‘E-learning and digital cultures’ has been….

December 21st, 2009 by sian

…a 12-week course element of the fully-online University of Edinburgh MSc in E-learning. The course finished in December 2009.

It was an experiment in using an open-access, disaggregated learning environment which pulled together content, readings, tweets, blog postings and other social media in an attempt to explore what is most interesting not only about theories of digital culture, but also about the forms and practices of contemporary e-learning.

‘E-learning and digital cultures’ was created using WordPress. The site will stay up at least until we run the course again, in September 2010. Access to students’ blogs and lifestreams, to all course content, and to the visual and ethnographic artefacts created during this course are all available from here. Only copyright-protected readings and a discussion board are protected by passwords. Final assignments will also be up, once they are finished in mid January.

For more information about what we’ve been doing on this course, contact the tutors – Sian Bayne and Jen Ross, School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Finally – many thanks to everyone who made this course, in every sense!

welcome to our final week of semester

December 7th, 2009 by jen

Well, this is it – our final week. It’s been a wonderful, colourful journey for Siân and for me, and we hope it’s been rewarding and interesting for you as well.

A few reminders and some information in relation to your lifestream submission and final assignment.

  1. The lifestream is due on Sunday 13 December, and the submission information you need is on this page – http://digitalculture-ed.net/?page_id=606 . You can skip your weekly summary for week 12 and focus on your 500 word lifestream summary this week.
  2. Your final assignment is due on Sunday 3 January 2010. We’ve now spoken to almost everyone about their topics and formats. If you have yet to liaise with your tutor about this, please do so by this Friday – 11 December – at the latest. A reminder that you are aiming for a word count of approximately 2000. Also, remember that you can nominate up to three of your own assessment criteria in addition to the core criteria which will apply to all assignments. See the course guide for more information about this.

Good luck to all of you on your assignments – we’re looking forward to seeing them. And thanks again for being part of the course this semester – it’s been a real pleasure working with you.

on word count: assignment information

December 4th, 2009 by jen

Some of you have been asking about word counts for the final assignment. Just to clarify for everyone – the word count you should be working towards is (roughly) 2000. How you are structuring and presenting your assignment will affect how you interpret and run with this, and that is fine, but do bear this target in mind.

Let your tutor know if you have questions about this.

our penultimate week

November 30th, 2009 by sian

As you know, there are no group activities for the next couple of weeks, to give everyone a chance to really focus on the assignment. Jen has posted our skype ‘open office’ times below, so please drop by and chat about your assignment then, if it’d be helpful to you. Or use email or the discussion board – whichever works best for you.

The main thing is that you do at least have a discussion with your tutor about your topic and the form of your assignment, before you get too far down the road of writing/making it. Jen and I will be online for this until the end of next week, and the submission date is 3 January, midnight.

The last few weeks have gone so quickly and have been such fun – personally I am going to really miss EDC once it’s over : )

Look forward to talking more about your ideas over the coming week…

assignment discussion office hours

November 26th, 2009 by jen

If you’d like to chat with your tutor about your final assignment topic or format, Siân and Jen will be available for Skype text chats at the following (UK time zone) times next week:

Siân (sianbayne1)

Monday 30 November, 3-4pm

Friday 4 December, 9-10am

Jen (jross28)

Tuesday 1 December – 2-3pm

Thursday 3 December – 10-11am

more on the final assignment topic

November 23rd, 2009 by sian

We wanted to clarify what’s expected in terms of the topic for the final assignment, as the course guide is perhaps a little ambiguous on this. The expectation is that you should write ‘on an aspect of the course content defined by yourself’ – this can be any aspect of the course content. While the content of the third block, on critical perspectives, is likely to feed into your final topic in some form (as stated in the course guide), it doesn’t have to form the focus of it.

So, while you can’t replicate work from the visual artefact and the ethnography in the final assignment, you can go back to some of the ideas generated during those activities for this final piece work, if you want to. Or you can return to the themes we looked at during the film festival.

Please drop Jen or I an email if it would help to exchange ideas one-to-one – and to discuss with the whole group, there is a dedicated topic area in the discussion board.

I hope this helps – when you’ve pretty much decided on a topic area and a medium for the assignment, please just run it past your tutor, and contact us at any point for help with any of this.

week 10 – can you believe it?

