summer of oblivion

chrysler building


We are about to join a MOOC (massive open online course) as one of our home learning experiments. The course is run by Jim Groom for his students at UMW University of Mary Washington but he has made it open and global. I became aware of the Summer of Oblivion Digital Storytelling course ds1206 through twitter and through Jim’s very entertaining bavatuesday blog. His family also do home learning so he is happy for me and my son to do the course together – and he may even get his kids on board too. My son is less than enthusiatic about collaborative learning in general (as an aspie) but of course does it all the time when playing WOW so he has agreed to join me.

As well as being interested in the concept of a MOOC for learning and in learning across a wide range of age groups I am really looking forward to engaging with the digtial storytelling activites. I love writing and we are both interested in photgraphy and the language of film and in experimenting with a range of techs to explore this. I’m using this photo of the Chrysler Building to accompany the post as it was created as part of a series, inspired by the german expressionist film metropolis, which was mainly about Glasgow architecture and it’s industrial past. I think the US element adds to the noirish style.  I think Hitch might have liked it anyway; )

I have decided to use this blog for the course (which is already an experiment in mixing work and real life stuff) using the category ‘digital storytelling’ and the tag ds106 to pull things together. My son is reluctant to blog at the moment so his stuff will be included on here and on my normadesmond flickr account (such an apt title for this course I think).

Incidentally every single set on my flickr account is a film name – in six years no one has ever mentioned or seemed to notice this. It took blooming ages to do aswell and makes filing new photos hard as I try to remember what is included. Some are easy – the VIPs is a set of portraits and sunset boulevard are self portraits of me (norma) – both are in a collection called the good, the bad and the ugly. Obvious eh.

hoping that this course gets me more active in flickr again… I did once set up a collaborative fiction writing group in flickr with one of my online contacts but it is long since dead


  1. Michael Branson Smith June 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Norma –

    Welcome to the #ds106 fun, which often starts before class is even in session. I love the Metropolis poster and the film as well. I made a few animated GIFs for Jim and the #ds106 crew last week, a little course warmup if you will.

    Looking forward to class!

    – Michael

    • Lou Mcgill June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Hi Michael
      norma is just my screen name (after norma desmond in sunset boulevard – so high maintenance and a ham at heart) but happy to be called that for sure

      i love the metropolis animated gifs – we are going to have to try that out…

  2. Tim Owens June 14, 2011 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Welcome to the madness! I’m glad to see the summer course is going to have a decent open online component like last semester. I’ll be participating again when possible and look forward to seeing the work of you and your son.

    • Lou Mcgill June 14, 2011 at 11:24 am - Reply

      thanks Tim – and just found your toolbox which looks really useflu too….

  3. Jim Groom June 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Sunset Boulevard! Brilliant, I think the shot of him floating in the pool would be a great animated GIF. In fact, I can imagine there would be some great Gloria Swanson animated GIFs in there.

    What’s more, i would love to hear more about this collaborative fiction writing group—that sounds fascinating and something that may be worthy of experimenting with in ds106. Remember you make and add any assignments you want to add here:

    And the beauty of that is you do what you want, and if everything in the assignment bank isn’t catching your fancy, you make one that you—and potentially many others—can do.

    • Lou Mcgill June 15, 2011 at 7:37 am - Reply

      Oh yes some gloria swanson animated gifs would be excellent. I may try that first…

      yes we may be able to kindle some interest in the collaborative fiction group. We did it by starting a discussion thread and members just added to the storyline – letting the narrative take unexpected paths. This is one example – the familiar path –

      I think I have talked my partner Tim into joining up too… he was, until recently, a lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art teaching MA Animation and digital design so he should have useful stuff to bring too.

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