DS106 Generators

As I’ve wondered/wandered around a lot of old and new posts, I’ve been thinking more and more about what an assignment generator for #ds106 might look like, what the categories might be etc.

These were some of the things that I was looking at daily shoot, 5 card flickr, Darcy’s photography assignment generator, the Canon video challenge on Vimeo and the Director’s Bureau Special Project Generator (image below, that portion of the site went away).

I’m still iffy on the categories but I think something like a slot machine that mixes multimedia and certain key categories would be an interesting way to do it.

I wrote some of this last night and saw this tweet by Jim Groom today pointed to a random character generator created by bothered by bees (who also has a post from Dec 15th pointing to 7th Sanctum’s large list of character, plot and other generators.)

It is interesting to see how many thoughts are coalescing around this course already. I think that’s the main reason that #ds106 matters. It’s providing a rough pathway for a number of people to wander down and around. I’ve already started communicating with a bunch of new people and the course itself has led to some interesting conversations with people I interact with in real life.

The first question I get after describing what’s going on is almost always “Is it graded?” I think that’s a pretty clear sign of what our educational system does to people. The other thing that seems to come up is a fear that they will somehow embarrass themselves. I’ve also seen some statements to that effect among people who are playing along already. That makes me sad. Not that I don’t understand, it’s just messed up that people have been conditioned to worry about where their skills/performance is relative to others at all times. I think that hurts a lot of people.

Comments on this post

  1. Alan Levine said on December 20, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I love generators! I am always mining stuff from The Generator Blog (http://generatorblog.blogspot.com/) and think they would make for mini creative tasks. Like the “Fake Graph” generator cause nothing makes more of an argument than chart gunk


    Or we should have people make things for GraphJam http://graphjam.memebase.com/

  2. Jim Groom said on December 20, 2010 at 6:59 am

    And already with the reflective posts too? WTF! I’m still in god damned Italy 🙂 I totally agree with you about how remarkable this has been thus far, and in no small part because of you blogging your ideas early and often to get everyone hooked on animated GIFs, it seemed to snowball. As for the generators, I like this a lot and it introduces a totally new and random element to this class which is perfect for something so potentially big and clustered. I already saw Alan’s “Jim Groom retweet/ds106 productivity” graph via twitter —and in many ways it is this spirit of random fun that folks in my network already bring to my everyday life that are now bringing it to this experience that make me know this is the apotheosis of everything we’ve been talking about with education for years. I don’t care about grades, I’ll be frank about that from the start. And I don’t care if people finish or don’t finish, or drop out or don’t. I just want some designated time to create for and amongst others, get the momentum going, and have fun doing it. That is the objective of this class as far as I see it—but that need not be the only objective. Everyone can take (or not) for their own reasons—and push themselves within a loosely structured event for 15 weeks.

    What’s more, like you point out in this post, once you have a core group of folks thinking and sharing what they are thinking openly, the whole thing becomes compelling as a result of everyone giving something, rather than a few dictating what’s to be given or not. A headless class in the truest of zombie killing tradition 🙂 Just by reading the commentary on Noise Professor’s posts or BotheredbyBees character generator, I know this is true and right, even if the actual class sucks.

    • Tom said on December 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

      The Hydra as many-headed-metaphor for this course might be interesting to explore. I’d buy that shirt, especially with participants’ heads on the many necks.