Help out a ds106 classmate

One of our ds106ers is collecting data for a psychology project, “a study about parenting, romantic relationships, and life satisfaction.” I have been told “This study is for academic purposes only and the data that is collected will only be analyzed for academic advancement.” You do not have to do this for our course, but if you want to be nice and help someone out, here is the link to the survey:

http://umw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9vFKdi4ipkK4P9b

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“We’re all in it together.”

What does community mean to me? The first thing I think of is Harry Tuttle in Brazil: “We’re all in this together.” unfortunately that doesn’t fit the four word restriction. But the actual prompt for #Antigonish2 is “What has community meant for you?”

That’s different. It’s not asking for a definition but an effect. For most of my life I’ve been a loner/outsider/introvert. The community at large and I had little use for each other. But there have always been a few that I have connected with – the neighborhood street hockey crew, the metal party people, the local music scene, the ds106 community. Those connections matter. They can be sustaining. The opportunities to contribute and be part of something adds to my sense of self-worth. What community has meant for me is

multiple opportunities for growth

There’s a second prompt: “What does an engaged community look like to you?”

I’m interested in the typewriter image. It suggests communication and technology, but it’s an old technology, at least by technological standards. So there is a timelessness to it. Engaged community has always been with us. It’s part of what makes us human. But the typewriter is a tool. It takes skill to use it well. It represents a commitment – investing in one and learning to use it. As a society, over several decades, we have built an amazing communication tool – the Internet. I feel like we’re letting it go though. We let privacy go. We’re letting net neutrality go. We’re letting this amazing communication tool turn into another TV.

Is that really what we want? What do we sacrifice along the way? We could use this tool to help build community, to work towards a better educated citizenry. That’s what I see in Antigonish2. We can make things happen for us, rather than have things happen to us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Agent Orange

In reviewing the agent interviews, I’m noticing some common answers. Everyone who has responded to the animal question has said tiger, and everyone who responded to gorilla question said 7-11. the thread that ties the two together is the color orange. So what does this mean? I looked for the meaning of the color orange, and saw that there was an answer from Agent Bourn so I used that one. It’s less aggressive than red, but still highly visible. Are these good qualities for a secret agent? I’ll let you decide. Too much orange is self-centered and self-serving. I wonder… Is there a conspiracy in the works?  It’s the self-serving ones that turn into double agents. We need to be vigilant!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Week 11: Mission: Moviemaking

We are doing a second week of video. We’re bringing it all together in these last few weeks. This is almost entirely taken from the Open ds106 Unit 10:

Video the ds106 Way
Focus on the storytelling aspect of your video making–do not get caught up in the technical points or making the video just for the assignment stars…  Be very sure that your videos tell a story, that it surprises us, that it perhaps jars us, and that when you write up your blog post you are providing full details and context for your videos.

All of your video assignments should include:

  • An opening title sequence and/or closing credits – make sure your video gives credit to all media sources.
  • Make good use of audio– keep in mind the lessons from your audio storytelling work– use of background music, sound effects, and/or foley.
  • Your blog writeup includes the key elements— narrative describing the ideas/inspiration behind the video you created and also details on how it was made (including credits/links to media sources and at least one screen shot of your video editing screen). Think of it as the “extras” on a DVD or a “making of” article about a movie.

The Ins and Outs of Video Editing
We recommend using video editing software that allows you to cut and re-arrange clips on a timeline, and to add, and layer audio tracks. Most typically this is the software that came with your operating system- iMovie on Macs and MovieMaker on Windows PCs (but feel free to look at some of the other options in the ds106 Handbook).

Some of the assignments may require downloading of clips from YouTube (we have a tutorial if you need it). PC users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files into MovieMaker (We have been told that the Windows Movie Maker Live can import MP4)- you will either have to install codecs to read mp4 videos, or use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats. See the ds106 Handbook for some video converter options.

Other resources that may help include:

The Rest of Your Video Mission
Those of you who chose the individual option last week should continue with video assignments. Do 12 stars of video assignments, including 6 which connect with your secret agent character and the course theme in some way. If you don’t like the ones you find, feel free to create your own and add them to the Assignment Bank.

