Did you ever see such a thing in your life(stream)? Week 6 summary

WEEK 6?! How has that happened?! Sorry, I digress.

My focus this week has been the micro-ethnography task, so the lifestream has taken a bit of a back seat, which probably isn’t the best use of my time, but I’m enjoying it. And I also realised that I’m definitely falling behind in terms of contact with the other people on my course so this is my note to self to get going on that this week. (I started, by the way, with a couple of tweets; this one to Dan, for example). Sorry, I digress, again.

But to the lifestream. There have been two main themes this week, I think. The first, and probably the dominant one, converges around the notions of publicness and privateness; I’ve been thinking about disclosure and exposure, and how these might be seen to intersect with power and privilege. There was an article in the Independent, for example, about the ‘protected speech’ rights of AI, and it raised issues around the collection and distribution of personal data, and framed it in a corporate context.

There’s some crossover here with the micro-ethnography work I’ve been doing – a sense, perhaps, that responsibility for the protection of personal data lies with the potential distributor (with Alexa, or with me as researcher), regardless of how willingly it is shared by the person(s) to whom it relates. This linked into my consideration of the ethical and human ramifications of my lack of self-revelation in the discussion boards I’m studying.

The second, but connected, theme centres on assumption and presupposition, and how this might impact upon our views of disclosure and exposure. An article in The Guardian, for example, focused upon the revelation of prejudice even in situations where we’re anonymised; and I spent some time considering my own biases as a researcher in the MOOC.

Both themes were brought together, ultimately, in a blog post about MOOCs and what openness means in relation to them. At the core is the sense of how nebulous and multifaceted the concept of ‘openness’ can be, and the perils, perhaps, of being swept away its more positive connotations.

An open door, looking out onto historical monuments