Week 9: Stories in/of the Web

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cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by will668

All the work your groups have done the last two weeks pays off as your shows will be broadcast on ds106 radio Monday night this week. As the last part of our audio segment, your task this weel will be to evaluate the show from another team and also self-evaluate your own team’s show.

In addition, we move to a different kind of storytelling, one that uses the space of existing web sites as a place for you to assert your own stories into them.

Radio Shows Go Live

The recorded radio shows wil be broadcast live this week on ds106 radio which you all have had experience listening to back in week four. At least one person from your team must be present in Skype to introduce and talk about your show before and after we play it on the radio. The show schedule is available at:

http://ds106.us/2013/03/17/spring-is-for-radio-shows/

Here is a listening challenge Let’s see if we can top last semester’s peak audience size of 30 listeners. Do what you can to publicize the show, yours, someone elses. You should point people to tune in via http://ds106rad.io/listen and ash questions/send comments in twitter using the #ds106 hash tag. Show your support for other teams bu tuning in to their shows.

Your final task will be to listen to the show from another group (either live or from the posted archives). You will then write a blog post in which you evaluate the show, offer advice, suggestions, or compliments (be sure to link to the show!). In addition, you will provide the same evaluation for your own show, after having completed the work and listened to other ones.

You can find the show each person on your team needs to review at
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XwML0JoG5LLOjYY6ikfEOcFu04F_BFwefU2Z5cF5fkQ/edit

Some criteria you can use to do this includes:

  • Quality of audio sound -e.g. is the volume appropriate? are the levels even? Is the sound clear, and free of noises not needed (e.g. mouse clicks, background noise)?
  • Quality of audio editing – use of effects, transitions, are the edits clean?
  • Use of sound effects- how are they used? Is it effective?
  • Use of music- how is it used? Is it effective or distracting?
  • Does the show have a structure? Is it cohesive or does it feel stitched together?
  • Does it tell a story effectively? Is there a sense of drama, unknown? Does it draw you in to listen?
  • If you would rate this radio show, how many stars out of five would you give to the sho

Remember to use this as well to self-evaluate your own team’s show.

Telling Stories Within The Web

This might be a subtle distinction, but so far you have been using media (so far images, design, and audio) to create stories in the web spaces you publish to- this is writing stories ON the web. In this week, we play with this idea in a way, in that you will be asked to use the affordances of other web sites to change their intent, meaning, or purpose to tell a story in those spaces.

This Web Storytelling idea was first done in ds106 in the Spring of 2011 where the description for what we are asking you to do is

Over the next week we’ll be playing with storytelling within the web. What does this mean? Well, Martha Burtis lays out the idea nicely in this post here about the idea behind this assignment (read it!), but to briefly summarize: you will be intervening in the code and design of a website of your choice to tell a story. You are not to photoshop the design of the site (if you can), but rather intervene in the actual html and CSS of the site—though you can photoshop particular images on the site.

Perhaps the most well known examples take place on Amazon pages such as The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee where people have intervened just in the product comments to make this ordinary t-shirt have magical powers. It becomes a way of making a political statement as read in the comments of a children’s aircraft toy (hat tip to @bellekid). Or read how Phillippe Dubost’s resume modded to look like an Amazon product worked out pretty good for him. See more examples of Amazon Funniest Product Reviews – these are all ways in which an ordinary web page is fictionalized in a creative way simply through comments.

You are not being asked to code web pages; but we have tools that you can use in a web browser to modify the content of an existing web page, change the text, images, and links, so that it has different content and meaning. Some examples by previous ds106 students include:

The story creation part means finding an existing web page to work with as raw material -good candidates are newspaper stories, product entries in sites like Amazon or eBay, movie/book reviews — in fact, simpler pages like a search result or Craigslist are easier to work with.

The tools you can use allow you to, in a web browser, actually modify the content. The trick is then to save it as a raw HTML web page, and upload it to your own web directory (this means returning to your UMW Domains control panel to upload files to your site). The end goal is to have both a screen shot image and an real working web page you created.

Here are a few approaches you can take for this project:

Hackasaurus

We recommend the Mozilla Hackasaurus tool:

Hackasaurus makes it easy to mash up and change any web page like magic. You can also create your own webpages to share with your friends, all within your browser.

