Category Archives: Notes

Learning Analytics: The Emergence of a Discipline, Siemens (2013) – Collab Notes


This app felt too similar to padlet for it to be a properly new experiment for me so I decided to try and collaborate with other EDC students in order to see how that changed the process.

First of all I put out a call on Twitter. After a number of days I had two collaborators, Dirk and Cathy.

Having recently read Mike Caulfied’s post on the need for a choral approach to open resource textbooks I was interested in trying to have a combination of different collaborative process on the board:

Strengths and Weakeness, Key Questions – Written together/without attribution.

Please note that I am trying distinguish between truly writing something together and merely writing things “alongside” each other. For the 3 of us to write something together we would have to discuss and agree on a wording. This currently has not happened so it would be more accurate to describe these sections as written without attribution

Summary, Take Home Message – Written “chorally”

I thought it was an important to give everyone a chance to précis the paper themselves. We may choose different aspects to emphasise in the summary. It is also an important skill for every to have a go at, rather than just one person.

Noticeboards written on different sections of the paper – Written individually by the “main” writer then extra notes added by the others once completed.

Hopefully I divided the paper evenly. Again I thought it would be good for each person to have the space to take the lead.  I am a little concerned that taking charge of the set up and doing the first bits of substantial writing I will overly influence Dirk and Cathy’s approach. Hopefully them having their own sections and blank boards will mitigate that. I am mainly using text as the subject doesn’t lend itself to visuals but maybe other two will have some different ideas.

Doing the set up of the summary noticeboard before reading the paper was good for me. I was a lot more critical in my initial reading as the categories (strengths, summary, etc.) were more prominent in my mind.

As of Sunday morning I am the only person who has done any notes. This reflects the difficulty of coordinating other people’s schedules without institutional incentives (i.e. it’s your job).

Oh well.

Leroi and big data analysis of music notes


The history of popular music has long been debated by

philosophers, sociologists, journalists, bloggers and pop stars

[1–7]. Their accounts, though rich in vivid musical lore and

aesthetic judgements, lack what scientists want: rigorous tests

of clear hypotheses based on quantitative data and statistics.

Economics-minded social scientists studying the history of music

have done better, but they are less interested in music than

the means by which it is marketed [



We obtained 30-s-long segments of 17 094 songs covering 86% of the Hot 100, with a small bias

towards missing songs in the earlier years. – problems with database


However, where these early studies focused on technical aspects of

audio such as loudness, vocabulary statistics and sequential complexity, we have attempted to identify

musically meaningful features.


To relate the

T-lexicon to semantic labels in plain English, we carried out expert annotations (electronic supplementary

  • Assignment of meaning. Coding the database.


Inherently dissonant (because of the

tritone interval between the third and the minor-seventh), these chords are commonly used in Jazz to

create tensions that are eventually resolved to consonant chords; in Blues music, the dissonances are

typically not resolved and thus add to the characteristic ‘dirty’ colour. Accordingly, we find that songs

tagged BLUES or JAZZ have a high frequency of H1 – all this data crunching to tell you that that 7th chord is used in jazz


After 1990, the frequency of T1 declines: the reign of the drum machine – shows how wrongheaded conclusions can be drawn from bad data (are drum machines really not being used any more? Could we reinterpret quantized live drums as drum machines?)


Popular music is classified

into genres such asCOUNTRY



(R‘N’B) as well as a multitude of

subgenres (DANCEPOPSYNTHPOPHEARTLAND ROCKROOTS ROCK etc.). Such genres are, however,

but imperfect reflections of musical qualities. – misunderstands the importance of genre for the sake of creating easy database



uses for reliance on categorizing songs. users representative? Unbiased?


The history of popular music is often seen as a succession of distinct eras, e.g. the ‘Rock Era’, separated

by revolutions [3,6,14]. Against this, some scholars have argued that musical eras and revolutions

are illusory [5]. Even among those who see discontinuities, there is little agreement about when they

occurred. The problem, again, is that data have been scarce, and objective criteria for deciding what

constitutes a break in a historical sequence scarcer yet.


  • Was the point in these debates and histories to actually answer the question definitely? This guy appears to think so. I see it more as a way to create new narratives and ways on interpreting culture?



