Category Archives: Weekly Welcomes

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!