Renee FurnerComment on My microethnography: Stories of a MOOC #mscedc by Renee Furner

Renee Furner

Another really impressive and creative piece from you Anne – thank you. It’s a really emotive arrangement.

I really liked your comment:
“When MOOC members go beyond participation and become teachers, contributors and storytellers, the online community is enriched and strengthened.”

In a sense, the MOOC members are projecting themselves into the community – their experience, their feelings, their history their knowledge. In this sense the location of what is valued/what can be learned from becomes ‘distributed’.

I also thought that one reason your MOOC might have been more participatory is the role of empathetic listening when dealing with such fraught subject matter. While we should listen empathetically more frequently, I doubt many do (certainly based on most of our peers’ experiences in their MOOCs). In contrast, one’s humanity prevents one from speaking over or ignoring sensitive subject matter, or those things very important to another (like in Philip’s MOOC). Maybe listening is the key (an idea which I must also credit to Linzi, through her posts on my blog).

Thanks again for sharing. Your artefact construction is inspirational!

from Comments for Anne’s EDC blog

Is it really all a matter of perspective?

Flow Chart

As the image implies, we have a connectedness that stretches beyond ourselves.  The use of imagery such as this provides a decent visualization of how our brain uses algorithmic principles to function. I am wondering how, in the coming weeks, I will learn this as it appleies to the various topics we have discussed in this course.  Another question would be how, as the next image shows, can computers use our spoken and written words, to create algorithms for use in mental health treatment and beyond? (Pestian, et al, 2017).

To branch away from the aforementioned, I have had several comments on my Ethnography, but more pointedly, on the poem I submitted as part of it.  A couple of comments were from classmates in EDC17, and a few others from MOOC participants.  I think this may be the sum and substance of the MOOC I studied, and which I found myself immersing into rather than simply being an outside “participant.”

The purpose of the MOOC, the REAL purpose I now am starting to realize, goes beyond the stated objectives of the course, which were to share experiences and thoughts about Cascadia.  As some have mentioned, my Ethnography drew them in and caused them to spend an unexpected amount of time looking through my collage of pictures and texts.  It seems my Ethnography served a purpose beyond its stated objective as well.  Rather than turning into a dry, sterile presentation, I found creating it drew from memories and experiences that have long been filed away in my brain.  How we we remember is a fascinating realm in which to dive into.  Good and not so good memories:  we can either dredge them up, churn them up, recreate them, or remake them.  It is interesting how present circumstances or perspective, can cause us to see the same memory as good or bad.

Perhaps Weeks 8 through 10 will help me understand the algorithms at play in bringing past memories back to the forefront of consciousness, as I learn how different apps use those algorithms to help us create, express, and even sustain, creativity outside of ourselves.

Pestian, J. P., Sorter, M., Connolly, B., Bretonnel Cohen, K., McCullumsmith, C., Gee, J. T., Morency, L.-P., Scherer, S., Rohlfs, L. and the STM Research Group (2017), A Machine Learning Approach to Identifying the Thought Markers of Suicidal Subjects: A Prospective Multicenter Trial. Suicide Life Threat Behav, 47: 112–121. doi:10.1111/sltb.12312


Week 7 Summary: My Contribution to my MOOC (sit down before reading)

My Summary this week is to just reflect on my MOOC experience once again, perhaps a bit more specifically.  As I have mentioned before, I lived in Cascadia for a number of years and have done some extensive travel in the region.  It is just a wonderland of treasures from beaches to mountains to rivers and lakes to plains and canyons.

While I was completely mesmerized by my classmates ethnographies, I am especially proud of mine because I found, admittedly unwittingly, a MOOC that touched me in personal ways.  I truly felt again the meanings of space and presence in this course.  I realize also will be going way over the word limit for a summary, so I will ask simply I be indulged in this instance.

In closing and, per James’ request, here is what I wrote, or rather scratched out, as my contribution to the Innovative Poetry of Cascadia MOOC.  I give this simple caveat:  I am NOT a writer nor a poet. But one thing I did learn from this MOOC was that it really doesn’t matter.  The participants in this MOOC and others like it just express feelings as they are experienced and write them down.  So with that, I give you…..this….

Meanderings by Philip Downey

Looking down from the cliffs at the meandering Columbia

I wonder where such an amount of blue comes from.

To the East I see where the gorge narrows

Where each drop of water fights against the others

In its struggle to reach its Western ocean home.


In front of and below me the water meanders by

As it makes its way through a flat plain.

Today however, the wind has brought the surface

To a raging froth of foam and spray

Upon which a rainbow of color plays and moves,

Some against the wind and others riding the air currents

As they bounce and swirl among the waves.


I find myself feeling jealous of the journey

Of those countless drops of water.

The course they are in will take them to their home

In the distant depths of the sea

Where forces of nature will once again capture them

And deposit them perhaps in some faraway place

Where their journey will repeat and then repeat again.


I wonder, as sometimes I do about myself.

Where these drops came from and where they will go

On their endless journeys to places unknown.

Perhaps one day, some day, I will know the secret of their travels

Sharing in them as I move through eternity

On an endless journey of adventure and discovery.