Week 11 – Round Up

I miscalculated. Despite my thinking that Week 10 was the last round-up, it’s actually week 11!

On Monday/Tuesday Philip posted an article about how AI should be feared according to tech-entrepreneur Elon Musk, who previously announced plugging us in to the machine would keep human development at pace with AI. I’m perhaps missing something here, but fighting fire with fire has its own risks for sure.

Thursday saw Audrey Watters’ excellent talk on “Driverless Ed-Tech” and the automation of education, which is particularly relevant to my intended subject for the Digital Essay. As was mentioned by others on the accompanying YouTube chat, I found it very engaging to be online, tweeting (11 times) and discussing the points I picked up. This level of engagement would be much harder in-situ. However, where my tweets have persisted, YouTube chat transcript has not.

Week 11 included April 1st, which I do enjoy. A MSCEDC-relevant fool from NVIDIA was examined briefly in a blog post which included a tweet and the video.

Some other blog-entries were lighthearted takes on serious issues. Take this look at how relationships and community form (or not) online in VR. Not everyone jokes on April 1st however. A sober lesson that even “techno-utopians” can be weathered down by constant exposure to some elements of the internet’s wider community also featured.

I was spending time reviewing my Lifestream, and I sorted out some issues, and also revisited some “old” posts, and themes.

I was looking ahead too, not just to the Digital Assignment, but also to the rest of the year. I look forward to seeing if 2017 brings about practical application of the trends we might expect to see.

Week 10 – Round Up

Week 10, and my final weekly round-up post, chronologically at least. I’m still missing at least one somewhere back a few weeks which I’ll take time to pick up along with the general tidying up of my lifestream blog that will take place in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve added a new category of posts this week entitled “Algorithmic Culture and Turnitin“. I had intended to use these to record my activity toward my digital essay, but as I pause to reflect over the task at hand in preparation of this blog for submission, I’m not sure if that’s actually advisable. I may have to pick up my own blog somewhere else to continue with this.

This week was also one of the busiest periods of the year at my work, with the Multilingual Debate 2017 happening on-campus (Heriot-Watt University) and streamed online. The afternoon debate was around the subject of robots, so there was plenty of discussion coming up that I saw as relevant to the #MSCEDC which I combined with #MLD2017 (the event hashtag).

This was also the week of the final Hangouts session, for which I managed to use a chroma key filter to create a backdrop of a selection of images I used for my Block 1 Artefact. This went down well, but the novelty did not detract from an excellent discussion with the class, though it may have etched a resilient memory in the minds of some. I thoroughly enjoyed this session, and took a lot of notes that will be most useful in my Digital Essay.

This was also the week to reflect on the analysis conducted on the tweetorial. My official response is written, as requested. I also put together some thoughts to help me get started writing using video.


p.s. The idea of an EDC playlist still entices.



Week 9 – Round Up

All of my life-stream posts this week came from Twitter. I need to get some space from the discussion, to see how much contextualization is required for each post. Not every post I made is covered in the life-stream, at least.

The Twitter Tutorial was surprisingly taxing. Keeping track of multiple threads of discussion; trying to get across your point of view in just 140 characters, or far fewer when factoring in the Twitter furniture than comes with every post. This reminds of why I have previously decided not to use Twitter.

Examples of the themes that I picked up on during the tutorial are:

I felt the benefits of discussing my ideas with the class. Their feedback was helpful. There’s plenty to digest and consider. I haven’t reeled it all in as much as I would like. Having installed Twitter on my mobile phone, I do find that it’s quite invasive, so maybe something will pop up that I’m hard pressed to ignore. I would like to spend a bit of time reflecting on the themes raised during the tutorial and pulling in some images and videos.

Also, I have decided to pursue the use of Turnitin, similarity and plagiarism as my piece of assessment. Some form of video as suggested by James in last week’s feedback. Perhaps a mini-documentary of sorts.

Week 8 – Round Up

Algorithms are awesome. From procedural generated computer games, to making recommendations on what music I might like, I’m very much a fan of what they do having been exposed to them from a young age. I checked out Reddit which is an interesting algortihm to consider here because the algorithm works in tandem with human input to identify content which is “relevant”. In theory Reddit should provide the level of agency that Gillespie doesn’t think we can achieve. In reality, it usually just ends up with a very american view of the world.

I also wondered why, given the importance of search engines, Google can escape the same levels of ire that media moguls receive. Not that I suggest the Murdoch empire is unfairly criticised. On reflection, perhaps Google has watched and learned the issues faced by print and broadcast media.

I spend a fair bit of my time at work dealing with issues around Turnitin, so I was surprised to see it mentioned so prominently as an algorithm used extensively in Higher Education in one of the core readings. This now vies for my attention on my essay portion of this course’s assessment.

