The course will be organised in three blocks. Learning activities throughout will focus on maintenance of your lifestream (see assessment), on blogging, synchronous and asynchronous discussion. You will develop: a visual artefact in any medium (block 1); an ethnographic artefact using an online application of your choice (block 2); and an account of ‘algorithmic play’ in block 3, all of which will feed into your assessed lifestream-blog. You will also produce a final assignment.
Block 1: Cyberculture (week 1-3)
This first block will consider some of the over-arching narratives within popular culture which have driven our understanding of digital culture and its relation to learning . It will begin with a course ‘cyberculture film festival’ and accompanying tutorials in Togethertube, connecting these with readings which familiarise you with some orienting theories of cyberculture. It will then link these to the notion of ‘technology enhanced learning’, considering how such representation continues to inform our understanding of the nature of education online.
At the end of this block, you will produce an online representation of the themes covered, using visual methods only. This might be in the form of a composite image, a YouTube video, a Flickr photostream or some other medium of your own invention. This artefact should ideally be reviewable by peers and must feed into your assessed lifestream-blog (more about this below, in ‘Assessment’).
Block 2: Community culture (week 4-7)
This second block will consider the concept of online community and will look at digital ethnography as a research method. Readings will be provided on both. The main work of this block will involve you in working alone to conduct a micro virtual ethnography of a massive open online course (MOOC) of your choice. There is information on the course web site about the ethical and practical issues you should take into account in doing this. You will end your work in the block by creating an ethnographic snapshot of this community using an online medium of your choice. This must also feed into the assessed lifestream-blog.
Block 3: Algorithmic culture (week 8-10)
This block will look at the ways in which large quantities of digital data, and the algorithms that operate across it, are informing contemporary culture within and beyond educational contexts. Ted Striphas defines ‘algorithmic culture’ as: ‘the ways in which computers, running complex mathematical formulae, engage in what’s often considered to be the traditional work of culture: the sorting, classifying, and hierarchizing of people, places, objects, and ideas.’ In this block we will consider this idea and its implications for digital education. In this block you will create an account of ‘algorithmic play’, as you experiment with an algorithmic system of your choice.
You will formally begin work on the final assignment in week 11, and submit your work by the end of week 12.