This week, I finally received a response from Monash University regarding my ethnographic study of their FutureLearn Mindfulness course. As expected, I will be unable to quote course participants as they haven’t provided their consent. As Marshall discusses, consent must be obtained: ‘all of the conditions of informed consent must…hold…participants must be informed in advance of the research, and all data collected and the uses made of it needs to be specified accurately and completely’ (p.257). In anticipation of this outcome, my focus had already shifted towards what James informs me is an ‘autoethnographic’ approach – focusing on my experience of being a participant in the MOOC. As I’ve reflected on already this week, I am interested in the tensions inherent in the use of a MOOC to deliver a mindfulness course and this will be the focus of my ethnography. Baggaley’s reflections on the digestibility of the ‘supersized’ MOOC content and the sense some participants have of feeling ‘overwhelmed’ is pertinent here. Adams et al’s paper suggests that the effective use of video may override some of the issues of teaching at a massive scale; however, as the paper highlights, positive feedback from engaged participants must be set against an average non-completion rate of around 90%.
In terms of our community’s interactions, Twitter continues to offer much activity, interaction on the hub has petered out. Cathy made a welcome visit to my lifestream this week. My aim next week is to roam a little more into others’s blogs. I’ve made a start here.
Adams, C. et al., 2014. A phenomenology of learning large: the tutorial sphere of xMOOC video lectures. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.1–15.
Baggaley, J., 2014. MOOCS: digesting the facts. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.159–163.
Marshall, S., 2014. Exploring the ethical implications of MOOCs. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.250–262.