> To study, does that simply mean to lurk and watch? When does the ethnography slip over in auto-ethnography by virtue of our active involvement in the MOOC? Does our activity in the MOOC manufacture community where there may not have been one?
Indeed! I have been grappling with the same issues too.
It’s been interesting to reflect on the various approaches we might take, and where the lines might blur between emic/etic, inside/outside, open/closed etc. as we were discussing on another thread.
I’ve been pondering one approach lately, after coming across this podcast interview with anthropologist Tim Ingold:
A few quotes in particular stuck with me:
‘With anthropology, the university in which we study is the world itself….in anthropology, we actually treat the world as a great big university. We don’t make studies of people, we study with them and learn from them.’
‘Much more important to anthropology is allowing the learning that happens through that experience of fieldwork to transform your own approach to life in general and thinking about things in whatever problems you’re trying to tackle.’
Do you feel you are studying _with_ (rather than making studies _of_) other participants in your course? As you say, what effect might this have on ‘community’?
Also, if we study _with_ the other participants, does this affect the ethical/consent issues (provided we are transparent), compared to if we were acting as ‘lurkers’?