Here is an example of one modified in Hackasaurus from a ds106 page!

ds106 doom

What you should do is install the X-Ray Googles tool in your browser (this should work in any web browser). This can be invoked directly on the web page you want to change — and it provides an overlay interface to change text, formatting, even images — essentially to rewrite any web page.

When you are done, you’ll need to save your changed code – click “P” in the bottom lefy when the X-Ray Googles are activated. The easy way is to publish it on the Hackasaurus site, form which you will get a URL, but if you want to go extra geeky, you can save the code and make it a page in your own site:

  1. When you hit Publish in Hackasuarus, use the option to “download” your code gives a display of HTML code. Copy that in its entirety.
  2. On your computer, open up the app that is a plain text editor- in Windows this is NotePad, on the Mac is it Text Edit. DO NOT USE MS WORD. DO NOT USE MS WORD. IT WILL RUIN YOUR PROJECT!
  3. Paste all the stuff you copied.
  4. If you are using TextEdit on the Mac, Select “Make Plain Text” from the Format menu.
  5. Save it as a file that ends in .txt
  6. From your desktop, change the file name so its extension is “.html”
  7. Open this file (it should appear in your web browser) and make sure it looks like the page you redesigned. You may get weird warnings for things like flash, etc. Ignore them
  8. Start editing your blog post. Click thew “add media” button (it is one of the icons just above the editing tools, towards the left side.
  9. Upload the html file
  10. Edit the “title” field to be the text you want to make hyperlinked
  11. Make sure you use the option nest to Link URL for “File URL” This is the web address of your new page.
  12. Click insert

And now you have a link o a standalone web page.

Raw Code

If you are down and dirty with web code, you can save the raw source of a web page and reconstruct the content in HTML. This approach is not for the faint of hear! We recommend taking it ONLY if you have some experience with writing/editing HTML.

Your work then is to do the Storytelling Within the Web assignment – write a blog post with the usual writeup components, and include both a screen shot of your reworked page and a link to a live web version of your retold web story page. This is a five star assignment.

ds106 Blog Comment Narratives

Develop your own fictitious character, give them a name and a bit of personality traits. Have that person leave comments on at least 5 blog posts by other students in our class, and where possible, they should interact with other characters there. Be interesting (do not be mean or rude!) and see how your character can interact and relate to the content on other blogs.

For some bit of randomness, try our link which sends you to a random post from someone in our class’s section (one published in the last 3 weeks).

More Web Storytelling

We have a few more of these kinds of activities in the ds106 Web Assignments section – your task is to do another 5 stars worth of these assignments.

Daily Creates

You should be very deft now at doing the Daily Create assignments, so we are going to ask that you add a new component this week. You are to do at least three Daily Creates this week. When you have completed your three, look at them and find a way to connect them in a story. Re-edit your captions of your flickr photos, you tube videos, and soundcloud recordings so that there is a narrative that uses the media AND links them (via a hyperlink) between these media.

So your story might start with a flickr image, then link to a YouTube video, and then link back to another flickr image. The idea here is to construct a story that jumps across these media sites in a way that works as a single story.

Recycle Unused Media

We have an informal collaboration with a similar class in the UK called phonar – a 3ed year photography course at Coventry University. In a lead up to a future remix projects, this week you will be sharing images, graphics, audio that you have have created or downloaded for ds106 projects so far but did not end up using.

Think of this is recycling of media. Your easy task this week is to track down 4 media files you have made or not used in your assignment work so far. Make sure you edit their file names so they are descriptive of the content. We especially need audio and video files.

Upload them to the ds106phonor drop box at http://dropitto.me/ds106phonar (the password is “photos4life”).

For your weekly writeup, tell us what the filenames were (do not link or embed them this time) and what assignment they were rejects from.

You will see them soon when we enter the Remix section of the class!

Weekly Summary

Your weekly summary and personal reflection post is due by midnight on Sunday, March 24. Your post should include the following:

  • Evaluation of the other radio show you are assigned to review, as well as one for your own group.
  • Complete the Storytelling within the Web assignment
  • Complete another 5 stars worth of Web Assignments (other than the storytelling within the web one). If you do not like these assignments, this could be a good time to create your own assignment or write a tutorial.
  • Describe the comment character you created and describe its interactions on the blogs. Include links where appropriate
  • Complete 3 daily creates and connect them as one web based story.
  • Link or list the media files you shared to the recycle bin.

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