I’ve created my artefact for this week. I tried very hard to “break” the algorithm on Steam, but I think without actually buying and playing a game that I would never normally countenance, there is not much chance of that happening. I found the process of re-running the “queue” to be quite enjoyable. There’s a message of over-consumption in there too which I haven’t addressed in my video.

I also found time to begin the process of tidying up my blog, I’m sticking with this theme now, as it seems to do everything asked of it by IFTTT. I also looked at my earliest posts and started to add the meta information required.

My Micro-Ethnography and Week 7 round-up.

Here is the link to my Micro-Ethnography.

I created it using an “artificially intelligent” web design package. This is part of its editing facility:

I spent too long on this exercise at the expense of other things (such as tidying up this blog) which was not what I intended. Nevertheless,  I feel like I have an understanding of Kozinets (2010) and an appreciation for other netnographers that I did not start with. I’d need to suck up my guts and get on with sorting niggling bits of grammar, spelling and structure for an assessment. As it is, I think it stands well enough for the kind of “low-stakes” exercise we’ve been asked for. I’m both happy and annoyed with it at the same time. I like it for what it is, and what it represents, and I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to do more in the time that I had.

Week 6 otherwise has been quieter on the life-streaming front. I followed in the footsteps of Fournier, Kop and Durand (2014) and tried out Nvivo. Which I share their reservations about (for another blog post, perhaps). In the end I just eyeballed my data and counted in my head….

I checked out the excellent micro-ethnography submissions from my EDC cohort, and managed to get comments through from their blogs on to mine.

I’m interested in pursuing something around Virtual Reality and community for my assessment, so I’m trying to pull in relevant articles in to my lifestream.

Categories are set up for most (if not all) my posts, which I’ll need to do something with, but for now they can be selected to filter down to some of the themes of my lifestream.

On to block three…

Fournier, H., Kop, R. & Durand, G., (2014). Challenges to Research in MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), pp.1–15.

Week 6 – Round Up

This week has been about my micro-ethnographic course over on Future Learn. I’ve been thinking about the ASPIRE framework, which is a good attempt at structuring workflow in advance of creating a bottom-up reusable learning object. I don’t know if I should be posting my comments from over there to my blog here or not. Perhaps they’ll be out of context, or perhaps not, or at least no more than some of my twitter posts and discussions with course-mates here on EDC.

I have been reading from the block’s secondary readings and thinking more about ethnography in the digital realm. I’m ready to start pulling together my report.

I’ve added some further videos to my playlist this week, but I can’t get around IFTTT and YouTube, so I’ll have to post them individually as I go, which is an inconvenience. This week’s videos have mostly been about or including virtual reality headsets such as the HTC Vive. One example from China includes the future of shopping. Many communities form around retail experience. I  will take a look at such communities forming in VR sometime next week.

Some of my images have been looking back, perhaps with some nostalgia, over what community was before the internet. With posts I might go back and title “how to community“; “remember when…” and “Is this on the internet of things?” I am enjoying taking time to consider how, after all we claim tech has changed our life, we’re still people, who need to eat, think, be creative and clear snow.

I also have grown to particularly dislike my current blog template (and IFTTT). Having looked at others on the course, my design sensibilities (such as they are) have returned to my blog somewhat offended by the lack of formatting, consistency and all. At this mid-ish-point, I intend to overhaul and extensively tidy my blog next week.

Week 5 Round-up

This week my chosen open course started “EXPLORING E-LEARNING FOR HEALTH” from the University of Nottingham.. I do not want to say too much more about that until I’m ready to consider my research. I’m keen to see if it’s possible to track or map the community using the matrix presented by Kozinets:

I’ve also been interested in the tensions outlined by Lister et al between politics, commerce, culture and the development of the internet. Sub cultures that are not really counter-cultures as such, but often wide-spread communities for like-minded people to express themselves without being stigmatised. Arguable, a powerful draw of all users of the web. Equally, the internet also provides the means under which such sub-cultures (such as “weeaboos”) become placed under intense, sometimes unwelcome or unfair, comment and criticism. Drawing this back to education I am minded that within classrooms virtual or physical, but particularly large classes as offered by MOOCs, there will be a multitude of backgrounds drawing people to the “open” mode of study. The true nature of which is not always evident either when being a “newbie lurker” (see above diagram) is always an option.

I’ve tried to use Twitter more this week. I’m starting to recognise names of my fellow students and look forward to reading their input or posts, which also suggests our community is starting to take shape, at least in my mind.

We had our Hangouts seminar this week two which I found to be very useful. I’m starting to get in to the habit of supplying meta data on most of my lifestream posts that are not self-descriptive at least.

p.s. I also note that I did not supply a week 4 roundup, which I’ll get to next week.

