"Algorithm 02" by Dimitris Ladopoulos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
“Algorithm 02” by Dimitris Ladopoulos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In week 10 you will 1) draw together the various activities around ‘algorithmic culture’, 2) participate in our final Hangout tutorial, and 3) submit your lifestream for assessment.

During the previous nine weeks of the course, you have (hopefully) been deeply immersed in a range of social media services and digital spaces, as you build and craft your lifestream. Most of this activity will have been linked in some way, directly or indirectly, with algorithmic processes: search engines sorting and filtering; recommendation systems influencing your explorations;  news feeds ‘personalising’ what you see; or even changes in the kind of advertisements, or spam, you encounter around the web.

This week, we turn to considering how algorithms have influenced the lifestream itself, but also, importantly, to reflecting on how this has shaped your learning process. While you have no doubt dedicated much time and effort to crafting your lifestream, it is likely that algorithms have also been at work, perhaps revealing particular information while concealing alternatives, or categorising your behaviour according to wider social activity. What does this algorithmic activity mean for your own authorship, and ownership, of your lifestream-blog? To what extent does it represent *your* learning journey? The operations of algorithms are always at least a little mysterious, as we can rarely access the code itself, so this reflection requires creativity and speculation, rather than necessarily any empirical measurement.

In order to complete your lifestream, you will need to write a final reflective post (5oo words – see the guidebook). This should include some critical reflection on how you think algorithms have shaped your lifestream, and influenced your learning journey on the course.

For this post, you should try to address the following questions systematically:

  • What kind of algorithms have been involved, and how do you perceive them to have operated? How were your activities influenced?
  • How do the identified algorithmic operations relate to particular readings from this block? Which ideas from the readings help you to explain what might have been happening?
  • What does this algorithmic activity potentially mean for notions of learning and teaching, authorship and agency?

This can be in place of your normal weekly summary (your final weekly summary will therefore be in week 9).

Week 10 tutorial times and sign-ups are in Moodle.

Before the end of the week, you should also review your lifestream-blog to ensure that it reflects your engagement with the course (removing any content you decide is not relevant), and finalise your work for submission (via Moodle) no later than midnight on Sunday the 22nd of March 2020. Submit the lifestream here, by uploading a document containing a link to your blog.