How to Succeed as a ds106 Student at UMW

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

Listen to those Who Went Before You…

We have collected advice from previous students as they speak to you of their experience.

You will get your own chance to add to this at the end of the semester.

It’s Up to You To Stay Informed

You will get regular emails from your instructor with details for the work you are expected to do. Other key links you need to regular visit:

  • Class Syllabus overviews the class policies, grading, etc. as well as a general outline of the course.
  • Check Canvas Make sure you can access our class materials in Canvas- we will use this mainly as the place you will post a URL for your own blog that has the weekly summaries of your work. We will also use Canvas for some group forming activities
  • Weekly Announcements are published to the ds106 web site every Monday. Read them early. Plan your week around doing the work during the week, not the day they are due.
  • Follow Your Classmates – you will find a link to the write, and under the top menu, that collects al of the blog posts by students in your section. You can use this to find and comment on the work of others. Once all of the blogs are set up, we will show you an even easier way to follow these blogs in Google Reader.
  • ds106 Handbook a collection of resources and tutorials specific for ds106

Accounts You Need to Set Up

These are all services you will use to participate in ds106. If you already have accounts, just use them, and consider yourself at the head of the class.

  • Set up Gravatar. Pick a square photo or icon you prefer to use to represent yourself online and register it at with the email address you regularly use for online activity. This service is used in many places, including the ds106 web site, to associate the icon when you use that email address.
  • Get a twitter account (if you do not have one) Register at – this is the main channel we use for community in ds106, there are no discussion boards or web forums; if you want to “tweet” something to the broadest audience, include #ds106 in the message. Set up your twitter reading to monitor the #ds106 channel.
  • Get a flickr account (if you do not have one) Flickr is place we share photos for the Daily Create and photo/graphic assignments; an account is also needed to comment on other people’s photos. You will comment on other people photos, right? If your account is brand new, you should upload at least 5 photos, flickr seems to need this to believe you are a real person.
  • Get a Gmail Account (if you do not already have a gmail account) It’s not really for the Gmail, it is so you can upload videos to Youtube for Daily Creates, video assignments, and participate in Google Hangouts (out platform for live events). If you are one of the 4 people on the world without one, set up one now
  • Get a Soundcloud Account (if you do not have one) Soundcloud is a nifty service we use for sharing sounds for Daily Creates and audio assignments

Software You Will Need Use

You will be creating a lot of media for this class, in photo, graphic, audio, and video forms. We do not have specific software requirement; if you have software you should use what is one your computer; if not, we have an extensive list of free and web-based tools you can use to complete your work.

Part of the learning here is figuring out how to use the software- for some assignments you will find tutorials other students have written for you, but quite often you will learn that Google is Your Friend in finding out how to do specific things in software. There are endless amounts of video how tos in YouTube as well. And if you get stuck? Use the ds106 community as a resource (see below).

Setting Up Your Blog

A central part of this course is publishing all of your work, ideas, and reflections in your own web site. Your instructor will send instructions on how to get signed up for your own internet domain hosted for you by UMW Domains. That is right, you get to pick your own internet domain and getting that as well as hosting of your website is provided to you free by UMW. Think about the name you want to keep for a while, it should be broader than just for this class. See what names are available at (We support .com, .org, .me, .info names).

You will also get instructions the first week on how to install your WordPress blog. We recommend that you keep the primary domain url, e.g. as a place to be a “calling” card to your various web site you may create later; and we will show you how to create a subdomain, ora place for your ds106 work at

In the first two weeks, we focus on a WordPress Bootcamp where you will learn all you need to know to publish on your site, customize its appearance, add functionality, and truly make it your own place.

Think of your blog not only as a place to show your ds106 work, but to describe it, and reflect on this experience of storytelling. We are looking not only to see what you create, but how you made it, and what it means for you.

You will also use your blog to write up the weekly required summaries of your work; this is the URL you will submit weekly to Canvas to get credit for that week’s assignment.

Are you ready to be happy?


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