Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that happens at various times throughout the year at the University of Mary Washington… but you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need. This course is free to anyone who wants to take it, and the only requirements are a real computer, a hardy internet connection, preferably a domain of your own and some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster.
In August-December 2013, we ran an experimental open version of ds106 where… THERE WAS NO TEACHER! What? How is that possible? Learn more about the idea for Headless ds106 and how it planned out including an unexpected group collaboration for the story of GIFACHROME.
The Headless ds106 content has been repackaged as an ongoing, not time bound Open DS106
What is Digital Storytelling?
As to what exactly this course is all about, well according to Wikipedia Digital Storytelling is defined rather succinctly as “using digital tools so that ordinary people can tell their own real-life stories.” It then goes on to elaborate as follows:
Digital Storytelling is an emerging term, one that arises from a grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own “true stories” in a compelling and emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes) and can involve interactivity.
The term can also be a broader journalistic reference to the variety of emergent new forms of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, fan art/fiction, and narrative computer games).
As an emerging area of creative work, the definition of digital storytelling is still the subject of much debate.
There are a number of ideas and assumptions here that we will be interrogating over the course of ds106, namely the idea of “ordinary people,” “true stories,” and the debate around the meaning of this term.
The above article is rather vague about the details surrounding this emerging genre of narrative, and it is our responsibility to interrogate the term digital storytelling within the cultural context of our moment. This means each of you will be experimenting with your own digital platform for storytelling, as well as placing yourself within a larger narrative of networked conversation on the internet at large.
Digital Storytelling in ds106
This course will require you to both design and build an online identity (if you don’t have one already) and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout the course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.
In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training, and, most importantly, part critical interrogation of the digital landscape that is ever increasingly mediating how we communicate with one another.
The course objectives are rather straightforward:
- Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
- Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
- Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres
Or more videos that we call Transmissions of ds106 Greatness. Some ways you can get a flavor for this course and its larger community include:
- http://inspire.ds106.us/ itself a student created concept, is a place where ds106 participants nominate the work of others as “inspiring”, consider it a “Best of ds106″ collection”
- Explore the collection of assignments created by participants in ds106 and see examples of the work done in response to them.
- Review some of the advice from previous students
- Tap into the #ds106 Twitter community or explore it in a visual map view
- Listen and broadcast on our own internet radio station
Need more? Do you need maybe something more like presentation? Watch this Faculty Academy 2011 video where Jim Groom and Martha Burtis describe ds106
It is, as you will learn to say, #4life.
A storify collection of DS106 students was lost when the company pulled the plug on the service; an exported archive is available