Digital Audio – Week 6

Listen: “The Man From Krypton.” This example of audio storytelling comes from my childhood in the 1970s. Picture a simpler time when kids were less immersed in media than they are today. High tech was a portable vinyl record player and a collection of these kinds of recordings. Think about how the sounds, the sound effects, music and the changes in sound, tell you what is going on, how they create a sense of place, a sense of space and a sense of atmosphere. As a boy, I listened to this story over and over again. Good audio can cause us to use our imagination to “see” the story unfold. Does it still work in our media-saturated culture today? Write a reflection blog post on the effectiveness of this piece.

Listen: DS106 has an internet radio station – DS106 Radio – on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evening this week at 7:30 CST some radio programs will be airing. Pick one of these nights and tune in to the channel, if even for only a few minutes. Whatever your schedule allows. Follow the #ds106radio tweets, and join in the conversation. At a minimum, announce that you are also listening in a tweet with the #ds106radio hashtag. You must tweet to get credit for this. Ideally, you should also comment on the storytelling you are hearing. If this seems odd to you, look up live-tweeting. It is a real thing if it is in the dictionary, right? I want you to have the experience of live-tweeting to a radio show with others outside of our classroom.

Think: Examine the Audio Resources page and think about what role audio plays in telling a good story. It might be for the radio, it might be in film. Sound makes a big difference. But they say the best sound is that which doesn’t draw attention to itself. Done well, you don’t notice it. Discuss in a blog post with the topic of telling stories with sound.

Experiment With Sound: Using either Audacity, Adobe Audition, or similar audio editing tools, create a radio bumper for the “DS106 Radio” station. What is a bumper, you ask? Head on over to Wikipedia and read about radio bumpers. The radio bumper is an assignment in the Assignment Bank (so you should tag your blog post correctly when you’re done). Extra Internet Points for incorporating the superhero theme into your bumper recording.

Also, create a short audio introduction to your superhero character that you have previously created. This introduction to the Powerpuff Girls has animation included, but the sound track gives you a good idea of what is possible. (We will save the animation part for another time, unless of course, you are feeling extra ambitious!)

Complete 3 Daily Creates: You must complete and correctly tag at least three daily creates this week. Make sure you also blog your TDCs.

Assignment Bank – 10 Stars of Audio Assignments: Complete 10 Stars of Assignments from the Audio Assignments category. In your work, include one of these two assignments: The sound effects story (3 ½ stars) or The contest that nobody could win (2 ½ stars) as part of your 10 stars this week. For the sound effects assignment, it can be a lot of fun creating your own sound effects, but you may also use to find free sound effects for this project.

Please be sure to create a separate blog post for each of the Assignment Bank assignments you complete. Make sure all your completed assignments are uploaded to SoundCloud, and write up a post for each assignment in which you embed that audio from SoundCloud. You need to tag each assignment separately and correctly, so it refers back to the assignment page as a past example.

Radio Show Ideas: In a few weeks, we will be creating a radio show to air on the internet radio station. Ideally, this program will incorporate in some way, our theme of superheroes. Write one blog post discussing ideas you think would be good for a radio program to be created by our class.

Commenting: Comment, comment, and comment some more. You should all be looking at each others’ work and leaving feedback. We recommend going to the course site every day and leaving feedback on a few posts. That’s the main way we do class participation in this course.

Weekly Summary: Write a weekly summary of your week’s activities. This should refer to other blog posts created throughout the week, discuss online activities such as tweeting and commenting on other blogs, and also mention the Daily Creates you completed.

Digital Photography – Week 5

This week we are going to explore digital photography. K-State Polytechnic owns several DSLR cameras that are available for student use. If you have never used a digital SLR before, this is your week to learn something new. You may check one out from me if you make an appointment to do so with me on campus. Also, as K-State students, you have access to a top-tier research library. I want you to do some reading and reflection on digital photography. (Here is a good DSLR simulator to try, to help you understand the basic controls.)

