Lessons learnt: What micro-ethnography has taught me about research. Week 6

So many MOOCs

I persevered with the Internet of Things (IoT). I tried to become part of the community and searched for meaning in the comments. I did not find anything that was able to inspire me. I was bored and found myself avoiding the course. I did some of the activities to try and gain a better understanding but ultimately focused on participation or lack thereof. Whilst reading the comments in the IoT, I struggled to make sense of what was written. I was frustrated. I did not interact with others or actively participate in situated learning and I was not interested enough to apply critical perspectives to my participation (Stewart 2013).

I wondered why I found it so difficult to engage. I decided to try another course. I enrolled on to two other MOOCs; FutureLearn’s Teaching Literacy Through Film (TLTF) and Coursera’s Writing in English at University.  I chose these because I have knowledge of the content and I could focus more on the community and participation. I realised quickly that Writing in English at University was a poor choice and not ‘open’ as participants are required to pay for interaction.

TLTF appealed to me as I have used films in class to assist with literacy. I noticed a difference in the course almost immediately, it was more transparent, participants were encouraged to share personal information, there was discussion between participants, the atmosphere was friendlier and community more generous with their interaction. I was surprised to find that I wanted to be there. It did not feel like a chore unlike the IoT.

By changing MOOCs I discovered:

  1. being engaged with what we are researching makes it so much more meaningful
  2. if something is not working while you research, try something new
  3. communities can be both selfish and generous
  4. by comparing and contrasting information, we can make sense of it

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