Digital Storytelling Reflections

Reflecting on my first week as a graduate student

A whole new world

My world has completely changed this week.  There are so many new things in my life.

First, my son learned to crawl this week!  He now “motors” across the living room looking for all his toys and some things that are not his toys.   We had to put away all the things that he could knock over and are trying to figure out how to manage all the cords we have in that room.

Second, I started on medication for my Multiple Sclerosis.  I was diagnosed almost three years ago, but was told to hold off on medication because we wanted to have a baby.  Now that I have a baby, and there has been more research done on some of the medications and breastfeeding, it was suggested that I start.  This medication is self injected so the drug company sent a nurse to my house to show me how to administer the medication.  I now have to inject myself three times a week for the foreseeable future.

Finally, I started my first graduate course: Digital Storytelling.  That in itself has been an adventure.  Everyday I have done something for this course, and most days this week taking my lunch break to work on my coursework.

Laurentian University, my Alma Mater
Laurentian University, my Alma Mater

I’m going to be honest here: I hated school when I was younger.  I dreaded going to class, I couldn’t wait to graduate because I detested homework so much.  I knew I had to get a degree if I wanted a decent job so I suffered through it  I started my undergraduate degree in a double degree program of Commerce and Computer Science.  I eventually dropped the Computer Science part and graduated with an Honours degree in Commerce.  My entire career has been working in higher education which I find ironic because I disliked University so much.


What did I learn?

This week I realized that I don’t actually hate school!  It has been such an eye opener to experience the life of a non-traditional student.  Every day this week I would look forward to coming home and completing coursework (I have a hard time calling it work because I enjoy it so much).

Academically, this week I learned first and foremost about literacies and digital storytelling.  I learned the history of the word literacy, why it has become so important in today’s society and the idea of new literacies  from Lankshear and Knobel’s New Literacies text.  I learned that digital storytelling comes in many different forms: Audio, Video, Visual (photography, digital images and drawings), digital writings, etc.. My view point on digital storytelling has been expanded considerably.

What did I enjoy most?

DS106 Logo
DS106 Logo

I absolutely love the learner-centered approach this course takes in the association with ds106 (an open course on digital storytelling).  I have the ability to choose which assignments to complete every week (this week’s visual assignment) as well as a choice in my daily creates (See mine here and here).  I also get to choose two digital stories to critique every week.  The only thing I don’t get to choose is which chapter to read in my textbook, and even then on week 5, I do get to choose!

I also appreciated the sense of community our instructor (@remiholden) has created by requiring us to use Twitter.  The majority of my classmates live in Colorado, I live in Pennsylvania, but I feel like this gap has been bridged by the great conversations going on via Twitter.

What were my challenges?

This week I had a tough time with the reading response.  In Remi’s welcome video he instructs us to make our reading response more of an academic piece.  This was difficult for me because I have not written in an academic style in almost 10 years!  Lucky for me my colleague showed me the Purdue OWL website, it was my lifeline for this assignment.

How do I feel about this week?

I feel that I did pretty good this week.  I organized my time very well, I did not have to compromise family time to complete my assignments.  I have been communicating with my class via Twitter and our blogs.  I’ve read the syllabus about 20 times to make sure I do everything correctly.  I would rate myself a 10 out of 10 this week.

Looking to the future

As this course ramps up I can see myself having difficulty managing my time.  I am very lucky to have a patient and understanding husband who will take on extra responsibility when I need him to.

I am especially looking forward to continuing on this journey with my classmates.  We are a diverse set of educational professionals and I’m excited to see what everyone will bring “to the table”!


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