By: smilligan

Hi Chenée,

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)



from Comments on: Tweet: Micro-ethnography

By: Stuart Milligan

Hi Renée,

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!


from Comments on: micro-ethnography

By: lmclagan

Hi Stuart,

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.

from Comments on: A Mini-ethnography

By: Stuart Milligan

Hi Linzi,

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.



from Comments on: A Mini-ethnography

By: msleeman

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.

from Comments on: My mini-ethnography about a MOOC

By: Stuart Milligan

Hi Matthew.

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?



from Comments on: My mini-ethnography about a MOOC

Liked on YouTube: Global Digital Culture: Cultural Differences and the Internet

I stumbled across this video and in my opinion it is like watching a documentary version of the Lister et al (2009) reading. The themes, story, facts and issues are exactly the same.


Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Kelly, K. (2009). Networks, users and economics. In New media: a critical introduction. M. Lister (Eds.) (London, Routledge): pp. 163-236.

YouTube description:

Global Digital Culture: Cultural Differences and the Internet
Now, from portraits of individuals painted on canvato that vast virtual image of modern society that is the Internet,journalist Alexs Krotoski looks into the evolving face of the web,to find out what it says about who we are.

The founders of the web had a dream: they imagined the global cyber-utopia founded on the ethos of free information for all. But the problem with this vision is that it assumes that we’re all one people with the same shared ideals. But we’re not. The web isn´t neutral.It mirrors the values of those of us who go online and it reflects the ideologies of the people who design and build the services.

Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia believes shared information promotes democracy. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, says privacy is dead. And Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google have decided that the most valuable information should be determined and filtered by the crowd. These are profoundly political positions, immersed in western democratic ideas. The web that the majority of us recognise and use, here in the English speaking western world, has characteristics of our ideological and cultural values, but the Internet centre of gravity is quickly shifting away from the West.

A new Internet world is coming online. Of the 2 billion Internet users, 272 million are in North America: that´s more than three quarters of their population. But China has 485 million Internet users, the biggest number of any country. And that´s still only a third of its population. This burgeoning and colossal online community does not access the western web but it’s developed its own home grown websites like Baidu, Tencent and Sina Weibo. But perhaps the greatest difference, at least from our western perspective, is the degree to which China´s Internet is controlled by government censorship, referred to as “The Great Firewall”. It´s the perfect example of how technology can be imbued with an ideology, in this case of top-down control.
That perception of censorship…How aware are the Chinese people of this?
via YouTube