The one thing I can say to incoming students of this class is DO NOT drop it because it looks like too much work. DS106 is a great class, but it does come with a hefty work load. Each week takes on a different form of media to tell a story and there are a lot of things that you have to complete throughout the week. However, if you sit down and have a plan of how to tackle the assignments it will be very fun and the work you produce will be worth it. I was a little worried going into the class about how much work I would need to do, but once I got to about the third week I had a rhythm down when it came to doing assignments. I would start Monday afternoon and map out how I wanted to go about completing the week’s assignments and then just dive right in. Usually I got the smaller parts out of the way early like Daily Creates and left the bigger things to do later on. I just made sure every day I did a little bit until I had all assignments done by Thursday night. Then on Friday afternoon I would do the weekly summary and go back through the directions twice to make sure I did every assignment. I cannot even begin to count how many times I had accidentally missed part of an assignment or read the directions wrong and left something out. This would give me enough time to go back and fix my mistakes and then submit my work. I came into the class not knowing how to use a lot of the technology and applications that we used, but I learned along the way because there are many different resources available to help you learn. Now I can edit in Photoshop, record in Audacity, create videos in iMovie, and so much more. I had so much fun with the topic of our semester and learned so much that I can take with me and use later on. This class was well worth the time and effort I put into it and I can say now looking back that I am glad the workload did not scare me off.
This week I worked my butt off on the final project. I had a blast doing it, even though it was hard work. I focused mainly on the areas of audio, video, writing, design, and pictures. The prompt I chose to use was to investigate if Canada and Russia were conspiring with each other. I went a route of my agent, Benjamin Agos becoming a body guard for Prime Minister Trudeau and following him and President Putin around on odd outings. It was so fun to do this aspect. I started off photoshopping their heads onto strange things like the Vancouver Canucks and the famous scene from Titanic. Then I made an audio file of the Canadian national anthem with a record scratch that then led to a rap about Canada. I think that was the hardest part to do but it turned out super well. I then made a video with that audio in iMovie and added pictures of Canadian cities, pictures of Trudeau and Putin, and words to explain my mission. Then I made a design at canva.com with the Canadian and Russian flags and Trudeau and Putin with the sentence what is Justin Trudeau up to. I loved how it turned out. I focused on writing to string all of these elements together, because I think that writing is my strong suit and it would be a really good way to tie it all together. I made the writing a log of what Agent Agos was discovering in his time as a Canadian body guard. He stopped a boat bombing, an armed robbery, and a possible shooting, all with the help of his trusty umbrella. Then at the end of one of the outings he realized all it was was a budding bromance and not a massive plan to take over the world. It was good he was there to stop those incidents though because someone could have really gotten hurt. Overall I am so proud of all the work I did. I really did not want to use images and audio as formats for this project because I struggled with those, but I over came that and worked hard at it until I got something satisfactory. I worked so hard and love how this project turned out. I hope that it shows how much work went into it and how much I actually really loved the idea I used and the project as a whole.
I have noticed some weird happenings between Russia and Canada. Usually larger countries just make fun of Russia behind its back and move on, but Canada has been different. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Vladimir Putin have been buddy buddy lately from what I have seen. I, Benjamin Agos, am launching a full inquiry of their actions.
Everyone know Canadians are the kindest people full of maple syrup and Tim Hortons, so why does it seem Trudeau and Putin have a blossoming friendship all of a sudden? In order to uncover the truth I enlisted as a body guard for Prime Minister Trudeau in order to get the full background and access to information I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Getting the body guard job was easy I have contacts from MI-6 on the inside of the Canadian government and I have an extensive resume that did the job. Of course if anything actually were to happen to Trudeau or Putin I would step in, and just in case I have my trusty umbrella with me. I was able to find out what really was going on.
When I first started to follow the two around as a body guard I noticed they would trade off countries they would meet up in to visit. They never really talked about politics just each other. It was kind of awkward at first to see these two interact because frankly Putin doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to just hang out and not try to take over the world. The first big outing I went on with them was to a Vancouver Canucks game where they suited up with the team.
