6 thoughts on “MOOC MOOC: Grass-Fed, Free-Range, Wild?: A giraffe and a zebra discuss

  1. Katherine, I thought this was great, and would like to talk more about your approach, analysis and the medium construction. You articulated so very well many of my thoughts (not just mine though!), which occurred in the course of my ‘mini- ethnographic study’.

    • Thanks! I used http://goanimate.com, which automatically does the animation. I just had to cut my thoughts into short, 140 character (or less) chunks, and have fewer than 30 of them. So it was similar to Twitter / a conversation. Very few artistic skills needed!
      I’m going back to look at your mini-ethnography, and look to see what those thoughts might be!

  2. Sorry to have taken so long to comment on this piece of work Katherine – I confess I have watched the GoAnimate several times over the last day or two, but have found the animated voices a difficult medium for following through your argument. While I am intrigued by your bringing up of ethology against the social network within MOOCMOOC, I’m left wondering how this helps your analysis – quite possibly this is just because the task in this block has been so constrained that there is little room to expand.

    In particular I thought your apparent finding that social clusters formed around the MOOC organisers was very interesting, and wondered whether it might not be useful to use this as a launchpad for thinking about clique formation within this MOOC, or about the ways in which educators exercise influence and build clusters of activity among students – this seemed to me a possibly more fruitful line of enquiry than the analogy with cow sociality given the scope of the task. However, I did enjoy the way in which you attempted an even hand with your cross-species analogy!

    • Because I had such an issue with the concept of a mini-ethnography (as we discussed earlier), I was resistant about reading intentionality into the sliver of data that I collected. Instead, I felt that a post-human slice-of-life was really the only postition I was happy to take. So I counted some metadata and laid that onto a non-human model and presented it as a dialogue between computerised animals. If it doesn’t seem that it could go much further than an extremely limited thought excercise, that’s because that’s all I felt I could do with the task (I read the Hammersley and wasn’t able to shift my position).
      I do have a draft transcript of the dialogue, which I would be happy to share if that were to make it easier to follow!

  3. Another aspect that I considered, but this is a better explanation of the ethical questions I had about my research:
    Is it ethical to harvest public Twitter accounts without consent? (I decided an intentionally ‘public’ learning event was public). http://www.michaelzimmer.org/2010/02/12/is-it-ethical-to-harvest-public-twitter-accounts-without-consent/

    And this: Bassett, E. H., & O’Riordan, K. (2002). Ethics of Internet research: Contesting the human subjects research model. Ethics and Information Technology, 4(3), pp. 233–247. Argues that the “human subjects research model” as a model appropriate in some areas of Internet research, but in others the Internet is rather a spatial/relational “cultural production of texts”.

  4. Katherine – it might be interesting to circle back to some of these ideas in the final assignment: the ethics of ‘virtual ethnography’ are clearly something you feel strongly about, and I can see that a more extended piece of work on this might really help to flesh out your ideas on this. Certainly it would be interesting to see an assignment focusing on a methodological question, as this is something that we see fairly infrequently!

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