Tag Archives: media

TWEET: Fixing higher education through technology

This article doesn’t reference Stewart, B., (2013) but the authors constructs some very similar arguments, focusing in particular on the part played by the media in constructing a view of MOOCs and constructing a contrasting view of the established educational establishment in Canada.  “Where professional magazines focus on the relationship between technology, higher education and profit, newspapers symbolically construct MOOCs as an easy fix for an allegedly inefficient and outdated higher education system.”

The discussion points at the end of this piece are worth reflecting on alongside the other block one readings for this course.  I think this point the author raises in particular summarises the way MOOCs are seen as arbiters of change (or at least portrayed as such by the media):

“Once MOOCs remove barriers to access, getting an education becomes an individual responsibility/ choice. When articulated with the utopian idea of the democratizing potential of digital technologies, this vision effectively leads to an individualized take on education aligned with a neoliberal vision of public goods. MOOCs become a symbol of an education system that looks more like a catalogue of products, allowing individuals to pick their favorites and build the ‘knowledge’ profile that best suits their needs.” Dumitrica, D. (2017)


Stewart, B., (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Technology, 9(2), pp.228–238.

Delia Dumitrica (2017): Fixing higher education through technology: Canadian media coverage of massive open online courses, Learning, Media and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2017.1278021

Nuggets from Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009)

The amount and diversity of the information in this core reading defied my preferred method of deconstruction into a Mindmap format.  Instead I have cherry-picked paragraphs and sentences that I felt were key the community culture topic.

“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.”

“Williams identifies three forms of communication technology: the amplificatory, that allows the spread of speech over distance; the durative, that allows its storage; and the alternative which is made up of the use of signs – that is, methods alternative to the use of speech to convey meaning (e.g. writing, graphics etc.) (Williams 1980: 55–57)”

“Williams argued that the amplificatory and durative
aspects of media (the ability to broadcast and to store material) due to their dependence on capital investment, were much less readily available outside of the control of the state and industry (Williams 1974). In fact it has been these elements which have become more widely available.”

“…the expression of the ideology of neo-liberalism has been that you can do what you want with the networks available on condition that you can pay for access and use.”

“The idea of Web 2.0 is that a particular assemblage of software, hardware and sociality have brought about ‘the widespread sense
that there’s something qualitatively different about today’s web’ (O’Reilly 2005a). This shift is allegedly characterised by co creativity, participation and openness, represented by softwares that support, for example, wiki based ways of creating and accessing knowledge, social networking sites, blogging, tagging and ‘mash ups’. O’Reilly envisions the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 as a series of technological shifts and new practices in his influential article.”

The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. From Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009) “Chapter 3. Networks, users and economics” from Martin Lister … [et al.], New media: a critical introduction p204, London: Routledge
Quoting O’Reilly, T. (2005) “‘users add value’, we will enhance the service through the traces of ourselves that we leave behind when we add data to the service. These effects should be designed into the experience ‘by default’; most of us will not want to actively add data but just by using a site information can be collected, as a side effect of our use of the application.”

“Pierre Lévy’s influential Utopian writing on collective intelligence (1997), in which he asserts that ‘networks promote the construction of intelligent communities in which our social and
cognitive potential can be mutually developed and enhanced’ (1997: 17). This notion reflects the enthusiasms of early cybertheorists and can also be seen to be very influential in the work of Henry Jenkins (2002) and Jane McGonigal (2007).”

“Operations like Wikipedia, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Digg are the poster stars for the new media era of user generated content when we will all be enjoined to be creatives in order to have a voice, a place and space in the new knowledge based digital economies.”

“Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales forecasts ‘It’s going to be a part of everyday life – creating and sharing media will be a thing that normal people will do all the time, every day, and it doesn’t seem strange.’ Matt Mullenweg of blog engine WordPress observes ‘Now you see people with no technical ability creating really amazing sites reaching audiences they would never have imagined reaching’”

“Here the technology becomes invisible in the new era of technologically mediated self expression. Content will be delivered by us, by ‘people who don’t have technical skills’, ‘by people with no technical ability’. As usual technophilia strives to make techniques, technologies and interfaces invisible, that is to say the actual flesh/computer interface somehow becomes a transparent two-way membrane rather than an experience structured through scarce resources, economics and power.” [Bold added by me]

“John Perry Barlow, […] pointed out there are
many differences between such communications and belonging to a community. There was a lack of diversity of age, ethnicity and social class. The communication was disembodied, manufactured, inorganic. The group has no common bonds of shared adversity.”

“In thinking about the meaning of new forms of online communication scholars have used this analytic triad of common relationships, shared values and shared spaces through which to begin to define online community.”

“If it is assumed that discourse shapes social reality then particular discursive practices shared by a group may be said to construct a social reality and that reality, it can be argued, would constitute a community.”

“Within this model, it is therefore possible to argue that one indicator of community might be common discursive practices represented in textual norms and behaviours.” (e.g. abbreviations, use of emoticons etc.)

“Boyd and Ellison highlight the most significant and popular areas of research into SNS as:

  • Impression Management and Friendship Performance i.e. how we ‘manage’ our self presentation online
  • Bridging Online and Offline Social Networks i.e. investigating the relationships between IRL and online communities
  • Networks and Network Structure i.e. using data from SNS to map or visualise the dynamics of network based communications
  • Privacy i.e. availability of SNS data for other uses in marketing or consumer surveillance; linked to other research on trust, the reliability of SNS information and the safety of users.”

“…in the rhetoric of Web 2.0 public sphere participation via the web and self commodification through voluntary surveillance are one and the same thing.”

“As a ‘public’ communicative space the Internet does indeed appear to offer highly specific and limited engagements – whatever your politics, whatever your fetish, a corresponding website and ‘sense of community’ can be found online.”

“As audiences have become ‘users’ and user-generated content has started to become a real competitor to traditional media the impact of the Internet on traditional media institutions is stronger than even Poster and Kellner above might have predicted ten years ago.”

“This incursion of the ‘ordinary person’ into the bastions of media privilege is experienced as both opportunity and threat by the industries themselves and has been understood by academic researchers primarily through the history of active audience studies.”

“The new technologies broke down old barriers between media consumption and media production. The old rhetoric of opposition and cooptation assumed a world where consumers had little direct power to shape media content and where there were enormous barriers to entry into the marketplace, whereas the new digital environment expands their power to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media products.”
(Jenkins 2002)  [NP: Should we now add ‘disrupt’ and ‘subvert’ to this list]