ds106 field notes #2

Here is the second of my rough “live field notes” concluding my micro-ethnography of ds106

I have been compiling screenshots, links, quotes, audio and video artefacts into a “Miro board“. This allows me to visually group different artefacts, write observations and draw connections in something that resembles a network map. I am making it public as I put my finishing touches to it (in many ways it is a non-static and evolving artefact):

Miro board
Miro board

Some quotes from Twitter and ds106 student/tutor blogs

‘We’ve had three great evenings of live tweeting ds106radio. The point of this was to analyze, together, how sounds can paint pictures and drive stories. My favorite thing about this exercise is that the idea for it came from a class a few years ago. The students suggested it, and it was brilliant. This week, we’ve been listening to ESC: Sonic Adventure in the Anthropocene. We heard episodes 3, 4 and 6 so far.’

The Sounds of Science

‘Tonight I tuned into the Ds106 to listen in and I was truly shocked and in awe of what I heard. Jad Abumrad was right when he said that just with sounds and descriptions someone can paint a vivid picture in your mind…I was expecting to just have someone talking to me and telling me a story but really like Jad Abumrad said, the storyteller was able to make it seem like there was a circle of people and we were all just sitting and listening to him. I would recommend this experience to everybody and am excited to listen to more and maybe even make my own in the future…’

‘I listened to the DS106 Radio this evening and I heard my radio bumper which was very exciting. A podcast was aired in an older style story being narrated to assist in the making of the story. It gave examples of how detailed sound designs makes an audio story successful and descriptive. Just making the sound design is a job in itself.’

Thoughts as I get “involved” in the ds106 community/ies

  • Getting ‘involved’ in the community – feel a little creepy! Commenting on other ds106 student posts – trying to be as transparent as possible, although aware this marks me as a bit of an ‘outsider’?
My comment on another student blog
My comment on another student blog

  • A few SoundCloud likes and views…but difficult to ascertain if this is those from #ds106…
Assignment feed
Assignment feed
  •  Branching out a little into Twitter and #ds106 / #ds106radio, and posting links to my assignment submissions…

  • …and trying another with the #mscedc hashtag:

  • …getting some likes, but in both cases only those from #mscedc. Perhaps I need to spend more time embedding myself actively into the community, to progress from being a ‘newbie’?
  • However, received a new Twitter follow by someone active in the #clmooc and #ds106 (particularly Daily Create) communities, also with a common interest in music…

A new Twitter follow by someone active in the #clmooc and #ds106 (particularly Daily Create) communities, also with a common interest in music

  • Noticed another open participant! Felt a moment of being less ‘alone’ (and posting into the ds106 flow with few comments), although then noticed the comment was from 2012 (separated by time?):
Open participant in ds106
Open participant in ds106

#ds106 Twitter hashtag word clouds (SocioViz)

  • Noting the connections between different communities, often grouped around activities, assignments or challenges:
Hashtag word cloud (04-02-2020 to 10-02-2020)
04-02-2020 to 10-02-2020
Hashtag word cloud (07-02-2020 to 13-02-2020)
07-02-2020 to 13-02-2020
Network word cloud on #ds106 (08-02-2020 to 14-02-2020). Created using SocioViz.
Network word cloud on #ds106 (08-02-2020 to 14-02-2020). Created using SocioViz.
Network word cloud on #ds106radio (08-02-2020 to 14-02-2020). Created using SocioViz.
Network word cloud on #ds106radio (08-02-2020 to 14-02-2020). Created using SocioViz.

General conclusions

Excerpts from my lifestream summary: Week six: ‘Community’ as networks and entanglements:

Entanglements (Photo by Noor SethiUnsplash).

‘As I become entangled in the ds106 community, while building my micro-ethnographic artefact, I reflect upon how the vast complex ds106 community consists of numerous overlapping/entangled networks or “micro-communities”.’

‘“Micro-communities” seem grouped around ‘central consumption’ activities (Kozinets 2010: 31), like assignments/challenges, occurring in different online spaces (Twitter, blogs, ds106radio etc.) and co-existing in physical on-campus spaces. Might this exemplify the blurred boundaries between ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ (Hickey-Moody and Willcox 2019)?

