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Enthusiasm and Expectancy for eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc

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.

Post Human
Post Human

“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.

Image source:

References: Gourlay, L. (2011) Cyborg literacies and the posthuman text. Available at:

Published ineLearning and Digital Cultures


  1. Hi Helen, I enjoyed your post and love your header photo. Is that where you live? I’m very interested in “simulation theory” the nature of reality and how we construct knowledge. An old question which takes on new meaning in the digital age and of course which is highly relevant for education. Perhaps I can explore this through edcmooc. If not, what it means to be human in the digital age and digital literacies will be very thought provoking.

    My response to the tweet is that I sense that we have steered clear of the edcmooc course content in our discussions for a number of reasons.

    Firstly so that we reserve those conversations for the forums once we “start”, no point in exhausting them now! I personally want to wait until we start so that we have that dialogue within the context of the questions posed for forums and no doubt, the discussion can continue long past the conclusion of the course.

    Secondly, I think those of us who have taken the opportunity for the early start have used it to develop PLNs, to expand their connectivity and develop some new tech skills. with the assistance of a very generous of spirit support group. It has been a very safe environment in which to explore new tools and creative ideas which will assist in producing our “artefact” and which many of us will take into our teaching environments. So although the course is not about tech expertise, I’ve been very grateful to have progressed mine whilst observing and being part of a wonderful growing online community.

  2. Hi Helen, have read and am mulling over your post. I think I share some of your goals, but need to read up a but more on some of the terms and vocab, esp in the Lesley Gourley text you referenced. I did a BA in 1999, so it’s been ages since I’ve read academic papers or been in the higher education world. By the way, has anyone seen Kubrick’s “2001”? Isn’t “the artefact” what they call the monolith when they find it on the moon? I think it is, but might just have imagined it. It makes me smile anyway to have that association in my head. Like we’ll be creating our own monoliths on the course! How cool would that be.

  3. bwatwood bwatwood

    Neat post … now that the course is underway, looking forward to hearing your take. And thanks for sharing a link to Sian’s Prezi!

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