Week 7 – Design

Week 7 will be focused on design. This week we will consider elements of design and what goes into making a good visual design.

Suggested Readings:

DS106 Design Resources This is a very exhaustive list of design resources compiled by past and present instructors of the DS106 online community. There is no need to read everything on this page, but you can provide a solid background in design by looking through these things.

You Should Know This Image. This is a collection of famous works of art and artists compiled by myself and some fellow experts in art and design.

Ten Elements of Design. A short list of important design elements with examples.

Complexity and the Ten Thousand Hour Rule  It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.

The Vignelli Canon. It’s a booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. On page 54 he discusses the introduction of computer-based desktop publishing and argues that he can design everything with a handful of typefaces such as: Garamond, Bodoni, Century Expanded, Helvetica, Optima, Futura, Univers, Caslon, Baskerville.

Reflect, Share and Converse: Take a look at these assigned readings and write a post about your thoughts on the area of design now that you have become more familiar with the topic. Also, read and comment on posts of others in #digme256 and/or #ds106 who are also writing and sharing on the topic of design this week.
Complete a DesignBlitz: To reinforce your understanding of design principles, undertake a “Design Blitz” this week. Carry your phone or camera with you during the week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate at least six of the design elements listed below (one photo per concept). Find two more that fail to use a design element well.

Elements of Design: line, color, shape, size, space, texture, form, contrast, value, typography, symbols & metaphors, balance, rhythm, unity & harmony

Share all your photos on Flickr and tag them designblitz. This will make the images searchable by the designblitz tag. When you have completed your Blitz, write a blog post that includes (THAT MEANS EMBED!) the photos and a description of the design element used by each and what makes them effective or not. Put all of the photos and your descriptive analysis in a single blog post. Share your post if desired on Twitter using the #digme256 and #ds106 hashtags.

Do three DailyCreates this week.

Complete design assignments from the assignment bank:
 Complete at least 10 stars of Design assignments from the Design category of the Assignment Bank. Each design assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Be sure to do a separate post for each assignment completed (Except Daily Creates which can be lumped together in a single post). You must include a link back to the assignment completed, giving the reader context for what you are writing about. Also, be sure to include the appropriate tags so your work will appear on the appropriate assignment pages.

Submit a weekly summary of all of the completed work to K-State Online / Canvas.

Nice work last week on the social networking side of things. Keep it up with the tweets and comments! It is a good practice for building professional networks of similar minded people.

Week 6 – Digital Audio

Superman Vinyl LP from 1970s

Listen: “The Killer Bees ” (link requires K-State login). This example of audio storytelling is typical of the 1970s. Picture a simpler time when kids were less immersed in media than they are today. High tech back then was a portable vinyl record player and a collection of LP 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. 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 of audio storytelling.

Listen: DS106 has an internet radio station – DS106 Radio . On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evening this week at 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Central Time some radio programs will be airing. Choose one or more of these nights and tune in to the channel, if even for only a few minutes to participate in a live tweet-along. Do what your schedule allows, but listen in at least one evening this week. It is interesting and fun to have a shared online experience with other listeners from around the world.

*** Note added*** Some are having trouble accessing the radio website because of security settings in the browser and an out of date website certificate. If you can’t access the radio website, take a look at this video that explains how to work around the issue.

Follow the #ds106radio tweets, and join in the conversation on Twitter. At a minimum, announce that you are also listening in a tweet using the #ds106radio hashtag. You must tweet to get credit for this listening assignment. Ideally, you should also comment on the audio 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 class.

Watch:

Experiment With Sound: Using Audacity or a similar audio editing tool, create a radio bumper to be used on the “DS106 Radio” station. What is a bumper, you ask? Head on over to Wikipedia and read about radio bumpers. An alternative term is radio sweeper. The radio bumper is an assignment found in the Assignment Bank. Earn extra Internet Points for incorporating the superhero theme into your bumper recording. You can find some inspiration for radio bumpers by searching for examples on YouTube. You might even discover some tutorial videos there on how to create and edit radio bumpers if you have never used audio editing software before.