Those who wish to make claims about how and when popular music changed can no longer appeal to anecdote,connoisseurship and theory unadorned by data.


  • Ways of knowing


Acknowledges two limitations 1.) classifications only based on partial song extract. They are more complex. Says they are justified by fucking data. Another algorithm at work. Strawman.


2.) Database is limited to hot 100. Just argues for more data.


Can’t explain causes. Example of MTV raps is lame. Shows problem of data capture. Rap had been around for almost a decade before becoming siginificant in the charts.


Weanticipate that the study of cultural trends based upon such datasets will soon constrain and inspire

theories about the evolution of culture just as the fossil record has for the evolution of life


Conceptual Tarleton

I came across a talk by Tarleton Gillespie on soundcloud. My intention was edit the talk down to various clips, remix them and then insert my own interjections to make it appear like I was interviewing Tarleton in my own podcast.

The purpose of this was to experiment with different ways of engaging with the course material. To do re-edit the Tarleton talk I needed to listen carefully through the 2 hours of material and identify key ideas or phrases that could be lifted out of context but still be understood fully. This process struck me as being very similar to notetaking critically, particularly as I was always trying to think how could I phrase a question that would lead into Tarleton’s statement. It would also showcase my burgeoning digital literacy, specifically my ability to remix and repurpose digital materials to my own ends.

Sadly, my laptop crashes every time I try and load up the 2 hours mp3 in Ableton. I tried using Audacity but as I am not familiar with the software I found myself getting increasingly frustrated. Given that the final stage of the process is mainly based around clicking and editing rather than critically engaging with the course materials, I’ve judged it to not be worth my study time to see it through to completion. Instead I leave my notes below. It annoys me to leave a good idea unfinished but instead I am trying to think of it as a piece of concept art. The engagement and critique is more important than the actual execution.


In the previous review section I used some terms like patterns of inclusion that I had picked up from Tarleton Gillespie’s paper on Algorithmic Cultures. I am delight to announce that I have Professor Gillespie here on the show today as a special guest. Tarleton is a Professor of Information Science and Communication at Cornell University and is currently the principal researcher for Microsoft Research. One his many areas of research is algorithmic cultures. So Tarleton what have you been looking at recently?

1.02 – 1.08 nestling

OK that does sound interesting. So algorithms are becoming part of social landscape. What kind of questions does that raise for you?

1.21 – 1.40 systems like fb….

Ah. So you are focusing in on how algorithms are used to present particular bits of information to us and in doing so how that impacts on public consciousness. Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean about shaping public discourse.

2.14 what does it mean

For me that raises many other questions such as

2.38 do we need expertise then what question interests you most?

Yes, thank you. Just go ahead and interject whenever I am talking, I don’t mind at all.


So, this subject seems to be very now, very zietgiest-y. But is it really? Can you give us any examples of any historical precedents for these debates on how information is mediated?

34.02 maybe for a century… we’ve been prepped for information collection over the last century

26.50 we only get so far if we think about it as a 5 year thing, it might that a historical

27.49 search engines are like news editors

Fascinating. Sadly this is an audio only podcast so people can’t see me stroking my chin in thought. But believe me I am. Furiously.


So one of your primary claims is that algorithms are socially significant enough that they are resulting in what you have termed calculated publics. Can you expand on that?

23.50 – 24.38 – calculated publics summary

44.50 to 46 – relevancy and the Bieber problem

50.35 gaming trends, turn towards the measure see also 57.40 see also 1h18m49s

50.55 people act on trends

1h9.40s I’m interested in how twitter presents info to people

1h.10m30s impact of trends on politics, buzzfeed building information economy on trends.


If algorithms are significantly shaping public discourse as you suggest we need to be asking which social actors have privileged access to the data they produce

31.40 – who has the power to collect the data?

Some organisations can compel us to give up data, others have to entice others.

32.40 – companies that can’t compel have to do things differently.

33.17 relating the concept to contemporary social media


So these companies that own the most widely used algorithms, twitter, google, facebook, etc. How do they portray their use of algorithms and their impacts on culture?

