10 thoughts on “MOOC Ethnography – The Power of Colour (but not really)”

  1. So yeah, as I said on twitter this is cool. The concision of your format makes me reflect on my own sprawling output for nethnography. I’ve never used one of these note taking/presentation type apps before. What considerations do you make when it comes to layout? Looking at yours I can see that the introductory information on the MOOC is at the top and then it goes more in depth as you scroll down. But then after that I imagine it gets more difficult to decide what goes where.

    1. Going into this block I was a bit stumped as to how I was going to present the ethnography in a creative way, but then, fortunately, the tool was actually introduced and encouraged for use by the MOOC developers themselves. Its turned out really well as it gave me a way to kind of reflect the community back at itself using its own , superficial type of imagery.Yes, I spent quite a bit of time fiddling with the layout so that it shows a deeper level of assessment of the aspects on community development as one scrolls down the page – getting to the base of the issues so to speak. Thanks again for the review!

  2. Really like your work! It is well structured, beatifully referenced, visually appealing etc. I like looking aroind, like wandering through a toy shop, discovering bits and pieces. Really really nice and informative!

  3. Thanks for this ethnography, Myles, there’s so much interesting content in there, not least that your reflection opens by highlighting that the title of the MOOC itself is a misnomer!

    ‘This netnography has been developed within the same tool (Padlet) as prescribed on the MOOC for sharing ideas and concepts on colour.’

    This is a great approach: selecting a medium to share your work that is closely tied to the MOOC itself. Out of interest, looking beyond the use of Padlet, has the presentation of your work been informed by anything you encountered on the MOOC around colour? Or did the content end up being so closely tied to interior decoration in particular that you weren’t able to take anything away?

    ‘Links to this ethnography have been shared within the MOOC community commentary so any participants will see a reflection of their community and MOOC.’

    It’s great that you’ve taken this approach, Myles. It’s one of the devices that some ethnographers use: taking their thoughts, early write-up or even final work back to the field site in order to test out their own assumptions and understanding, but also as a way of provoking further insights into the community through their reactions. For instance, if anyone does come back to comment on your reflections you might actually learn things about the community and its rituals that weren’t previously evident.

    ‘No comments so far. So does this reflect a general malaise from the community about being studied in this way? Or does this prove that no real community actually exists at all apart from a few minor networked, timing sequenced groupings that may or maynot stumble upon it?’

    I wouldn’t assume that a lack of comment means that nobody has looked at your reflections. I wonder if there is a way of accessing the analytics of Padlet or WordPress (probably too difficult, I imagine) in order to look at how many times the work has been viewed. I would suggest that many more people will view a site than choose to comment on it.

    Finally, I thought the way you weaved ideas from the literature (Kozinets, Knox) around your experiences, observations and other fragments of gathered content was fantastic. In particular I liked the juxtaposition of critical commentary alongside participant comments within the ‘Its not all swings and roundabouts..’ segment.

    Thanks again for this reflection, Myles. As Dirk has already commented, viewing it is a bit like being an excited child in a toyshop where the attention is grabbed by lots of things of interest and colour (sorry, it was inevitable that I should include that somewhere).

    1. Thanks for this detailed commentary James. It was actually quite fun at times developing this ethnography using the tool provided in the MOOC itself. Almost like it was asking to be evaluated in some way. It really lent itself to the evaluation process quite well with its ability to creatively present the various angles in the same, sort of, unstructured and messy format of the community development in the MOOC itself. It really seemed like an obvious choice for presenting the findings for EDC.

      On the reaction from the MOOC’s community itself I am both curious and somewhat apprehensive. Reflecting on the results of this process from other learners in our group its apparent that the vast a vast majority of MOOC users just dont understand that open really means ‘open’ and may be shocked by the knowledge that they are the subject of a study of this kind and could engage in about of flaming.

      I do believe there are means of determining generic page views or searches on items online without actually owning the URL but Im not sure this would actually reveal much about the actual community itself. I agree this would be most helpful.

      Dirks comment was rather a good one, particularly as the colors lend itself to a toy or sweet shop experience. This is a happy accident I didn’t even pickup on and probably a good analogy for the entire open culture of superficial browsing that is so pervasive in the OER space.

  4. Both in content and form, this is really helpful and thank you. Content-wise, having been on a FutureLearn course myself (not that I made anything of that in my ethnography) and seeing traits of their ‘style’ coming through in your work, I’m led both into your context and back into my own, which is very informative. Form-wise, you’re insightful in the use of Padlet, and for thinking about course design, it’s helpful to note the way the MOOC itself encouraged that. Very generative!

  5. Myles, I really think Padlet is a brilliant tool to have chosen for this ethnography. What I like about it is that allows you to present different ideas and areas of focus in different blocks. It’s a really effective way to demonstrate the tapestry of your netnography: the interweaving of course content, course voices and theory is compelling. I’ve used Padlet with learners before but more as a collaborative space to gather group ideas. I’ll be using your work as an exemplar of how else it can be used. Thanks for sharing your work.

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