Week 5 – Lifestream Synthesis

Things have progressed a little slower than I would have liked this week – mainly because I had a bad cold and a busy week at work. I have however, made some pleasing progress with the course readings.

I found the Kozinets (2010) chapter very interesting and could relate to it by comparing my own experiences – of which I have blogged about. The aspects of online communities that he referenced in his publication is of high relevance to the themes that I am hoping to investigate with my micro-ethnography. I spent a little time investigating communities out with a learning environment to understand the dynamic and interaction between members of different online communities. I was able to reinforce some key themes raised by both Kozinets (2010) and Stewart (2013).

I have made some important progress with the ethical considerations for my micro-ethnography in contacting the MOOC facilitator and provider to obtain permission to conduct my research. The responses that I received would perhaps suggest that requests of this nature are quite common. I shared my findings with my peers via the Digital Education Hub in case they could be of any help to anyone else enrolled on a FutureLearn course. I am now confident that I have covered all angles and am ready to progress with my research. It is my intention, however, to check with James and Jeremy just to make sure.

I also enjoyed another group tutorial this week. I always find it really useful to hear other students thoughts and opinions around digital communities and use it as an ideal opportunity to ask my tutors questions.


Kozinets, R. V. (2010). Understanding Culture Online. In Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. (London, Sage): pp. 21-40.

Stewart, B. (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 9(2): pp. 228-238.


What makes a MOOC massive?

What exactly makes a MOOC massive?

By default I have always considered a MOOC to be massive based purely upon the large number of participants enrolling on a course. However I hadn’t really considered that it could be massive in terms of the large geographical distances that separate each student. Or perhaps the size of the course. Maybe it could be a mix of all three.

I read this short piece by Downes (2013) – a online learning researcher – who offered his thoughts:

“I’ve been asked this a few times recently, so I thought I should expend a few paragraphs describing the difference between online courses that are and are not ‘massive’. I argue, first, that it’s not the raw count of participants that’s important, but how the course is structured. It’s not simply a big course. Then given that caveat I go on to explain that a course needs 150 active participants to be thought of as ‘massive’ – this because 150 people – Dunbar’s Number – is more than any one person can attend to, and hence is a course that will resist groupish properties (such as an emphasis on sameness rather than diversity).”

I made this post in the hope that the #mscedc group could discuss their thoughts. I would, therefore, welcome any comments from my peers.

UPDATE (16th Feb 2017) – I posted this entry prior to starting the Stewart (2013) reading. I have just noticed Stewart defines “Massive” in the context of the MOOC.


Downes, S. (2013). What makes a MOOC massive? Retrieved: 15 February 2017. http://www.downes.ca/post/59842

Stewart, B. (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 9(2): pp. 228-238.