block 2 readings

image by Canton Public Library:

As with block 1, the core and secondary readings for this section of the course are available here.  Some of the chapters and journal articles are copyright protected so you will need to be logged in via EASE to access them.

You will need to read the three Core readings over this 4-week block, alongside undertaking your MOOC micro-ethnography. The Secondary readings will provide important examples of current MOOC research, which will be invaluable to your own studies, so aim to read at least two of these.



Knox, J. 2015. Community Cultures. Excerpt from Critical Education and Digital Cultures. In Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. M. A. Peters (ed.). DOI 10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_124-1

Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge

You will almost certainly find this entire chapter very useful as we make the transition into block 2 and notions of community cultures.  However, in particular you should focus on:

  • 3.16 Wiki worlds and Web 2.0 p204-209
  • 3.17 Identities and communities online p209
  • 3.19 Belonging p213-216
  • 3.21 The Internet and the public sphere p218-220
  • 3.22 User generated content: we are all fans now p221-222

Taking a media studies approach rather than one specifically aimed at the ‘online’, this chapter will provide an important grounding for our considerations of community cultures in this block.

Kozinets, R. V. (2010) Chapter 2 ‘Understanding Culture Online’, Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. London: Sage. pp. 21-40.

This chapter gives an excellent overview of the ways in which communities have been theorised and studied online.  The descriptions of early research in this area will provide important context for our interest in community cultures during this block, and the focus on ethnography will help ground your micro-studies of MOOCs.

Stewart, B., (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Technology, 9(2), pp.228–238.

There has been a lot written about MOOCs recently, however Stewart’s paper offers a critical and nuanced view of this emerging field, which will help you to gain a sense of the wider debates and contexts related to your micro-ethnographies.  Importantly, Stewart’s arguments are based around particular ideas of participation and community that will relate to the broader themes in this block.


Marshall, S., 2014. Exploring the ethical implications of MOOCs. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.250–262.

An important part of your micro-ethnographies will be the consideration of ethics in research, and Marshall’s paper offers a number of interesting perspectives on this in the context of the MOOC, and a useful heuristic for work in this area.

Fournier, H., Kop, R. & Durand, G., (2014). Challenges to Research in MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), pp.1–15.

This paper is concerned with the ways research might be conducted on MOOCs that are more distributed and operate on the open web.  While there is some quantitative analysis in there, this will be  important reading if you are studying a ‘connectivist’ style MOOC for your micro-ethnography.

Adams, C. et al., 2014. A phenomenology of learning large: the tutorial sphere of xMOOC video lectures. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.1–15.

While perhaps not strictly ethnographic, this paper offers an interesting analysis of the video lecture, pointing to the potency of this medium for many MOOC participants.

Baggaley, J., 2014. MOOCS: digesting the facts. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.159–163.

Baggaley provides an interesting critique of the MOOC here, drawing comparisons between the fast food industry and this emerging educational format.

Hine, C (2000) The virtual objects of ethnography, chapter 3 of Virtual ethnography. London: Sage. pp41-66

Hine’s seminal work on virtual ethnography will provide you with important context for your micro-ethnographic explorations, and will be an interesting comparison to the core Kozinets reading.

Michael Wesch’s Digital Ethnography blog [web site]

Wesch’s work with Digital Ethnography offers some useful examples of artefacts and ways of presenting your ethnographic work.