edc17 February 13,
edc17 February 13,
This was really well executed, Nigel, thank you. For me, one aspect which stands out is that you are ‘business as usual’ at your screens, complete with business attire, as the post-apocalyptic scene plays out outside. It’s as though we have already entered the post-apocalyptic age, but life continues.. which is not something I’d disagree with.
from Comments for Nigel’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2kBKt8B
In week 4 in Education and Digital Cultures we moved from cyberculture to community cultures, with a reading and preparation week for a micro-ethnography of community within a MOOC commencing in week 5 (today).
Posts in my lifestream reflected concerns about how to conduct the micro-ethnography, with a youtube video by a student outlining how to conduct a netnography (Kozinets’ 2002 term for ethnography adapted to the study of online communities) and a video of Kozinets outlining a case study of a netnography for marketing purposes. The former video alluded to the need for caution when declaring your research intentions because it can affect community members willingness to participate. Yet, such a declaration is required ethically (followed up in a post linked to a slide-presentation by Kozinets on the ethics of netnography, and discussion of the risks of ‘decloaking’ anonymised data). The difficulty of declaring research intentions unveiled further concerns about what constitutes an appropriate distance between observer and subject within netnography, which was taken up in Twitter discussion [1, 2, 3] with Chenée Psaros and through reading articles by Hine (2008a, 2008b) and Gatson and Zweerink (2004). The difference between an E3 (Hine, 2015) and a cyberspatial approach to netnography was also briefly investigated.
The notion of community cultures was introduced lightheartedly through a suggestion to Eli Eappleby-Donald that we use Hypothesis to peer annotate web documents for the course, a Twitter shout-out to a friend for advice on what MOOC to focus on, and Timothy Leary’s 1994 prediction that human communication would be taken up by ‘interscreening’. This discussion was deepened through examination of the values, ethos and characteristics of MOOCs, sparked by reading of Stewart’s (2013) paper, and followed up with a youtube clip exploring her earlier (2010) research with McAuley, Siemens & Cormier. Another idea from Stewart’s (2013) paper, that networked learning such as MOOCs can foster the development of participatory cultures and new literacies was interrogated with a focus on what counts as literate with new literacies (and on how these literacies are developed), and the role of meta-level processes in literacy (Belshaw, 2012).
— Renée Hann (@rennhann) February 13, 2017
In her paper, ‘Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation’, Bonnie Stewart (2013) proposes that:
even if many models of MOOC reflect attempts by elite gatekeeping institutions and corporate interests to maintain control, market dominance, and the right to determine what counts as knowledge (Stewart, 2012), MOOCs may none the less serve as a Trojan horse for the sociocultural development of participatory perspectives and literacies (p. 229).
Stewart’s point is that even if a MOOC (or xMOOC) holds a view of scale that emphasizes return on investment through the number of course completers and privileges notions of information delivery/transmission over communication (p. 231), if there is a capacity for networking through some kind of chat system with user profiles, users can generate their own networks which enable and foster the development of participatory cultures with the ethos of new literacies (p. 229). For Stewart, it is this ability for learners to take control over their own learning, and to be involved as producers of knowledge within MOOCs (or indeed, through any networked learning) which makes digital education potentially transformational. Community culture is key, with the Internet viewed ‘not as a technology but as a medium of human engagement’ (p. 231).
It’s noteworthy that this participatory, community driven culture is absent from the 1958 prediction, and continues to be absent in many technology driven education ‘solutions’ marketed commercially. However, it the idea that access to participatory culture (Jenkins, 2006) is the opportunity offered to education through technology also raises some questions for me. Stewart suggests that MOOCs can help to proliferate the ethos of new literacies by exposing learners to participatory learning (p. 232) – which I don’t doubt – but how are these new literacies developed? Merely through exposure and practice? Learning involves both practice and reflection (see, for example, Downes, 2017 in Connectivism and Learning MOOC), and without an awareness of what it means to be literate (i.e. new literacies literate), I wonder how this reflection is fostered.
It could be that in this thinking I am just trapped in a cycle of thinking about literacies as threshold-based skills which need to be developed rather than as social practices (Stewart addresses this on p. 232 of the same paper), but I worry that more than exposure to new literacy practices such as generating, remixing and repurposing knowledge (new and existing) is required to create the condition of (new) literacy. Perhaps my fears are unfounded, and such literacies develop through acculturation into social practices.. but nonetheless such fears bear thinking about.
— Renée Hann (@rennhann) February 13, 2017
More on the ethics of netnography. In this slide presentation, Kozinets highlights the difficulty of separating text and data from the person who generated it and asserts that, therefore, online research has to be considered research of human subjects rather than research of social space, and relevant ethical standards applied. Such considerations include attending to the possibility of ‘decloaking’ or ‘cracking’ anonymised data.
In conversation with my brother, who works in digital health research, over the last week, he suggested that a core problem is that many of the people involved in collecting data are unaware of how to crack anonymised data, and therefore underestimate the risk of this. Protecting privacy is complicated.