Also, create a short audio introduction to the superhero character that you have previously created. This introduction to the Powerpuff Girls includes animation, which is a topic for another time, but the soundtrack gives you a good idea of what is possible with audio. Upload your bumper recording and your superhero introduction to SoundCloud.

Complete 3 Daily Creates: Complete and correctly tag at least three daily creates this week. Make sure you also include these in your weekly summary.

Assignment Bank – 10 Stars of Audio Assignments: Complete 10 additional Stars of Assignments from the Audio Assignments category. In your work, complete one of these two assignments: The sound effects story (4 stars) or The contest that nobody could win (3 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 http://freesound.org 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: Soon, 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. Brainstorm some story ideas, then write a blog post discussing these ideas you think would be good for the 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 giving feedback. Share your best work on Twitter, and leave feedback on a few posts of others as well. That’s the main way we do class participation in this course.

Weekly Summary: Write a weekly summary of this week’s activities. The summary should refer to all of the other blog posts created throughout the week, and should discuss any online activities such as tweeting and commenting on other blogs. Be sure to also mention the Daily Creates you completed. Submit your weekly summary to canvas by Sunday evening at 11:59 pm.

Week 5 – Digital Photography

A lightning bolt strikes behind a combine trying to finish wheat harvest

This week we are going to explore digital photography using whatever digital camera you have available. Hopefully, you at least have a phone equipped with a camera which will do just fine, but if you have something nicer you may also use that. AsK-State students, you have access to a top-tier research library. I also want you to do some reading and reflection on digital photography.

  1. (Just for fun) Experiment with this online DSLR simulator to see what the controls are like on a digital SLR camera.
  2. Reading Assignments:
    • : 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 a post about your approach to digital photography 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?
    • Read the Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition.
    • Check out some of National Geographic’s photography tips, especially the tips on iPhone photography if you are planning to use a smartphone.
  3. Look at some great 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. Be sure to embed examples of his work in your blog with commentary. Referring back to the reading on better photographic composition, describe the compositional elements such as color, line, balance, etc. used in Jim’s photographs.  For super-duper, extra-extra credit, I dare you to mosey on down to Lindsborg and visit the Small World Gallery in person. If you’re lucky, you might actually meet Jim.
  4. Make some photographs and reflect
    • Make several photographs using some of the photography tips you have been reading about.
    • 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?
  5. Familiarize yourself with photo editing software such as Photoshop, Pixlr or Gimp.
    • You might have to watch some online videos or read some articles that are beginner tutorials for digital photo editing software. We use Photoshop in our face to face digital media classes at K-State Polytechnic. If you didn’t purchase the Adobe CC Student Edition software that includes Photoshop, you will need another digital photo editor. Two popular ones that are free are Gimp and Pixlr. Gimp is widely used but I can’t help you with it because I don’t know how it works. Pixlr is like a no-frills Photoshop, but it is free and works in most web browsers so you don’t even have to download anything to use it.
    • There is no requirement to use any particular type of software, only that you begin manipulating digital images outside of the camera.
  6. Take a look at the current research being done on superheroes and body image by doing a search on the Proquest database. I found this article pretty interesting: Pennell, H., & Behm-morawitz, E. (2015). The empowering (super) heroine? the effects of sexualized female characters in superhero films on women. Sex Roles, 72(5-6), 211-220. doi:http://dx.doi.org.er.lib.k-state.edu/10.1007/s11199-015-0455-3
  7. Read at least two of the below articles that tell stories about using photo editing software for various purposes. You can also do your own searching on this topic.
  8. Watch at least one of these two videos about women’s experience with editing photos of their bodies.
  9. These are a couple of extra ones to consider (only if you have the interest & time). These show advertising photos being manipulated at high speed:
  10. Write a reflective blog post about how the widespread access to photo manipulation tools is impacting our view of the world around us.
  11.  Assignment Bank Assignments
    • Do 8 stars worth of visual assignments, and involve our Superhero theme in one assignment in some way.
    • At least one of the assignments must involve a photo manipulation with photo editing software.
    • Be sure to write a post for each assignment completed, describing your thinking, your process, and evaluating the results, and be sure to include a link to the assignment being completed.
  12. Complete a minimum of 3 Daily Creates this week.
  13. Comment on the work of other students doing these assignments. Focus both on K-State students and everyone else doing DS106. Tag your tweets with #digme256 and #ds106 as appropriate, 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. Be sure to discuss these interactions with other students in the weekly summary.
  14. Write a weekly summary post of the week’s activities and submit the link to the assignment on K-State Online. Be sure to include in it links to the various other posts you have made during the week, your daily creates, and include a discussion of the online conversations you have been having with others online. What work of the others did you see that caught your eye? Did anyone mention any work of yours that they appreciated? How did these interactions proceed? Be sure to make your summary post interesting by including some relevant photos and graphics to supplement what you have written. Submit it to KSOL / Canvas by next Sunday at 11:59pm.

