Unit 1 Reflection

Okay so this is my first blog about the DS106 online course. I want to talk mainly about my setting up of the course in Unit 1, including links to my social media accounts that I have created for the course, my reflections on the ‘What is Art?’ videos, what they got me thinking about and what they mean to me, my views on the advice given from other students to new students starting out, my daily creates and also my views on the course so far, how I have found it and what I have learned from it.

In the first part of Unit 1 we were told to create various social media accounts such as Soundcloud, Youtube and Flickr in order to be able to complete the tasks involved with the DS106 course. Below are the links to my accounts;

https://twitter.com/_blackwell94

https://www.flickr.com/photos/127857533@N03/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7C0brpX48pAwY7TTzUDTcw

https://soundcloud.com/blackwell94

Under this section of Unit 1 it asks us to think about what the course is about, ‘It is about an explosion of creative expression in media, on the web- from you.’ So how do we get creative? And where do the ideas come from? I watched the various videos titled ‘What is Art?’ and began to start thinking about what the course is asking of me, what it involves, art and creativity, and how I can learn from this.

The video that really got me thinking and questioning ‘What is Art?’ was the graduation speech given by Neil Gaiman. At the start of the speech Neil states he “learnt to write through writing.” This got me thinking how I could adapt this to myself and the course, can I apply this to learning media by making media?

One thing that Neil reiterated throughout his speech was “make good art.” He said to make it on the good days and make it on the bad days, but as long as your making art is doesn’t matter. That if you have no idea what you’re doing then you don’t know what is impossible and you can test the boundaries beyond what’s been done before. To me this means that it’s okay to make mistakes. Isn’t the only true way to learn through experience? And discovering what works and what doesn’t, what is right for you as an individual, and how what is right for you may not necessarily be right for someone else. As long as you’re putting yourself out there and making art then that’s half the battle. Art can neither be right or wrong, because it’s your art, your own ideas and inspiration.

One piece of advice Neil gave was to “enjoy it.” And I think, for me, that’s very important. As soon as you stop enjoying making art, then it loses its meaning to you as an individual.

The course then asked us to read, listen or watch advice that a student who had already completed the course had made for a student just starting out with the DS106 course. One piece of advice that really stuck with me was given by a SoundCloud  user named ‘mbutlerr.’ Her recording was only five minutes long, but straight away into the recording she tells you to expect to have fun. This for me is important because if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing you have less motivation and drive to complete it, and complete it to the highest standard your capable of, right? This links to the next piece of advice she gave which was to put the effort in. This reminded me how sometimes it’s hard to stay focused but the final outcome is going to be worth the hard work and time put in. She goes on to say expect to learn about yourself, which I think is perhaps the most important piece of advice she gives. This course is all about learning what you can do, pushing your boundaries and achieving things you didn’t think you could, and this is what I really hope to gain from doing the DS106 course. When the work gets harder I want to remind myself that as long as I’m learning from this it will be worth it.

One final thing we had to complete for Unit 1 was to create three ‘Daily Create’; which are fun daily, creative assignments for to students to do. They are designed to test your creativity and imagination which is what the course is about right? Learning art by making art, learning media by making media. Below is a link to two daily create tasks I created and posted to Flickr, and the third daily create that I have posted straight into my blog;

I feel like a... #ds106 #dailycreate Make a doodle that interacts with your surroundings #ds106 #dailycreate

Pearls of Wisdom;

http://tdc.ds106.us/tdc1006/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

F**k It by John C.Parkin

“The problem for a lot of people is that they don’t really know what they want. They have vague desire: to ‘do something creative’ or to earn more money or ‘to be free’, but they can’t really pin down what it is precisely that they want. So they drift from one thing to another, enjoying some moments and hating others, but never really finding fulfilment or success. This is why it’s hard to lead a successful life (whatever that means to you) when you don’t know what you want.”

Overall I have enjoyed Unit 1 and the way it has opened up my mind and started to get me questioning and thinking about what I’m going to learn from the course, not just in knowledge form but also about myself and what I’m capable of. I especially enjoyed ‘What is Art’ because it really got me thinking reflectively about media and art. Neil Gaiman’s speech inspired me a lot, I was apprehensive at first about how I was going to go about starting and completing the course and how it would match up to my classmates in terms of creativity and quality of ideas, but watching the speech showed me how it doesn’t matter how well I do in the course compared to others, as long as I’m making my own art and enjoying it, then isn’t that really all that matters? I didn’t think that any of the unit was ‘hard’ as such it was just quite time consuming and trying to get used to the layout and concept of the course took a while, but when I got my head stuck into it then creativeness and inspiration started flowing easily enough and I began to enjoy myself! I’m excited to move on to the next unit and start expanding my creativeness and achieving new things.

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