All posts by Jeremy Knox

Week 12: the home straight


Well done! You’ve made it to the final week of Education and Digital Cultures! This week we will be continuing our assignment planning and preparation, and finalising our lifestream blogs for submission at the end of the week.

Once again, there are no structured tasks for this week. However, if you haven’t been in touch with your tutor yet to discuss ideas for your final assignment, do please prioritise that this week. Your chosen topic will have to be quite focussed in order to demonstrate good critical understanding, and your tutor – either Sian or I – will be able to help you to direct your ideas and refine your emphasis.

As a reminder, the lifestream blog needs to be submitted by midnight Sunday 5th April, and the final assignment by midnight Sunday 19th April. See all the details here.

Once again, well done for making it this far! It’s been a fantastic 11 weeks and we’ve both really enjoyed your contributions, insights and comradery along the way. Looking forward to reviewing all your hard work in the lifestream blogs and final assignments!

Enjoy the final week!

Week 10: Pulling it all together

In this final week of block 3, and the final taught week of the EDC course, we’ll be drawing together all of your work around the theme of ‘algorithmic cultures’.

Thanks to everyone who contributed so enthusiastically to our Tweetorial on Thursday and Friday (and a bit of Saturday!) last week. It was a fantastically intense torrent of critical discussion around algorithms, and it was great to see the EDC group contributing publically, and so well, to this important debate.

This week you have two principal tasks: 1) you should write a blog post that addresses the #mscedc tweet archive located here, and 2) attend a Hangout session to discuss the block themes and any assignment ideas you have. Find the week 10 page here.

For your blog post on the Tweet Archive, the questions you should be thinking about are:

  • How has the Tweet Archivist service represented our Tweetorial (Use the drop down arrows on the menu items on the right of the page: ‘Top users’, ‘Top words’, Top URLs’, Source of Tweet’ etc.)
  • What do these visualisations, summaries and snapshots say about what happened during our Tweetorial, and do they accurately represent the ways you perceived the Tweetorial to unfold, as well as your own contributions?
  • What might be the educational value or limitations of these kinds of visualisations and summaries, and how do they relate to the ‘learning’ that might have taken place during the ‘Tweetorial’?

We also have Hangouts scheduled for:

  • Tuesday 17th March at 8pm (GMT)
  • Friday 20th March at 10am (GMT)

These tutorials will be crucial for drawing the algorithmic themes to conclusion. It is also our final chance to meet as a group before you complete and submit your lifestream blogs for assessment, and begin developing ideas for your final assignment. If you have ideas for your final assignment, please bring them along to discus with the group. If you haven’t done so already, do please sign up for a session time on Moodle

Have a super final week everyone!

Welcome to the #mscedc Tweetorial!


Over the next two days (Thursday 12th March and Friday 13th March) we’ll be engaging in some intensive tweeting around the themes of ‘algorithmic cultures’ from weeks 8 and 9 of the course. Below is the list of questions we’ll be posing on Twitter, so look out for tweets from Sian or Jeremy and respond with the #mscedc hashtag.

  1. What do we give to algorithms, and what do we receive in return?
  2. How might ‘recommendation algorithms’ be used in education?
  3. What are the key ethical issues introduced by algorithmic cultures in education?
  4. How can educational research benefit from an interrogation of algorithms?
  5. What might be the drawbacks of basing educational decisions on Learning Analytics?
  6. Who controls algorithms, and where can we situate their ‘agency’?
  7. In what ways are we ‘disciplined’ by algorithms?

After the Tweetorial we’ll be considering what Tweetarchivist has made of our conversations. What might this ‘algorithmic summary’ say about our engagement with the block 3 themes? Can’t wait to find out! Happy tweeting…

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!

Week 6: the Ethnography continues

robot homework

Welcome to week 6 and the second half of block 2! It’s been great to see such a diverse range of MOOCs being studied, and some super ideas taking shape with your micro-ethnographies. Thanks to those who shared their progress in the Hangout tutorials last week.

If last week was about exploring the various facets of your chosen MOOC, this week you should be concerned with gaining some focus on the particular area(s) you’d like to document for the micro-ethnography task. Remember the *micro* here: you’re not expected to examine the entire MOOC community; rather you should find one specific event or aspect of *community* that you’d like to study in detail.

Also remember that you are not alone! Use the Hub forum or Twitter (#mscedc) to share ideas and ask for feedback from the group. Blogging about your burgeoning ethnography and asking our own EDC community to comment is also a great way to build ideas and focus your study. There are no Hangouts this week (the next is week 10), so use these discussion spaces to voice any concerns you have.

As well as refining your ethnographic explorations this week, it will be good to start thinking about collecting data from your chosen areas, if you haven’t been doing this already. Next week will be our final stage of the block 2 ethnographies, and we’ll be moving towards using that data to present our findings.

