My Micro-Ethnography and Week 7 round-up.

Here is the link to my Micro-Ethnography.

I created it using an “artificially intelligent” web design package. This is part of its editing facility:

I spent too long on this exercise at the expense of other things (such as tidying up this blog) which was not what I intended. Nevertheless,  I feel like I have an understanding of Kozinets (2010) and an appreciation for other netnographers that I did not start with. I’d need to suck up my guts and get on with sorting niggling bits of grammar, spelling and structure for an assessment. As it is, I think it stands well enough for the kind of “low-stakes” exercise we’ve been asked for. I’m both happy and annoyed with it at the same time. I like it for what it is, and what it represents, and I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to do more in the time that I had.

Week 6 otherwise has been quieter on the life-streaming front. I followed in the footsteps of Fournier, Kop and Durand (2014) and tried out Nvivo. Which I share their reservations about (for another blog post, perhaps). In the end I just eyeballed my data and counted in my head….

I checked out the excellent micro-ethnography submissions from my EDC cohort, and managed to get comments through from their blogs on to mine.

I’m interested in pursuing something around Virtual Reality and community for my assessment, so I’m trying to pull in relevant articles in to my lifestream.

Categories are set up for most (if not all) my posts, which I’ll need to do something with, but for now they can be selected to filter down to some of the themes of my lifestream.

On to block three…

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

Comments for Linzi’s EDC blog

Comment on A Mini-ethnography by cmiller

An automicrowebnography! Very nice presentation style too. It really helps to provide pace to your writing.

I’m very interested in your experience initially, as I’m looking through a lense of parts of Kozinet’s work for my ethnography. My finding for my mooc seems to place the community at a very different place from my experience.

When I see your response from the community, I’m more sure that my own conclusions could well prove to stand up to more rigorous debate: namely that we need a specific matrix to account for MOOC communities. They just do not seem to behave like “normal” online communities !

from Comments for Linzi’s EDC blog

Comment on A Mini-ethnography by cmiller

What I mean is that your experience with the community on your mooc and my experience with my mooc appear to be polar opposites, but neither, I think, are adequately covered by the matrix presented by Kozinets!

from Comments for Linzi’s EDC blog

Comment over on Eli’s EDC blog

Comment on Tweet! IFTTT tools that we would recommend by cmiller

I tried to get YouTube playlist and IFTTT working together, but it didn’t work.

I’m loathe to use the “liked” function with youtube because I’d spend more time removing junk from my blog, than I would save from manually cutting and pasting my video link directly. Which is what I’ve taken to do.

I am very impressed with the layout and legibility of your blog though. Something I aspire to, but time is not my own at the moment.

I’m a bit annoyed at the restrictions on our WordPress tbh. We can’t apply our own templates, edit CSS or really do much with it other than pick a theme… or am I missing something!



from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog

Comment on Lifestream, Tweets by cmiller

Excellent production. Not sure if it was intended, but with the audio quality as it was, I felt I was actually eavesdropping on your conversation rather than watching a youtube video!

The idea of MOOCS getting in the way of conversation I’m not sure about. It’s not like our MSCEDC discussion forum is a hotbed of informed debate either…

from Comments for Renée’s EDC blog

Data – The Machine Will Out

“With a high volume of data, there was no other choice than to utilize a computer program to aid in organizing the data and increase rigor by coding all data systematically” (Fournier et al, 2014 p6).

Thanks to MOOCs, which are made possible via computers and the Internet, the data sets generated can be so vast that there is “no other choice” (ibid) to use a computer to analyse the results. Fournier recognises the shortcomings of the “restrictive nature” (ibid) of such tools but carries on with them regardless.

The software used was NVivo (see QSR video below). Does the software claim to be more than human? It seems like it.

“Maximize your knowledge. Gain an Edge, and make better decisions ” (0:24).  Not just “better” but this software actually “helps you make intelligent decisions”(0:40) so you can “make robust decisions faster” (2:40) and “uncover insights faster” (4:09). “It’s the perfect option to start your research journey” (1:20).

