Comment on Lifestream Summary: Week 5 by hwalker

Comment on Lifestream Summary: Week 5 by hwalker

Hello James,

Many thanks for your very constructive and thoughtful feedback.

‘thanks for including hyperlinks within the summary’: I’m finding that hyperlinking is helping me too: my lifestream has burgeoned to such an extent that even I, its supposed author, can become a little disoriented within my ‘own’ content.

‘the problems that might arise when a large number of learners, displaying a range of interests, come together’: the impact of delivery at scale and via a rigid, repetitive course structure is what I want to focus on in my (auto)ethnography. As someone who has been guided through a mindfulness programme 1:1 in the past, I am struck by how the form of a MOOC is in conflict with many of the founding tenets of mindfulness practice. The tutors (and many of the participants) also overtly criticise technology as a medium which can cause distractedness and a lack of mindfulness. And yet, they are delivering via this medium. When we studied IDGBL, I explored the concept of ‘ludonarrative dissonance‘; I would argue that there is a dissonance between form and content when it comes to using a MOOC to deliver a course on mindfulness, especially as one of the stated outcomes of the course is to encourage and inculcate mindful behaviours from its participants.

‘I think and hope that she would conclude there was great variety, but as you suggest, not ‘roaming’ conversation What do you think?’ I agree: our conversations, via all of the streams, are focused tightly on the themes and the readings. I acknowledge Dirk’s point of view as expressed in the Hub, but disagree with his views on the respective roles of the teacher and student in developing an effective community of inquiry and in maintaining a vibrant, learning discussion.

‘I wonder whether there’s sometimes a temptation to designate someone’s place in a community in an overly simplistic way? …perhaps it is possible to be an assemblage of several different roles or suggested identities?’ I would, of course, respond with, ‘of course’. I think we seek taxonomies, classifications, particularly when engaged in ethnographic research. However, perhaps we should focus on behaviours – which flex, change and transition depending on context – rather than individuals. So we could, instead, talk of lurking and mingling rather than lurkers and minglers.

‘I know that other members of the group miss the sense of a single gathering space where we all get together’ Even within ‘one space’ such as Moodle, there are so many microspaces and conversation streams going on that it’s still difficult – I feel – to achieve a sense of ‘togetherness’. What I really appreciate about this course is that I’m countering my completer-finisher tendencies. I can’t participate in every conversation, comment on every blog and read every text. There are many information streams and, as you and Jeremy have both pointed out, we must take what we can from these and engage where we can, rather than feel anxiety about what we may be ‘missing’.

‘Is there something about searching for the right space online or offline space to engender a sense of community? Or is it simply a mixture of habit and circumstance.’ I haven’t really thought about space and place explicitly. It’s interesting to consider, I guess, how some of us are happy to migrate, to flit, from space to space whereas others, such as Eli and Dirk, need something more fixed and centred. I like fragments and the challenge of finding coherence in disparate parts; it feels creative.

‘P.S. I notice that you’ve changed the background on your blog: purely out of interest, is there any significance in replacing the image of a painted face with something that evokes a network of connecting lines and points?’ There were a few reasons for changing the blog theme. I did, yes, want to represent our shift towards think about communities and networks but I also wanted a design which seemed ‘cleaner’. Having looked at others’, I decided to change mine to ‘Nisarg’. In terms of thinking about spaces and places, it would, at some point, be interesting to explore the impact of the expression of the same ideas within differently designed spaces.

from Comments for Helen’s EDC blog

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