46.20 who can produce them and how do they claim authority

19.25 we have the data, we can tell you about yourself

20.44 glimpses of public concern. Snapshots

48 – the algorithm offers impartiality claim

23.18 – 23.30 networks want it both ways

1hr 2m – should designers for algos be responsible for what comes out? Major platforms they want it both ways

1h7m40s twitter says they know things but they are not prepared to accept other responsibilities.

1hr 5m 50s its OK cos the algorithm argument will break down









Why do we have trending alogirthms in twitter

Stay on the site 7.15

10.20 why do you think it is interesting? Technicities of attention.

Treat it as legible.


13.20 – his own questions.


13.50 – summary of trending algorithms

16.30 spreading into our cultural vocabulary, scholarly journals

19.01 activity as importance

22.50 – 23.18 trending is an oblique catograry


25.10 – why do you call them calculated

26.20 – 26.40 what does trending mean to people?

35.40 – twitter is buying datahoses

35.51 – what gets left out of the measurements

39.56 – the claims of trends. It is everyone (?)

40.40 – what is it that twitter is actually measuring? – 43.46

54.12 – what needs to trends satisfy?

55.40 grasp?

56.20 – twitter measures cross cultural measures has an underlying belief system

58.30 – problems with language, reducing things to hashtags

59.35 why should surging be important, also 1hr 10s

Notes? Active Algorithms – Jeremy Knox

Click here to see my padlet

On using padlet…

My first reaction of padlet was nauseated rage at its cloying, overly cutesy automated instructions. It was also annoyingly instrumentalist. This deserves a post of its own, so click here for more details.

Anyway. My reflections on actually USING padlet. It was…OK. I went in with the idea that I was making notes for myself. This resulted in me getting annoyed at how much more laborious it was than just typing. I felt obliged to add video and images otherwise what would be the point of this functionality? Now, instead of reading the Knox text I was spending ages looking for suitable pictures, pictures that I knew wouldn’t be much use to me when I read it later. I was happy enough with blocks of text.

Gradually though I came round to the idea that the point was to share this work with others. I was certainly prompted to do so several times by the padlet instructions. If I was going to do that I would have a different audience (my classmates) and that meant I needed to make sure it could be understood by them. I also wanted them to find it visually attractive and maybe even amusing (I probably got carried away with some of the gags within the notes). All of a sudden I was producing an entirely different type of knowledge prompted by the technological and social conditions of both the app and my course. Given that this was one of themes of the Knox paper I began to feel a bit better about how long this was all taking.

Other ways that padlet evinces the themes of the Knox paper began to emerge. One of the primary features of padlet is the ability to place and re-arrange the content that you upload. I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about how the content boxes I was making related to each other both conceptually and within the context of the padlet board, which in itself is an imaginary “space”. This reflects Knox’s point that space is created through practice. I was literally making the space on the padlet board through my note writing practice.

Another point Knox made was that algorithms should be considered to be active entities within educational practice, entities that act in symbiosis with social, human and material factors to create unpredictable results. This struck me as particularly apt description of how the google search algorithms influenced my padlet writing. There were numerous occasions where I altered what I wrote to fit with the pictures and videos I was able to find. The search algorithms were an invisible co-author/editor for my writing.

So in summary, padlet was interesting but somewhat exhausting. It certainly was not “the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world”, as claimed on its homepage. I could imagine using it for web based groupwork or creating teaching materials. I would not make notes for myself with it.


Hines the virtual objects of ethnography – NOTES

Principals of virtual ethnography

  1. Nethnography is a way of making the internet “weird”. This helps us get new perspectives, to see it as an object in people’s lives, a way of communicating, a site of community.
  2. Interactive media challenges ethnography by making site-based interaction less important. You don’t have to be face-to-face. Interactive media can be both an artefact and a culture at the same time.
  3. Culture is not located in a single place. Netography is mobile, in all places at the same time.
  4. You don’t have to go anywhere with Netography. Fieldwork in a “real”, hard to reach location is no longer key. Focus on flow and connectivity.
  5. Don’t assume boundaries between your subject of study and other cultures. Things leak into each other. Esp. important to acknowledge that online and offline are mixed. This problem means it’s hard to know where to stop the focus of studies.
  6. Temporal dislocation. Subjects log on intermittently, the ethnographer can’t be online all the time. Sites update.
  7. Netography has to be partial. Aim for strategic relevance rather than depicting full reality as a whole.
  8. Netography is mediated. Explore the medium in context. Be reflexive.
  9. Netography means you can lurk. Can’t do that in IRL ethnography.
  10. Virtual ethnography is virtual in the sense of not quite ethnography. It’s a bit like ethnography but with a different spin (see the last 9 points). Don’t attempt to make it exactly like “proper” ethnography.


