Our own community participation. #mscedc March 03, 2017 at 07:48AM
As the Community Cultures Block is ending I’ve been reflecting on how communities are formed. This picture reminded me that there are sub-communities within communities. I wonder how these sub-communities support or detract from the wider community.
Thank you so much for your positive feedback. I have to say that I really struggled with the ethnography: firstly I became embroiled in ethical questions and then I wasn’t able to get permission to quote the course participants. Brilliant of you to make the connection with Sterne – I didn’t! And yes – anxiety and a sense of being disorientated by the hubbub and volume of activity are responses which I’ve frequently experienced both on the MOOC and in this module!
I had to be pushed by my partner to include the personal images: it sits uncomfortably with me to blend my private space with this public one (I know that this is something which you reflected on in your own lifestream (http://ift.tt/2lzTVtX)) but he felt that I needed to reference why the medium of the MOOC wasn’t working to deliver the sort of mindful experiences which I get from other areas of my life. I think it works but I still feel a little uneasy about this ‘collapse of context’.
And brilliant that you skate: are you in a roller derby team? If not, what sort of skating do you do (way, way back, I was a figure skater; that’s something Anne Powers and I have in common). We could start an MSc skating club…
from Comments for Helen’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2lUNlAv
This is such a wonderfully rich artefact again. I really loved how you incorporated the themes around body from Block 1 into Block 2. You brilliantly supported Sterne (2006) by incorporating the sound of typing, breathing and a heart beat to demonstrate how over-whelming and anxious being involved online can sometimes seem.
I also loved that you gave a us a glimpse into your personal life too. I took up rollerskating last year and I saw you are able to skate, so that’s something we have outside digital education in common. I’ve found this block particularly interesting because communities seem to grow better by incorporating the personal. Really lovely work. 🙂
from Comments for Helen’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2lyKI4O
I’ve been having a look at your blog over last few days and it’s really easy to read. In the mass of information that is a lifestream, this is no easy feat. I think the one of the challenges as a lifestream blogger is to try and contextualise one’s thoughts so that they form a coherent narrative that others can understand. I think you’ve done this really well. I’m jealous of how easy it is to find everything. I wish I could do something similar but while I’ve tried to juggle content and interacting with the community, the technical functionality of my blog has fallen behind.
I thought I’d stop and comment on this particular post because ‘The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies’ shop from you image is a minute’s walk from my flat in London. I’ve gone past the shop hundreds of time and always wondered about the fantastic things they sell. 🙂
The feelings of anxiety and exhaustion are not yours alone. I think we all feel the time pressures and insecurities of having to produce work that is of a very high standard. It is increasingly demanding to have to reflect on our own learning and that of our EDC community’s whilst studying thousands of others in our different MOOC communities.
When I stop to consider the amazing work that is being done by our peers, I am in awe! Although the incredible work inspires me and I get to see brilliant things I would never have thought of, I start measuring myself against others and my insecurities get the better of me. I make unfavourable comparisons thinking I will never be as good. What helps me overcome this is to remember some of the ideas I’ve had would never have been possible without seeing the marvellous work of others. It seems you do the same. Thanks for inspiring me to try and make my blog easier to navigate.
from Comments for Cathy’s Lifestream http://ift.tt/2lv9QJH
I was able to attend ‘The people’s meme: Populist politics in digital society’ tonight. Explaining how and why populist political communities develop within social media. #mscedc #popmemes February 27, 2017 at 07:36PM
I’m so pleased to be learning some Scottish slang. I definitely want to learn more! Maybe we could have a word of the week. 😉
Some really interesting points made about students with different needs. I think we are so focused in face-to-face education with meeting students’ needs, I was wondering how this is translated into the educational spaces in MOOCs. Is this something those educators should take into consideration, or should they run the course they want to and allow the participants to meet their own needs? What happens if those participants don’t really know what it is that they need because they don’t have the experience? It’s definitely given me something to think about.
I think having a Skype chat as a regular thing is a great idea. Good idea to set a topic, maybe give someone the job as moderator so we don’t speak over each other (something I was conscious of doing because I was so excited to chat to you guys!) Can’t wait for next time.
from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2m2tQHo
This week has been such fun! I have connected with so many different people on the course in such a variety of ways. See if you can match the images below with whom I interacted. Each picture is a snippet of Anne’s, Stuart’s, Linzi’s and Eli’s lives that I wouldn’t necessarily have found out about had we stayed in the ‘educational spaces’ of EDC.
It started out with Stuart; we had a productive Skype chat to compare notes about what we had found doing the same MOOC. It was interesting see how he approached things so differently to how I did. As we chatted I noticed that the conversation changed from the academic to something much more like the banter that exists with my colleagues at work.
I had an interesting tweet exchange with Eli which made me question whether MOOCs are still massive and thanks to connecting with Stuart I know how massive the Internet of Things MOOC actually is.