  1. Reading Assignment: The Death of Photography via The Guardian
    • Have you ever been busy photographing or video recording an event and then later don’t remember the experience of being there? Do you stop and really think about what will make a good photograph before you make a photograph, or do you just take a bunch and pick through to find a good one? Reflect on the Guardian article, and write about your approach as well as where you think the art of photography is heading. Are we better or worse off, with the changes to the process that digital photography brings? Is the career of photography coming to an end, or is it just being reinvented? Why?
  2. Look at some good photographs: Spotlight on Jim Richardson
    • Jim Richardson is a photographer for National Geographic who lives in Lindsborg, Kansas. Use your internet skills to search for more examples of Jim’s work (hint: he has a business called Small World Gallery, and he posts work on Instagram & Flickr). Write about what you saw of Jim’s work in a blog post with regard to the elements of design we learned about last year in Visual Literacy class. (By the way, what are those elements of design?) For full credit, embed examples of his work in your blog with commentary. For super-duper, extra-extra credit, mosey on down to Lindsborg and visit the Small World Gallery in person. If you’re lucky, you might actually meet Jim.
  3. Make some photographs
    • Read through Jim Richardson’s photography tips. See the DS106 handbook section on photography. Also, check out Scott Kelby’s eBook The Best Of The Digital Photography Book Series (this link requires your K-State login), as well as one of the print Kelby photography books (available in library or from me). The chapter on landscape and nature photography is really good. There’s bound to be something in there you can try out using Photoshop. While you are on the Safari website reading the Kelby eBook, take a few minutes to do a search for other photography eBooks that might be useful. Explore those resources for more photography tips as well.
    • Find a willing subject and shoot a beautiful portrait using natural light. No selfies! For more info, see Kelby’s chapter on portrait photography.
    • Do two or three other photography recipes or techniques you learned from the readings. Personally, I enjoy shooting flowers the Kelby way.
    • After spending time reading about photography and experimenting with some of the techniques you have learned about, write a blog post that summarizes the experience. What techniques did you do? Did it work out well or not? Why or why not?
  4. Assignments
    • Pick either Life of a Superhero or It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane
    • Do an additional 6 stars worth of visual assignments, and involve our Superhero theme in one assignment in some way.
    • At least one assignment must involve photo manipulation using Photoshop.
    • Be sure to write a post for each assignment describing your thinking, your process, and evaluating the results, and be sure to tag it with the assignment tags.
  5. Complete a minimum of 3 Daily Creates this week.
  6. Comment on blogs of other students doing these assignments. Focus on K-State students and everyone else doing DS106. Don’t forget about the conversation on Twitter either. Tag your tweets with #ds106 and reply to tweets you see with these tags. This online conversation is part of online community citizenship, and is required for the course. Don’t be shy about this, it feels good to get feedback from others and to give feedback as well.
  7. Write a summary post of the week’s activities and submit the link to the assignment on K-State Online. Be sure to include links to the various posts you have made during the week, your daily creates, and include a discussion of the online conversations you have been having with others in DS106. Make this summary post interesting by including example pictures and graphics you have made.


Storytelling With Words and Images – Week 4

Watch the very first Superman Cartoon (1941) Practice critical thinking by asking and answering as best you are able, the 5 key questions of media literacy about this cartoon. Those questions are:

  • Who created this message?
  • What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  • How might different people understand this message differently from me?
  • What lifestyles, values, points of view are included; or omitted in this message?
  • Why is this message being sent?

Read How Ancient Legends Gave Birth to Modern Superheroes.

Look at the work of Greg Guillemin, a French artist who paints behind the scenes images of superheroes and other cartoon characters. (Some of these are risqué.) Check out the Secret Life of Superheroes and also a collection of his work on Pinterest Think about how answers to the previously mentioned key questions of media literacy might look with this body of work. Discuss.

