Dear Future Student,
I highly advise taking the online ds106 class. For all the commuters out there, the online set up is wonderful, and on top of that, it completes a gen ed requirement. I have to admit, those were the two main reasons I signed up for the class, but I got so much more out of it than I expected. You will learn a lot about technology and new communication tools. You will learn how to set up and manage your own space on the web. You will learn how to use tools on your computer that you never would have thought of using before. You will gain photography and creativity skills, and the list goes on.
I should warn you that the first couple of weeks are a little frustrating, especially for someone like me who didn’t know what a web domain and host even were. Getting everything set up was challenging and scary for me. But once everything was all up and running and I got a chance to play around with wordpress a bit, it got a lot easier. So my advice is to struggle through the set up process and once that is done, in my opinion, you have completed the most frustrating part of the course.
I should also warn you that there is a photography assignment that is pretty demanding, but not in a bad way. We were asked to participate in the dailyshoot assignments for two weeks, where we had to submit one photograph per day that fit the topic of the day. It got a bit difficult at times because some days were busier than others and I had a hard time making time to take the picture some days, but I got it done. Also, some topics were more difficult to photograph than others, but I managed to find something that worked for all of them. Again, it is not hard, but just beware that you will have to devote a bit of time to the assignment each day for two weeks.
With that being said, I would love to tell you that the dailyshoot assignment is pretty much the only assignment where you will have to complete something every day. Yes, all assignments have deadlines, but Groom sends out emails with the assignments and due dates and usually gives you about a week to get them done. That is what I loved so much about the class. I did not have to go to class at a set time every Tuesday and Thursday, I could finish the assignment on my own time, as long as it was before the deadline. And I should mention that Jim Groom is a pretty cool guy with deadlines, AS LONG AS YOU GIVE HIM A HEADS UP!!!! I had to do this with my videoessay assignment. I had been working on it for a week and on the day it was due, youtube wasn’t allowing me to upload it, so I emailed Jim and told him the issue. He emailed me back fairly quickly and gave me a few tips on how to get it to work. It ended up being a few hours late, but it wasn’t a big deal because I let him know what was going on.
This course allows students to be very creative with assignments, which is another thing I love. I haven’t had many classes that have allowed me to express myself or given me so much freedom like this class. Don’t be afraid of an idea. If you have an inspiration for something, just do it. Groom is great with commenting on student’s work and letting them know that the creativity was awesome. If you think your idea might be a little stupid, just do it anyways. He is never going to laugh at you or tell you something was dumb.
As far as the other students go, commenting is great. It is really fun to look at some of the other student’s posts and see what things you enjoy or have in common. It is also great to receive comments. I love it when I make a post and I check it the next day and see three or four comments. Everyone’s comments are nice. I’ve never had a mean comment.
In conclusion, I would just like to say, yeah, this class gets you that gen ed that you need, but it also provides you with great skills and allows you to be very creative along the way. I loved the class and I think you will love it, too!
A Previous DS106er