Linzi proposed a Skype chat on Twitter, which Eli, Stuart and I signed up for. This gave us an opportunity to catch up in a less formal environment than we have before. We were able to compare notes about our musings on Education and Digital Culture and the MOOCs we are doing. Conversation flowed much more easily than it did in the Hangout tutorial, I think we agreed that it is more stilted in the Hangout because we are self-conscious of making a mistake in front of everyone and looking unprepared or silly. We could relax more. It was good to hear that others also felt ‘naked’, or rather awkward and embarrassed, about having their assessed work and feedback available for all to see.
Anne and I had a chat on our WhatsApp group while we were reading the comments of our MOOC together. This was so helpful and caused us to pick out exact exchanges that have been useful when formulating our ideas. Anne also found a WhatsApp MOOC group for two-hundred-and-fifty students on IoT.
It seems these secret groups are a thing in MOOCs, as Eli shared that she was invited to join a ‘secret’ Facebook group. I thought having a WhatsApp group was intriguing as I would classify this as private space. Anne and I continued our discussion via a WhatsApp phone call on Friday, providing support and chatter about our plans for our studies.
I’ve been delving deeper into the Internet of Things (IoT) MOOC and I find it ironic that a course essentially about the communication between devices doesn’t champion communication between participants. I am surprised at how little interaction there is between participants. It is difficult to connect with others as there isn’t any social media space connected to the course. It seems the only contact people have with each other is if they ‘like’ a comment, to which doesn’t happen very often. The most ‘likes’ I’ve seen on a post, so far, is four. Participants have the ability to reply to a comment and while this occasionally does happen it seems to happen in a void where people who posted the first comments don’t reply to the thread. There is such limited potential to develop autonomous channels of communication (Stewart 2013) that much of what is communicated is repetitive and limits inquiry outside the content presented on the course.
This apparent lack of communication has led me to question the whether educational communities can be established in an xMOOC. I wonder how communities might be built without extended connectivity. How do those communities go about interacting if they aren’t assisted through the platform via social media? Is FutureLearn as the private platform, where the IoT MOOC is hosted, discouraging communities from connecting? Social media sites like Twitter are not being exploited, this makes connecting with others more difficult. The limited contact participants have with each other does not promote an environment of community learning.
It is also very difficult to find people with whom to connect. Comments are presented in Facebook wall fashion but it’s quite difficult to see how active a person has been. There is no search function for why they might be interested in the topic. There is no way of knowing whether they a product developer, researcher, business, or just interested in finding out more? Even once ‘following’ another participant there is no way of directly communicating with them.
Geographical location seems important for the course content because the capabilities of connectivity for the IoT is dependent on connectivity. Again, there is no way to search for people who might be able to offer suggestions or alternatives for specific geographic locations because finding out where people are based is impossible unless they put it in their profile, which most don’t.
As a participant, I have a feeling of being blind to the community in IoT because can’t see individuals. It is similar to standing in a crowded station blindfolded. I can hear the announcements (from the teacher), I can hear specific comments from other participants, but don’t know how they fit into the greater context or whether there are any real conversations happening. Which leads me to question whether people at the same train station can be considered part of a community? Ultimately they have the same place/space in common, they all will have travelled by train but eventually they will be travelling to different destinations, probably with their headphones on and trying to avoid eye contact.
How do we express what we really mean? Especially when there is much depth to the topic we are discussing. The expression of depth and meaning was quite challenging when making our visual artefact. This is evident through the conversations that have subsequently transpired. The intention of the creator is not always the same as the interpretation of the reader or viewer. Getting meaning across is no small feat! I struggle with this when writing academically and it was exacerbated further when I tried to portray my critical thinking in a picture.
It was while I was grappling with ‘online interaction’, ‘initial assumptions’ and ‘developing nuanced understandings of the online social world’ (Kozinets 2010) of participating in the online community that is Education and Digital Cultures, that I had a discussion with two other participants that left me utterly perplexed. Perhaps this is what Kozinets (2010) meant about ‘interpretive social cues'(p 24) developing between communities. The discussion is below:
What ultimately left me perplexed is how a conversation started by discussing MOOCs ended up with ‘[t]he sex industry’ being ‘an early adopter of new tech’. Did I miss something? Some earlier conversation where this would make sense? Is this part of the heirachy of our own online community of which I am not a part? Perhaps I’m looking too hard for meaning and this is simply an effort to build rapport in our online community. It’s lead me to question; how do we construe meaning from online exchanges that are less than 140 characters long? Is what we are trying to express being accurately conveyed? Do our readers/viewers understand what we mean? How do we record and interpret qualitative data objectively if a) the meaning is not clear; b) if we are part of that community ourselves?
I suppose what I’m wondering, as we head off to do our own ethnographic studies in our MOOCs, is how to construct meaning out of comments and behaviour online when it is clear that we cannot take all information we see at face value. I look forward to finding out.