November 23rd, 2009 by jen

southerngothic_taylorHello all, and welcome to week 10! Siân and I were saying this morning that we can’t believe how the semester has flown by. Your blog posts, comments and tweets over the past couple of weeks have been extremely thoughtful, interesting and creative.

This week:

This week is our final week of structured content for the course, and we’ll mark it by returning explicitly to the realm of e-learning to look at some of the themes of this block as they relate specifically to teaching and learning online. The core readings were written more than a decade apart, and are relevant not only for their engagement with the themes of uncanniness and cyborg pedagogy, but in how they may fit into Hand’s narratives of promise and threat, and in the stories they tell about their cybercultures, a way of thinking Bell advocated in week 1.

We can discuss these and other issues and questions in the blogs this week, and also, for those who are able to attend the Skype session on Wednesday at 8pm (GMT), in synchronous text chat. We will put the transcript of the chat up on the discussion board as we did last time.


Your lifestream will be due for submission by midnight on Sunday 13 December. We will create a page on the site this week to give explicit instructions about how to submit it, and there is more information in the course handbook about the assessment criteria.

If you haven’t decided, in consultation with your tutor, on your final course assignment topic and format, you will want to start thinking about that in earnest over the next few weeks. As previously noted, you must email your tutor before you start to work on your assignment, to agree your topic and format.

Have a great week, everyone.

home straits: week 9

November 16th, 2009 by sian

The ethnographies are all up now, and the work that’s gone into these, and into the constructive and supportive commentary, has been genuinely impressive. The studies have opened up and dusted down corners of the web which I had no idea existed, and have engaged critically and reflexively with essential questions like ‘what constitutes community?’, ‘what is ethnography?’, ‘how do the ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ intersect?’, ‘what counts as internet research?’ and many, many others. I’d really recommend anyone who hasn’t yet had a read of the ethnographies to spend an hour or so on this when you have it.

Meanwhile, we continue this week with the readings on cyborgism, posthumanism and related critical theories. These will lead into our skype chat next week on wednesday, when we’ll talk about applying some of these ideas to online pedagogy. There have been some really great additional readings, videos and links coming through on Twitter to help with these readings – many thanks everyone for those.

Finally, the wallwisher on being posthuman is starting to look really good so do keep posting to this when inspired to. Remember to log out of wallwisher if you want to post anonymously.

See you in the blogs and on Twitter – have a good week.

welcome to week 8 (and our final block)

November 9th, 2009 by jen

Welcome to week 8, and to block 3 of the course!

Firstly, you have obviously been working extremely hard on your micro-ethnographies over the past few weeks, and these are varied, exciting and rich – well done! As with the visual artefacts, let’s take a few more days to comment on these at the same time as we get started with week 8’s readings and activities.

Secondly, this week’s readings are to be found at http://digitalculture-ed.net/?page_id=260 . The core readings by Donna Haraway and N Katherine Hayles are both pretty full on, so do make sure to give yourself space and time to engage with these. We’ve posted up some discusson questions you may want to consider as you think and blog about these pieces. We’ve also got a Wallwisher activity set up for the next two weeks – please contribute to our collaborative Wallwisher story of being posthuman, drawing on the core (and secondary) readings and attempting to answer for yourself “in what ways am I posthuman”?

Thirdly, as we enter this final block, you should start (or continue) to think about a topic and format for your final assignment for the course. If you want to you can blog about this, and/or use the ‘assignment discussion’ area in the discussion board to share ideas. Either way, before you start work on it, be sure to email your tutor to agree your topic and medium.

Finally, a warm welcome to the friends and colleagues who are joining us over the next few weeks – we are really happy to have you. Please feel free to comment on blogs on this site, to use our twitter hashtag #ededc for discussion and to alert us to blog posts you write , and to participate in the wallwisher activity.

Have a great week, everyone!

invitation to share your assessment and feedback stories

November 6th, 2009 by jen

Hi all – you’ll probably have seen this through other avenues by now, but just in case: all participants on the MSc in E-learning programme are invited to contribute to a reseach project about student writing and innovative feedback and assessment (http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/swop). Tell us about your assessment and feedback experiences (current or past; positive, negative or overall) on the programme! You can also comment on other stories already in the wiki (many thanks to those who have already contributed).

You can post anonymously or under your own name at http://assessmentfeedbackstories.pbworks.com . Check your email for information about posting anonymously, or visit the discussion board at http://discussion.holyroodpark.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=213 , or you can email me (jen.ross@ed.ac.uk) for more info. Thanks!