Ethnography is key method of anthropology. Anth aims to study the whole way of life of a culture. As ethnog. Has been taken up by other fields (sociology, media studies) the aims become more limited. Not a whole way of life but more focused, an online community, role as a student, a workplace, etc.

Problems in this context arise:

  • Getting access to inner groups
  • Researchers holding back judgement, suspending previous knowledge


This results in loads of different approaches but all with participations and observation as key. Cultures studied in their natural state.

No set methodology, no way of judging accuracy of conclusion. But it does give detailed description and doesn’t rely on a priori hypotheses. BETTER THAN QUANT METHODS?

Can knowledge ever be objective? Asocial? Is ethnography a good approach to acknowledge these probs?

Can it cope Denzin’s triple crisis? Representation, Legitimation and Praxis? Does questioning this give rise to new practice? Will it make us more responsible as researchers? Will it allow the subject of study a chance to co-construct the knowledge along with the researcher?


How can we address these problems with regards to doing netnography?


Ethnography traditionally needed this. But with internet??? Can you make authentic knowledge without f2f interact? Even trad ethnography results in text constructs of reality. Maybe it’s OK to study a mediated culture if all knowledge is produced as a constructed text?

Internet means an easy “arrival story”, hard to position yourself as a serious ethnographer without a hard arrival story. P.4 Arrival gets replaced with negotiating access, initial observations and interactions with participants. This process still results in the ethnographer becoming more experienced with the community than the avg reader. AUTHORITY.

Does fieldwork give authority? If the ethnog. Is produced by a fieldworker and an expert who has never been to the site is it authorative? The expert ethnographer controls who enters the analytical space (e.g. reader/subject).

If you go f2f then you can interact with subj and alter the exp. Thru expert analysis. F2f forces expert to get involved.

So if f2f is key to ethnog what do we do on the web? Easier to lurk but in doing so lose ethnog authority? Does meeting online subj in IRL give ethno authority? But if all interaction of subjs is online doing IRL research is not true to the subjs lived exp of the online community.

p.6 personal identity is “a set of performances with reference to a singular body and biography”.

Authenticity on the web is not a problem that has to be solved b4 analyis. It needs to be at the heart of analysis. Make it the topic.


Don’t see the internet as social. Instead see it as texts.

Interaction is being with someone, quickly exchanging views and coming to shared understanding.

Texts packages these interactions and temporally changes them. Texts can be referred to later. Moved. Separate prod and consump. Less about hared understanding, more about reader decoding.

How does an ethnog interact with a text? With a website? Challenge of netography.

Texts can tell us about how authors see their reality. But we also need to understand the context that produced them.

Textual ethnography allows reader to check accuracy of expert’s interpretation. You can check the text too.

Problem remains of how to study lurkers. Maybe be reflexive? Try being a user or lurker yourself then write about it.

Realist ethnogs maintain lack of skill to ensure sceptical distance. Maintain otherness of subj of study. Or just don’t have the time to do it.

Reflex – ethnog knowledge as social construct – how to solve?

  1. Put members understanding of their culture next to expert account in the text
  2. Get expert to be explicit about their own background, write from personal perspective 9self-indulgent?)
  3. Epistemological correctness – make explicit how the knowledge is constructed


Need to think about author’s perception of the audience for the text. Who are they writing for? Does that change what they write? What gets omitted?



Trad ethnog fieldwork meant the objects produced were generally spatial. Q: is culture something that only happens in a bounded physical space? Is “family” only enacted in the home?

Ethnog becomes link between “their” culture in the fieldwork site and “our” culture as the reader. In a transmediated world is this link necessary? As authoritative as before? As readers are we more aware of other cultures? Is the local a suitable focus for cultural studies?