This one was interesting though: “discover emerging themes, patterns and sentiment in minutes” (2:27). Sentiment! Interpreting sentiment is surely the domain of the human. Should we leave software to “[count] particular words, rather than interpreting them as a human researcher might do?” (Fournier et al, 2014 p6).

Fournier et al argue that human and machine working together is preferable for research in and around MOOC contributions. So I’m now signed up to a 14-day trial of this tool and I can see whether or not I feel my knowledge is “maximised”, an “edge” is gained, and my quick decision making is “better”, “robust” and “intelligent”.  This will form part of my micro-ethnography submission, I hope.

QSR International Video source:

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

Without the internet I would not have learned what I learned tonight…

….Without the internet I would not have required to have learned what I learned in the first place.


I then set about creating a birthday wish with some video and images for my brother-in-law. It got a bit out of hand. I enjoyed learning what I needed to learn in order to create. I used YouTube, blogs, online discussion forum and some web pages to figure out techniques around Chroma Key, simple animation of images, cross-channel fades, downloading youtube videos….. I then posted it to Facebook so that my brother-in-law and his facebook friends could view it.

The end result itself for this course is not entirely relevant, but the skills I have learned tonight are exceptionally useful. Learning by doing. If you have the motivation to put effort in to something, then you will go the extra mile. This is why some technology, despite its obvious novelty value, is of great value in the classroom. Once you hook someone in, be it through motivation of progressing or changing status in a community, or just because something is fun initially, it can result in a great deal of satisfaction for the learner. No doubt for the teachers too, who see students getting to a new level of understanding without having to battle against unwillingness to learn.

Community in MOOCS should provide that backdrop. A motivation for learning. Appeal to those who can form connections out of nothing more than keypresses and internet communication. By  fostering community, the basic social need to be heard, to be seen, to be understood can be met.

Anyways, here’s the rather random outcome of my brother-in-law’s birthday wish.

Media Sources:

Soundtrack and some video clips:

Broforce PS4 game footage:

Greenscreen effects:

Week 6 – Round Up

This week has been about my micro-ethnographic course over on Future Learn. I’ve been thinking about the ASPIRE framework, which is a good attempt at structuring workflow in advance of creating a bottom-up reusable learning object. I don’t know if I should be posting my comments from over there to my blog here or not. Perhaps they’ll be out of context, or perhaps not, or at least no more than some of my twitter posts and discussions with course-mates here on EDC.

I have been reading from the block’s secondary readings and thinking more about ethnography in the digital realm. I’m ready to start pulling together my report.

I’ve added some further videos to my playlist this week, but I can’t get around IFTTT and YouTube, so I’ll have to post them individually as I go, which is an inconvenience. This week’s videos have mostly been about or including virtual reality headsets such as the HTC Vive. One example from China includes the future of shopping. Many communities form around retail experience. I  will take a look at such communities forming in VR sometime next week.

Some of my images have been looking back, perhaps with some nostalgia, over what community was before the internet. With posts I might go back and title “how to community“; “remember when…” and “Is this on the internet of things?” I am enjoying taking time to consider how, after all we claim tech has changed our life, we’re still people, who need to eat, think, be creative and clear snow.

I also have grown to particularly dislike my current blog template (and IFTTT). Having looked at others on the course, my design sensibilities (such as they are) have returned to my blog somewhat offended by the lack of formatting, consistency and all. At this mid-ish-point, I intend to overhaul and extensively tidy my blog next week.

Micro-Ethnography – formation of a community and/or groups

I’ve been participating in the University of Nottingham’s excellent reusable learning objects course, which is actually entitled “Designing E-Learning for Health”.

For my micro-ethnography, I am currently looking at two possible routes.

