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A Call to Fun

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Dear Fellow Students (the ones taking this course for credit):

Maybe it’s because I work for DTLT and I feel so deeply invested in the going-ons in the division.  Maybe it’s because New Media is my passion, and I’ve only been further sucked into it with DS106.  Maybe it’s because I’ve become convinced that the combination of social media, computers, etc. is the future of education, the best way to get students involved and interested in learning.  Whatever the reason, my concern is this:

I’m worried you’re not having fun.

I’m worried because I don’t see you tweeting, I don’t see you commenting, I don’t see you Skyping or video-chatting.  I don’t see you doing the work.  Trust me (because I’ve discussed the course with the people who play big parts of it) when I say that having fun is one of their goals.  They want you to have fun. And they want to have fun, too.  Our professors aren’t interested in spending their summer doing work they think of as drudgery; it’s just not who they are. They don’t want to waste time in their life not being happy.  I doubt you do, either.

So if you aren’t having fun, please ask yourself, “Why?”

Maybe you signed up thinking a 100-level was going to be a cake-walk.  Some of them are.  This one is not.  We at DTLT are passionate about what we do, which means we push you as hard as we push ourselves.  What we’ve found is that the Internet and the digital realm are foreign waters to a lot of people, but we (and Jim Groom, in particular) believe that the best way to deal with that kind of culture shock is to throw you into the freezing waters and shout, “It’s sink or swim, dammit!”

Yeah, it is, but we’re not so mean that we won’t let you warm up at the fire afterwards. And around that fire are a bunch of the most helpful and creative bunch of people you might ever meet.  They are brave in their creativity, and share that bravery with everyone around them.  It’s inspiring and it’s liberating, and I dare you to look back on all those other class you’ve ever had and find one that is as encouraging, creative, and willing to engage with you as DS106.

Take a few steps out of your comfort zone, that place where classes are strictly organized, projects follow a clear-cut rubric, and you take the course for a grade instead of a learning experience.  You don’t need it to learn.  You don’t need it to succeed.  That zone is a recipe for strangling creativity, curiosity and, most importantly, the fun you should be always having in your life.

And that is why when you say DS106, I say FOR LIFE.

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