How to respond to cultural interconnectedness?

  1. Make ethnog richer, deeper, more holistic. Q: Can you be holistic
  2. Multi dimensional, multi approach


Despatializing doesn’t guarantee you will capture the complexity of connections.

Despatialized connectivism means Focus of study is “getting there” rather than “being there”. P.14


Adams, C. et al., 2014. A phenomenology of learning large: the tutorial sphere of xMOOC video lectures. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.1–15. NOTES

Study claims that there is no evidence for the revolutionary claims of milk advocates. Study aims to be counterbalance to lack of evidence. Study Focuses on video lecture as singular lived experience. Parallels with fandom.
Page 3  Ian Bogost 2013 critique MOOCS. MOOCS still need lectures. Lectures have not disappeared only changed.
Is mu just a lecture reformatted two screens. Is learning the same as being in a lecture accept online? What is it really like to learn in a mooc?
Study claims learning with mooc is not just being in a lecture online. Paragraph page 3 research ignores previous research on online learning Communities for example social media Wikipedia etc.
Page 4 analysis of new users. Focus on completion rates. Drum website does not need to focus on completion. Commercial Focus changes key measurement to Revenue.
Page 5 learner Analytics are giving new objective glimpses of student behaviour. Questionable?
Page V how can I study address three objective and priests subjective realities? Maybe you need to gather people’s opinions before they take the new course?
Page V total experience with course reminders getting email notifications. Similar to emails from drum Dave? What is the point of these emails? Ask Dave.
page 7 methodology. What is the experience of people who complete move courses. Uses phenomenology of practice method. Benefits of research method gives practical insights communicates forcefulness and is ethically sensitive. reVeals rich complex reality of learning experience. Concentrates on pre-reflective involvement eg before subject has chance to  rationalise conceptualise. The aim is to show something in all its details no editing. Is this possible?
Data sources. Daily journals by MOOC course users. And in-depth interviews with new course completed. Study looks for moments in the journal that are mentioned in the interview. Shows significant moments.
Data analysis. Interview transcripts and journals scanned for significant moments. LEDs. Researchers look for themes existential and eidetic reflection. Eidetic means vivid recall of images. Themes studied include relationship student develops with instructor on videos full. Relationship students perceived with other students.
Early study result. Users were surprised at the intimacy of the relationship they perceived with the instructors via videos. Users reported it almost feels like they’re speaking directly to them. Users reported they forgot that do the videos with directed at 1000 students. Like it was just for that. Personal tutor.
Conclusion new courses do not allowed teacher student one to one relationship. But can allow addressing meaning that the video lectures can be given in a way that it seems like the teacher is speaking directly to you.
Are the findings. Post-editing voice-over of videos buy tutor increases feeling of personal connection to mu course students. But only if there is a audience in the video. Feels like bonus just for new course users. Cheetahs giving encouragement in the video is important. But hard to measure what it means to users.
constant availability of videos gives student impression that teacher is always there for them. A lecture is not just a simple transmission of knowledge. It is a hermeneutics speech act that is augmented with technology elements whilst relying untraditional drama effects and tricks. Page 11
When does video lecturer gets it right the students feel like they are drawn into a space with the teacher the screen. the video disappears. Video lecture feels like an event. Knowing that you are watching the same thing as many many others. Like a rock concert. Does this uniquely distinguish move courses from other online learning? Study reveals that not all users feel this.
Conclusion study reveals that lecturers cannot be entirely dismissed. They have a place in both connectives list and instructional moo courses. Early research showed that soon results from those who did distance learning with videos do not differ from on campus students significantly. This study showed that personal intimate relationships with teacher can be experienced even through online videos. Lecturers can be part of transmedia education. The feeling of eventedness can be what distinguishes new courses from other online learning.

network, users and economics – NOTES


Networks, Users and Economics

Martin Lister


To understand the web is to understand the tension between culture and commerce. Internet developed unsystematically. Numerous actors and factors (economic, regulatory, communication). The tensions between the actors produce the development.

Desire for communication + capitalism = web 2.0

Destroys some industry actors whilst building new monopolies.

