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Week 1: Welcome to ds106 Bootcamp

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Welcome to ds106. The first two weeks of the Fall 2012 course at the University of Mary Washington is going to be the basic training you will need to survive the rest of this course. In fact, you will not be able to proceed beyond week 2 without achieving the basic proficiencies of owning your own web site, publishing to it via WordPress, and an appreciation for the creative work ahead of us.

Are you ready?

Weekly Media

Before we jump into training, we will start with something that you will get every week: some media we want to to give your attention to as par of the inspiration and understanding what this course is about. You will be asked to reflect on this as part of your weekly summaries (see below).

In this first short clip, listen to what art critic Robert Hughes has to say about why Art is important- and keep in mind this entire course is about creating art.

Next, consider both style and message about creativity of this RSA Animate created from a talk by author Stephen Johnson on Where Ideas Come From.

Finally, take a look at this “Rules for Students and Teachers” by John Cage. They outline a general philosophy about creating, teaching, and learning, that we feel is at the core of this class. How does it resonate with your own perception of yourself as a creator and student?

And Now the Bootcamp Part

Your goal this week is to get your own web site set up, install WordPress, and begin your path of self publishing there.

Here is a checklist of items you need to complete this week to earn your ds106 stripes:

  • Review the class syllabus and make sure you understand the operation of this online class and how grading will work. If you have ANY questions about the syllabus, ask them now!!
  • ASAP (like on Monday) signup up for your domain name and Web hosting space on UMW Domains. UMW students received instructions for how to this in an email from their instructors.
  • Once your UMW Domains account is set up, login and follow the instructions for installing WordPress.
  • Only when your blog is available on the web (it can take 24 hours for it to become active) register yourself and your new blog on the DS106 site. You MUST do this in order for everyone to see the posts you’ll be writing for the class.
  • Select an “avatar” for yourself, an icon or image that can represent you online (it need not be your face, see how Alan uses a dog everywhere). This should preferrabyt by a square image. Create a “gravatar” for yourself at using the email address you most likely will use for course work. Many sites (such as our class site) will automatically use this image as your avatar.
  • Create accounts and fill out profiles for yourself (use the same icon as you sent to gravatar) on:
    • Flickr (photo sharing) You should post at least 5 images to your flickr account; it may not consider you “real” until there are 5 iamegs in your site.
    • Soundcloud (audio publishing)
    • Google / Youtube If you have a Gmail account, you are already set with this. If not create a Google account. This is what will allow you to join any syncronous video office hours we offer (in Google Hangout) and gives you access you YouTube.
    • Twitter Twitter is our main channel for communication in ds106. If you already have an account for personal purposes., you are welcome to use it or create a new account for communication related to this class. Make sure you customize your profile! Send your first message of greeting and be sure to use #ds106 hashtag in your tweets. Learn how to search on the #ds106 hashtag

WordPress Starter Tips

Review this video for WordPress Starter Tips

You might want to bookmark this other set of WordPress videos available from the UMW Technology site. (NOTE: These resources are only available by using your UMW network ID/password).

Setting Up Categories

As described in this video, start by creating the following categories for your blog. By creating and using categories as your write, by the end of the semester, your blog is going to be like a well-organized footlocker.

  • Assignments
  • Daily Create
  • Thoughts and Ideas
  • Weekly Summaries
  • Best Work
  • Radio Show
  • Final Project

Now create these additional categories, but for each one make sure the setting for Parent is Assignments:

  • Visual
  • Design
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Web
  • Mashup/Remix

You should end up with a category structure like this example.


A key setting we want you to adjust is defining how WordPress creates the URLs for your content; the default setting is just not pretty or readily understandable. Under the Settings menu in your WordPress dashboard, click on the item “Permalinks.” Change the Default setting to any other of the options, the Day and Name or Month and Name ones are helpful because they give you an indicator at a glance when they were published. If you prefer shorter URLs, try the Post Name option:

Add Something to Your About Page

The regular activity of blogging is writing Posts, which are date stamped so that your site typically displays the newest content first. WordPress provides a similar content type know as Pages which are not part of this time flow but are available typically from top level buttons on your site.

Look at the list of Pages in your WordPress dashboard and you will find an existing one called “About”. It will say something like:

This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from.

Try your hand at editing this page with some more information about you as a welcome. You do not have to disclose anything that will identify you online, e.g. your full name or address/location, but try seeing what you can put there as a small biography. Be creative with this and have with it!

Introduce Yourself and Start Doing the Daily Create

During this first week, we all want to get acquainted. We also want to start using The Daily Create (TDC) Web site (see your syllabus for more information about Daily Create!) To that end, you must complete 1 Daily Create this week, and it must be the one assigned this Tuesday (8/28). Generally, we will not require you to create a blog post for every TDC you do. Instead, you may include them in your weekly summary. However, this week, you are required to create an introductory blog post (tell us about yourself!) that embeds the video you created for Tuesday’s Daily Create.

See the ds106 Handbook section for how to embed a YouTube video into your blog post (it is so easy). 

Checklist for Weekly Summary

This will be your first weekly summary, and we will use it to assess your progress in Bootcamp! As always, the summary is due by midnight on the Sunday at the end of the week (9/2).

In this post, you should cover and include the following:

  • Reflection upon the media we asked you to review this week.
  • Embeds of the Daily Creates you made. What do you think of Daily Create and the process of doing it?
  • Links to your accounts on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube & SoundCloud, so we can verify that you have these set up!
  • Embed an example if your introduction to ds106 via twitter using the #ds106 hash tag in your message). Be sure to include who’s section you are in — @cogdog for Alan Levine and @mburtis for Martha Burtis. To do this, go to your twitter home page ( when logged in) and click “Tweets” in the upper left. If you click on the date/time stamp of any of your messages, it will load that tweet in a single page with a unique URL. Copy that URL and paste it on a blank line in your WordPress Editor. See information about how to embed media like twitter in your blog posts
  • Link to your new About page.
  • Reflection upon your first week of DS106. What was hard? What did you learn? What are you excited about in this class? What are you dreading? What questions do you have?

We are looking for a substantive, reflective post for these weekly summaries, not just a list of links and a line or two saying, “This week was fun! Can’t wait for next week!”

When you are done and ready to publish, make sure you use the category “Weekly Summary” and submit the URL to Canvas.

Your weekly summary post is absolutely mandatory and must be submitted by midnight on Sunday. If you didn’t complete all the work this week, don’t just not do a summary. At least use the post to tell us what you DID do.

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