 

Week 4 – Storytelling With Words and Images

Original Superman Cartoon

Watch the very first Superman Cartoon (1941) (Just watch the first episode!) 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.

Illustration of Cat Woman picking her nose 

Look at the work of Greg Guillemin, a French artist who paints behind the scenes images of superheroes and other cartoon characters. Check out the Secret Life of Superheroes to see Guillemin’s work. (Caution, some of these are risqué, depicting superheroes in unexpected ways.) Think about how answers to the key questions of media literacy might look with this body of work. Discuss.

Watch Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories

Write a short reflection post about the shape of stories and relate it to a story you have encountered recently.

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 blog posts of UMW and KSU DigMe256 students regularly so you can find what others are posting. Visit the posts of several and leave good comments. (Don’t forget about Mrs Yollis’ quality comments) Another place to give feedback is searching for the #ds106 hashtag on twitter. By being active out there you should also receive feedback on your own 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 Canvas / K-State Online.

 

 

Week 3 – Find Your Superpower

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:

  • We have been using the #digme256 tag for our K-State distance learning class, but there is also a broader learning community doing similar work to us at other institutions of higher learning. If you have not already done so, introduce yourself on Twitter to the broader community using the #ds106 hashtag. (Keep using #digme256 as well.) Also find some other learners to interact with by searching for the #ds106 hashtag. One of the best things about our being connected on the Internet is finding like-minded people who have similar interests and goals. So say hello. Reply to others’ tweets. Don’t be shy!
  • There are still some empty spaces next to names on the Student Info page on Canvas. Please double check the Student Info page to make sure we can see at least your Twitter ID and your blog page.
  • 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. Be sure to write up new posts for each activity you complete, then write a summary post at the end of the week that references these posts.
  • 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 using that day’s tag and tweet them to @ds106dc.
    • You MUST share your Daily Creates either in a single blog post or a 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: Use the DS106 Assignment Bank to do at least 8 stars’ worth of assignments of your choice. Choose assignments from at least 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. Share your best work on Twitter using #digme256 and/or #ds106 hashtags.
  • 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 #digme256 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 doing by searching for the Twitter hashtag #ds106 and other people will find you as well if you use it. (If you are confused as to why #ds106 all of a sudden, it is because I didn’t realize there would be others using that tag this semester, but it turns out there are.)
  • Summarize the week. Create a summary post of all activities for the week and post it to K-State Online Week 3. Please submit your summary by Sunday evening at 11:59pm. The weekly summary needs to be a recap of the week’s work that you completed. Use the weekly summary to refer back (link) to other posts you have written and assignments you have worked on during the week. It should include descriptions of what assignments you completed, including the Daily Create assignments.

    You don’t need to rewrite what you’ve written elsewhere, but do summarize those other posts and provide a hyperlink back to them as well. There is a link button in the editor to easily make hyperlinks.