I’be spent much of my time this week “lurking” in my MOOC looking for some inspiration to base my micro-ethnography on. I’ve been toying with a couple of idea throughout the week but still remain slightly indecisive. The Baggaley (2014) reading had me considering taking a metaphoric approach to my ethnography, however the Fournier et al (2014) paper had me fascinated by the idea that a community within a MOOC is fabricated by a rich and complex mass of people with differing motivations and agendas – and as such, I feel it may be better to study it on it’s own merits.
Anyway, I call this week’s theme “Backstage”. I have been trying to look under the bonnet of my MOOC and turn my attentions to what could be going on behind the scenes rather than what first meets the eye. This was prompted by me noticing some behaviours of MOOC participants that would suggest that they are there for other reasons than to learn about IoT. The course leader kindly informed me that a whopping 8566 people are currently enrolled on the MOOC. Based on this I was able to put the size of the discussion forums into perspective and appreciate just now many “lurkers” and “newbies” are taking a passive interest in the MOOC.
I’ve also been considering what influence (if any) factors such as course design, activities and assessment are having on the community. I have noticed some closed question discussion forum prompts that are making communications between learners difficult. However I have noticed that the learners with the most “likes” on their comments often pose questions and offer experience of their own to start discussions of their own. This probably explains why I often think of the IoT MOOC as a connectivist/constructivist hybrid.
Baggaley, J. (2014). MOOCs: digesting the facts. Distance Education 35(2): pp. 159-163.
Fournier, H., Kop, R., and Durand, G. (2014). Challenges to research in MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 10(1): pp. 1-15.