Week 8: Welcome to Block 3 Algorithmic Cultures!


It’s been great to see the ethnographic snapshots gathering here, and to get a sense of all the fantastic MOOC studies happening in block 2. First and foremost this week, commenting on the ethnographic snapshots (including your own!) should be a priority. There is so much that is really useful to tease out from your ethnographies, and building up some discussions around the snapshots should also feed into your lifestream and help to demonstrate your wider reflection on the block 2 themes.

Alongside rounding off our explorations of community culture, this week we begin our final theme: ‘algorithmic culture’. We’ll be examining how the complex automatic processes that operate across the web involve themselves in shaping contemporary culture: organising and prioritising particular people, places and ideas. Our focus will be on the implications for education, and you will be tasked with building a critical understanding of what this algorithmic culture might mean for our continuing practice. Make sure to read the introduction to the block here.

This week is about getting a sense of what kind of algorithms are out there operating on the web, and the kinds of procedures that they perform. So your main task this week is to play with algorithms! However, we also want you to document the results in a way that feeds into your lifestream blog, and this will be a crucial way of focusing your thoughts on the implications for education. Most of the examples on the week 8 page are from public social media, so you will need to do the important work here of relating these algorithmic principles to your own experiences of digital educational, and perhaps your own professional context.

Central to our algorithmic play this week are of course the readings. The two core readings will provide important educational contexts for you, and even make some useful links back to our MOOC ethnographies!

So, this week try to focus on:

  1. Commenting on everyone’s ethnographic snapshots
  2. Playing with some algorithms and documenting your results
  3. Reading at least the core texts for week 8

Have a great week everyone!

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