Thanks for such positive feedback!
I think it’s an interesting point you make about the LMS. Something I noticed very early on in my second MOOC was how differently the tool was used and I certainly think that it played a big role in inhibiting interaction.
I was really good to be able to discuss this MOOC with you behind the scenes. The interaction we had , help me identify the key differences in regards to community development and community participation.
Hi Stuart – and thanks for your comment and generous review!
I’ve added a more wordy, written format of my micro-ethnography, because, as you allude to, there are quite possibly more factors that were influential in the low uptake of communication. The short version:
-it’s a new ‘group’ – it’s probably unrealistic to expect norm formation and relational exchanges, as per Kozinets’ community progression model (2010);
-the MOOC only lasts for 6 weeks at any rate, so it is unlikely that participants anticipate future interaction, and therefore they may remain task oriented (Walther, 1997, cited in Kozinets, 2010, p. 24)
-the course is, like many MOOCs, information oriented, and prescriptive about what needs to be learned. Perhaps real participation needs to be student driven: students deciding what and how they learn (and with whom).
Heading to your blog just now.. Thanks again!
I LOVE how you have presented this in Sway. It looks great!
I’m jealous that you got to experience two MOOCs. I’ll be honest and say I was tempted to change too.
It is refreshing to read that you had a more positive experience in your other MOOC – particularly because it too was provided via FurureLearn.
I’ve read other ethnographies that suggest the community experience was influenced by the functionality of the LMS – your findings certainly suggest that this may not be the only reason – which has restored my faith in the MOOC somewhat.
I mentioned to James that our interactions behind the scenes helped to make sense of the course. Perhaps if others were afforded the same communications then their experience would be very different.
It is an very interesting point you make about the pace in which people progressed through the two courses. I fully agree that the main reason for this was peoples unwillingness to become involved in the course community.
Great work as always.
(and bonus points for using Sway)
Fantastic work as always! I love the way you have pulled your findings together.
I also focused on discussion forums for my ethnography and also noticed the affect that limitations of the LMS have over community development.
Would you say there were other factors that played a role in the poor uptake of communication between participants?
Well done again!
Motivation for me is key but I also LOVED the content. The videos were full of detail and the professor spoke to the camera as if she were tutoring you as an individual whilst manipulating slides and images at the same time. She recorded an experiment using an eye patch and it was entertaining. She couldn’t throw the bean bag at the target accurately as she couldn’t assess the position of the target properly, she was used to vision with both eyes. Another experiment involved a video of a man using inversion prism goggles over two weeks. An image is usually projected onto the back of the retina upside-down and backwards so the goggles influenced this in a way that he would actually experience the world upside-down and backwards. Simple things such as filling a cup of water was difficult for him at the start of the experiment but over time his brain began to process the information and adjust to normal function. As I said, I LOVED it.
I really enjoyed reading your work.
I was particularly interested when you said that you would see the course through to completion despite acknowledging that there are things that you find obstructive or off-putting as a learner. I considered motivators and completion rates in my ethnography so it was good to read of your experience.
I also wondered if you felt that the pre-recorded videos felt staged and over enthusiastic? The ones in my MOOC did and it gave a very strange feel.
Stuart, that’s a helpful comment about scale – ‘massive’ might not allow community, but it might not allow unwarranted policing by participants either 😉 Perhaps selfishness allows a certain freedom, even if not a sense of interaction.
Scale is a dimension I don’t remember Kozinets bringing into his analysis, and probably a significant one, too. And, as you note, it would then, as you also say, be a question of perception, too.
Great work! I really like your metaphor and think you have done a great job of presenting it visually.
I am particularly interested in your angry encounter with another learner on your course. I felt that my MOOC was so big and had such a diverse group of learners with a wide variety of motivators, that I would have been very surprised to see an individual challenged based on their reasons for being on the course. I found there to be a very selfish ethos within my MOOC and nobody seemed to bother with what anyone else was doing.
I did notice, however, that you said your course wasn’t very big.
So I wonder if people who are aware of the size of their online community behave in different manners. Perhaps the person in your encounter felt that their voice would be louder in a tight-knit community, rather than drowned out in the masses?
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