My ethnographic artefact, a series of data visualisations, is at:
This week I spent most of my time lurking in the EdX MOOC, even if I had already finished copying the text I would analyse later for the ethnographic artefact. I felt this time was necessary to understand what was happening in the community. Although I spent most of the time reading as opposed to writing posts, I would not characterise this type of activity as passive. Observing a community requires a certain level of concentration and focus.
This focus is also necessary because I could learn about the community’s main activity, the coaching circle, from participants’ account of it. I was therefore quite pleased to have found that the introspectiveness I observed could be revealed quite clearly via data visualisation. The other thing I discovered is that these introspectiveness among participants seemed to be a function of time. I could find this pattern only among the posts that were created in the latter half of the review period. Interestingly, while most participants had managed to form connections, and deep ones at that, with their coaching circles, questions about how to organise and join those groups persisted. That these questions remained well into the third week of the course has implications for the community organisers.
The rest of the week I posted ethnographic accounts of two large social media sites: Reddit and Instagram. What I found interesting was how the two accounts differed in their tone. While the Reddit account was dispassionate, the Instagram was quite evocative. I think the kind of role the ethnographer takes influences the account he or she creates in the end. Lastly, I created an image as a reply to Katherine’s post about non-people, that is, non-human agents in posthuman gatherings. This theme of assemblages is something I encountered in the first week of the course and gradually better understood in the second. It provides I think rich fodder for thinking about learning in the digital age.