My start to the MOOC was stalled somewhat because I tied myself in knots around gaining permission for my research. There was to-ing and fro-ing with the course convenor who himself wasn’t sure how to navigate the grey area of the ethics of netnography. He passed my queries on to his colleagues who responded with silence (interestingly, Eli has also experienced the same issues). In the end, I simply announced my intent on my profile page:
restated it in my welcome message:
and cracked on.
I think one of the ethical issues I had before embarking on the MOOC course was the notion that my presence as a researcher would affect the interactions I had with my peers. However, the number of participants on this MOOC runs to thousands. I doubt anyone is even aware of my purpose in being there. As was noted in our tutorial, however, Matthew experienced a very different outcome which he reflected on in the hub.