Cory Doctorow, taken with a GIFAchrome 106 camera
“First, it’s okay to copy! Believe in the process of copying as much as you can; with all your heart is a good place to start – get into it as straight and honestly as possible. Copying is as good as any other way of getting ’there.’ ”
NOTES ON THE AESTHETICS OF ‘copying-an-Image Processor’
Phil Morton (1973)
DS106 Headless 13 is in the middle of 2 weeks of video. I have managed to create a couple of videos and read a few movie scenes but my time right until Monday was taken up with audio. I decided to create another show this time on my own without my great @talkyteam to help me.
I have learnt a lot and when we broadcast the live show we had a few listeners and some kind words. The guests of honour, Jonathan Worth and Jon Levy of Phonar, did not make the live show but John Johnston and I did the best we could to fill the space with useful dialogue:
— ∆lex Mason (@AlexMasonPhoto)
We even had an offer of help from one of the Phonar 13 students who listened and also found it interesting:
@mdvfunes cool…will do something for soundcloud. Look forward to more of your shows :).— WINNIE MANGWENDE (@ilovephotocall)
You can judge for yourself if you follow the archive link for the live show. A special thank you to John for being a last minute sound engineer and using Levelator to even out my clumsy edits. If you just want to hear the recording of the pilot show, you can find it at ColinPods where I am starting to store all the audio I am making. Also a big than you to Bill Smith who helped me navigate the DS106 Radio Servers and who (bless him) took the first version of the show in his car to work to listen and offer me feedback. He emailed detailed feedback and I am very appreciative of the support.
The rest of this post is about my reflections on audio, collaboration and just doing my best to keep going with DS106 Headless13 in the absence of a Head.
My first reflection is the same as as always – this stuff is hard work.
Each week as we learn new media to use for our digital stories I am amazed at the amount of time it takes to produce something that I consider fair to middling quality.
So I decided to work on my first open educational resource video instead. I figured that if my video had several short clips that needed editing and creating then that would count towards the 16 stars worth of assignments we are meant to do this week. I will end the week with a radio programme that (almost) nobody heard and no vOER to show for my efforts.
I wanted to complete the radio show first and premiere it as I had promised to do it. I felt pretty alone and pointless on Monday when nobody was able to turn up and only a few listeners heard the show. it made me reflect on my intentions when making artefacts for DS106. I tell myself I am making them for my own learning, yet I was pretty disappointed when nobody from DS106 turned up to listen. I could hear echoes of old patterns – after all the hard work i put in….yet, I was able to look beyond these.
We say that we create for an audience or the potential of an audience and that this offers a different kind of learning potential than sitting in a classroom or writing on my hard disk. We formulate our ideas more clearly when we think of an audience, we form the ideas as we speak on the radio. All this feels true and useful. We do not say as much about the vulnerability this exposes us all to. The ‘Zero Comment’ dynamic Lovink discusses so eloquently or in my case the ‘Zero Listeners’ dynamic which on monday was compounded with Zero guests. I was so grateful to John and Bill for taking an interest.
Bill understood that I had taken a long time to produce it and cautioned me to perhaps reconsider my idea of a weekly show:
Otherwise, excellent production! I think you could continue the show, bringing in a variety of topics related to the themes of photography and audio, and the psychology of perception and cognition. I don’t know about your overall schedule, but you might find weekly to be overly ambitious if you are the only producer, editor, narrator, researcher, writer, and technician.
So I ask myself again, why did I do it?
I think it was a bit of ‘all of the above’.
What was brought home to me was that I had expectations about how others would behave and these were not met. This led me to reflect on what is the psychological contract we have in hashtag classrooms. It is not clear and it can be tough to navigate the uncertainty and lack of guidelines. I learnt about my unconscious expectations and also about how touched I was that 2 people who know me little were willing to support me so that the show could go live on Monday. I do wonder if the flow channel might have tipped to too much anxiety had it not been for these 2 people helping me learn.
More generally it makes me think about how feasible it is to ask students to challenge themselves publicly without a clear psychological contract to encourage flow.
I am really happy I did it and now feel I can keep on going with audio. I will not be doing live radio for a while but will continue with my ColinPods as and when i feel the need. I have a clearer sense of intention going forward and creating podcasts will be driven by my own desire to learn about a topic.
As I end my audio reflections I need to say something about how this video-week-that-never-was has been. I was inspired by the idea of creating something useful rather than a few disposable assignments for video week 12. As I started to work with the web and find out about what a simple video needed from me, I panicked. I was tired from spending many hours on GarageBand for the radio show and could not face learning iMovie in a day. I thought I would start with something ‘easy’ – the script.
I am still writing that and as it shapes itself and I start collecting what I need for it, I am starting to think my timeframes might be off. I will not be producing anything by the end of the week. If i want to do a fair to middling job of this vOER then I think I am looking at it becoming my final project as well as my 16 stars of video assignments. I am left questioning the wisdom of having chosen not to do the disposable assignments. I am left questioning the wisdom of a headless course where I can do whatever I want no matter how foolhardy the choices made might be.
This is how I am feeling today, if you replace ‘work’ with ‘DS106’.
Tomorrow is another day and I am a resilient learner. I am also left wondering who the audience for Hashhag classrooms really is and doubting more and more that my dream of introducing open education to a traditional business school environment will ever obtain. But that is a reflection for another day.
On with the show! We are all ready!