Week 4 – Round Up

I week 4, I spent time going through the Block 1 artefacts of the other students. This was an enjoyable experience, and put a lot of the ideas covered in to perspective. The idea of love, rage, shame, combined with a simpler life was an interesting juxtaposition pulled in by Philip in his artefact. The sense that despite all our progress in technology, we’re not really that much further forward understand humans. As a race, we’re still very child-like. Perhaps it’s right that our evolution and emotional development requires us to make mistakes through technology. Jeremy highlighted Roxanne’s artefact, which was both excellent and sinister. My comment there is still awaiting moderation, which highlights an issue with the current use of blogs and IFTTT.

I put a lot of effort in to my Artefact for Block 1, and that actually left me a little flat at the beginning of the week, but looking at the other artefacts was a great incentive to move on. It was very much satisfying to have completed Block 1, and the feedback I received was most encouraging from Clare and others via FaceBoook.

I caught up at the end of the week 4 spending time going through some readings and pulling in comments from Lister et al; Gauntlet , and also a thought on the use of Twitter in international politics. I was also looking in to how subcultures flourish on the internet, and the how the ability to communicate around the world increases the chances of finding someone with your particular niche interest to form viable community.

For the micro-ethnography exercise, I selected my MOOC.   Helping out with a non-related tech issue reminded me about the internet is to be treasured, and that from its genesis in the military, tension and conflict between different ideologies remains a core facet of the web’s existence.

Week 3 – Round Up

This week was the first “hangouts”. I enjoyed the session. Too short by far.

My dislike of twitter is growing at about the same rate as my enjoyment of it. So that still leaves me cold.

I decided to get a bit more “visual” with my postings by setting up a Pintrest account. However, I haven’t got it working with IFTTT, so I’ll need to edit out a lot of posts without their image.

I’ve been looking at the issue of cyborgs, AI, robots and jacked-in humans with interest. I used the theme for my artifact. As it was a “low stakes” piece of work, I didn’t quite pull off what I was hoping for with respects to the content, but I enjoyed making it and thinking around what I might do later.

My musical input in to the MSCEDC playlist via twitter was a challenge. I listen to a lot of music, but struggled to find suitable suggestions until this weekend. Once you start thinking about music and the themes, it does become a bit easier.

I created a playlist on YouTube for all the items I’m watching that I think have some merit, and some of those that are not so much, I should be adding meta info against them on my blog too.

I’m thinking more about how this all relates back to education. I suspect I’ll get there by week 10.

Oh, and I failed to do any of this week in VR. I still want to try this. Next week, hopefully….

Week 2 – reflections

This week, I *think* I’m starting to get a feel for how the course is working as constructivist activity: We’re learning by “doing” to a certain extent; we’re given relatively minimal guidance whilst still being observed; we’re using community to bolster our understanding; and we’re being asked to reflect on our past experiences with an aim to realisation that what has gone the week before was the correct step.

Reading and commenting on other blog posts has been a great motivator. IFTTT has been demotivating.

I’ve posted about core readings because that gives me some grounding. It is a recognisable action carried on from IDEL assignments and blog posts. There is comfort there. I have blogged about technology, VR particularly, because all this talk of reality, augmentations, cyborgs… and I have it sitting right in front of me. Next week, I will attempt to conduct the entire #MSCEDC activity from within “virtual reality” via my HTC Vive (At least those actions which would normally happen for me on-screen). We’ll see how that goes.

I struggle with the concepts that are put forward in some of the papers. I am a pragmatist learning about post-humanism; semantics; cyborg manifestos (which I’ve yet to read). Part of me doesn’t care as long as I can produce something at the end of it. Part of me is also massively intrigued, at least about my own capacity to understand and decode.

If anyone else has access to a VR device, let me know. Perhaps we could meet up in Altspace.

Week 1 – round up

I love “new” technology. I love talking and reading about technology. Working with technology excites me because it’s always changing. I gave up on twitter some time ago for all but complaining visibly about poor customer service.  The physical act of posting in twitter represent a return for me to “old” technology, which I need to get over.

I am drawn to comment or highlight technical items from a pragmatic point of view. I see technology as a tool to achieve what I need to achieve, and when it does not do so reliably, I lose patience. Persistent errors are worth commenting on, least of all that others may avoid the same pitfall. Using If This Then That offers a means to have the machines take on some work, but I appreciate there’s a fine art to making it work well to a real human standard. But then I created the feedback loop with WordPress. I stopped that one already.

I was able to sense community with the cohort using twitter. When I reached out to my peers on the course, I was met with warmth and offers of help and assistance. That at least suggests that for those using the platform frequently, a sense of community can be built that transcends the coldness of the pixels on-screen.

Catching up with peers on TogetherTube was a good social experience, though the platform itself lacked any means to capture the discussion to aid my memory.

It’s been a slow start for me, but I’m getting there. Roll on Week 2!