All your video work should be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and you ought to write a post for each completed assignment in which you embed your video. We’d like to know the why’s and how’s of your productions. What might you do differently if you did it again? What did you learn, both technically and in creating your story that you might take to the next project?

If you chose the group option last week, finish your video, but still be sure to include opening & closing credits and pay attention to sound production. Be sure to blog your progress throughout the week (tag: videoshowprogress) and to share your final show in your weekly post.

This is tying together some of the things we’ve worked on this semester. Opening and closing credits are a way of incorporating design, and sound is vitally important throughout video.

Another Mission
You’re all secret agents. You’ve all practiced various techniques. Some of you even talked with The Directorate (treacherous traitors!). Now we need a mission. What should it be? Write your ideas in a blog post and tag it mission.

Daily Creates
Three TDCs this week.

Commenting
Always. Always Be Commenting.

Posted in weekly assignments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Week 10: Reading movies

3/24 – 3/31

Reading movies
This week we’re moving from audio to video. We’ve been looking at related aspects – photography, sound, design – all along, but now we’re going to look at cinematic camerawork, and how it all comes together.

For starters, read Roger Ebert’s How the Read a Movie to get some basics of film analysis.

The following are part of Tony Zhou’s great series, Every Frame a Painting in which he analyzes details of film making. The entire series is worth watching and highly recommended, but I’m going to point out these in particular:

Joel & Ethan Coen – Shot | Reverse Shot

Memories of Murder (2003) – Ensemble Staging

Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement

In Praise of Chairs

An interesting point about all of these is that they are about design. It may not be design in the Vignelli sense, but staging, composition and sets are all carefully and deliberately planned out to achieve particular goals, that is to say, designed.

F for Fake (1973) – How to Structure a Video Essay

The Silence of the Lambs – Who Wins the Scene?

David Fincher – And the Other Way is Wrong

Note that the focus in these is not on plot or acting, or even if the movies are good or not, but rather on the techniques that the directors use to tell stories.

Apply what we’ve learned
Now that we’ve spent some time thinking about how films are made and how we “read” them, let’s apply that new information to a film. Identify some particularly effective scenes from a secret agent/spy movie you’ve watched. Pick one of them to analyze in a video essay. Use the critical lens of this week’s reading and resources. This means you are going to make a video, using a scene from a movie, and discuss the scene in voice-over narration. You can upload your video essay to Vimeo or Youtube.

This assignment is a slight variation on the classic ds106 Video Essay assignment in the Assignment Bank. For this class, you need only analyze one scene, although you’re welcome to do more. In particular, your analysis should reflect what you learned by reading Ebert’s essay and watching the Tony Zhou videos.

MPEG StreamclipiMovie and Windows MovieMaker are good tools for this project. There is a whole page with advice and information that should help with this assignment (although I haven’t updated it recently – if you run in to dead links, let me know). The Digital Knowledge Center is also a great resource. They offer tutoring on video editing, and the Convergence Center has tools and equipment that you can use.

When you’re done, blog your video essay (that means embed the video in your post, and write about the process of making it and what you got out of it.) and tag it videoessay.

Another Video Assignment: The Interview
I wish I could individually interview all of the ds106 agents this week, but there just isn’t world enough and time. Instead, there are recordings of myself and two nefarious characters asking a series of questions. Your job is to mix these up with responses that reflect your character’s responses. You don’t have to use all of the questions, but your final interview must include at least seven of the questions. You can find our questions here. Questions 1. Questions 2. Questions 3. Blog this video and tag it characterinterview. 

And Do More Video Assignments: Two options

Choice One
Complete at least 10 stars of video assignments this week. If you choose this option, you will receive a second set of video assignments to complete next week.

