Lifestream, Comment on My microethnography: Stories of a MOOC #mscedc by 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

Week 7 Summary

For such a busy week my lifestream seems relatively quiet. Mostly, I have been commenting on other people’s micro-ethnographies, and working on creating my own: final observations, analysis of data and presenting findings. The lack of observable data generated while working on my ethnography acts as evidence to a post from last week in which I referenced Lesley Gourlay (2015): the narrative of student engagement privileges publicly observable ways of being a student and undervalues quiet, solitary acts. Yet, in the end, the product of my silence is observable – both in the prezi-come-video ‘breaking up with MOOC’ and the wordier, text-based sway presentation ‘looking for community’.

Key themes arising out of my own ethnography and those of my peers included:

  • an instructionist or behaviourist focus and transmission pedagogies (Dirk)
  • discordance between subject matter and delivery (Helen)
  • constructionist pedagogy and participant formation of connections around the materials within their own, place-based communities (Clare)
  • The scale of the MOOC, course design and student motivations impeding community formation (Stuart)
  • the potential to enrich and strengthen community through an expansion of participant roles to teachers, contributors and storytellers, and the role of personally meaningful disclosure in creating a sense of kinship (Anne)
  • the role of the LMS/digital infrastructure in opening up or shutting down participant interaction (mine)
  • the impact of shortness of time and lack of anticipated future interaction on the developmental progression of communities (mine)
  • the importance of personal motivations (Dirk, Linzi) and validation (Linzi)
  • financial incentives for MOOC providers (Linzi)
  • the role of empathetic listening in community building (Anne).
Kozinets, 2010, p. 28. The interaction period in my MOOC was too short to see norm development or much beyond identity exchange.

In other (non-comment/non-ethnography) posts, connections were made to some of the ideas arising out of the ethnographies. From Pinterest, a connection was made to the importance of empathetic listening in building a MOOC community, as well as to the value of facilitating location-based communities for MOOC participants. Another Pin, from Martin Weller, focused on the need for financial sustainability in order to make MOOCs viable. Through Diigo, I shared an article which gave me insight into research approaches for examining social learning within MOOCs.

Also through Diigo, I followed up on my questions about materiality and discourse from last week. I hope to return to these ideas, looking further at agency.

And now: onward to algorithmic cultures!