Trudeau did great with the crowds, but Putin just stood around and didn’t seem to enjoy it. We all sat in a nice box and watched the rest of the game after it started. Nothing was fishy, they even shared a few high fives and fist bumps. The Canucks won and after a few beers they parted ways. I went with the Prime Minister and tried to build a repartee with him which he seemed to enjoy. He asked why I always carry an umbrella to which I replied, for whenever the unexpected happens.
The Prime Minister then took a trip to Russia where one of the items on the itinerary was a boat trip. I thought this was a little odd and dangerous, so I made sure to keep my eyes peeled. At one point while I was securing the boat and was away from everyone at the back I noticed a small ship advancing. Several men were aboard and when I radioed to get their attention they said something back but it got broken up, so all I could hear was “Trudeau, Vladimir, stop, bomb.” Naturally my first thought was a bomb was on board but the area was swept and came back clean. So I took out my umbrella released the grenade in the shaft of it and threw it at their boat when it got close enough. At that exact moment a whale at the front of the ship I was on jumped out of the water and distracted all of the passengers. Lucky right? No one heard the boat blow up and sink. Agent Agos saved the day, not to pat myself on the back or anything. I returned to the front of the boat and talked about how amazing the whale was. We went inside to get some water, but realized Trudeau and Putin did not follow us inside. I went back out to the bow and saw something amazing:
They recreated the famous scene from Titanic. Luckily I was the only one to see this moment so I went back inside with the rest of the guards and kept that little number to myself.
A few weeks passed and President Putin made his way back to Canada for a visit. This time we followed them to Vancouver Film Studios. I had no idea what these two could possibly end up doing, but I kept a look out the entire time. We stopped at a gas station because Putin needed to use the rest room, I kept guard at the doors and had to stop an armed robbery that could have gotten messy. Everyone from my party was in the restrooms so I whipped out my umbrella and opened it to use the bullet proof shield it doubles as. I hit the two robbers over the head with the reinforced pole and shut it down. No one was hurt except for the robbers. Hopefully I won’t have any bad luck from opening an umbrella indoors.
We got to the film studio and Prime Minister Trudeau had a giddy look in his eyes. Because my “role” was that of a body guard I didn’t ask any questions and waited until we got inside. It turns out that the two were being featured in a Tim Horton’s commercial. Typical Canadian idea I guess. So I stood with the director and kept watch for any suspicious activity. Trudeau seemed in his element in front of the camera, but President Putin seemed a bit shy, but got over it with some compliments and encouragement from Trudeau. Once the cameras started rolling I noticed a camera man kept reaching for something at his back. I quietly hauled him outside and searched him and found out that he had a gun on him. I hand cuffed him to a pole and gave him a small dose of sleeping serum that I keep in a compartment of the trusty umbrella and left him there to be found later. I went back inside and the President and Prime Minister were having a blast.
Putin left shortly after and I escorted him to his home in Ottawa. I told him he might not be hearing from me due to a pre-planned vacation coming up. He gave me a firm handshake and gushed about his best friend Vladimir. It took me a second to put the two together and realized that this might just be a friendship and not a horrible plan to take over the world. I asked around back at headquarters and it turns out the Trudeau makes an effort to become extremely close friends with other politicians. He has many golf outings and gets to know them and become close friends. My initial intentions were to stop them from doing anything to harm the world, but I had to stop the world from harming them. It was a strange turn of events to learn that they just have a bromance. It was very interesting to see these two interact in this way. I was very glad I got to spend time with them and was able to see the true nature of their relationship. I guess now that I don’t have to worry about these two I won’t have to take anyone to court. This was a nice break from all of the cases I have on my plate. I especially enjoyed the time I got to spend in Canada. Now that the crisis has been averted I can rest easy and keep these fond memories close to me.
