outline of content

The course will be organised in three blocks. Learning activities throughout will focus on maintenance of an online ‘commonplace book’ using lifestreaming technology (see assessment), on group blogging, asynchronous discussion, twitter tutorials and text chat. You will develop one online visual artefact (block 1) and one ethnographic ‘story’ using an online application of your choice (block 2), in addition to the final assignment.

Block 1: Popular cyberculture, visuality and new literacies
This first block will consider the over-arching narratives which have driven our understanding of digital culture and its relation to learning. Via a course ‘film festival’ and accompanying ‘tutorials’ in Twitter, it will connect these to notions of visuality and media literacy in education, considering how learning and literacy is represented in popular cyberculture texts, and how such representation continues to inform our understanding of the nature of e-learning.

At the end of this block, you will produce an online representation of the themes covered, using visual methods only. The artefact should be reviewable by peers and should feed into your assessed lifestream ‘commonplace book’.

Block 2: An ethnography of virtual community
This second block will consider the concept of virtual community and will look at virtual ethnography as a research method. Readings will be provided on both. The main work of this block will involve you in conducting a micro-virtual ethnography of an online community of your choice. You will end your work on the block by creating an ethnographic snapshot of this community using an online application of your choice. This will also feed into the assessed lifestream.

Block 3: Cyborg learners – critical perspectives on digital culture
In the final block we turn to work which considers how our understanding of gender, race, power and subjectivity is affected by our engagement with the digital domain. We approach this first of all through the figure of the cyborg, considering the idea that human subjectivity is altered through our relationship to, or ‘fusion’ with, technology and considering the substantial body of work on the implications of this idea for gender and power relations. In particular, we spend time considering the concept of the ‘cyborg learner’ and how we might develop pedagogies appropriate to the altered modes of selfhood we can experience online.

Work during this block of study will feed into the final assignment.

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