The following article was written as an assignment for the Cyberspace and Society class.
Here I'd like to tell what I thought about the lecture of Tim Owens.
In this lecture, Owens mainly talks about the central idea of the digital storytelling assignments. He points out that creativity is not inherent and it should be taught at school and the DS106 course gives the environment to be so. According to him, one of the main purposes of the course is to get rid of the perception that "Art can be made only by artists." (You can find the list of the other important points he made at the lecture and also some useful links to inspiring websites on his website.)
Scott Adams (the author of the popular comic Dilbert) saying that "the hungrier one is, the more creative one becomes." Furthermore, he generalizes it and says that uncomfortable situations make the person creative.
For me it is perfectly true. People would not do things unless they are forced to do. Especially if the task is totally new to the person and doesn't know exactly what and how to do it, he/she would not dare to do it immediately besides doing all the other important tasks that should be done as well. This is exactly what happened to me at the beginning of the first DS106 assignment. However, as I finished the tasks one by one, I felt that I was creating something new that had ever been produced in this world before. I wouldn't have done any of the assignments if I hadn't been assigned to do them. As a result, I had spent so much time working on the assignments that it actually affected on my assignments in the other classes. I'm now very satisfied with the art pieces I made for this course and also become a bit more confident of trying a new, unknown task that will be assigned to me in the other classes.
The last thing that I'd like to mention is the point that is not clearly mentioned in Owens' lecture (probably it's too obvious?) while I consider it the most important feature of the ds106 course. That is the public online display of the student's work pieces and the mutual evaluation system by posting comments on each other. Compare to the assignments conventionally assigned to college students at campus, these DS106 assignments put a different kind of pressure on the student that the work is evaluated not only by the instructor but also the other students. It may work good to some and bad to the others, maybe not at all to a certain type of people. To my surprise, I received many comments on my blog posts. Some of them are from outside of the class. For me, all the comments I received had really motivated me a lot to make a better one next time. At the same time, I had also commented on other students' blog posts. (it was a part of the assignments, too.) I enjoyed the feedback a lot. I also found that the other people's comments actually made me re-recognize the creativity from a different perspective that I had felt while I was making the art works. I think the effect of this educational method on motivation should be more focused rather than the other merits.
Online education system can be more cooperative and creative than the conventional classroom education style (because there is no limit of time and space). I hope there are more this kind of online activities in the courses at school that stimulate the student's creativity and change the learning experience.