Anticipation for the upcoming MOOC “eLearning and Digital Cultures” is almost palpable, and it’s not just down to the massiveness of the course, which has enrolled a staggering 36,000+ up to press. It’s down to all the network-focused pre course activity that’s built up around it.
I signed up way back in September so some level of expectancy on my part is understandable, but what’s truly awesome is the level of enthusiasm that’s developed amongst expectant participants in the mean time. In mid November the course team issued a mail shot extending an “early welcome”, (this links nicely to my previous post on hospitable pedagogy!!), encouraging participants to try out some of the social media services that they anticipate using during the course. As a result, there’s been sustained activity around the course hashtag #EDCMOOC, but even more fantastic is the level of participant-led networked activity initiated in the #EDCMOOC Facebook group.
Set up at the end of November by a preparative bunch of individuals (or was it just one individual?), the group has developed a whole host of resources and initiatives, including Twitter lists, Diigo lists, YouTube playlists, feeds for blogs, technology tips, assorted discussions and a quadblogging scheme, which this post forms part of. However, seeing as the course doesn’t start until 28th January, this post isn’t a course reflection, it’s more a statement of intent about what I hope to get out of the course.
“The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology”. I’m particularly interested because the course not only takes a look at how learning (with technology) is represented in popular digital/cyber culture but also how literacy (something which I have a real passion for) is represented too. Besides considering multimodal literacies and digital media, the course also asks what it means to be “human” in a digital age. This intimates the concept of post humanism, which since reading Cyborg literacies and the posthuman text by Lesley Gourlay, is something that I’m eager to learn more about. In the article, kindly added to the e-Learning and Digital Cultures Diigo group by Chris Swift, Gourlay proposes the notion of “posthuman literacies”, which draws upon “Haraway’s cyborg (1991) and Hayles’s (1999, 2006) conceptions of emobodied virtuality – to examine practices of meaning-making in a context where the boundaries between analogue and digital, ‘human’ and ‘machine’ are ambiguous and problematic” (p.1). I’m intrigued to say the least, just as I’m intrigued by the reference to “uncanny digital literacies” that I came across when researching the work of Sian Byrne, one of the course tutors.
I wonder how many others registered on the course, like me, are interested in a literacies perspective. It’s interesting because I just saw this tweet (modified) from another of the course tutors, Dr. Christine Sinclair .
I can’t wait to discover just what we’ve let ourselves in for.
References: Gourlay, L. (2011) Cyborg literacies and the posthuman text. Available at: http://blogs.ubc.ca/newliteracies/files/2011/12/Gourlay.pdf