Here is the search I conducted showing 743 returns:
I then checked a few of these in the threads:
None of them displayed any emoticons. I also completed the search using an iPad, to rule out something weird on my PC, but still no emoticons. I then logged onto another Coursera Mooc and conducted the same search:
Interestingly, this did display the emoticon sometimes, but not every time!
What I was wondering – did it have an effect upon the sociableness of the group? Does it effect the tone of the conversations? I have no idea what is going on. It is very interesting though, and I am tempted to start a new thread asking about it. It’ll be too late for the ethnography though.