Ethnography, MOOC, Design and Serendipity

When it came to choosing a MOOC to join in order to conduct our micro-digital ethnography I made the pragmatic decision to check the weekly email from the providers that I normally ignore. Next I checked the start dates and finally I skimmed the titles to find one that was most relevant/attractive for my work. This seemed important considering I am working full time, studying on a formal course and now studying on an informal course whilst researching it – a stretch by anyone’s imagination. After this sophisticated process the winner was: Designing the Future on the Future Learn platform by RMIT University.

As soon as I began week 1 I was amazed to be hearing terms such as ‘culture’, ‘community’, ‘design’ even in the introductory video. Then I discovered that one of the mentors was an ethnographer.

As per Jeremy’s advice I introduced myself as a participant/researcher but didn’t get any reaction other than a ‘like’. Over the next two weeks I fully engaged with the course and enjoyed trying to hone my sketchnoting skills and thinking about design as a big picture and how ‘dark matter’ (a term used by Dan Hill) influences it. The tasks were orientated on visual representations and have given me several ideas of how to go about the artefact.

At this stage I thought it would be best to approach my mentor directly after hearing reading about difficulties in the Hub with regards to the ethical stance of our work. This is my first message:

She then asked for some more clarification which I provided:

This elicited a totally positive response as seeing our website really helped her understand what I needed to do. Not only did she give me the go-ahead but she has also offered help and advice and is open to further discussion as I work through. This discussion in its own right is almost an online mini-community.

All in all I hope the serendipity stays with me …

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