Networked media is not teleological. Never stable, always upgrading.

Media is shaped by human creativity, tech affordance and econo power.



Collection of networks that link devices and servers. Definition focuses on smooth data flow. No normative suggestions. Not a Centre > Periph. Like old media. Network.



How media adapts to being put online. E.g. streaming, MP3, social media presence, etc.



Now meaningless. The multiplicity of the web has fractured “mainstream” culture into many fragments. You can’t be counter without something to counter against p.6



p.8 an engaged, smaller audience will generate more ad revenue than mass media ad campaign. People buy into the brand rather than just seeing the ad. Viral innit.



Capitalism sets the base. Need for profit, property rights. The internet is a cultural superstructure that develops from this base. In between is people’s determination. The tension between base and superstructure enables and limits the formation of the superstructure. P.9

p.11 – You can do what you want within the networks you can pay to access. Whether you get an audience is another matter. See also. Marx – People make culture just not always under conditions of their own choosing.


INTERNET POLITICAL ECONOMY – p.12 Low barriers to entry leads to ever widening market of people trying to compete for the capitalisation for profitability (google buying you out, etc). Once invested you need to deliver the user numbers for the investors so market and promote. This shapes the user experience. Then community management becomes important to brands. If it can get its users to become brand ambassadors then the audience will grow. Also you can harvest user data and sell it on.

p.14 – do a post on political economy of drumeo? Tension between user content and copyright of cover songs? See posts on forum.


p.15 – the social significance of an invention only becomes apparent after it has been selected for investment and production. What gets invested in and produced is heavily influenced by social and political concerns.

p.16 it’s not just about what is technically possible but what is materially possible. This gives the media its social form.



Copyright is based in capitalist economic base. Copyright was only needed when low cost reproduction was technically possible. Pre-internet copyright violation was mainly an issue for corporations.

p.29 With cultural products what is the commodity? How do you get the income?

Q: are these online teachers skeuomorphs of IRL drum teachers? Well that would depend on whether you consider IRL drum teachers to be defunct with an iconographic image. Probably not on both counts.

Q: Has drumeo had any problems with people replicating their own copyrighted material? Their loops, pdfs, playlongs and whatnot are all available for download.

p.30 Drumeo continuing bias of western recorded music

p.33 the internet allies reproduction with distribution. Major challenge for copyright.

p.36 long tail, better to have lots of niche markets than one mass market. – see also pianeo

p.37 “a long tail is just culture unfiltered by economic scarcity”. BUT don’t confuse diversity of consumer choice with diversity of political or economic power. ALSO don’t think that hits will cease to exist.

p.39 trad media gatekeepers have been replaced by audience and reccommendations. HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO DRUMEO? How does the suggest a lesson forum work?

p.41 the big money is still being made by enteprises that can influence all the big players in a social network, either by data harvesting or influencing their choices. The problem is still how to convert attention and reputation into revenue. (APPLY TO DRUMEO)

p.44 web 2.0 archive and analyse user data so you can better tailor yourself to said niche.

“unique hard to create data” – arguably drumeo’s strength. Particularly with the student analysis.

Data should be captured as a side product of using the site. – drumeo struggles a little with this as there is significant barriers to recording yourself.

No point in hard fences and paywalls. Presumably drumeo is relying on it’s cache of unique hard to find data to overcome that. Hard to find yet convenient compared to trying to find good quality lessons, on many topics in one place.

p.45 web 2.0 is for users to generate and classify information, not an external authority. DRUMEO STRUGGLES WITH THIS

Q: WHY IS THERE NOT A DRUMMING WIKIPEDIA? There are a few threads on the forum where teachers are putting up their own lessons. Are there economic imperatives/tensions coming from the capitalist base that precludes its development?

p.46 – wikis make the process of knowledge production transparent – the text is no longer fixed.

Interesting tensions with video drum lessons and their constant reminders that any time you are shown something “wrong” it might fit another style of music.


p.46 – web 2.0 has historical antecedents. Is it fair to term it a new paradigm?

p.47 technology becomes a transparent two way membrane rather than an experience structured through resources, economics and power. < rather like drumming, the quest to be fluid, at one with the kit at the same time what you often see is the product of hours of practice. Practice needs resources, economics and power.

