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Pushing Past Malaise

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I’m sensing that a few of my digital storytelling students may be suffering from a bit of, shall we say, malaise? A few of them still haven’t gotten on board with Daily Shoot, which makes me wonder if they understand that when I say it is an “assignment” I mean it in the sense that it is work, that I have assigned, and which they must complete in order to receive a decent grade? (that’s just a subtle hint in case of any of the ones who are taking some kind of moral/political/ethical/personal/emotional stance against DS actually READ my blog).

Last week I tried the tactic of explaining to them that they need to commit to the class, developing a creative habit, blah, blah, blah. But I’m not sure it took for everyone.

In fairness, there are students in the class who are doing great work, and my next post will showcase some of what they’ve been contributing–but right now I want to focus on the more reluctant ones.

So this week I’m going to see if I can’t push them past that malaise a bit. I’m planning a challenge for tomorrow in which I’ll give groups of students 3-5 visual/design storytelling proejcts which they’ll need to complete within the first 2 hours of the class. They’ll be free to work anywhere on campus, and at least one of the assignments I have planned will require them to get out of Trinkle Hall. After those 2 hours are up, we’ll reconvene in Trinkle and spend the last 45 minutes of the class looking at each other’s work and critiquing the experience.

I’m putting this up here for two reasons: First, what do you think of this idea? My hope is that by getting some of the reluctant students to actually “make some art, dammit!” they’ll be more comfortable forging ahead on their own. I think it’ll also help to provoke and promote conversation among the students so they are perhaps less reluctant to comment upon each others’ work online. (See how nice I am by ascribing their malaise to anxiety and reluctance as opposed to the other alternative — that they’re just blowing my class off!! I am nothing if not sensitive and caring.)

The second reason, is that I’m soliciting ideas from #ds106 players for visual and design storytelling projects that would work well in a group. They have to be something that a group could reasonably complete within the time limit, otherwise the sky’s the limit.

Now, I thought pretty hard about the best way to solicit this input. I wasn’t even sure if I should show my hand by giving away this much of my plan for tomorrow. So, in the interest of keeping things under wraps a bit, I’m going to ask anyone with ideas to either DM me on twitter (@mburtis) or send me an email.

Once the experiment is over, I promise to share any and all ideas here and in the official DS106 assignment repository.

I think that’s it, and for any of my students who do read this blog, bring your A game tomorrow (and your laptops and digital cameras)!!

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