block 3: Algorithmic cultures

This block will look at the ways in which large quantities of digital data, and the algorithms that operate across it, are informing contemporary culture within and beyond educational contexts. Ted Striphas defines ‘algorithmic culture’ as: ‘the ways in which computers, running complex mathematical formulae, engage in what’s often considered to be the traditional work of culture: the sorting, classifying, and hierarchizing of people, places, objects, and ideas.’

In this block we will consider this idea and its implications for digital education, approaching it in two ways. First, we will spend week 8 doing some introductory reading on algorithmic cultures and education, and some ‘playing with algorithms’ which help us understand and debate how these inform and shape our everyday learning lives.

Then we will move on in week 9 to consider a currently quite high profile educational instance of computational data and algorithm – learning analytics – conducting a ‘tweetstorm’ in which we will explore together how we might understand learning analytics critically.

Finally, in week 10, we will hold a hangout in which we will pull these ideas together before you spend the final weeks of the course in assignment preparation.

Week 8: algorithmic cultures in education

Week 9: learning analytics and calculating academics

Week 10: pulling it all together