Web 2.0 shows how our creative expression becomes commodified and sold back to us see also p.57 particpation and self commodification are one and the same thing < DRUMEO

p.50 virtual life is projecting the self over distance. You are separating the self from the body. In the drumeo forums I select a key aspect of myself (I am a drummer) and project it online. Kind of ironic for such a physically grounded activity. There are parallels here with how I use drumeo, endlessly browsing lessons telling myself “oooh I should learn that, Oooh that’s an interesting point, etc” I convince myself I am learning when the time would actually better be spent putting it into practice.

CONTRADICTION – If drumeo was truly successful you wouldn’t spend much time on the site at all.

p.53 common bonds of shared adversity key to building a community. < trials of learning drums


p.53 online community can be analysed by common relationships, shared values and shared spaces.

p.54 online groups weave offline and online together

p.57 CMC is also embodied and enmeshed in social reality. It’s only a problem if you think society and identity are solely material and cyberspace solely discursive. All of them are a mix of material and discursive.

p.57 wireless apps make physical locations available to data and change how we exp. Them. (see lit long and curious Edinburgh app).

p.62 we are all fans, convergent content – in the future when a song is released will the drummer appear on drumeo and teach you how to play it in a lesson? For that the drummer would have to be a fan of drumeo. Reflexivity?


Understanding Culture Online – NOTES

Understanding culture online


Initial views of CMC was that it was brief, unemotional but egalitarian. Studies have since reveal diverse and authentic online communities that demand a participant – observer approach.


  1. 2 ‘Technologies are not repressively foisted upon passive populations, any more than

the power to realize their repressive potential is in the hands of a conspiring few. They are developed at any one time and place in accord with a complex set of existing rules or rational procedures, institutional histories, technical possibilities, and, at last, but not least, popular desires’. (Penley and Ross 1991, p. xiv)


Tech and society intertwine. Don’t be deterministic or essentialist.

What can influence our tech use – specific times and places, distinctive

rules or rational procedures, institutional histories, technical possibilities,

practical and popular uses, fears and dreams

thus we need ethnography.



Theoretical Basis – social psychology

Research Method – psychological tests

Conclusion 1 – online is bad for cultural and social activity

Reason – No social cues from real life.

Conclusion 2 – Social status hierarchies will be flattened

Reason – No social cues frees people up. Less dominance and social barriers. People become uninhibited.


Then we start to see emoticons develop, ASCII art, net-slang. Gets round the assumed “coldness” of CMC.


Walther – p.4 online if people don’t expect to be interacting in the future they just talk about the task in hand. If you are going to talk again it becomes more friendly.

Olanrian – p.4 when groups have diverse members you need to focus on similarities rather than differences. DUH!



Destroys the flat social hierarchy position. People always develop symbols to mark out the pwnrs and the noobs.

Shows why you need to go in the field not just in labs. Look at actual developed groups not just one offs for lab work.



Survey – population, demographic, frequency

Psychological Experiments – links between individual and group variables, e.g. memory

Ethnography – cultural practice


NETHNOGRAPHY – shows online groups follow same rules as IRL groups. Norm developments and identity. However anonymity and accessibility change some group interactions.


Info seek from official info – user gen content – lurk – gradually post – learn the norms and language – become an old hand

From task oriented to social.

Gradually in sharing info personal elements seep in, inevitably a community forms.


COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE – ‘a community’s structures are instantiated and recreated in habitual and recurrent ways of acting or practices’ (Baym 1999, p. 22).


Ways of creating group identity – evaluation, commiseration, criticism.



Things you can study in NETHNOGRAPHY –


Meaning and symbols – netspeak, slang, communal language


Typology and Classification – types of users, interactions, groups


How IRL practice and identity relates to online groups


Relationship between commercial and community – ‘all commercial portals purporting to serve politically marginalized groups beg the question of whether there can be a harmonious

balance between the interests of community and the drives of commerce’ (see also



How does the institutionalisation of online communities change local community practice? Does drumeo change things for local drummers? Or other bloggers?



consumption (what the group is “about”), the more you self-identify with the group’s consumptive purpose the more you are likely to get involved. Interest + expertise.