The first is to take a snapshot of comments from two different stages in the course (beginning and middle, most likely as the course is still underway) and see if it’s possible to attribute each comment in a single activity to a position on  Kozinet’s matrix as I discussed with my blog tutor, James, in the Week 5 round-up.

The course has  also now offered participants a practical challenge. I wonder if it’s possible to look at tracking somehow, the formation of the groups through the comments section of each week. I’m not sure if this will be practical to achieve in the time frame, but I possibly might find that information easy enough to pull together when I’m looking at the Kozinet’s frame work and pulling in some ideas about how the community is forming, its nature and so on.

I also have some ideas about presenting some quantitative information surrounding the discussion analysis in Minecraft, but I’m probably just making a rod for my back. We’ll see how time goes.

From Twitter – Blue-sky thinking before technological pragmatism


From Twitter – Black Mirror

Black Mirror is constant stream of relevant sci-fi for Education and Digital Cultures. My wife watches it more often than I, but I’m struck by the themes and the dark twists that the series seem to enjoy. I will watch more over the summer…


From Twitter – community formation

I’ve been very busy at work this week, but community is really taking shape in my micro-ethnography subject course, as well as some items of work. Creating community is also something that some old gaming friends of mine are attempting to achieve. The coincidence piling through at this time was quite remarkable, hence the tweet.


From Twitter – a cautionary tale from a dysfunctional online community


Virtual reality, community and story telling

I’ve been busy at work preparing for a practical demonstration and a talk about Virtual Reality. The talk is primarily aimed at Marketing MSc students, but I’ve been able to draw some of it back to this course.

I’ll dissect this set of slides at the weekend, but here’s a video I found particularly compelling from a community perspective. Stories are absolutely essential to the fabric of any community, I argue. Online perhaps more-so.

There’s more on story telling, community and VR to come, but I also have to go back and add some meta data to the most recent Pintrest stream.


From Pinterest – “Every day is a School Day” in an online community

I had never heard of this simple technique for long multiplication, so this meme hit home.  When off-topic pieces of information are shared within existing communities, it can often lead to more than one person learning something new. “Every day is a School Day”.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Funniest Memes –

From Pinterest – How to build community

For each of the steps applicable to a community “IRL” (in real life) there is an equivalent step possible for an online community. People are people:

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: This is how things USED to be in my grandparents’ time… how sad that we have to be told how to get back to a simpler, more fulfilling way of life.

From Pinterest – Online communities eventually take shape offline too

Perhaps it’s human nature, but I’d be interested to find examples of online communities that haven’t at least talked about meeting IRL (in real life).  Here’s an example of a very successful community that exists both online and offline.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Maker Movement Infographic

From Pinterest – Dealing with problems in online communities

I found this info-graphic and thought it seemed to have sensible advice about how to deal with the instances where the community does not meet some reasonable levels of netiquette standards.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: How To Manage Negative Social Media Comments #infographic #SocialMedia #communitymanagement

Remember where you’ve come from

In examining the recent past, it can help us appreciate what we have now. Appreciating what we have now is important because we should never take our situation for granted. Communities and technologies come and go, but underlying principles remain the same. Whether you have bookmarks or index cards, you still need to know how to find what you’re looking for. Communities surrounding practice also need to record their history. Your motivation to do so will depend on your engagement, and ambitions for that community and your place in it.

Just Pinned to Future: Google google Dewey Decimal System

From Pinterest – we’re not global yet, the digital divide

The internet may span the globe geographically, but it’s a long way short of spanning all of the planet’s inhabitants.  When wrapped up in your own online bubble, it’s very easy to forget that there are still billions of people who will never access the internet that day, or perhaps ever. The digitial divide is real.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Where Should You be Active Global Social Media Usage Stats for 2017

From Pinterest – A cheeky reminder that technological progress is not always for the best

Forgetting the old ways?  Community helps keep our feet grounded and reminded that some of the answers we have come up with are actually worthwhile.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Solar-powered laundry dryer!