Watch Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories


Develop an original superhero no one has ever heard of before. Include images from either original drawings or mash-ups and photo composites of existing heroes presented in a new way. Tell us the superhero’s name, alter-ego, powers and skills, physical description, biography, nemesis, and motto or battle cry.

Complete the photo editing assignment Superhero Your Friend. By all means, get creative with this one.

Complete the animated gif assignment Say It Like Peanut Butter, but instead of simply using your favorite or least favorite movie, choose instead your favorite or least favorite movie with a superhero theme.

Complete three more assignments from the assignment bank, each from a different category (for example: writing, audio, and video assignments). A good practice I like to use is clicking on a category, then sorting by the examples. Using his approach will help you find the most popular assignments that have been completed the most often.

Do three daily creates this week.

Comment on the work of others. This is really important in building our learning community. Look at the feeds of UMW and KSU students regularly so you can find what others are posting. Visit the posts of several and leave good comments. Another place to give feedback is searching for the #ds106 hashtag on twitter. By being active out there you should also be receiving feedback on your work as well.

Write a weekly summary that includes links to each of the separate posts of the activities you completed this week. Be sure to include your Daily Create work, as well as a description of your commenting activities. Submit a link to the summary to K-State Online.



Find Your Superpower – Week 3

Some superheroes have actual super-powers and some use technology to make themselves into super-humans. I suspect most of us, unless we’ve been bitten by radio-active spiders or come from a distant planet, will need to use technology just like Tony Stark.

Iron Man Suit
Inside the Iron Man Suit

So let’s start learning to use some technology. This week’s assignments include:

  • Introduce yourself on Twitter to the learning community using the #ds106 hashtag. Also find some other learners to interact with by searching for the #ds106 hashtag. Say hello. Reply to their tweets. Don’t be shy!
  • Learn How to Write Assignment Posts: Read How to write up assignments like a blogging champ. I would like to see some excellent posts this week. It is important not only to tell us what you did, but how you did it and what you learned from it. Don’t forget to tag your assignment posts properly!!
  • Daily Creates: You must complete at least 3 daily creates this week. Here are the rules:
    • You MUST do the Daily Create on the day it comes out. If not done on the day it is released, it does not count. (Please Note – the e-mail alerts do not synch with the correct Daily Create so you need to visit the website to see what the actual assignment of the day is.)
    • You MUST publish the Daily Creates according to directions. If it calls for using Flickr, Twitter, etc. it must be published in that manner.
    • You MUST tag your Daily Creates correctly and tweet them to @ds106dc.
    • You MUST share your Daily Creates in a blog post or series of posts. Your weekly summary should reference all of your Daily Create activities.
    • Daily Creates shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to complete. If you spend more than that, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t worry about perfection. Aim for getting creative. We are looking for getting practice at making and sharing something on a regular basis.
  • Explore the Assignment Bank: Using the Assignment Bank. do at least 8 stars’ worth of assignments of your choice. Be sure to choose assignments from 3 different categories (visual, audio, etc). 8 stars could be 8 1-star assignments, or a 4-star and two 2-stars, or any other combination. Try to incorporate our Superhero theme into one or two of the assignments you complete. There is no right way to complete these, just use this opportunity to express yourself creatively through digital media. Be sure to document your work using the recommendations described in item #2 above.
  • Form connections with the DS106 community. This week, use the various media to connect with other students learning about digital media through DS106. You may use Twitter, comments on other blogs, or even dedicated blog posts on your own blog in response to something someone else has posted. By all means you can interact with members of the K-State class, but do try to interact with one or two others outside of our institution. You can find people doing the same work we are by monitoring the twitter hashtag #ds106 (people will find you as well if you use it) or by looking at the DS106 Flow page of most recent posts.
  • Summarize the week. Create a summary post of all activities for the week and post it to K-State Online Week 3. (FYI – From here on, I am changing the due date for all future assignments to Mondays at 11:59pm. I don’t know if this will actually work better for you, but I want to give you the weekend plus a day.)