For such a busy week my lifestream seems relatively quiet. Mostly, I have been commenting on other people’s micro-ethnographies, and working on creating my own: final observations, analysis of data and presenting findings. The lack of observable data generated while working on my ethnography acts as evidence to a post from last week in which I referenced Lesley Gourlay (2015): the narrative of student engagement privileges publicly observable ways of being a student and undervalues quiet, solitary acts. Yet, in the end, the product of my silence is observable – both in the prezi-come-video ‘breaking up with MOOC’ and the wordier, text-based sway presentation ‘looking for community’.
Key themes arising out of my own ethnography and those of my peers included:
- an instructionist or behaviourist focus and transmission pedagogies (Dirk)
- discordance between subject matter and delivery (Helen)
- constructionist pedagogy and participant formation of connections around the materials within their own, place-based communities (Clare)
- The scale of the MOOC, course design and student motivations impeding community formation (Stuart)
- the potential to enrich and strengthen community through an expansion of participant roles to teachers, contributors and storytellers, and the role of personally meaningful disclosure in creating a sense of kinship (Anne)
- the role of the LMS/digital infrastructure in opening up or shutting down participant interaction (mine)
- the impact of shortness of time and lack of anticipated future interaction on the developmental progression of communities (mine)
- the importance of personal motivations (Dirk, Linzi) and validation (Linzi)
- financial incentives for MOOC providers (Linzi)
- the role of empathetic listening in community building (Anne).
In other (non-comment/non-ethnography) posts, connections were made to some of the ideas arising out of the ethnographies. From Pinterest, a connection was made to the importance of empathetic listening in building a MOOC community, as well as to the value of facilitating location-based communities for MOOC participants. Another Pin, from Martin Weller, focused on the need for financial sustainability in order to make MOOCs viable. Through Diigo, I shared an article which gave me insight into research approaches for examining social learning within MOOCs.
And now: onward to algorithmic cultures!