Lifestream, Liked on YouTube: What is a MOOC?

via YouTube

In Massiveness + Open = New Literacies of Participation (2013), Stewart identified 3 integral components to MOOCs:

“the connectivity of social networking, the facilitation of an acknowledged expert in a field of study and a collection of freely accessible online resources” (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens & Cormier, 2010)

Yet, as Stewart further highlights, the story of MOOCs is often (misleadingly) told through that of online education in general, globalization and networked learning (p. 228), and the original values (autonomy, interaction, exploration, contribution) and characteristics (’emphasizing networked practices, knowledge generation, and many-to-many channels of  communication’) MOOCs subverted or overlooked. The video explores the history, nature and values of MOOCs, as per McAuley, Stewart, Siemens & Cormier’s (2010) research, in more detail.

Reading/watching this research unfold today, with the proliferation of so-called xMOOCs that frequently focus on delivery of information or course content (Stewart, 2013), it seems almost idealistic. Yet, it is true that networked technologies have the capacity (and indeed are, though less frequently) to be used in the way McAuley, Stewart, Siemens & Cormier (2010) propose: a reminder that technology cannot be separated from social practice and context.

Looking forward to observing how networked practices come into play in my MOOC next week..


Lifestream, Liked on YouTube: Success in a MOOC

via YouTube

This short video by Dave Cormier provides advice on how to succeed in a MOOC:

Screenshot from video by Dave Cormier

Since my attendance in an as yet undecided MOOC next week will be for the purposes of conducting a min-visual ethnography rather than complete the MOOC successfully, it is not all totally relevant. However, the steps/phases declare, network, cluster seem to be key to community formation – so something to look out for, and to think about with regard to my own participation.

Lifestream, Liked on YouTube: If we create female robots as perfect women, how will this affect us?

via YouTube

This video, made for a school project by Eva Oaks (a graduate in robotic facial design at Utwente), asks what the impact of “perfectly” formed female androids will be on women. Oaks highlights the body image anxiety which seems to be a cultural bi-product of our time, and the increasingly young ages and high rates at which many women are undertaking plastic surgery to “improve” their appearance [links to Miller’s (2011) assertion about the increasing plasticity of the body]. Fast forward to a time in which androids exist alongside humans: what is the impact of this on body anxiety? How will definitions of beauty be influenced?

Important questions which lay bare the cultural complexity of ever increasing technologies.

Miller, V. (2011). Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology, in Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage.