building your ethnography

image by Norman B. Leventhal Map… https://flic.kr/p/55reQQ

How might you represent your work? The key criteria are that your MOOC micro-ethnography should be online somewhere, and should be referenced or included in your lifestream blog. You might choose to:

  • blog it using your blog here or another blogging environment of choice
  • make a slideshow, using whichever combination of image, text, audio or video seems most appropriate to you (see http://50ways.wikispaces.com and the Course Guide for ideas for online applications to use)
  • make a timeline, using timetoast or Dipity (again, see the StoryTools link for some ideas to start with)
  • and so on… more ideas from previous instances of the course are herehere, and here , although bear in mind that not all of these examples will be about MOOCs specifically.

This is intended to be a very small-scale ethnography, so we recommend being quite focussed on what you choose to study. MOOCs, as the name suggests, can include large amounts of content and huge volumes of discussion. It will be impossible to do your micro-ethnography on the entire community around a particular MOOC; rather we encourage you to choose a particular aspect of the course. For example, you might:

  • Choose one forum thread, and focus just on the conversations and participants involved
  • Pick one exercise or task, and consider the group activity around it
  • Direct your ethnography at a social media space associated with your chosen MOOC, such as a Facebook group or Twitter stream
  • Choose a peer assessment exercise, if available during this block
  • Focus on specific individuals in your chosen MOOC, studying their participation across forum threads or other course spaces

You might also want to focus your micro-ethnography on specific aspects of the community, for example:

  • The networks and relations between individuals
  • The emergence of dominant or marginal ideas
  • The structures and etiquettes of participation
  • An important resource, webpage, artefact, or object within the community

Remember that ethical considerations will also have an impact on how you present your ethnographic findings.

Please post a comment here, in the Hub forum, or on Twitter to let everyone know where your ethnographic representation is.

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