Comment on Cathy Hill’s Weekly Summary Week 6 by cpsaros

Hi Cathy,

I’ve been having a look at your blog over last few days and it’s really easy to read. In the mass of information that is a lifestream, this is no easy feat. I think the one of the challenges as a lifestream blogger is to try and contextualise one’s thoughts so that they form a coherent narrative that others can understand. I think you’ve done this really well. I’m jealous of how easy it is to find everything. I wish I could do something similar but while I’ve tried to juggle content and interacting with the community, the technical functionality of my blog has fallen behind.

I thought I’d stop and comment on this particular post because ‘The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies’ shop from you image is a minute’s walk from my flat in London. I’ve gone past the shop hundreds of time and always wondered about the fantastic things they sell. 🙂

The feelings of anxiety and exhaustion are not yours alone. I think we all feel the time pressures and insecurities of having to produce work that is of a very high standard. It is increasingly demanding to have to reflect on our own learning and that of our EDC community’s whilst studying thousands of others in our different MOOC communities.

When I stop to consider the amazing work that is being done by our peers, I am in awe! Although the incredible work inspires me and I get to see brilliant things I would never have thought of, I start measuring myself against others and my insecurities get the better of me. I make unfavourable comparisons thinking I will never be as good. What helps me overcome this is to remember some of the ideas I’ve had would never have been possible without seeing the marvellous work of others. It seems you do the same. Thanks for inspiring me to try and make my blog easier to navigate.

from Comments for Cathy’s Lifestream

Comment on Eli Appleby-Donald’s blog: A little bit of chat, a little bit of community building by cpsaros

Hi both,

I’m so pleased to be learning some Scottish slang. I definitely want to learn more! Maybe we could have a word of the week. 😉

Some really interesting points made about students with different needs. I think we are so focused in face-to-face education with meeting students’ needs, I was wondering how this is translated into the educational spaces in MOOCs. Is this something those educators should take into consideration, or should they run the course they want to and allow the participants to meet their own needs? What happens if those participants don’t really know what it is that they need because they don’t have the experience? It’s definitely given me something to think about.

I think having a Skype chat as a regular thing is a great idea. Good idea to set a topic, maybe give someone the job as moderator so we don’t speak over each other (something I was conscious of doing because I was so excited to chat to you guys!) Can’t wait for next time.

from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog


This week has been such fun! I have connected with so many different people on the course in such a variety of ways. See if you can match the images below  with whom I interacted. Each picture is a snippet of Anne’s, Stuart’s, Linzi’s and Eli’s lives that I wouldn’t necessarily have found out about had we stayed in the ‘educational spaces’ of EDC.

It started out with Stuart; we had a productive Skype chat to compare notes about what we had found doing the same MOOC. It was interesting see how he approached things so differently to how I did. As we chatted I noticed that the conversation changed from the academic to something much more like the banter that exists with my colleagues at work.

I had an interesting tweet exchange with Eli which made me question whether MOOCs are still massive and thanks to connecting with Stuart I know how massive the Internet of Things MOOC actually is.

Linzi proposed a Skype chat on Twitter, which Eli, Stuart and I signed up for. This gave us an opportunity to catch up in a less formal environment than we have before. We were able to compare notes about our musings on Education and Digital Culture and the MOOCs we are doing. Conversation flowed much more easily than it did in the Hangout tutorial, I think we agreed that it is more stilted in the Hangout because we are self-conscious of making a mistake in front of everyone and looking unprepared or silly. We could relax more. It was good to hear that others also felt ‘naked’, or rather awkward and embarrassed, about having their assessed work and feedback available for all to see.

Anne and I had a chat on our WhatsApp group while we were reading the comments of our MOOC together. This was so helpful and caused us to pick out exact exchanges that have been useful when formulating our ideas. Anne also found a WhatsApp MOOC group for two-hundred-and-fifty students on IoT.

It seems these secret groups are a thing in MOOCs, as Eli shared that she was invited to join a ‘secret’ Facebook group. I thought having a WhatsApp group was intriguing as I would classify this as private space. Anne and I continued our discussion via a WhatsApp phone call on Friday, providing support and chatter about our plans for our studies.

Lessons learnt: What micro-ethnography has taught me about research. Week 6

So many MOOCs

I persevered with the Internet of Things (IoT). I tried to become part of the community and searched for meaning in the comments. I did not find anything that was able to inspire me. I was bored and found myself avoiding the course. I did some of the activities to try and gain a better understanding but ultimately focused on participation or lack thereof. Whilst reading the comments in the IoT, I struggled to make sense of what was written. I was frustrated. I did not interact with others or actively participate in situated learning and I was not interested enough to apply critical perspectives to my participation (Stewart 2013).

I wondered why I found it so difficult to engage. I decided to try another course. I enrolled on to two other MOOCs; FutureLearn’s Teaching Literacy Through Film (TLTF) and Coursera’s Writing in English at University.  I chose these because I have knowledge of the content and I could focus more on the community and participation. I realised quickly that Writing in English at University was a poor choice and not ‘open’ as participants are required to pay for interaction.

TLTF appealed to me as I have used films in class to assist with literacy. I noticed a difference in the course almost immediately, it was more transparent, participants were encouraged to share personal information, there was discussion between participants, the atmosphere was friendlier and community more generous with their interaction. I was surprised to find that I wanted to be there. It did not feel like a chore unlike the IoT.

By changing MOOCs I discovered:

  1. being engaged with what we are researching makes it so much more meaningful
  2. if something is not working while you research, try something new
  3. communities can be both selfish and generous
  4. by comparing and contrasting information, we can make sense of it

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

Tweet: Doteveryone

I was introduced to Dr Rachel Coldicutt at the LSE Literary Festival. She is a creator of digital content and she has worked in a number of educational contexts. She has created Doteveryone to try and make digital life more accessible to those who find it difficult.


Tweet: LSE Literary Festival

I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of panels at the London School of Economics Literary Festival. While the Growing up online: A digital revolution?’ was interesting, there was nothing I hadn’t heard or considered before. However, it was an entirely female panel, something I rarely see at events involving technology. It did introduce me to a few interesting people I would not have known about; one of them is Emma Gannon, a blogger, writer and influencer. Her book CTRL ALT DELETE: How I Grew Up Online documents her journey through digital culture.


Tweet: Twitter in MOOCs

I found this blog post through Renée Furner because I was really struggling to find any participant engagement outside of the MOOC I am doing. I eventually found the paper the blog is based on . It made me wonder why Twitter isn’t being used more in MOOCs since I’m finding it increasingly useful to engage with the MSCEDC community.

From this tweet I had and interesting conversation with Philip Downey about this very topic.

Building communities

Twitter is restrictive when trying to convey meaning so we moved our conversation into direct messaging and outside of the public sphere.

Connecting in private

When I consider that it has taken about six weeks for me to connect with, and feel like I’m part of a community, I realise why Twitter may not be useful for connecting in MOOCs. It takes time to build relationships and see how we might be able to interact with others both within and out of an educational context. I suspect interaction on Twitter might not be successful because MOOCs simply don’t run long enough to build those relationships.


I rejoiced when I eventually found the hashtag #FLiot for my MOOC only to find out that it wasn’t being used.