Choice Two
For those of you who really enjoyed creating the radio shows, you have the option of taking a similar approach to video. You’ll divide up into groups of 3-5 (can be the same as your radio group, but don’t have to be) and produce a 15-30 minute video story together. Much like with radio, you can choose the format and story, but you must involve the course theme in some way. Here’s how the work will be divided:

Week One: Organize into your group as quickly as possible and decide on your approach to your video episode. You may use the Video assignments in the Assignment Bank as inspiration for your show, but you don’t have to. In addition to planning this week (deciding on format, choosing a story to tell, writing a script, planning shooting locations, etc.), each group member must produce a short (30-60 seconds)  “trailer” for your show that introduces your concept, story, etc.

Write up all your planning in a series of blog posts tagged videoshowplan and make sure you share your trailer in your weekly post. Each group member needs to blog about their part in the project.

Week Two: Working in your group, produce and edit your video episode. Write up your progress along the way in a second series of videoshowproduce blog posts. Make sure you share your final show in your weekly summary.

Daily Creates
Do two this week

Commenting
Keep it up! It’s the interaction that makes the class.

Posted in weekly assignments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

You Only Broadcast Twice

For our second night of ds106 radio shows, we had another trio of tales, all very different. I don’t have much commentary right now, as the hour grows late and I have to head off to the Active Covert Reconnaissance League conference tomorrow, but I want to get these links out there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Goldradio

The radio show project is my favorite part of ds106. There are usually some complaints about the difficulty of working with audio and collaborating online, but almost everyone does great work and is justifiably proud of their creations. We had three shows on our first night, starting with the Miami Spy Convention:

This had a group of reporters working the convention and talking to some attendees, including Maxwell Smart, the Spy Kids and Austin Powers.

This show had a lot of nice touches, from the characters to the commercials to the convention hall background noise.

The next show was Cloak and Dagger, a story of surveillance:

Like the first show, this one used sound very effectively.

And the writing was top notch and topical

It ended with a “to be continued…” which left everyone hanging. Maybe that was revenge for Limetown. Still it was a great show and raised interesting issues around ethics and surveillance. And a great group effort as well.

Our third show featured the College Spy Kids

This took the form of a quiz show where they had to identify spy movies from their theme songs

It made for a fun contrast to the seriousness of the previous show, but it also included some analysis of how the themes work and what they contribute to the films. So it was a great first night, and we’re all looking forward to the next group of shows!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

CRAAP: waste or fertilizer?

Susi cc2012 by Hagens_world

CRAAP has been taking a lot of crap lately. This came through my Twitter feed today:

It refers to the latest among a number of claims that so-called fake news can be validated by using the CRAAP test. I suppose it’s correct to say one can validate such things, but that require a rather tortuous misapplication of the test. The case in point here refers to one of the president’s tweets about being wiretapped. We can consider the information current, but that’s about it. Whether or not it is relevant depends entirely on what one needs the information for and what one intends to do with it, which is not determined in the example. Accuracy cannot be determined from the tweet at all, and as the article says, the claim has been refuted by many who have knowledge of and familiarity with the situation. The president is well-known for having an inverse relationship with truth, so the accuracy can be considered suspect from the start. And since the president is well-known for making statements that have little relationship with truth or reality, his authority approaches zero. His purpose is purely political, to misinform and to attack, to put his predecessor in a negative light. We know this because it is something he has been working at for years. The only way the tweet in question could be considered reliable information would be to take the position that you can believe everything you read.

That last point is the problem I have with most criticisms of the CRAAP test. They remove any kind of thought from the process. But why would anyone do that? Why would anyone assert that “authority is a binary,” as the article claims? Certainly one can oversimplify the test, and some organizations do turn it into a bizarre scorecard, but there is no reason why anyone has to do it that way, nor is there any reason that they should.

If we look at CSU Chico’s version (PDF) of it, we can see that it is not as simple as people pretend. Their version lists the five criteria and several example questions for each. There is no implication that the list of questions is exhaustive. Many of them take the form of yes/no questions, but many of them require some critical thinking to reach a good answer. “Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?” This can only be answered in the context of how the information will be used, and what the user is trying to accomplish. “Is the author qualified to write on the topic?” To answer this, one has to considered what makes an author qualified, and what kinds of qualifications there are. “Is the information supported by evidence?” This requires evaluating evidence and logic, and perhaps methodology. “Where does the information come from” This requires some investigation, which can open up many new complexities. “What is the purpose of the information?” There is nothing simple or binary about this. I wouldn’t even consider purpose to be singular.

