Lifestream Blog – Final Summary

My lifestream blog contains a blend of sourced and composed resources that reflect the key themes of Education and Digital Cultures. To fully explore each theme I conducted a series of practical exercises to gain insight from both an institutional and individual perspective. The content of my blog highlights many different points of view on each theme and is reinforced by experimentation that ultimately allowed me to construct knowledge of each topic through experience.

I was intrigued by cybercultures and the concept of posthumanism. It would appear that the human race is no longer satisfied with colonising digital territories and now seeks to infuse technology with our minds and bodies. I learned of an ethos that digital is better and that mechanical intervention will inevitably lead to progress whilst acknowledging the antithesis and realising that this may not always be the case.

The political and economic factors (Lister et al 2009) influencing digital education also intrigued me. This was most evident in my micro-ethnography where economic gain was the driving force of the MOOC in which I participated. My micro-ethnography would suggest that there are indeed limitations within a LMS that contribute to the perception of online community cultures, but that they only exaggerate circumstances that often originate out-with digital spaces.

As with most scenarios where the physical and digital worlds intersect there are inevitably ethical considerations to acknowledge. I noticed that ethics was a recurring theme throughout each block of the course, be it the ethics surrounding cyborgs, online communities, and analytics and big data. I learned that that no matter how great and efficient digital cultures make us, we are still human beings with qualities and principles that cannot be expressed digitally – ethics and responsibility being the two most relevant to the course.

Throughout the course I have questioned if, as human beings, we are supposed to benefit as individuals from digitisation – particularly when studying algorithmic cultures. In studying my own performance and analytical data from an online learning activity, I gained experience of the impact that exposure to learning statistics has on students. I realised that whilst big data and analytics support the notion that digital is better, within education this may only ring true for the institution and not the individual. This was an invaluable experience in connecting my understanding of the course themes to the content of my lifestream blog.

My lifestream blog shows the ubiquity of digital cultures in business, politics, education and everyday life. Our internet browsing trends, shopping habits, and social media interactions are being shaped and influenced by digital trends set by computer interpretation of our behaviours and actions. Education is merely another strand of life that is being made more efficient, accessible and available by digital intervention.

On conclusion, one could also observe a shift in digital culture over time. In the early stages the purpose of digitisation was to assist humans to do basic tasks. This gradually evolved into doing machines performing complex tasks and exceeding the limitations of human form. In the present, we are using technology as an alternative form of intelligence and as a tool for efficiency and predicting the future. Certainly, if transhumanism and cyberpunk ideologies come to pass, then the human form will play a lesser role in both education and the wider society.


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.

Week 11 – Weekly Synthesis

This week I have been reading through my Lifestream blog and tidying up my tags and metadata.

In a way I have been analysing some fairly low key learning analytics on myself. After adding and editing the tags on all of my posts I was able to quickly identify and notice the key themes that I have studied over the duration of this course. Until recently I had considered basing my assignment on algorithmic cultures and their influence in shaping digital education. However after reviewing my tags I noticed that over the last 11 weeks I have shown the strongest and most interest in community cultures – particularly within MOOCs. As a student, it was the first time I have been able to use data to make an informed and proactive decision about my studies with no influence from my tutors or the University as an institution.

I used the rest of this week to dabble in some of the less popular themes within my blog, such as the use of music in education. My tweet referencing a blog that draws metaphoric comparisons between MOOCs and music albums killed two birds with one stone. I was able to revisit the music themes whilst exploring the use of metaphors with community culture.

I have also visited the blogs of my peers to see what technologies have been used over the course to create artefacts and ethnographies in the hope to find some inspiration for presenting my digital essay.



Week 9 – Weekly Synthesis

Week 9 already! Wow!

This week’s Lifestream activity has been dominated by the group ‘Tweetorial’ in which we investigated some topics and issues highlighted in the recommended viewings and readings. In summarising my Tweetorial activity, I would note that I contributed to discussion threads surrounding the following key themes concerning Big Data and Learning Analytics (LA):

  • Ethical considerations
  • Social media influence on algorithmic culture
  • Big data influence over students
  • Algorithmic pattern identification
  • Dependence on analytics

I felt it essential to explore the vastness of Big Data and to consider the implications of identifying patterns when it is analysed. I felt that this week’s recommended material focused on either how data was gathered/analysed or the resulting consequences for students. Therefore, I became increasingly interested in the gap between big data and hypotheses and what new knowledge we can discover from the space in between. My ‘Analyzing and modeling complex and big data’ post attempted to address this issue.

Following on from the ‘Tweetorial’ I was motivated to explore some of the issues raised to put them into a relevant context. My ‘Learning Analytics – A code of practice’ post summarised my investigation into a JISC funded LA project in which the project team addressed many (if not all) of my concerns around ethics and student intervention. In hindsight, I had only really considered LA from the perspective of the institution and the learner – not of the individual as a person.

It was another enjoyable week and I’d like to thank my tutors and peers for a very engaging Tweetorial.