Review of personal learning environment after ‘Why open’

At the beginning of the course, I had a go at planning my personal learning environment: I wrote about places that would help me gather my thoughts and connect with others who are interested in the topic of openness. Now that “Why Open” is nearly over, it’s time to look back at what actually happened.

Reading through what I had in mind a bit over a month ago in terms of learning environment, I find the picture rather close to the reality, except for a few details which I’ll explain here. Additional tools turned out useful as well besides the ones I had initially considered.

What didn’t work so well

I had thought about scheduling a face-to-face meeting with a fellow learner also based in Paris but this unfortunately did not happen. We were both busy and I don’t think she really had much time to delve deeper into the course so the meet-up had to be shelved. This does not mean we won’t discuss openness next time we meet, only that it didn’t happen during the time frame allocated to “Why Open”. The beauty of such a learning endeavour is that it goes well beyond the few weeks devoted to it.

I attempted to participate in 3 Google Hangouts but it’s fair to¬† say that they weren’t successful. My connection acted up and I wasn’t able to attend efficiently. On one occasion, the discussion was even moved to Twitter due to my connection problems…I said I wasn’t the biggest fan of Google Hangout, now the joke’s on me. Someone remove the curse the spirit of Google has placed on me! [FYI, I’m reading a book on voodoo and it hasn’t helped so far]

What worked as planned (or nearly)

This blog was indeed my central place for reflection, although I have neglected it of late. It was somewhat disappointing that so few people blogged consistently during the 4 weeks of the course. I guess my expectations were too high in this regard. To temper this, I must point out that the contributions (both posts and comments) were of very good quality.

Twitter‘s #whyopen stream was lively, especially during the weekly chat sessions. From my point of view, Twitter and the small groups were the main avenues for getting to know other learners in the course.

What worked better than expected

I quickly took to Delicious, a tool I was experimenting with for this course. It is not as social as I expected it to be (probably because I’ve only joined recently and don’t know many people on the platform yet) but I’ve found it an easy way to store up and organise articles I read online about education. I’ll definitely keep it up.

What I hadn’t thought of but turned out useful

There’s a ridiculously simple tool I hadn’t mentioned in my post on personal learning environment: Etherpads. We used pads to keep up with notes from live sessions, sign up for Hangouts, provide feedback, as well as to brainstorm our group’s activities.

I ended up trying out Audacity to record and edit a short commentary on the pre-course survey results which I uploaded on Soundcloud.

Flickr was always on a tab somewhere, as a source of CC illustrations.

The course is officially over – but for the final projects – but I hope that #whyopen was merely a more intense time in a longer conversation taking place on- and offline.


Week 3: practising openly with #ds106 daily create

This week in ‘Why Open?’, we’ve been focusing on open practise: less talking, more doing. After doing, back to writing then…

Our group plans on making an interactive youtube video, which is admittedly quite an ambitious project given our time scope. We’re far from reaching completion but Christina was hinting at turning this into our final project for the course. I’d rather postpone my post on the group activity to a later stage as I feel it would be premature to publish anything now.

Instead, I’m going to look back at my recent involvement with the Daily Create assignments which are part of the larger DS106 activities.

Daily create

Aside from the group work, I was drawn to the Daily Create challenge which appeared as an open activity suggestion on the course page.

Daily create consists in responding to daily prompts encouraging participants to experiment with digital modes of expression such as photos, videos, animated gifs, drawings, audio recordings, and written pieces. Contributions are uploaded on various online platforms and tagged ‘dailycreate’ and ‘tdcxxx’ so as to syndicate them on the site. Participants can thus easily comment on each others’ creations.

This week’s creative harvest

I took pictures…

My first assignment was to take a photo of an object representing a colour I love. I chose turquoise:

The walls of my room are all white, except for one which I painted turquoise. It is an energetic splash of colour that illuminates the space. Posing for me was my dear friend Felix, who happened to be around and got a hug for his patience.

Click here to see what others were inspired to share on the same topic.

The next challenge I took up was a little bit more abstract : create a pass or certificate that allows you to not complete this Daily Create.

I opened my sketch book and used felt pens to make an old-fashioned hand-written note. In Preview, I edited the colors to add a sepia effect:

It wasn’t easy to decide what to make of this prompt because there’s obviously an element of absurd embedded in the assignment.

See other examples on this theme here.

My latest photo contribution was a response to the following prompt: Power corrupts, take a picture of something powerful. My train of thought directed me to photograph this:

What do I find powerful about this particular hot sauce? First of all, the taste! It’s a genuine chilli paste which has the power to make me eat up any dish once this is spread on top. It’s that good. Heck, there’s a bunch of red chillies drawn on the tube and it’s no lie!!!

My secret weapon is also multilingual. How many languages can you identify on the picture? (There’s a list of ingredients at the back, with some weird spelling errors in Spanish. The translator in me cringed).

I didn’t quite manage to incorporate the “power corrupts” idea in this shot. See completely different contributions here.

I scribbled once…

As part of Daily Create, I also wrote an advertisement for the headless ds106 course to entice new participants.

The day was foretold long, long ago, in the age of typewriters and cassette recorders. Yes, before the advent of the great html, some had announced the beheading of Digital Storytelling 106, or #ds106 as it soon came to be known. What they hadn’t counted on was its return…

Headless, supercharged with creativity, an army of digital storytellers is about to swarm your timeline. Will you be among them, reclaiming byte after byte of the narrative?

Stack up on inspiration and join this amazing quest spanning across the Internet realm. Make connections beyond the land of your ancestors. Conquer your fears and tell your stories. #ds106 won’t be the same without you.

My ad was so convincing, it even convinced me to sign up for the course!

Looking back

It’s getting late so I’ll keep the following questions for tomorrow :

  • How was your activity an open practice in your view?
  • Did you run into any problems or barriers? If so, please explain what they were and how you tried to address them (if possible). Were these issues related to openness in some way?
  • Was this process beneficial to you in some way? What benefits can you imagine open practices might bring?
  • What did you learn through this process about openness, or about anything else? What did you learn from your peers in your group?

(Stay tuned for more, as they say…)