This week we were assigned to make a plan for our final mission of the semester. I looked through the files we were given and thought that they were all great but there was one that I really liked the most. To quote the excerpt from the final mission page: “We have unconfirmed reports that Canada is up to something, so we are looking to defuse the potential situation. Are they conspiring with the Russians? It may seem preposterous, but consider the facts: They’re both vast and brutally cold, they’re both into that hockey thing, and between the two of them they have Santa Claus practically surrounded. And you all know what that could mean. The question is, what will we do about it?” I really think that this could be a great thing to go off of and create a really cool report. I think that if done right it can turn out really well. I plan to use visual, design, and either writing or audio I haven’t decided between the two yet. I think when combined it can be a really cool thing. My agent, Ben Agos, might infiltrate the Canadian government, or he might impersonate Justin Trudeau. He will definitely be able to give Canada a good kick in the pants with what they are doing. I am really excited to see where this takes me.
Earlier in the week I created a poll about Agent Zero and what he is up to. According to my poll when he left his house the day before I created the poll he was either going to McDonalds or going to get some secret intel.
This week was able to get me thinking about how to combine the different aspects that we have used this semester to create one big story. I am very excited to do this.
At the start of this week I was assigned to create a twitter poll about one of the class’ agents. I chose to ask a question about Agent Zero. I decided to ask what was Agent Zero doing when he left his house yesterday? The answer choices were Prague, McDonalds, to get top secret intel. 5 people voted in the poll and 20% of the pollers chose Prague, 40% chose McDonalds, and 40% chose to get top secret intel. I suppose later on we may find out what he was up to.
— Rachel Ayers (@rayers2umw) April 17, 2017
This week was so much fun for me. We focused on a completely new format that I really enjoyed- mashups. This was very interesting because I really haven’t seen much like it unless I go on twitter or tumblr and someone has made something of their own. I really got to put my picture editing skills to work which was very fun to try and get to learn how to do new things.
I started out the week by making a tutorial on an assignment that I did that I really enjoyed, but had trouble figuring out how to do it. When I originally did it the assignment took me a while to wrap my mind around it and figure out how to go about it. I thought since I had a tad bit of trouble creating it that I would make a tutorial for it. The assignment is called make it 800% slower. For this I had to slow down the tempo of a song by 800%. I used Audacity to do this and under the effects tab and picked change tempo and that slows it down. I added screen shots of how I did it so that it is easy to follow along to how I did it. Hopefully this tutorial will help students in the future, because I certainly needed it.
After I did this I decided to tackle the remix portion of the week. I had always seen the button on assignment pages by was never sure what it actually meant. I got to find out this week and was interested when I got around to it.
The first assignment I did a remix for was create a game of thrones house and the remix I got was “stache it.” For this I had to incorporate a mustache into the assignment. I made a mustache be the house’s icon for the picture. I think it turned out rather well.
The next remix I did was create a silly movie poster. I chose for this assignment to be the one where I went off of something I had already done. I had made a mashup of crying Kim Kardashian and Jason Bourne in a movie poster with the tag He’s Just Not that into You. The remix I got was “stuffy art critic.” For this I pretended to be an art critic and critique my work. It was a little hard to do because I don’t critique art regularly but I think I got the hang of it.
Then I did my 12 stars worth of mashups starting with the assignment I’m ready for my closeup that is worth four stars. For it I had to layer an intense closeup of someone on top of a landscape. I chose a closeup of Ginny from Harry Potter and layered it over a nice lake landscape. I think it turned out pretty well.
The next one I did was called movie mashup and is worth 4.5 stars. For it I had to make a new movie poster for two movies that I like that are often compared to each other. I chose Notting Hill and Love Actually as the two movies because I find they are compared to each other very often. I took a picture of the Love Actually Cast and layered a picture of Julia Roberts from the Notting Hill poster and added the words from the two titles so the new title is Notting Hill Actually. I really liked how it turned out but if I had more experience with pixlr it could have been better.