I find CRAAP test is good for an entry into a discussion of how and why we evaluate information. We all do it, we just don’t all think about it reflectively and intentionally. And even those of us who are expert and reflective are subject to confirmation bias. So the test provides a model, a list of questions we can ask. All of those supposedly binary questions come with an unspoken corollary: How do we know? All of those questions require us to think about context, both the context of what we are reading and the context of what we are writing or otherwise doing with the information.

I know people misuse CRAAP. Perhaps they misunderstand it. In surveying students, informally, about a third of them tell me that .orgs are better than .coms. When I asked a group of librarians where this misconception comes from, about a quarter of them told me that it was true. Some people make the test into a scoresheet. Some people apparently just toss the test at students with minimal to no explanation. I don’t know if librarians actually say “anything that ends in .gov is reliable,” but I do know that this does not come from the CRAAP test. It asks, “Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?” That does not mean .gov is good. It does mean that we need to talk about how to dissect and decipher URLs, and think about what they tell us, if anything. Perhaps the problem is that people treat CRAAP as an end product, and people latch onto it as a simple solution. But that’s wasteful. Using it as fertilizer is productive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Week 9: Broadcast and Web Storytelling

3/17/17 – 3/24/17

Everyone worked through major projects these past weeks, so we’re going to reflect on what the class has accomplished.

Radio Shows Broadcasting Schedule
Monday – Miami Spy Convention, Cloak and Dagger, and Group 5
Tuesday – Sexspionage, Agents on Air, and Group 6

The radio shows that were created last week will be broadcast live on ds106radio (you can listen here) this Monday and Tuesday nights from 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM. Members of the groups should be on hand to talk about the behind-the-scenes work for their shows. If technology wants to cooperate, I will offer people the opportunity to discuss their shows on air via Google Hangouts.

Everyone should be on twitter during the shows to share feedback real time using the #ds106 hashtag.

Everyone should reflect on at least one radio show they listened to and were not a part of creating. Describe the experience of listening, the various sound elements employed, what parts worked, what parts didn’t, etc. Be thoughtful, critical, and most importantly respectful. Tag this radiolisten.

I am going to try to fit all the shows in two days because I will be on a secret mission to Charm City Wednesday to Sunday. Communications may be intermittent during that time.  

Best of ds106 showcase

One of the things we do in this course is celebrate each other’s work. This week you should look through the assignments and Daily Creates the class has done, and pick out the three best and highlight them in a post. You may pick things that you remember stood out to you, or you can go back through the class blog feed to find three outstanding works of art. You get to define what “best” means. You must embed the media in your post. You have to say something about why it’s outstanding. You CANNOT pick anything you did yourself. Tag this post ds106showcase.

Web Storytelling

For this week’s other adventure, we’re going to play with web storytelling. This should be fun. I am going to quote extensively from the Open ds106 Course:

In this unit we move to a different kind of storytelling, one that uses the space of existing web sites as a place for you to assert your own stories. They are not just stories on the web, they are of the web. They use the affordances of the web as its own genre.

This might be a subtle distinction, but so far you have been using media (images, design, and audio) to create stories in the web spaces you publish to- this is writing stories ON the web. In this week, we play with this idea in a new way, in that you will be asked to use the affordances of other web sites to change their intent, meaning, or purpose to tell a story in those spaces.

Inspiration: Not Your Grandfather’s Resume

Rather than doing a standard textbook resume like the teach you in school, Philippe Dubost created a site to feature his skills and experience formed and functioning as an Amazon product page where he himself is the product:

If you examine the page, every bit has been re-crafted to fit the story of Philippe as well as both the style and features familiar to Amazon shoppers.

A resume not ON the web, but OF the web. Get it?

This week we’ll be playing with storytelling within the web. What does this mean? Well, you will be intervening in the code and design of a website of your choice to tell a story. You are not to photoshop the design of the site, but rather intervene in the actual html and CSS of the site—though you can photoshop particular images on the site.

