss in the class; the only requirement is that you share it publicly on your blog and it be something you are interested in and can sustain for 6 weeks.
We will talk about this project in more detail during weeks five and six of the class.
Several times during the semester, we will set up a meeting to discuss your progress in the class. We will be scheduling these appointments during the semester, and the meetings generally should not take longer than 10 minutes. These conferences are a valuable opportunity for you to receive one-on-one feedback about your work. These appointments are required.
You will be expected to attend class on a regular basis, enough said. If, for some reason, you need to miss class we expect that you will contact us prior to class to let us know as much.
We encourage you to use Twitter for this class. If you already have an account, you may use it. Otherwise, creating an account is easy! Simply tweet class-relevant content with the hashtag #ds106. These tweets will be harvested and displayed on the course website. In addition, Twitter can and should be integrated with your class blog. For example, when you complete a new entry, post a link on your twitter account.
We can be contacted many ways, but e-mail and/or twitter is probably easiest Michael Branson Smith: email@example.com or @mbransons . Our correspondence will be much more productive if you follow a few simple guidelines:
- First, consider whether you really need to e-mail us. If you're experiencing a technical problem, make every effort to solve it first on your own (though a google search, a call for help blog post, etc.). If you do need to ask for technical help, your message should indicate that you've already tried available means to solve the problem, including specific steps you've already taken.
- Don't forget to identify yourself. If you have a question about an assignment, please make sure we know who you are, what section you're in, and the exact assignment about which you have a question.
- Please send a followup. If our explanation helped, or if the technical suggestion worked, please send a note. This way, we know whether or not to make the same suggestion to someone else when they come to me with a similar problem.
Twitter is also a very useful medium for quick questions (@mbransons), and we am happy to correspond there as well---though in shorter bursts.
Students are expected to treat the instructor and fellow students with the appropriate degree of respect, both in class (if applicable) and in online discussions. Communication, either in person or through electronic media, that is deemed abusive, threatening, or harassing in nature will not be tolerated.
York College's Academic Integrity Policy & Procedures, developed to conform to the CUNY policy on Academic Integrity.
The following overview of the INC grade is condensed from York's grading policy website
The student must be passing the course, and have work remaining to complete the course requirements. The student must request an INC grade. The instructor must approve whether the student has a valid reason for not completing course requirements and has reasonable expectation that the student can in fact successfully complete the requirements of the course within the allotted time.
Policy on accommodations for disabled students
CUNY York College is committed to providing access to programs and services for qualified students with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability and require accommodations to participate and complete requirements for this class, contact the STAR Program (Specialized Testing & Academic Resources), services for students with disabilities (Academic Core Building (AC), Room 1GO2, 718-262-2191/3732) for verification of eligibility and determination of specific accommodations.
The following schedule lays out the basic structure of the class and the units and topics we’ll cover over the semester. A more detailed course calendar is available as well, but it is subject to change based on the progress of the course. All dates listed are for face-to-face sessions, but this being a hybrid course you are expected to keep up your work online.
- 8/27 Week One: Introduction and Getting Started
- 9/3 (no f2f meeting) Week Two: Customizing Your Blog
- 9/10 Week Three: Introduction to Storytelling
- 9/24 Week Four: Audio Introduction
- 10/1 Week Five: Visual
- 10/10 (Weds Class) Week Six: Design
- First Conference
- 10/15Week Seven: Advanced Audio (radio show)
- 10/22 Week Eight: Radio Shows
- 10/29 Week Nine: Web Storytelling
- 11/5 Week Ten: Reading Video
- 11/12 Week Eleven: More with Video
- Second Conference
- 11/19 Week Twelve: Video and Remix
- 11/26 Week Thirteen: Additional Projects
- 12/3 Week Fourteen: Additional Projects/Final Project
- 12/10 Week Fifteen: Final Projects
- 12/17 Final Exam: Final Projects; Class Wrap-Up
- Final Conferences