How to Get Help in ds106

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by estherase

By design, ds106 is not an “easy bake recipe” / “click the easy button” experience. It is one where you will learn more by figuring out how to to the creative tasks then if we gave you that recipe. You are learning how to learn. We can write many suggestions, but it is best said in the advice of previous students.

But it should not be frustrating. Our rule of thumb is if you have spent an hour on a problem and are still stuck, stop and ask for help. Below are some options you can use.

Be prepared- just saying “It’s broken” “It won’t work” is not enough information; you have to be able to describe the problem, share a screenshot, copy an error message etc. The better you frame your question for help, the more likely someone can answer.

  • Google is Your Best Friend (I don’t know Bing but he might be helpful too) For almost any software or technique, searching on “How to create an animated GIF in GIMP”, “importing mp4 into Movie Maker”, “How to put flickr in my wordpress blog” have numerous results, including many walk through videos.

    Likewise, when something goes wrong? Try searching on the error message e.g. Audacity error while opening sound device, iMovie error in user paramater list, WordPress fatal error call to undefined function. Using the software name helps. Frankly, if you ask me to help with an error, the first thing I will reach for is my web search

  • Ask in Twitter The main channel to the ds106 community is found just by including #ds106 in your message. You will get an answer there more quickly then if you ask your instructor directly. And if someone helps you, do the polit thing and thank them.
  • Describe the problem in your blog. It might be difficult to fit an issue in a tweet or a search, so use your blog it describe it fully. A basic structure is describe what you intended to do, what you expected to happen, and then what happened instead. Use screen shots to show us the situation. A blog post will not only help you, it will help others. So when a solution comes, update your post with that as an answer.
  • If you are in a class, contact your instructor This seems completely obvious, but you have email addresses and likely a twitter contact; use it. (a direct message is usually the vest method to get someone’s attention). If you are in an online class, your instructor has no idea if you are having trouble if you do not contact them, We are not clairvoyant.
  • The loss of the ds106 server is not an excuse Web servers are not perfect; ours goes down when it gets overwhelmed or under other circumstances beyond our control. If you are in a class, especially at UMW, the server being down is not an excuse for missing your deadline. You need to be resourceful. For help here, see:
  • Contact Us if there is an issue with the ds06 web site (besides it being offline) use our form to send us a call for help.

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

Help is here, but you have to let someone know.


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