Since January 2011 ds106 has been taught at University of Mary Washington (UMW) and other institutions as a course for credit but also has at the same time been open to participants from the web (learn more about ds106). However, for someone new to ds106 as an open participant, it has not been very clear what they can do (we’ve made some suggestions as a starting point).
Because UMW is not offering a formal course for Fall 2013, I had a thought– what if we set up a syllabus based on the previous iterations of class, set the weekly assignments as scheduled posts, and invited people to participate in it as a course w/o a teacher?
I never recall saying “headless”, not in ds106 fashion Todd Conaway takes it in an unexpected direction.
But believe me, decapitations are not part of the plan.
How It Works
Here is how it works. The first week of Headless ds106 is Monday, August 26- the tasks for that week will posted to ds106 the night before. The work will include assignments and readings/watchings from previous UMW classes– it’s completely up to you, as an open Head-Endowed individual, to pick and choose the things that are meaningful. Engage with others in twitter, Google+, and participant blogs.
We Seek Helpers Not Teachers
We are looking for volunteers, guilt-free to be part of the helper squad for the Headless course. To be clear, you are not signing up to teach or lead, you are volunteering to do whatever you are inclined to encourage participation– more of a sweet perhaps nagging cheerleader role. Choose your level of participation to include (not exhaustive list):
- introduce the topic and write about it in your own blog
- encourage and connect people via twitter, G+
- run a google hangout, ds106 radio broadcast to discuss the topic
- do the assignments and share them
- make tutorials
- help us identify assignments we should remove
- share resources, tips, tutorials (looking at some delicious tagging too)
- highlight the work of others
- nag and tease Jim Groom
You do not need to be expert at a topic, just interested in it. You do not need experience un ds106. We can have more than one per topic. And if no one volunteers, the content is all there, the show goes on.
If you want to volunteer, just put your name/twitter handle in our open signup doc.
How to Participate
What should you do since you are so excited about this? Heck, start making art now!
The first two weeks are called “Boot Camp” meant to get you up to speed in all the things you will need for the course. In that time we will set up a place to do your ds106 blogging, but if you are eager, get a headless start!
If you have a blog you already use for other purposes, there are ways to make it work, but its in your nest interest to start a ds106 space just for this experience. You do not need to install WordPress like we make UMW students do (although we do think it is the best platform since sliced bread… um that really does not make sense, but it is), you can use any blogging tool that generates and RSS feeds and supports tagging of posts:
- Self Hosted WordPress on your own domain http://wordpress.org/ (if you have your own set up, why not make a ds106 subdomain?)
- Hosted WordPress http://wordpress.com/
- Blogger http://blogger.com/
- Tumblr http://tumblr.com/
You may want to explore the new opportunity UMW is offering educators for free hosted services at http://reclaimhosting.com/.
You will then want to register this blog on the ds106 site via http://ds106.us/signup NOTE If we already are syndicating your blog, let me or Jim Groom know via twitter (@cogdog or @jimgroom) as we have to add the headless13 tag to your feed. If you submit a new URL you will have to register with a different email account– we have some work to do on the site that will allow you to do all of this.
The Bigger Headless Picture
This is truly an experiment in running ds106 in a new way, aimed at the open participant community. It gives everyone a chance to choose a level of participation in creating or helping others. And it will be a boat load of fun.
But it’s not to suggest an education model absent of teachers or teaching massive classes by merely replication content and sucking all of the personal connection out of it (I believe there is some acronym for that).
No, this would not be possible were it not for the dedicated work of those who have taught it before as dedicated and paid (tho poorly) teachers, Jim Groom, Martha Burtis, Michael Branson Smith, and myself, as well as the open participants who have come in and out (and in and out again).
Learning needs teachers. Definitely. But maybe there are new ways to play out those roles.
And that is where we might just see heads unroll.
Join us in this adventure, starting August 26… or start now. Here are things you can do before the headless course launches.
Do you Need More Convincing?
Really? See how UMW students describe their experience