Monthly Archives: February 2015

Netnography – Total Leadership Learning community

What are the netnographic outcomes of this short investigation? (Note, this should be taken to support the Slides found here.)

In regards to the community it’s a mixed bag. Reportedly there are 33,000+ participating in the course, yet I am only involved with smaller groups. Whenever I search the hashtag on Twitter, rarely do I find links to other meaningful content. I am usually confronted with someone inadvertently advertising the course or saying how much difference this is having on them.

I decided to focus on the experiential and look at smaller communities. At the start of the Total Leadership course I signed up to a Spanish speaking group and we initially began to write to communicate via a Skype chat. Later on we decided to meet up online once a week, in a F2F chat. The group was very much full of business professionals, interested in the content, but also focused on making links with other business people. One thing that defined the group as a community of practice was their definition of certain terms and what they understood by them. As they went along defining their ideas, the began to expand and explore on certain themes they developed their own meaning among the group.  Based on clarifying things that they didn’t understand due to the mode of delivery in L2 they pushed the course into the realm of cMOOC. Some interesting aspects arose from their misunderstandings and the discussion of ideas.

I found the course to be a mix between cMOOC and xMOOC as it pushes the student to interact with peers and self reflect, instead of simply consuming knowledge, whilst my experience in the Spanish speaking group further affirmed these beliefs.  It was an aspect of the course which I am greatly enjoying.

Facebook: to be honest I haven’t had the chance to really dig deep into the Facebook group. I found the Skype and group forum interaction interesting and rewarding. The people I have met on the course so far have been positive and friendly, heaping praise on the content and impact it is having on their lives. There is still a buzz around the course.

Week 8 Summary

After finally completing the netnography, I found it a really useful and interesting first step to a more in-depth analysis of MOOCs and their social structure. As educators, in order to really evaluate the usefulness of technology, we should really deconstruct what is going on in MOOCs. This exercise opened my eyes to what we were doing on a social level, and how knowledge was being shared and formed by smaller groups, the concepts of xMOOC and cMOOC explored by Bonnie Stewart also opened my eyes to the effectiveness of these two different approaches to MOOCs.

Unfortunately, due to work commitments, it’s been difficult to write and explore these themes here in depth.

Stewart, B., (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Technology, 9(2), 2013.


Week 7 Summary

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Week 7 continued the investigation into the MOOC, collecting more information and seeing how the group was collaborating via Skype and in the forum. I talked to various group members over Skype and the level of collaboration in the Spanish forum was very interesting. Whether this interaction was due to the course being imparted in English and propelled by the fact that they wanted to clarify certain things in their native language is something that could definitely be put forward for further study.

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A Plunge and Squish View of the Mind

This article caught my eye as it goes back to the first unit, looking at memory and the human mind. We are still investigating/researching how the mind and memory fully works, here we see the mind setting up general rules, slightly similar to algorithms, programming and the rules on IFTTT. The plunge and squish theory is something I will be investigating over the Summer when I get to read a bit more by David Gelertner. via @farnamstreet from


MOOC Ethnography

As a participant, as well as a Netnographer, I felt that the only way I could really approach this task and gain important, reliable information was to be a full participant on the course and attempt everything a normal student would. I watched the first week’s video lectures, did the assignments, and then followed the community guidelines to introduce myself in the forum.

On the content: I found the videos very engaging, I felt I was being spoken directly to by the course tutor, Stewart Friedman. Both the connection between the lecturer and a strong sense of presence was there for me, I remember in IDEL we looked at this but I can’t quite remember the author who discussed it (any ideas fellow EDCers?). The content was also very interesting as the course touches on self-help/improvement, I felt very much part of it and the delivery of content is appealing. One of the first assignments was to describe what you expect to get from the course and ethically I posted that I was taking the course as part of the EDC as well as hoping to improve my leadership skills.

On Social Media presence: I managed to use the tweet archivist to follow ideas posted about the course, and I’ll be making a Storify board to post photos and information I find relevant to the study. I also joined the Facebook group for the course and this is where I will most likely focus my attention in the study in order to investigate the community. I went into the course forum and joined a Spanish speaking group. Interestingly this group went against geographical location and focused on the unifying aspect that is language. There are Spanish speakers from all over the world in this group, as opposed to localized study groups based on geography which was present on the forum.

On my peers: At the moment, there is a lot of positivity and excitement among my peers, I’m not sure if this is due to start of the course or week 1’s assignments. Lots of hope/aspiration about what can be achieved through the study. I just handed in the first community assignment and it will be evaluated by one of my peers, the course has two options an individual track and a community track. I will be engaging more in the Spanish forum and participating on Facebook throughout the week in order to gather more information.

MOOC Content

The MOOC content is really very engaging, I have greatly enjoyed the course so far, the information is delivered in a direct, simple manner, via video lectures. This tweet reflects how I started engaging with the material.

Anyone struggling with a work/life balance should reconfigure their idea of this concept. @Wharton @StewFriedman #FourWayWins #MSCEDC



And so it begins… MOOC ethnography

I just signed up for…

Better Leader, Richer Life

… and to be honest, it seems like a really interesting/engaging course. I’m looking forward to interacting with my peers on the course and I just had one of my tweets favourite by the course instructor.



Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.34.22 AMI’m looking forward to our hangout tomorrow in order to get tooled up in ethnographic approaches to the MOOC, meanwhile, I’ll continue to investigate and dig deeper in the forums.

You haven’t lived until you’ve died in a MUD

MUD1 screenshot – MUD – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

from Martyn Peters

“You haven’t lived until you’ve died in a MUD”

This quote caught my eye from one of the readings, and it’s incredible that only 40 years on, the interactive online world has transformed so much. If we compare the original Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) to the World of Warcraft today we can see a world of difference. The MUD originated at the University of Essex in the 70s, funnily enough the same university I studied my BA in American Studies at.

I guess this is relevant to the course as the complexity/engagement of online interactions that is now possible allows us to be so much more enveloped and present. It also raises questions for me when looking at the MOOC I am involved in. How can we harness the type of engagement Second Life/World of Warcraft offers and inject it into MOOCs. I feel like the fandom/levels of engagement are what is perhaps lacking in the delivery of MOOCs, their slickness, high quality videos, and professional sheen are all wonderful, yet they lack something in their engagement. The real and most interesting interaction is going on in the forums, especially the Spanish speaking one.


Week 6 Review

I signed up for Better Leader, Richer Life from @pennopencourses! via @coursera #MSCEDC
from Delicious

I chose this particular MOOC for my ethnography as it appealed to the situation I am currently living, I seem to not have time for anything! Better Leader, Richer Life seemed like a rock-star style program. Offered by the prestigious, Ivy League, Wharton business school it promised to help you re-address the work-life balance and take a whole new approach. After the first week’s lectures I really got into the course. I enjoyed the video lectures and the almost guru-like figure of Stewart D. Friedman, projected through the course. I introduced myself in the forums and made explicit what my plans were for the mini-ethnography. I felt a little bit guilty, as only people going through the introductory forum would know my intentions. If they hadn’t checked back they wouldn’t know that I was there observing. I was also an active participant, I didn’t lurk around the site, I engaged with the Spanish speaking groups and also posted in the introductory forum.


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