11 Replies to “Tweet: Micro-ethnography”

  1. 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)


    1. Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for such positive feedback!

      I think it’s an interesting point you make about the LMS. Something I noticed very early on in my second MOOC was how differently the tool was used and I certainly think that it played a big role in inhibiting interaction.

      I was really good to be able to discuss this MOOC with you behind the scenes. The interaction we had , help me identify the key differences in regards to community development and community participation.

  2. Hi Chenée
    What an interesting comparison and two so very different experiences. That you highlight the two specific differences in the community around the simple task of introductions is very illuminating. I realise that the IoT participants seemed to be quite strategic and knowledge hungry but the fact that the other TLtF participants gave lengthy introductions after being encouraged to give more than a ‘hello’ must say more than it simply being down to the LMS used. I just checked back on mine, and there were also prompt questions for the introductions task that resulted in rich responses.

    I loved the added touch of the two pieces of audio, I am assuming that each represented your experience of the MOOC. Trying to learn in a large, echo filled chamber allows me to visualise your feelings so clearly. Good use of Sway.


    1. Thanks for you thoughts, Clare! I’m so pleased that you got my metaphor. Even if I know what I’m thinking , I worry that metaphors can be obscure. I cheekily got the idea from Stuart and his use of the ‘digital cacophony’ in his piece.

  3. I agree with Stuart, Chenée: this is a great use of Sway (an Office 365 tool ;-)).

    This is really thoughtful reflection on your experiences in each of the two courses. I’m wondering how much of this difference can be attributed to the relative scale of the two courses? Were you able to gain any sense of participant numbers for each of them.

    Thanks for sharing your work!

    1. Thanks for your response Helen, I was inspired to try to learn more about the Office 365 tools after meeting you at BETT! (I’ve even done a few Forms 🙂 ) Just have to try OneNote next. Do you know if there is an IFTTT recipe for them?

      As for your question about scale; Stuart managed to discover that there were 8566 people on IoT. I’m not sure about TLtF.

  4. Super micro-ethnography here Chenée, and great to see a comparison of two different MOOC communities. The ‘content or community’ issue is a really important aspect of the MOOC I think, and one reflected in the ‘c-‘ and ‘x-‘ distinctions, which underpin a lot of the debates and discussions.

    You also make some important points about the ethnographic method, around the limitations imposed by lacking subject knowledge – something we’re definitely prone to in this short task.

    1. Hi Jeremy,

      I must be honest that I didn’t really think about the subject knowledge issue until I found myself trawling through threads of comments understanging very little of what was being said. It wasn’t something I had taken into consideration. It made me question if I had an unconscious bias where I thought that MOOCs were easier than other online courses. Essentially, I thought the content wouldn’t be very difficult eveyone has to be able to access the information. One positive aspect of participating in the IoT was that I realised this was not the case.

  5. Hi Chenée,
    I really enjoyed your ethnography and totally agree with the previous comments on it.
    So allow me to maybe add some questions.
    – What is this Literacy by Video course about? It sounds very interesting (especially to me, coming from a TV background and exploring video possibilities for DigEd.).
    – I am certain the imaginery of your ethnography, which is beautiful btw, has a meaning to it. However, I did not get it. Stupid me… So could you tell me?
    – Why did you choose to use Sway? I see a lot of us using it and wonder what the underlying motivations are. Might tell us something about which tech educators use and should use.

    Maybe you find a minute to answer my questions. And again: Really like your work here :))

    1. Hi Dirk,

      Thank you so much for your comments! I’d be happy to answer your questions.

      ‘What is this Literacy by Video course about?’

      Teaching Literacy through Film is run by the British Film Institute. I think it’s part of a widening participation programme to those K-12 students who might have less access to the arts. The MOOC went through basic film theory like how camera angles and sound might be used to assist character development or mood which the children could then write about. The end project for the MOOC is creating a film. It’s still running and you could probably have a look at what they do by clicking the link in my references.

      ‘ I am certain the imaginery of your ethnography, which is beautiful btw, has a meaning to it. However, I did not get it. Stupid me… So could you tell me?’

      I don’t think you are stupid at all, just honest, which is great! I think metaphors are always quite tricky. I’m sorry it was obscure. I was trying portray that being in a MOOC was similar to being in a city, you can be surrounded by people but not really know anyone. I chose the first recording at a train station because people often push other out of the way to get to their destination. I felt like the students on IoT did this a little bit. The picture of the deserted ‘favela’ was meant to show how empty I found the course. The second recording of birdsong was meant to show how we can find something beautiful even with all the noise of the city. The picture of the allotment was supposed to portray how by coming together we can make a space comfortable for everyone, a space where things grow. The highway was meant to represent how fast some people would like to go through their course, sometimes to the detriment of others.

      ‘Why did you choose to use Sway?’

      To be honest, I’ve never used Sway before but I was looking for a tool that could hold a range of content, I knew Sway could do this. It also has Creative Commons linked content, so you don’t have to search and site the content you use. I was also looking for something we hadn’t seen on the blog before. I have never been a fan of PowerPoint and I think that Sway is a better alternative for me, it’s more visually appealing and you can embed data very easily. I will use Sway again as it was really user friendly. I’m too am keen to see what tools are available and whether they are a distraction. I don’t think Sway is.

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