Week 1 wrap-up: Salutations!

After students in the digital storytelling course ds106 have risen to the challenge of setting up their own web domains, installing WordPress, and started blogging, what words of encouragement would you have for them as they embark on a journey of investigating storytelling and artificial intelligence?

We made it through the first week of ds106, with struggles and triumphs. I thought I might try to put together a few quick thoughts.

I was happy with the variety of films people chose to review. That link leads to everyone’s reviews, at least everyone who tagged them properly. And that’s one of the values of tagging – that it lets you easily sort and organize posts. I was surprised by the number of optimistic views of AI people found. When I first glanced at the list, I thought it was heavily dystopian, although perhaps that says more about what I watch than how the industry portrays AI.

Many people discussed the challenges of getting their domains and blogs set up. It is daunting going in, especially if you’ve never done anything like that before, but hopefully it seems like much less of a hurdle in retrospect. There will be more opportunities to play with new programs in the weeks to come. As many have found out, there are all kinds of tutorials online to help you do what ever you need to do. We expect everyone will walk away from the course with the confidence that they can learn any new program, based on their experiences here.

Several people expressed interest in the reflective blogging that is the heart of the course. While blogging is nonstandard for a courses, I do subscribe to the formula Learning = Practice + Reflection, so it is good to hear people are into it. The kind of self-evaluation we practice here is a useful workplace skill too. Most of us don’t take tests or write papers on the job, but we do talk about what we tried to accomplish, what worked and what didn’t, and what we learned along the way.

Our blogs are also one of our platforms for class discussion. We post our thoughts, and we comment on the posts of others. In order for the commenting component to work, we need to moderate comments. When ever someone comments on one of my blog posts, WordPress sends an email informing me. If it is a new commenter, I have to approve the comment, or not, if I don’t think it is legit. Once a commenter is approved, I don’t have to approve them again. I can remove comments though, should I feel the need. The point of this is we need to look for those emails. The UMW email system may route them to the junk folder. Hopefully we can train it not to.

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