13 comments

  1. Ed says:

    Hi Jin,
    That’s an interesting account, especially the part where you mentioned the MOOC does not use social media. Did you get a sense if participants were happy or satisfied with discussing only within the forums? Or if some considered to form study groups outside of the official space?
    Avoiding social media seems quite intriguing especially when the MOOC titles includes the phrase “empowering yourself in a connected world”.
    Cheers,
    Ed

    • jdarling says:

      I have been asking myself that question for the last couple of weeks and to date, nobody has mentioned using social media to network outside of the forums so I can only assume that they are satisfied with the forum structure. It is really weird as I was expecting the course to have a hashtag so that you could use Twitter or Facebook to extend the conversations, but there is nothing. A lot of the learners talk about wanting to gain confidence in using social media, but they seem happy not to be putting the theory aspects of the course into practice. I guess I prefer a more active approach to learning, and like to use the knowledge not just reflect on it.

  2. PJ says:

    Jin, thanks for leading the way with the micro-ethnography. I was particularly interested in the Metaliteracy Badging System that I guess will start with the March course. I’m wondering how intensive that will be compared to our EDC course. Do you have any feel for that in the Metaliteracy MOOC that you’re enrolled in now?

    In our earlier post- and trans- human discussions, I pondered whether ‘meta’- would catch on as prefix as a successor, as in ‘meta-human’ once we all get switched on and hooked into the ‘internet of things’ and the ‘internet of everything.’ Cheers, PJ

    • jdarling says:

      Hi PJ, the metaliteracy mooc is certified and to be successful you need to complete each weekly assignment, roughly 1000 words per week, and peer assess at least 2 per week. The work load is really heavy and has received some negative feedback from learners. I think the badge system may be more manageable as learners will be able to pick and mix the areas they are interested in. However I get the impression the badge system is going to be used for on-campus courses not the moocs, due to the statement that each badge will be reviewed by an educator.
      The mooc seems to be an offshoot of the on-campus course. I wonder what benefit the provider is getting from the mooc; is it just an example of Baggaley’s ‘sift for relevance’ – to roadtest the material that is then used with their real, on-campus, students? Or is it to sell the book?
      That doesn’t sound very positive, I am trying hard to appreciate the effort that has gone into the mooc. I do find it hard though, as I think I have been spoilt by my own experiences of online learning and I was expecting a cMooc experience, whereas I have since learnt from doing this ethnography that this course is an xMooc which is very different. But I can’t help feeling that the mooc is missing the opportunity to develop knowledge and ideas and networks.
      Anyway, I hope the prefix meta catches on – I just like the sound of it:) Metacognitive, metamorphosis, metatag, metaanalysis etc etc

  3. PJ says:

    Jin, thank for generous elaboration on the Meta-literacy MOOC and the badging system. I need to personally investigate badging system as a concept later at some point in MScDE programme. I appreciate the ‘ethnographic’ perspective that you convey about the differences between cMOOC and xMOOC. As with your conversation with ED above, I was surprised that my Coursera ScanFilmTV MOOC does not use Twitter or Facebook for the current course, but it seems like they used it for previous courses. Maybe management of social media traffic in MOOCs just becomes un-manageable for course organizers; they lose control.

    Clare turned me on to Ghazala Bhatti’s short 4-page chapter on “Ethnographic and Representational Styles” in the (MScDE) Research Methods & Methodologies in Education textbook (Arthur, Waring, et.al). Above you say: “I am trying hard to appreciate the effort that has gone into the mooc. I do find it hard though,…” You may be experiencing what Bhatti describes as follows: “Many ethnographers
    have felt the tension which is inevitable when they have to be insiders and outsiders simultaneously.” (p. 82).

    I predict the ‘Meta-‘ prefix may, indeed, catch on with advent of big data, ‘internet of things’ and the ‘internet of everything.’ In fact, it seems like a good Lifestream blog topic for this week, after I finish my own micro-ethnography. Cheers, PJ

  4. sbayne says:

    Thanks for this Jin – it looks like this is a rather strange MOOC. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your analysis of what is going on in here (the moribund twitter and youtube presences don’t bode well!).

  5. Clare says:

    Jin, really interesting to see what you say about xMOOCs and how intensive the course is. Enjoyed the way you used Storify, hyperlinks and related stories to present your findings – made for a fun exploration.

  6. Jeremy Knox says:

    Fantastic to see a good discussion happening here!

    Some of the points you raise in the comments would be great to elaborate on Jin. Your Storify is good, but I wondered if you could say more about the community, rather than just the structure and resources of the MOOC. Perhaps the conversations around ‘gaining confidence with social media’ would be good to interrogate some more, as would your suggestions that some people are concerned about the workload. It is a shame that the sense of community wasn’t very apparent, however you could perhaps show that in some way. For example, were particular forum posts that solicited more social responses ignored? Where were the silences and ‘black holes’?

  7. bhenderson says:

    Hi Jin, nice artifact.

    How much focus was there on the content of the course and how much on the discussion side? Obviously there wasnt a social media elemant so most of the discussions took place in the designated forums, did participants initiate a ‘breakout’?

    Ben

    • jdarling says:

      Hi Ben

      I looked at the ‘weekly discussions’ forum, which was linked to the activities. These were mainly content related. There was another forum for ‘Introductions’, as far as I looked, this comprised of brief biographies/profiles detailing job titles, locations, prior experience of moocs and what they hoped to achieve from the mooc; there were very few contact details supplied; I only saw one profile with a facebook address on it. A general search of all of the course forums for the keywords twitter and facebook did not find any suggestions that people may wish to extend conversations / network outside of the mooc.
      I have completed a more detailed analysis on this subject on Smore (https://www.smore.com/fqwrn-metaliteracy-mooc) if you would like more…
      Jin

  8. mprowse says:

    Hi Jin, Apologies for the late comment. I really did enjoy reading your ethnograph, which is set out very clearly, it was interesting to compare the great differences between your MOOC and mine, (National Film and Television School) which was possessed of an array of different ecologies, to the point perhaps of creating new ones. Thanks.

  9. sbayne says:

    I enjoyed your Smore account Jin, and the expanded analysis, and I found your comment on removal of emoticons particularly interesting:

    “I have noticed that emoticons are not displayed on the forums. When I conduct a search for ‘:)’ it returns 735 results but none of them show the emoticon; this makes me assume that they have been stripped out by the Coursera platform. Indeed there is evidence from a Coursera Capstone Project that this may be happening, “remove “bad characters” that might interfere with analysis (e.g. emoticons)” (Farmer, 2014). But does this have the unintentional consequence of removing the social ‘feel’ of the forums, and making them more formal than intended? Does it hinder the development of a “personally enriching social world” as described by Kozinets (2010, p.23)?”

    The Farmer article appears to refer to a need to ‘clean’ discussion board data for for the purposes of running analysis on it – this wouldn’t really explain a lack of appearance of emoticons within the discussion boards themselves. It would seem very odd if so! Did the emoticons appear in the forums, but not in the search? Do you have any more thoughts on this? Such a surprising finding would need a bit more explanation I think, so I’d be interested to hear more at some point.

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