I’m going to start this with what I liked about this class.  I loved the groundbreaking nature of the class, I loved being introduced to new ways of viewing the internet, I loved my digital story, I loved doing the audio files (the story with sounds but no words, the interview, and the morse code project I did on my own), I loved the zombie Video modernselkie and I put together.  I got pretty nostalgic doing the screen cast of my hometown.  All of these projects asked me to be creative but were not overwhelming.  They taught me things (I could not have done any of them on my own before this class).  As far as the tools go… Audacity was excellent!  It was easy to use and easy to learn, free, and relatively intuitive.  The website tools and wordpress worked fine.  I enjoyed learning to take photos, and I thought I did well on the photo assignments we had early on in the blog.  I may have gotten a few tips from a certain someone, as well as the use of photoshop, but that just helped me learn more.  To a large extent, my photo skills prior to the class were of the point and shoot variety, I had little experience setting up and editing shots.

What did I not enjoy?  I didn’t like the readings at the beginning of the class, or the HTML coding for my website’s front page.  The readings were too long and they were often speculative or technical.  I had trouble getting the fireFTP to work, and so couldn’t do the HTML the regular way, and I was afraid to try the coding because I have never done that before.  Windows movie maker wasn’t the best ever, but it was what we had, and it was free, so… I wouldn’t worry about it.

My digital story was more challenging than I thought it would be, but it was incredibly fun.  It was its own world, had definite characters, and began to establish its own history.  I made it interactive, with the ARG-esque morse code.  I’m trying to figure out how to present it where it can get recognition, and I’m certainly going to keep working on it.

I think that to improve the class, we should have started our digital stories much sooner.  If I had had 12 weeks instead of 6 to write posts, I could have had a much better story.  I would suggest using the first week to talk about what the class is going to be like, go over examples of digital stories and the other projects folks’ll be working on, and getting folks to pay for domains.  In the second week, you could do some of the background reading you did this time, and get everyone to download word press onto their site.  That way, by the third week, students can begin their story outside of class, and start doing some picture taking as well.  This might require tweaking, as it speeds up the start of the class a lot, and might push out some of the assignments.

One of the difficulties with the class which I realized midway into my story was the lopsided nature of the work.  This isn’t a bad thing.  I am not saying that any one person worked harder than anyone else.  What I am trying to get at is this: I wrote enough during the class to make it writing intensive.  A WI credit would make a huge difference for me, as it would for a lot of folk.  Modernselkie worked really hard and produced a lot of art.  However, her photo blog certainly wasn’t writing intensive.  A video journal would be speaking intensive if you were talking to the computer for half an hour a week.  My blog was as far as you can get from speaking intensive.  I don’t really think this is a problem, and I don’t think that there is anything to be done about it, but I think it is worth mentioning.

I really liked this class.  It was an experiment, and it took a little while to find its sea legs.  When I was unsure about what I wanted to do for my story, and when I didn’t know what the class was going to be like, it was a bit daunting.  But in the end, I am very glad that I was in this class, and I hope to see it offered in the future.  I learned a lot that I didn’t know about how websites work (all the wordpress variety websites I visit look a lot less fancy now!).

Experiment results: Success!

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