Unit 2: Ground Floor Basics

Customizing Your Blog

Try out some themes/templates – change the general look of your blog site until it suits the purpose of the blog and your creativity. Explore options to change settings. For the most part, you can swap these out and not lose any content.

Choose a theme/template that works well between the writing and the embedded media (such as videos, images, and audio) in your blog posts- it is always better to have the embedded media in the context of your writing.

Customize the header with your own images – make something specifically for this purpose.

What kinds of addons, widgets, plugins can you add to change functionality? How can you customize the sidebars?

Learn how to add tags and use them regularly for every blog post.

Are comments enabled on your blog posts? Comments invite feedback and dialogue.

While doing this, what you want to be thinking about is how to make your site really personalized and representative of you and your creativity.

TDCs

During the previous Unit, you became familiar with The Daily Create site and had a go at some. You should continue to complete at least three Daily Creates during this Unit. Create a new blog post for each ‘dailycreate’ that you do.

In your Daily Create blog post, embed all the work that you did wherever possible. And also write about the thinking or process that went into the way you created your work – tell the story of your creation.

And use the Daily Create category and any appropriate tags on your  summary post to organize your Daily Create posts!

Your First Assignment

This Unit also includes your first assignment from the ds106 Assignment Bank. This site is filled with assignments that we’ll be using extensively in the SMPds106 course.

Your first assignment is “Say it Like the Peanut Butter,” in which you’ll be creating an animated gif of a clip from your favourite (or least favourite) film and creating a blog post about it. The blog post should link to the assignment page, include the animated GIF you have created and some brief information about what you have created (see the blogging tips below). You must also follow the instructions on the assignment page to ensure that your contribution shows up on the Assignment Bank site (this means using the two tags listed in your blog post – VisualAssignments, VisualAssignments2). If you need help, check out the examples on the assignment page.

The assignment does not tell you how to make an animated GIF. Rather, you are expected to use the tutorials on the assignment page and/or do your own research into how to complete this task (you can also look in the ds106 Handbook).

Still stuck – use the #ds106 hashtag on Twitter to seek help.

It is important to get accustomed to using the Assignment Bank and tagging your submissions properly. If you did it correctly, within a few hours of publishing you blog post about your animated GIF it should appear under the list of examples on the assignment page. Then any other ds106 participants from anywhere in the world can see your contribution with all the other ones.

On Blog Writing

You should be finding that the way you write on your blog will evolve as you get to understand the space it occupies (and that you own it). What we are looking for is that you are thinking about the work you are doing and the creative challenges that are presented. When you post a piece of creative social media production, that is only part of the process. We want to see is some evidence of your line of thinking, the inspiration behind it, and the context.

Each blog post ought to be able to stand on its own as something that makes sense if that is the only thing a visitor reads on your site. Your blog post might be linked as a tweet or on a Facebook page as something that someone will quickly look at or read. These people looking at your work aren’t necessarily interested in the whole blog, just the ‘spreadable’ bits.

The first thing you need to be doing as much as possible is using hyperlinks when you write in your blog. It is what makes the web a web. When you are writing about one the Daily Creates or assignments, if a user reads it, will they know what you are referring to? No. Link them to it. When you discuss your previous work, link to it. When you reference a film that you used to create an animated GIF, link to a page about it (like IMDB or Wikipedia).

For more blogging the ds106 way, see:

Blogging Tips for ds106

How to write up ds106 storytelling assignments like a blogging champ

Every Box You Type in Can be a Doorway to Creativity

Summary of Unit 2

During this Unit you should have:

Customized your SMPds106 blog

Written at least three blog posts for your Daily Creates completed in this Unit and another blog post about your animated GIF assignment including the process of creating it and what you tried to create.

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