The last assignment I did to bring me over the minimum was called your favorite team mashup and is worth four stars. For it I had to make a collage of logos from my favorite sports teams. I used the Pittsburgh Penguins logo as the base because it had a black, yellow, and white background which looked great. I added vintage logos of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers and also added the logos for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals, and the University of Virginia. I’m a big fan of all Pittsburgh teams because my family is from there and I just love the Nats and Packers just because. UVA is my favorite university team, especially their lacrosse team so they obviously made the cut. I had a great time doing this because I got to find some really cool logos, especially the vintage Steelers logo.
Then I did two daily creates this week. The first one I did was on April 10 and is in reply to celebrity heads in a jar. I didn’t know what this meant so I googled it and tweeted back one of the pictures I thought was really funny.
— Rachel Ayers (@rayers2umw) April 10, 2017
The second one I did was on April 11 and is in reply to what makes a happy place happy? I love books so I googled a huge library and tweeted back the picture I liked best because for me books make a happy place happy.
— Rachel Ayers (@rayers2umw) April 11, 2017
And of course throughout the week I have been commenting on other classmates assignments. I really enjoyed the mashup assignments this week and had a fun time working on them.
The last mashup assignment I did is called your favorite team mashup and is worth 4 stars which brings me over the 12 star minimum. For this I had to make a collage of the logos for my favorite sports teams. It was hard to pick which ones made the cut because I like so many different teams but I made it work. I started with the Pittsburgh Penguins logo as the base layer because it had a cool black, yellow, and white background. Then I found a Pittsburgh Steelers logo from the 60’s I really liked as well as an older Green Bay Packers logo I like. Then I added the National’s and Pittsburgh Pirates logos as well. If you can’t tell I’m a huge Pittsburgh anything fan because my family is from there. Then I added a logo of the University of Virginia because they have always been my favorite university team no matter what the sport, but they are my top favorite college lacrosse team. I used http://pixlr.com/editor/ to layer all of the logos together to make one big collage. I think if I had more skill in pixlr I would have been able to make a better collage of these team logos but I still really liked how it turned out, especially because I got to use vintage logos for the Packers and Steelers. Overall I really liked this assignment and it was my favorite one of the week to do.
This assignment is called movie mashup and is worth 4.5 stars. For it I had to take a poster from a movie I like and mash it up with a movie it is often compared to. One of my favorite movies is Love Actually so I decided to go with that as the poster of the movie I like. It is often compared to the movie Notting Hill, so I used that one as well. I decided to use http://pixlr.com/editor/ to edit these posters together. I used a picture of some of the cast of Love Actually as the original layer and took the part of the Notting Hill poster with Julia Roberts in the background and layered it on top and made it a little opaque so it is easier to see the two. I decided to put the cut out of her head next to Hugh Grant because he is one of the reasons the two movies link together and are often compared to each other. Then I took the words Notting Hill from that poster and took the word actually from the other poster and layered those together on top so it looked like the title is now Notting Hill Actually. I think that it turned out pretty well and enjoyed making it.
The first assignment I did for the mashup category was called I’m ready for My Closeup and is worth four stars. For this assignment I had to layer two images over each other and one had to be a closeup of someone and the other had to be a landscape. I chose to use http://pixlr.com/editor/ to edit the pictures together because I had never used it before and wanted to try it. I found a picture of Ginny from Harry Potter that I thought was a funny close up and a nice landscape and layered them together to make a closeup. I think it turned out really well and I enjoyed learning how to use pixlr for the first time.
For this assignment I chose to use one that I had already done as requested and remix it. I chose to do the silly movie poster that I had done where I had Jason Bourne and Kim Kardashians with the title He’s Just Not That Into You.
Then I decided to do this one as my second remix assignment. I got the remix “stuffy art critic” so I am going to critique my own work: the colors come together to make a certain je ne sais quoi and make it pop. The use of black and white exaggerates the colors used in the picture. I throughly enjoy how one subject takes more space than the other. Overall this is a fantastic piece and I love it.