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Dear Future DS106ers

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Dear Future DS106ers,

This class could be either one of the best or one of the worst classes you take at UMW.  It all depends on what you decide to put in to the class.  For me, it has been one of the best because it has taught me real tools that I have used in the job market.  Because of this class, I was able to say that I had skills that newspapers were looking for.  It helped me get a reporter job in New Jersey, and be confident in the direction of new media journalism.

This class has allowed me to learn tools in video, audio, web and design.  When I went on an interview at a Maryland newspaper, they specifically asked about these tools.  They wanted to know that I could easily go out to report on traffic, while tweeting and e-mailing back to the office with video, writing and audio clips.  They especially were interested in my Twitter and smart phone usage.  I didn’t have a Twitter account until DS106, but after that job interview, I realized the importance of Twitter.  At first, you may  not want to use Twitter or learn these editing skills, but they are valuable in the job market.  As for the job I accepted in New Jersey, I am going to be required to film, video edit and take audio along with my articles.  This class forced me to practice those skills.

DS106 also gives you a platform for your work.  Although you have to pay each month, your blog becomes this great space to publish your work and talk to others.  You are able to take ownership over your blog and the work your produce.  Other students provide instant feedback through comments on your work, which is a great feeling.  By the end of the class, you may even decide to keep your blog and continue paying.  I have decided to do this so that I can keep an online portfolio of my work/blog about journalism.  It’s exciting to continue your blog in a direction that you are interested in.  As well, I have increasingly been thinking about other ways to use this space.  I also made a subdomain off of my website for a wedding blog.  I made a space for family and friends to visit to get information, like hotels and directions.  I was able to design this because of what we learned the first few weeks in DS106.  If you take off with the class and make the space your own, you will certainly gain a lot from DS106.

I do have to send you a warning though.  This class is very time consuming.  For example, editing a video when you do a video essay and mash up is time consuming and difficult for beginners.  I would recommend taking this class when you have a light semester or when you can put aside time for this.  Assignments can be done ahead of time, but they still require daily work.  It is about making a semi-daily effort to being creative with the assignments and posting to your blog.

Good luck if you are taking this class next year!

-Jessica

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