Wise Words from @AlanLiddell and @jimgroom

26 Jun

I had to write this down quickly so here is goes. It is inspired by the ideas of a YouTube video novel and recent post by @AlanLiddell and @jimgroom about themes and RPG/D&D concepts in courses.

I like themes in classes. They can be addressed in many ways, but I agree a participatory story line that is fluid and evolving could make class like ds106 really powerful. I was at the pool earlier pondering all this and I was imagining the possibilities of the rough concept below attached to an English course of a history course.

So here is a blast of the idea.

Class starts with basic outline. Not too detailed but enough to allow for lots of diversion and creativity. Like, “There is a punk band with five musicians and a manager. They play in a small town with four pubs. Each of the pubs has an owner. The band has four groupies. The band usually eats in the same two pubs and each pub has an owner. Three of the five musicians have girlfriend/boyfriend. Many others who might be involved in this story can be created. There is the outline, pick your character.”

So right there is about 20 characters. Each of the characters gets to plot their destiny and be impacted by the choices of others.  Part of all the assignments would include a short addition to the ongoing textual story in a public document. Essential to the document would be links to specific contributions of each student/character and anything done as a group.

So, by the end of the course there would be a unifying place that has the story developed by the class. Images could be added, a website created (storify comes to mind) of the content or whatever, but something that would tell the story from one location. AND the story could be added to after the course was over. As awesome as the ds106 site is it is tough to see a single more or less linear story evolving. ?

Not sure, but I think it would be a grand experiment!



16 Responses to “Wise Words from @AlanLiddell and @jimgroom”

  1. Alan Liddell June 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    And music? I feel like, since the story revolves around a punk band, there’d have to be music. New songs inspired by developments in the story?

    • Todd Conaway June 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

      I know right! So many options there! Videos for the songs concert posters… But I think there are many short little scenarios that could be given a very basic structure and expanded on.

      • Alan Liddell June 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

        Newsclippings about fights that break out in and around the shows, reviews… Endless possibilities.

  2. Stella Meme June 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    YES! This is also what Michael Branson Smith wrote about. What’s cool is that it’s sort of happening organically this term with ds106.

    Each iteration of this course raises the bar on interactive online communities and this idea you have certainly taps into what’s happening.

    I wonder about structure. There is this fluid place between too much structure and not enough (see noisprofessor’s post about <a href="http://www.noiseprofessor.org/?p=546"two types of garderners + protocol)

    What if we just started doing this- without it being explicitly stated TO DO it?

    Organic Magic! C’mon, let’s go!

    • Stella Meme June 26, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

      ugh, sorry- forgot my closing /a there…duh…

    • Alan Liddell June 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

      I’m always pro-organic, anti-centralized, and I’d like to see this just sort of happen without an impetus – but I’d also like to see what happens in both scenarios and compare, pseudoscientifically.

    • Todd Conaway June 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      Ain’t this the art of learning/teaching. Like HELPING a baby swim: knowing when to save them and when not to. Or the great “never do something for someone they can do on their own.”

      This is great from Stephen Johnson as quoted in NoiseProfessors post, “toward the ‘edge of chaos’: the fertile zone between too much order and too much anarchy.”

      Described the ds106 environment perfectly. @jimgroom is did a great job of allowing and redirecting, at least what I saw of his comments to the paying students. And there is that part of the equation. I think no matter paying or not, treat everyone equally.

      And I do think it happened in ds106. The whole radio thing was student generated. Pretty cool.

      I’ll have to go look at some of the work this semester!

    • Ben June 29, 2011 at 2:18 am #

      The next iteration of ds106 will likely reveal the course itself to be completely fabricated, Jim Groom will return to the ether from which he was concocted, and only our memories will serve as a testament to the game that is ds106

      • Todd Conaway June 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

        Well you know when the teacher disappears into the students (or whatever the case may be) great things happen. The student become teachers and all that kind of interesting stuff.

  3. CogDog June 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    ENG106 … like it never was. Great concept. Maybe instead of a single unifying storify, each student, or character, would be responsible for assembling a storify- and these might be combined in a single site, that has, maybe an opening graphic of an icon representing each strand.

    do it!

    • Todd Conaway June 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      Hey man,

      You are the master of the architecture and I think that is part of the “output” challenge. The individual stories as they are created I can see. But what form can it take where the story is readable and understandable to most. Storify is a leap I think in the gathering of parts and putting them into one thing. And can it be that even as the reader of the story you can choose your own direction? Who to follow?

      Hope you are seeing beautiful things!

  4. rowan_peter June 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    What’s great about your band concept is that it’s scaleable. The story can play out over the entire lifespan of the band. From the early years to the greatest hits album and all the way to the comeback tour! Then there’s the remix album years later put together by a whole new generation.

    • Todd Conaway June 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      Good Grief! I have recently looked at some of the continuing saga of ds106 and it seems it is headed in that direction. perhaps in a years time, at a reunion, there can be a greatest hits of ds106 created!

  5. Todd Conaway June 28, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    I just watched the new Mike Wesch video and the structure is pretty cool. Narrative in the center and all that is added remains available on the page as complete item or link. So you can see/hear/ the story and then wander off on a particular path. http://visionsofstudents.org/

    Flash content? Beyond me….

  6. mburtis June 28, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    I LOVE this idea. What I love most about it is the idea of the woven narratives unfolding in a myriad of different online spaces, perhaps loosely tied together with tools like Twitter and an aggregating blog.

    • Todd Conaway June 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

      Thinking about the reader of the story.

      100 years in the future what might someone say upon discovering the ds106.us site? How might they approach navigating the story of the site? I think that currently, or at least till prior to The Summer of Oblivion, it was made up of single units of story or information from a casual observers point of view. No real unifying theme or story line.And readers would not be privy to the Twitter stream in real time.

      What has happened and what will continue to happen in the community is amazing and is architectural brilliance. The inclusion of the radio, twitter, justintv and all is like totally unreal!

      I think what is interesting with the Summer of Oblivion is that it began with a story there is a story unfolding. One that is chronological. One that has plot elements and characters and settings.

      So I guess I am just wondering how it might be shaped into a more readable story to a viewer. How can the tutorials become integrated into the shaping of the story interface? How can ds106 itself look and be read by an audience? Or is that even important?

      I am rambling.

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