Week four Lifestream summary

It’s hard to believe we’re already a third of the way through, it’s been something of whirlwind experience so far.

I found the visual artefacts we completed this week more thought provoking than I think I would have found written pieces, for a few reasons:

  • They’re  more immediately accessible, particularly the static images
  • There’s a certain amount of ambiguity, which is open to interpretation by the viewer (much like viewing an art work)
  • I have a preference for visual representation

I’ve not had as much time to devote to the subject matter or blogging this week, with evening commitments and several house guests over the weekend.  However, I have been working my way through Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) and distilling the points raised that felt important, or that particularly resonated with me.  The first of these “Understanding the self as a networked presence has almost become a commonplace – consciousness is increasingly understood as an ‘assemblage’ in which technologically mediated communications systems are as much part of our consciousness as ‘nature’ or the body.” felt particularly pertinent to our thinking, as it links the cyberculture topic with community culture.

I’ve also signed up to the ‘Spanish for Beginners’ MOOC with ‘Future Learn’ and, while I’ve yet to fully understand the ethnography task, I have found the the introductory discussion forum is a mine of data about the participants, in most cases providing information such as their location, gender, why they’re taking the course and other courses they are enrolled on.  I have started to collate this data and I’m already seeing some interesting gender, location and motivation trends.


Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction pp.163-236, London: Routledge

3 thoughts on “Week four Lifestream summary”

  1. ‘I found the visual artefacts we completed this week more thought provoking than I think I would have found written pieces, for a few reasons’

    Interesting, and I certainly found myself nodding along with your suggestions for why this might be. The ambiguity is really important for me, as it provokes different interpretations and can generate ideas and responses. How you go about assessing on those terms is where it gets difficult, of course. In education we reward intention, not the ability to spark ideas that you didn’t intend, right? Or maybe that *is* a way to think about how we could value images.

    ‘as it links the cyberculture topic with community culture.’

    Excellent choice of quote from Lister et al. , and really great to link this back to our block 1 themes. I think this is an important critical point to take forward, given that we tend to emphasis the ‘human’ parts of network, particularly in education.

    Your MOOC choice sounds great, and you look to have made a useful start. The task is very open, and we’re not looking for any specific expertise in ‘ethnography’. Immersing yourself in the community, finding out what people are saying, and how people communicate is a good start.

    If you are ‘collating’ data at this stage, that is great. However, do think about the ethical issues here. The course site outlines these in more detail. Depending on how you might want to present your findings, you should think about how you can announce your research intentions within the course – either by contacting the course convenor, or posting within the forum.

    1. Thanks Jeremy
      >In education we reward intention, not the ability to spark ideas that you didn’t intend, right?
      Is that always the case? I’m thinking here about the arts, where the intention of a piece might be to encourage interpretation, to disrupt or even to divide. I guess the assessment criteria would be tricky, as you would be relying on the input of others who are not being assessed.

      > do think about the ethical issues here.
      I have read through the guidelines and probably need to do so again when I have a better understanding of ethnography. I’m more used to dealing with data protection considerations and I’d imagine there are some similarities. My initial thoughts were that the results presented would be very high level, so it would not be possible to identify any individuals. With that in mind I’m struggling at the moment to see where there might be an ethical issue but, as I stated previously, that might be because I’ve not fully understood the task yet!

      >Your MOOC choice sounds great
      It certainly seems to have a diverse membership and not what I expected to see. The difficult part, that I’m sure my fellow students are having to face into too, is dividing one’s time between the Lifestream blog, the community we’ve created within Twitter, the community on the Dig. Ed. hub, the community within the MOOC and, in my case at least, my work Academy’s community.

    2. I’ve just seen your post in the Dig. Ed forum, which addresses my earlier comment regarding ethnography and ethics:
      “It is worth remembering that the task doesn’t require you to directly quote others. You can be creative in how you approach documentation and representation of your community, in ways that protect anonymity and privacy.”

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