My Lifestream Analytics
- Date of first post: 13th January 2015
- Date of last post: 29th March 2015
- Total posts: 211
- Total number of comments (excluding spam): 76
- Comments from course tutors: 10
- Comments from other students (& pingbacks): 65
- Total number of comments (including spam): I wouldn’t want to guess!
What does the Lifestream show?
The Lifestream re-constructs my real time experiences of learning, which would be difficult to produce via other modes of assessment (e.g. the digital essay). Initial posts during weeks 1-3, for example, illustrate my engagement with key principles and concepts within digital culture, especially the philosophical approaches of trans- and post-humanism. Through this, I developed a critical understanding of dystopian futures, as well as attempts to construct binary distinctions in humanist culture. I was particularly drawn to the concept of homo-faber (‘tool making man’). These are all represented in my Week 3 digital artefact and my discussion.
Content during weeks 4-8 re-construct my engagement with the concept of community, and how communities are formed and negotiated online. I explored analytical typologies of online interaction, but became particularly interested in the role of the architects of online environments (especially their role in shaping community identity and interaction). These themes are presented in my Week 8 artefact, which summaries findings from a micro ethnography of the Massive Open Online Course Programming for Everybody.
My interest in digital infrastructure fed nicely into the final block of the course, where we explored the role of algorithms and learning analytics. There are a lot of tweets in this section of the Lifestream, as through the twitter storm in week 9, I debated a number of concepts and ideas with tutors and fellow students, especially the reliance on socio-material theory, the ‘agency’ of algorithms and the relevance of theories of power and political economy in understanding the role of algorithms in digital culture.
Reflections on Lifestreaming
As the weeks progressed, the use of automated feed (via IFFT) helped to transform the Lifestream from something which I need to create, to something which largely generated itself. In this respect, the lifestream became organic (as opposed to mechanistic). Whilst twitter was the primary automated feed, Pinterest Vimeo and Youtube (and later Tumblr and Flicker) became additional (multi-modal) feeds into the Lifestream. It is interesting to see how the different feeds reflect different learning activities: Twitter posts, for example, tend to reflect my interactions with tutors and fellow students, whereas Youtube, Vimeo and Pinterest feeds reflect my engagement with a range on non-academic materials (surrounding Digital Culture, Netnography, and Big Data).
A potential limitation of the Lifestream is that, whilst it provides a detailed history of online activity (course participation), this does not (in and of itself) evidence effective learning. Hence, there is a danger in assuming that extensive lifestreams can serve as proxies for student engagement, and (in contrast) sparse lifestreams signal limited learning. This is where the incorporation of weekly summaries into the Lifestream provided crucial opportunities for critical reflection.