This past spring, I taught a section of ds106 here at UMW. It was the first time I'd taught the class since Spring 2015 (when Jim Groom, Paul Bond, and I taught a version around the theme of noir). And it was the first time since 2011 that I'd taught the class solo.
I had thought for a while that I wanted to take a solo run at ds106 again, for a couple of reasons. First, I'll freely admit that everytime I've co-taught it in the past it has been, in part, about giving me more confidence. There are some things that we cover in ds106 that I have lots of expertise in, but there are just as many things that I don't. Having co-instructors has taken some of the pressure off of me to feel like I need to be an expert on everything the class covers. So solo teaching was a way to remove the safety net for myself, and force me to feel confident in my own right.
I'll also say that co-teaching (as rewarding as it is) can require a lot of coordination and that coordination can be exhausting. I think of myself as a pretty good team player, but it's also nice to be able to plan a course without a lot of additional conversation with others. Given how busy I knew this semester was going to be for me, I was happy to go it alone.
For several years it's been typical to teach ds106 at UMW with some kind of theme, and I've always wanted to do an interation of it around The Apocalpyse. So this spring seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally get the end of the world out of my system.
I purposely didn't write about the class while it was going on. I don't actually like to write about my teaching while it's happening. I doubt many of my students read or would look for my blog, but, if they did, it feels weird to be airing any concerns or challenges where they might read them. This is probably mostly about my own imposter syndrome (see above), but it is what it is. I always say I'll write about my classes when they're done, but of course I never get around to it. This time around, I'm going to try and break that habit. I'm hoping to write a series this summer about what I learned teaching ds106 this spring. I think it will help me process the whole experience and, hopefully, take more away from it.
In particular, I want to talk about and share:
- my approach this spring to communicating with students and sharing weekly assignments (this is an online class)
- the way teaching ds106 has changed for me since 2011 (the first time I taught it)
- why I think I'll probably never teach it solo again, if I ever even teach it again
- how I approached the notion of "emergent storytelling" in the class: what went well and what didn't
- some of the best work from my students this spring
- what I learned from my course evaluations
And maybe a few other things that come up while I continue to process all of this.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm also doing this as a way to jumpstart my prepeartion for Digital Pedagogy Lab, when I'll be teaching a 4-day track on digital storytelling.