You might also view ds106 as a community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998), whereby people with a shared domain of interest participate in and construct an identity around the community.’

‘My involvement as a lurker/listener or ‘newbie’ (Kozinets 2010) has largely involved posting ‘within’ the ds106 flow, without comments from others, and have felt the distinction between my ‘open participant’ status and ‘core’ university students (and perhaps secluded?). However, I have commented on others’ blog posts and, as my confidence grows, started to branch out to Twitter, and connect with related communities/hashtags.’

ds106 field notes #1

Blogging some very rough “live field notes” as I continue my micro-ethnography on ds106

What is ds106?

  • ds106 is a connectivist-informed ‘open course on digital storytelling’, originating and currently running (in Spring 2020) at University of Mary Washington.
  • As it is mostly public, with each student having their own blog which is fed into “The ds106 Flow“, you can participate by commenting or connecting your own blog into the flow.
  • ‘#ds106 is #4life’…

First of all, in ds106, there are multiple levels of participation- but most importantly, it is designed so you can pick and choose the when and where. We expect NO APOLOGIES for not being able to participate when other parts of life intrude. There is no concept in ds106 of “dropping out” c.f. Groom, Jim (2010-present), “ds106 is #4life”. (‘How to be an Open Participant in ds106‘)

ds106 is many things, a course and a community. It is ongoing all the time.

Initial impressions of ds106

ds106 is a huge active community. While it originated from the Digital Storytelling course at University of Mary Washington, and is running there this semester, there are numerous offshoots and links – both with ‘open participants’ such as myself and with other university courses such as Kansas State University’s Digital Literacy. As the History of ds106 page states:

  • This course community began at the University of Mary Washington in Spring of 2010 when Jim Groom re-imagined the way the Computer Science Course in Digital Storytelling, CPSC 106, might be taught.

    Since Jim Groom blogged about ds106 as an open and online experiment on December 7, 2010, this site has aggregated and archived 84032 blog posts created by its participants.

There are various components and ways for ‘open participants’ (and students on the university course) to engage. These include the assignment bank and various challenges, including the ‘The Daily Create‘:

Clearly, it is not possible for me to focus on the whole community, particularly given the numerous networks and components. Inspired by danah boyd (2008: 29), I began by focusing very broadly on the ds106 ‘culture’, allowing my observations and interactions to ‘reveal new questions’.

In aiming to focus my very small scale micro-ethnography, one element particularly interests me – the ds106radio. I found myself asking questions such as:

  • What is the effect of this on the ‘community’ of the course?
  • Who manages it, how and why?
  • How does this link to the course/community?
  • Is there a relationship between sound and ‘community’?

I plan for this to be my focus, and this week coincided with the introduction of the radio station to the course, during a week on audio storytelling.

What is ds106radio?

‘DS106radio is a freeform, live streaming, community radio station where anyone can submit or broadcast their work, share ideas and help make the web safe for democracy’ (DS106radio)

Notes on ds106radio

Radio shows this week

  • This week, there were four one hour evening shows hosted by the tutor Paul Bond, with live tweeting throughout on #ds106 / #ds106radio.

  • There was a radio documentary played for discussion, as well as students hearing (and tweeting about) their own radio bumpers and commenting on aspects of the radio documentary.

Having joined as an open participant this week and connected a feed from my blog to the ds106 flow, I had the choice whether or not participate in some activities. Inspired by Tim Ingold who, in this podcast, said…

‘We don’t make studies of people, we study with them and learn from them.’

…as well as boyd (2008: 29), who advises to…

‘Get into the field, hang out, observe, document, question, analyse. Ethnography is about participant observation or deep hanging out; to observe a culture, you must build rapport, be present, and participate.’

…I chose to get involved and posted one of the audio assignments – a short radio bumper for ds106radio.

I look forward to some more ‘deep hanging out’ (boyd 2008: 29) with ds106 and particularly ds106radio over the coming weeks!