I was delighted to find the TED Talk by Sherry Turkle this week as her name came up so often during the IDEL and I’ve also just started reading Life on the Screen. The points she raises in the talk about connectedness, social media and technology are useful in exploring a rather different side to online community.
My main focus this week has been on MOOCs and ethnography, and I found that our micro virtual ethnography task raised several issues. As I wrote up my findings I realized that the observations that I’ve made on peer assessment have no real connection to the rest of the what is happening in the MOOC. I was only able to look at one assignment out of three and didn’t have the time to examine whether the peer feedback improved on assignments 2 and 3 following the community’s discussions.
The comment on reflexivity was made after reading Hammersley and Atkinson (2007) in Research Methods. I now understand that ethnography was historically situated in positivism, then naturalism sort of took over but finds itself in tension between naturalistic/constructivist understanding of meaning-making and postivist/realist understanding of methods used. The solution proposed is reflexivity. But Moore warns that reflexivity in ethnography is an indulgence, which leads to the ethnographer telling the readers more about themselves than the culture observed. But I guess as in everything there is a middle way and reflexivity can be used without detracting too much from the ethnography itself.
The FutureLearn article provided some interested statistics and it is incredible to think that students from 190 countries are participating in their courses. How great too that the oldest student is 92 – something to be said for lifelong learning.
However, I was surprised that the typical age group was between 26 and 35 as I had expected the range to be wider. It was interesting creating the infographic and much easier than I had expected, but I’m very aware after reading a couple of articles on data presentation how careful we need to be in interpreting it.
Hammersly and Atkinson (2007) ‘What is Ethnography’ in Ethnography: principles in practice. http://www.tandfebooks.com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/isbn/9780203944769
Hine, C, (2000) “The virtual objects of ethnography” from Hine, C, Virtual Ethnography pp.41-66, London: Sage
BBC article ‘UK online course provider FutureLearn reaches million’, Sean Coughlan, 19th February 2015 http://www.bbc.com/news/education-31533681