The work for week two is listed below. We’ll get this posted to http://ds106.ai/ soon.

Week Two: Welcome to the machine



All work is due by midnight on Friday, 1/26/24

Week 2 intro video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peQtGsL4UMY

Now that we’re set up for our adventure, let’s look at where we’re heading. This week is an orientation to what we’ll be doing. In the coming weeks we will be exploring various media and the ways we can use them to create narratives on the web. This is the basic outline, subject to change:

There is a logic to this. The first few weeks cover some basics. In the subsequent weeks we work on working together and bringing ideas together. The radio shows will be small group productions, incorporating ideas of writing, audio and design. Video projects involve all those and photography as well. We have a bank of assignments, with sections corresponding to many of the weeks listed.

Below is a detailed list of what’s to be completed this week.

  1. Learn How to Write Assignment Posts: Read this post by Alan Levine on how to write up your assignment posts for ds106. It cannot be overemphasized how important this section is. You will be writing posts for each assignment you do in this course, and the write-up is at least as important as the assignment itself. There is no formula for how you should write your posts, but you should reflect on the decision making process and efforts that go into each assignment, and evaluate the outcomes. Tell the stories of the assignments – what you put into them, how you did them, and what you got out of them. If you had to look up a tutorial on how to do something, link to it in your post so others can benefit from it as well. Use this advice to make your posts strong this week! Don’t forget to tag your assignment posts properly!!
    Also, pay attention to Digital Accessibility: UMW has resources on Digital Accessibility which includes a section on website accessibility which you should look over for information on alt-text and captioning.

  2. Complete Daily Creates: This week, we will begin to use The Daily Create. The Daily Create is an integral component of ds106. Follow The Daily Create on Mastodon and you will get a creative prompt every day. The Daily Create comes with instructions about how to submit your work. You must complete at least 5 daily creates this week. Here are the rules:

    • You MUST do the Daily Create on the day it comes out. NO EXCEPTION.

    • You MUST share your Daily Creates somehow in a post on your blog this week. You can embed them in your Weekly post or you can have a separate post about them that you link to from your Weekly post.

    • You should NOT spend more than 10-15 minutes on a Daily Create (Some will take a little as 5 minutes). The idea is to get yourself in the habit of doing creative work regularly, not to create a masterpiece everyday!

    • You are welcome to creatively interpret the prompts. As with most things in ds106, there is no one right answer and there are no wrong answers. Just use the prompt as an inspiration to make something.

  3. Explore the Assignment Bank: This week, we will begin using ds106’s Assignment Bank. This resource includes hundreds of media assignments, divided into different genres. Do 3 assignments of your choice, but make sure you choose them from 3 different categories. Each assignment comes with a “star” rating that roughly (very roughly) estimates its difficulty. A 1 star assignment is estimated to be easier than a 4 star assignment, but how much effort each one actually takes is largely up to you, based on what you want to put into it. These ratings will take on more significance in the coming weeks. The point of the assignments is not so much to do them “right,” but rather to be creative and to push yourselves to experiment with media. Make at least two of the assignments relate in some way to our course theme of AI. Again, there is no “right” way to do this, except to have fun with it and exercise your creativity.
    It’s your job to narrate the process, explain your thinking, and tell the story of your creation – see item 1 above on this list.

  4. Customize Your Blog: This week, we want you to also spend some time customizing and personalizing your blog. WordPress is a powerful tool for publishing on the web. You have tools like tags, categories and menus that you can use to organize your work and space. You can use and customize themes to project an identity and aesthetic. One of your assignments this week is to personalize your blog. What should it say about you, your interests, and your work? The title is the first part of that. Your blog’s title should not be DS106 or My Blog. Those names are not creative, and more importantly, they’re not you. We have a page of WordPress Basics which we saw last week. Another option is Getting Started with WordPress. This gives you some ideas of what you can do with it. Experiment and try things out! NB: You should install the Akismet plugin, or else you will be spammed.
    Note: The Disable Comments plugin is not recommended for this course, because commenting on each other’s blogs is an integral part of what we do here. You will need to moderate comments. You will get an email when people comment on your posts, and you have to approve them before they will show up. Once you approve a comment author, you won’t need to approve that person again.

  5. Build Your Participation: Participation is not only a component of your success in this class, it’s also an essential element of building our online community. If you’re doing the work but not actively engaging with everyone else in ds106, then you need to step up your game. Here are three important ways you can build up your participation in ds106:

    • Commenting:Commenting is the life blood of this class, and it is a large part of your overall work in this course. Read your fellow students’ blogs widely and comment freely. Commenting builds community. You should visit the course site every day to see what people are saying in the Course Blog Posts, and comment on a few posts – every day. If you want to be sure we see the comments you left, you should consider linking to them in your Weekly Summary post.

    • Discord: I set up a Discord server for the class so we could have a conversation space that is a little more private to the class. We can use it to ask each other questions and share ideas. The space is there for you to use as you see fit.

    • Responding on Your Own Blog: This is a more advanced form of participation, and it’s indicative of a student who truly understands the meaning of building community in ds106. If you find yourself leaving a very long comment, you have significant thoughts or reactions to a classmate’s work, or someone else’s work inspires you to create something yourself, write up a post on your own blog and be sure to link back to the post that inspired you. It can be incredibly satisfying to discover that something you said or created didn’t just prompt a comment, but inspired someone to write or create something of their own, on their own blog. (You can also use this technique to write about something someone said with which you disagree, but you must always do this in a polite and constructive way!)

  6. Course character
    Each of you will create a character as a way of engaging with the course. The character you create should align with one of the archetypes listed below. You are welcome to be creative in how you do this, and how you interpret the archetypes. The point of this exercise is to give you some inspiration and focus, and to offer opportunities for interaction and plot development in the weeks ahead. Your character could even secretly be a bot, with the truth not revealed until the end, if at all.

As noted above, these types and descriptions are open to interpretation. They’re starting points, not limitations. Here is a form where you can build your character’s dossier. Introduce your character in a blog post and tag it ai106character.

Meet Dr. Oblivion, another course character. He is our AI-powered teaching assistant who sometimes has an attitude. You can submit questions to him and he will respond in audio. You will be able to download an .mp3 of the response as well, to do with what you will. The doctor’s areas of interest and expertise include media theory, educational technology and artificial intelligence, so he may decline to answer queries that stray too far afield. A good bot knows its limitations. Feel free to avail yourselves of his wisdom.

  1. Read. Last week we looked at AI in film over the years. Since those visions tend to be pessimistic, this week we are asking you to read The Techno-Optimist Manifesto for a bit of contrast. Consider how it relates or contrasts to the film you watched last week and write your thoughts, reactions and reflections. Submit your reflection or a summary thereof to Dr. Oblivion and ask for his feedback. Blog about your reflections and Dr. Oblivion’s response in a post and tag it manifesto

  2. Re-write your Film Review:  Many of the film reviews so far were fairly generic when it comes to details around AI. Using Dr. Oblivion as your tutor, ask him pointed questions about AI and the film you reviewed to get a sense of some of some deeper themes and ideas you might have glossed over. Integrate these into your original review, and also feel free to copy and paste parts or all of the review for feedback to see if you can make your review better.

  3. Write your Weekly Summary: Before the end of the day on Friday, write your summary of the week and tag it WeeklySummary. This is your story of the week’s activities, and should include your thoughts on the week and the work you did. Embed or link to the assignments and Daily Creates you did. Talk about how you are participating in and connecting with the class. Submit the URL to your summary to Canvas.

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