From Pinterest – information overload

Great ideas can occur when you’re not actively engaged in seeking them. The fear of forgetting something important leads us to ever more pervasive forms of communication with the online communities we are part of. This PhD comic strip is not explicitly about community, more likely the protagonist is engaged in solo pursuits via a word processor, but the concept is sufficiently general to transfer to all ideas, their formation, and recording.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Where’d the idea go!

From Pinterest – at the root of it all is an idea, possibly even a creative one

I feel there is something of a point to be made about the lifestream in this comic strip. We are encouraged to look evermore at multiple media types, and bring in visual (and aural) interest to the blog, but ultimately, it’s the idea at the core of it all that is trying to germinate through the layers. I feel it helps me to take hold of otherwise abstract ideas in readings, but perhaps not everyone feels that way.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Wow, ANIMORPHS-NOVEL.RTF? Just gonna, uh, go through and delete that from all my archives real quick.

From Pinterest – reading online

There’s something to be said for printing out readings and sitting in a comfy chair to consume them.

Just Pinned to Community Cultures: Maybe we should give up on the whole idea of a ‘back’ button. ‘Show me that thing I was looking at a moment ago’ might just be too complicat…

Week 5 Round-up

This week my chosen open course started “EXPLORING E-LEARNING FOR HEALTH” from the University of Nottingham.. I do not want to say too much more about that until I’m ready to consider my research. I’m keen to see if it’s possible to track or map the community using the matrix presented by Kozinets:

I’ve also been interested in the tensions outlined by Lister et al between politics, commerce, culture and the development of the internet. Sub cultures that are not really counter-cultures as such, but often wide-spread communities for like-minded people to express themselves without being stigmatised. Arguable, a powerful draw of all users of the web. Equally, the internet also provides the means under which such sub-cultures (such as “weeaboos”) become placed under intense, sometimes unwelcome or unfair, comment and criticism. Drawing this back to education I am minded that within classrooms virtual or physical, but particularly large classes as offered by MOOCs, there will be a multitude of backgrounds drawing people to the “open” mode of study. The true nature of which is not always evident either when being a “newbie lurker” (see above diagram) is always an option.

I’ve tried to use Twitter more this week. I’m starting to recognise names of my fellow students and look forward to reading their input or posts, which also suggests our community is starting to take shape, at least in my mind.

We had our Hangouts seminar this week two which I found to be very useful. I’m starting to get in to the habit of supplying meta data on most of my lifestream posts that are not self-descriptive at least.

p.s. I also note that I did not supply a week 4 roundup, which I’ll get to next week.

Communities, communication, creation; a song for MSCEDC playlist

There’s a short story called “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury that fits the themes of block one. A story about… well let’s just say it’s a chilling story about breakdown of family values, set in a world filled with technological marvel that doesn’t seem so far away from where we are today. How the creation of the lyrics came about fits neatly in block two…

Chris James online had picked up the lyrics from the music producer’s Deadmau5’s soundcloud. The music producer’s fans made the artist aware of the “fan” creation via text chat in the stream. That moment is recorded here [NSFW]:
Here are the lyrics that got Deadmau5 so excited:

The world that the children made

Happy life, with the machines
Scattered around the room
Look what they made, they made it for me
Happy technology

Outside, the lions run
Feeding on remains
We’ll never leave, look at us now
So in love with the way we are
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
Every night, they rock us to sleep
Digital family
Is it real, or is it a dream?
Can you believe in machines?
Outside, the beating sun
Can you hear the screams?
We’ll never leave, look at us now
So in love with the way we are
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world that the children made
The world
And here’s the final music and official video.
It’s well worth reading the story, watching the video of the “eureka” moment, and also watching the final video. The order you do that in is up to you! I hope you enjoy.  Certainly it’s a great set of events. The result is what has now for me at least, transcended from a song I knew, to a very memorable track.