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DS106: What’s good, what’s bad, and what it means to You!

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First thing’s first: I highly recommend taking DS106. The assignments are interesting, the classes are fun, and you learn all sorts of awesome new stuff along the way. It’s like a night of browsing StumbleUpon, except you get class credit for it.

And just as StumbleUpon devours your evenings, so does this class.

It’s a lot of work, and it’s a lot of fun, and it’s totally worth it. But like any class, it has its ups and downs. Follow these three simple rules to maximize your productivity, your impact on the internet, and most importantly your enjoyment of DS106!

I took this class along with three 400-level CPSC courses and an art course.

This was a mistake.

I would have really loved to spend more time on some of the projects in this class, and I wasn’t really able to do so because I was always busy with other things. So that’s rule #1. Take this class on top of an otherwise light load. Or even by itself, as an internet course! The more time you spend with it, the more fun it will get!

The #2 rule is to start stuff early and spend time on it.
I know every teacher of every class everywhere says that exact thing, and that’s because every one of those teachers thinks his/her class is the most important. I’m not sure whether DS106 is the most important, but I know that you will want to do good work. In most classes, the teacher alone sees your assignment and grades it, and then it falls off the face of the world forever. In DS106, EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CLASS sees your assignment, and then it floats around on the internet AT LEAST until you finish the class. If GPA isn’t sufficient motivation for you, the harsh critique of your peers might be just the thing you need.

And finally rule #3: Experiment.
Assignments in DS106 are easy.
Some of them are more work than others, but all of them are straightforward and quick to figure out. You’re never going to be REQUIRED to write a css or html file from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! If you’re following rule number 1, you’ll have loads of free time to spend figuring that stuff out! All the stuff you’ll learn in this class is really easy, basic stuff, but it’s all fundamental stuff that’s great to learn.

I sort of wish that people could take this class earlier. It always gets snatched up by upperclassmen, but I think it’s a bunch of great stuff that can be applied to pretty much any field.

So yeah, in short:

Take it.
But don’t take it too seriously.
But seriously try to enjoy it.

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