I have been experimenting with a couple of platforms to present my Ethnography: Pinterest and Lino. I have chosen to do the ethnography in a visual, or virtual, manner, as an alternative to the more traditional written style. My goal basically is to hit on some of the themes of the MOOC in which I am enrolled, Innovative Poetry of Cascadia, and then use pictures to exhibit those themes. Captions are to be used to explain or further expound on what each picture is supposed to represent. I hit this idea off James this morning and he seemed fairly enthusiastic about the idea. I am not sure however, how much enthusiasm he will retain when he sees my final product(s). And I say “products” because I am my just put a link in my Lifestream to both of them and just see what happens.
One thing I will say now is that the MOOC has been quite interesting. I have mentioned this before but it bears repeating I think. The readings I have had to do and the comments submitted by other participants show a real interest in the culture and environment of the Cascadia region. I find this attitude very satisfying. Having lived in Oregon for several years, although I am not a native of the area, the thoughts and feelings expressed are very familiar. People in the Cascadia region develop a very strong attachment to the region and are keen to express that attachment in a variety of ways. I realize other people groups do this as well, for example those from the Southern United States, or from regions in Europe and Asia. I also saw this to a degree when I lived in East Africa for several months. Cascadia is no different: the inhabitants see the land and animals and the entire ecosystem as a way of life. Everything is connected and there seems to be a communication between fauna and flora that is almost spiritual in nature, delving deep into one’s soul and creating a permanent link between man and other beings, and even non-living things. I mentioned this in an earlier post that the attitude is almost like The Force in Star Wars: every creature, every non-living thing, is connected in some way, and in a way that cannot be broken.
Well, as I am waxing somewhat poetic or even romantic, I find I am trying to put myself in the place of someone still roaming the rain forest of Olympic Nation Park in Washington, or scaling the sides of Mt. Hood, or fishing the rivers and waterfalls of Oregon and Washington. There is very little of a digital nature involved here, which goes against the idea of EDC. However, the theme for this Block is, in part, the theme of Community. In the writings and musings of the participants of this MOOC, I find they have created a “community” not built from WordPress or Twitter, but from an internal connection to the tangential spirituality of the Earth, and the creatures and features that inhabit the space around us. Indeed, the folks in this MOOC create and experience the presence of community in their common fondness of Cascadia.
The following is a copy of my conversation with James regarding the format of the Ethnography. I had an idea that due to the abstract nature of my MOOC, I would try and present it in a way that was more reflective of the feelings and viewpoints of the participants. (As a note to avoid the appearance of revealing any confidentiality, I have copied our conversation here per James’ encouragement.)
James, I may have missed something but in what form does the ethnography take? I have posted a trial visual ethnography more to display what I am doing on my Lifestream rather than meet the assignment requirement; but I am wondering if this is the type of format we can use?
If so, then my plan is to add text to each photo as a descriptor of how the picture relates to what the purpose of the MOOC is designed for. This course is so abstract I am not sure a more formal write-up would really fit.
This is really great. A request: paste these ideas and questions into a blog post as it will look really good in your lifestream and I think the whole group will benefit from our conversation: if you’re ok with that? But yes, agree entirely about presenting ethnography in ‘alternative’ form: I fully encourage that. Excellent stuff, Philip.