By now, you should have received mid-course feedback on your lifestream blog from your tutor. As we transition into the second half of the course, this will be a crucial guide to developing your blog towards the assessment criteria. Do follow up this feedback with your tutor if you’d like more clarification or have any other queries.

Have a great week everyone!

Block 2 and week 4 of EDC


Thanks for a thoroughly stimulating exploration of cybercultures everyone! This brings block 1 and our film festival to a close, but there is still time to add your visual artefacts and comment on everyone’s fabulous work. See all the visual artefacts here. If yours isn’t on the list yet, just send Sian or Jeremy the link and we’ll add it.

This week we move into the second block of EDC, and begin to examine ‘community cultures’. We’ll be focussed on education from the start, as our main aim of the block will be to participate and document a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). As such, we’ll also be considering digital ethnographic methods, and how we might go about gathering and presenting data from this experience.

We also begin with a new set of core and secondary readings, providing you with some important perspectives on communities, online ethnographies and MOOCs.

This week is about reading and exploration; preparing yourself for undertaking your ethnography in weeks 5, 6 and 7. Your tasks this week are:

  1. read the core literature
  2. begin exploring the world of MOOCs
  3. discuss some of your burgeoning ideas in our Hub discussion space.

You can link to the Hub discussion space below, however you need to be logged into ease before-hand. You will also need to accept Jeremy’s friend request in the Hub so that he can add you to the group, if you haven’t done so already:

Have a super week everyone!

EDC tutorials – sign up in Moodle!

We’ve now re-worked the Google Hangout tutorial sign-ups in Moodle, so please go ahead and choose which times would suit you best. You need to attend three tutorials in total, one in each of the following weeks:

week 3
week 5
week 10

We are offering morning and evening sessions in each week to try to fit as many timezones as possible, so hopefully you can find a time that suits.

If you haven’t already done so, please make sure you email Jeremy and Sian a link to your G+ profile page, so that we can get you linked into the hangout session that you’ve chosen (;

Week 2 is swiftly drawing to a close…


…but there is still plenty of time to continue with the film festival, and suggest further clips through your blog or on Twitter (#mscedc). Thanks to everyone who came along to our Togethertube synchronous sessions, and contributed such fantastic readings of our selected scenes.

As we transition into week 3, it will be a good idea to try and gather your thoughts and interpretations from the films, and start to build further feeds and blog posts around these topics. How might the three themes ‘memory’, ‘machine sentience’ and ‘almost human’ relate to cyberculture more generally, as discussed in the Miller (2011) chapter, and crucially digital education itself, as discussed in Bayne (2014)?

In week 3 we will host our first Google Hangout, where we can get together and discuss the block 1 themes. Please go to the Moodle poll and choose which hangouts you would prefer to attend. There are two options in each of the hangout weeks (3, 5 and 10), so you only need to choose one for each of those weeks. Link to the poll here.

The lifestreams are looking great, keep it up! Your feeds should serve as a record of your activity across multiple social media spaces, so don’t just rely on the Twitter feed. Use IFTTT to set up multiple feeds from the different spaces you visit; for example YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Delicious bookmarking. There is a lot you can do with IFTTT – get in touch with Jeremy if you need a few pointers or help with feeds.

Remember to round up week 2 with a lifestream summary blog post. This should be a summary of your lifestream content, rather than a general summary of the week. We’re looking for reflections on the specific feed items you have added, what motivated you to add them, why they might be relevant to the course themes, and how they have contributed to your understanding of cybercultures and digital education.

Have a great weekend!

Week 2: let the film festival continue!


It’s week 2, and the second week of our Education and Digital Cultures film festival! It has been great to see the responses on Twitter so far, including lots of fantastic references, comments and some excellent additional clips. Keep this up, our #mscedc hashtag is proving to be a superb resource for our continued explorations of digital cultures!

Once again, we’ll be hosting a Togethertube tutorial, this time towards the end of the week: Tutorial 2 is on Friday 23rd January, 10am UK time. Link to the films here and see what we have lined up for the tutorial. If you can’t make that time, do try to watch all of the films and respond in your blog or on Twitter.

The lifestream blogs are looking fantastic already, so please do continue adding different feeds this week, and exploring each other’s blog spaces. Commenting on each other’s posts is our primary way of engaging in discussion in this course, so we recommend including this in your weekly routine. Also remember that you need to write a summary of your lifestream content at the end of each week (please give this a subject line like “week 1 summary” or similar), reflecting on how it expresses and builds on the course themes, readings and activities. Unlike your blogs in IDEL, your lifestreams should play with fragments as well as longer text-based entries, and you should be looking to add either a feed item or written post every couple of days.

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Welcome to the first Togethertube tutorial


As part of our block 1 film festival, we’re hosting the first Togethertube tutorial at 8pm UK time.

Join our private film room here:

Remember to sign up for a Togethertube account before hand – this will allow you to choose your own username.

Now showing:
Memory 2.0 – 11 mins
Address is approximate
– 3 mins
Tears in rain (from Bladerunner)
 – 4 mins