Social relation. How you see others in the group. Friends? Interesting strangers?


massive + open = new literacies of participation? – NOTES

Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation?

Bonnie Stewart


MOOCs are a paradigm shift for academia. Rather than arguing that MOOCS are a revolution or privatisation the author argues that MOOCS are subtle promotional tool for the ethos of participation and distributed expertise. Most MOOCS aren’t at the moment, but could they develop these values?

For the author MOOCS could get users to question goals, purpose and roles within education and digital literacy.



What are digital literacies? – p.2 It’s not just using new tech in established social practice. E.g. using a clicker poll in a lecture as a way to ask a question (instead of raise your hands)

Instead the tech needs to have an ethos attached – more participatory, collaborative and distributed. E.g. using a clicker poll in a lecture where the results change the content of the lecture.


Most MOOCS don’t encourage this ethos, but they could inadvertently just because they are massive and open. NETWORK ENGAGEMENT is the key here. All MOOCS have networking capability if they have chat and user profile. They can bypass top-down teaching.

Author claims the bigger the course the more likely the urge to network becomes within the system. Where MOOCS encourage p2p learning new literacies spread.


REMEMBER there are cMOOCS and xMOOCS. cMOOCS are more significant for digital literacy development but they all have the potential as long as they are massive and open.

MASSIVE – It’s not about economy of scale, getting the benefits of being big, efficiency, etc. Instead it’s the size and capacity to make new knowledge.


Info vs communications perspective – What’s important for education? info resources or communication?

This debate is central to all MOOCs. This author is communication focused.

Some MOOC business discourse focuses on info, assumes that knowledge is clear, mastering it is the key to successful education. Contrast to –

Info discourse assumes assumes that nothing changes when you increase number of student from IRL to MOOC.


LITERACIES – depends on context and particular mediating technologies. not a skill (“controlled activity you’ve learnt to do”).

Skills have objective thresholds. Literacy is a condition, you can’t just boil it down to set skills.

This radical understanding of literacies has been tamed to suit info focused views on education.


P.5 “To be digitally literate is to be able to engage the connections and communications possibilities of digital technologies, in their capacity to generate, remix, repurpose, and share new knowledge as well as simply deliver existing information.”


…it’s not just consumption. MOOCs bring people into contact with maker culture/dig literacy.


Q: How much meta-learning happens if you are remixing information just using easy to use tools? Traktor, thinglink, etc.

Dig Tech is – replicable (so can remix), searchable (so allows navigation of shared environments, assuming it is well designed), scalable (can find unintended audiences).

MOOCS position users as open scholars rather than mere students (rather assumes a level expertise)

xMOOCS “exploit the advantages of online communication without letting such communication challenge its expertise model” p.6


However, so long as the courses as platforms continue to enable participatory networking and engagement among students, they effectively begin to sow the very seeds of new literacies that challenge and undermine that instrumentalist perspective on education and expertise. – BUT JUST BECAUSE A SEED IS SOWN DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL FLOWER.


  1. 8 pre-digital “professors offered the expertise necessary to navigate and interpret the resources in question” AND THEY STILL DO. When the internet is a deluge and abundance if anything interpretation and navigation is even more necessary.


Frames the trad. Teacher – student relationship as restrictive and transmission based.


Q: If the role between the student and teach blurs what happens when no one sees themselves as the teacher? Will anyone feel an obligation to be critical? To give input on ALL students work? To help weaker students and well as more able?

Community Cultures – Jeremy Knox NOTES

Community Cultures

Jeremy Knox


Desire for community learning is not a natural fact as some tech companies would have you believe. There are agendas hidden within the ideology.

The web becomes more mainstream. Social media becomes the thing. Web 2.0 and user generated content and all that. More emphasis is put on how online communication is not just a poor cousin to face to face interaction. The internet is just a tool for us to carry out the human desire to interact socially. It’s not “other wordly” it’s normalised.

For education it is participation rather than mere consumption, reflects shift to learnification. Not just a resource for education but a means for dialogue. Tech will free us from institutional hierarchies.

These network tools are seen as invisible or inconsequential in their influence. Economic and ideological influence in the tech production is ignored.