Perhaps the most well known examples take place on Amazon pages such as The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee where people have intervened just in the product comments to make this ordinary t-shirt have magical powers. It becomes a way of making a political statement as read in the comments of a children’s aircraft toy (hat tip to @bellekid). These are ways in which an ordinary web page is fictionalized in a creative way simply through comments.

You are not being asked to code web pages; but use tools that you can use in a web browser to modify the content of an existing web page, change the text, images, and links, so that it has different content and meaning. You do not have to worry about defacing another web page, you are just recrafting a copy of it (remember the old saying about imitation as a form of flattery?)

The creative part requires that you find an existing web page to work with as raw material. Good candidates are newspaper stories, product entries in sites like Amazon or eBay, movie/book reviews — in fact, simpler pages like a search result or Craigslist are easy to work with.

The tools you can use allow you to, in a web browser, actually modify the content. The end goal is to have both a screen shot image and a real working web page you created that you can link to in your unit summary blog post (and heck why not tweet what you did?)

We recommend the Mozilla X-Ray Goggles tool is is meant to help you see (like an x-ray) how web content is structured:

X-Ray Goggles allow you to see the building blocks that make up websites on the internet. Activate the goggles to inspect the code behind any webpage, then remix elements with a single click, swapping in your own text, images and more.

Here is an example of one modified in Goggles from a past ds106 page!

What you should do is review the X-Ray Goggles instructions and install the tool in your browser bar. (this will work in any modern web browser). This can be invoked directly on any web page you want to explore and change Goggles provides an overlay interface to change text, formatting, even images — essentially to rewrite any web page.

When you are done, you’ll need to save your changed code – click “P” in the bottom right when the X-Ray Goggles are activated. The easy way is to publish it on the Hackasaurus site, from which you will get a URL.

Your work then is to do a Storytelling Within the Web assignment – write a blog post with the usual writeup components, and include both a screen shot of your reworked page and a link to a live web version of your retold web story page. Tag this webstorytelling.

Alternatively, you can create a Stepworks story. There is a how-to video and description on the Create page, and our friend and fellow agent @dogtrax has also written a detailed explanation of the Stepworks process. I’ve only started playing with it myself, so I’m curious to see what people can come up with. Share what you make on Twitter with the #ds106 hashtag, and write a blog post about how you made your story. Tag this stepworksstory.

Connected Daily Creates

We’ve had a lot of great work on the Daily Create assignments, so we are going to try something a little different. Do at least three Daily Creates this week. After you’ve done them, look at them and find a way to tie them together in a story. You could put them together in one blog post, but if you can hyperlink them together, even better! That would mean constructing a story that jumps across media sites in a way that works as a single story. If you really can’t make it work with the Daily Creates that come up, you can reach back to this past week, but no further.

Web Assignments

Do 8 stars of Web Assignments. There aren’t many here, so you are all encouraged to make some up and add them to the assignment bank.

And of course, the usual commenting!

Posted in weekly assignments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Snapshots of Turin

I’ve been reading the new translation of Giorgio De Maria’s The Twenty Days of Turin, and since I feel I know almost nothing of Italy, I’ve been looking things up. So here is a collection of things I’ve found, with minimal explanation.
The cover of the Italian edition
Turin is home to the Museo Egizio, the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt
Sculptor Vincenzo Vela is brought up. More on him here
The book refers to Edmondo de Amicis and his book Cuore, or The Heart of a Boy
The bas-relief behind the monument

The concept of The Library and what the mayor had to say about it makes me think of Claudius

The Albertine Statute was Italy’s first constitution

I hadn’t thought about the time setting of the story until it talked about the hippie era as being “thirty years ago.” That puts it in the 90s, the end of the century, as the subtitle puts it. I guess I took it for granted the story was in the end of the 70s, when the book was published.

The Monument to Niccolò Tommaseo is apparently known as “the book-shitter.”

 

Sister Clotilde gets her name from an early saint “venerated as guarding … those who suffered violent death and ill-tempered husbands.”

That leaves me about halfway through. I should have more to come.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment