E-learning and Digital Cultures 2011

part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh

E-learning and Digital Cultures 2011

EDC has been…

…a 12-week course element of the fully-online University of Edinburgh MSc in E-learning. The course finished in December 2012.

It was designed as 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.

The site will stay up indefinitely, as will the 2010 and 2009 instances. Access to students’ blogs and lifestreams, to all course content, to the visual and ethnographic artefacts created during this course are all available from here (see the right hand column for links). Links to final assignments will appear shortly. Only copyright-protected readings are protected by passwords.

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.

A request from Ania

Ania’s requested permission from you all to look at your visual artefacts as part of her final assignment – copying what she says in her blog below:


I’m thinking of making a rhizome out of my favourite threads: visuality and posthumanism and what they can/should mean for the academia, all in the form of a video. I thought I could use some of the visual artefacts created on this course (and some of the related comments too) as an illustrative example of how academia might embrace visuality in the posthuman dance.

If you could please tell me if you agree or disagree to me reproducing your visual artefacts and/or comments, either in the comment area here or by emailing me, that would be great! Thanks! :-)

Other than that, many thanks for the enjoyable learning experience, good luck with the final assignment and the best wishes for the coming holiday.


Please get in touch with Ania if you’ve any queries about her final projects. Looking forward very much to seeing your final assignments in the new year – and in the meantime a very merry christmas from me, Jen and Jeremy too!

Week 12!

Welcome all to week 12, our final week of the course. Some fantastic ideas for the final assignments have been coming through, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the final products. It’s been an excellent semester and, though it’s not quite over yet, we really are on the home run now.

A couple of reminders about assignments and dates:

1. The lifestream is due this Sunday – 11th – by midnight. Jen has prepared a screencast to help you edit it and prepare it for submission. And remember that detailed instructions for submitting the lifestream are all available too.

2. The assignment is due by Sunday 8th January, midnight. The final assignment page tells you what to do – you’ll need to indicate the location of the assignment in the WebCT space, but the assignment itself should be all-digital as you know.

We can keep up the Twitter chat over Christmas and beyond, and there’s the EDC Hub group discussion space which might also be a good place for support. Remember you can contact your tutors over the next week if you want to continue to discuss your assignment ideas and assessment criteria one-to-one.

So – have a good final week, and best of luck with the final stages – it’s been a real pleasure.

Weeks 11 and 12: the home straight!

Welcome to the final stage of the course! The posthuman pedagogy tasks are arriving thick and fast, and looking fantastic. We are now starting the final period of assignment preparation.

Therefore, there are no structured tasks for the next two weeks – rather, this is time to get ideas in place for your final assignment and to get feedback and input from the group in doing so, if it’s useful to you. Blogging about your ideas for the digital essay is a great way to prompt feedback from your peers. Your tutors have been in touch individually about assignment plans, so please continue to use us as sounding boards too, if helpful.

As well as continuing to think about the assignment (due Sunday 8th January), you’ll need to take a bit of time next week to review and edit your lifestream before 11th December. The detail of what to do for this is up on the ‘lifestream submission’ page. Please seek clarification on any of this information with your tutor if needs be.

There are still a few ‘posthuman pedagogy’ tasks to come in, so please comment on the ‘all ideas in one place page‘ and we will add them to the list.

It has been a thoroughly enjoyable semester, but it is certainly not over yet! Getting the assignments underway is an exciting time, and I look forward to some stimulating conversations around assessment ideas. So please do share your thoughts with the group!

Finisher - 42/52
Creative Commons License photo credit: Phil Roeder

week 10: (learning about) what we are (learning about)

Good day to you all! Welcome to week 10, our final structured week of the course. You’ve spent the last couple of weeks grappling with notions of posthumanism and the cyborg, and some very fine blog posts have been written and discussed. This week we do our final set of readings, and our final course activity. By the end of the week you should have developed your thinking about the relationship of posthumanism and pedagogy, and proposed or found an example of something you consider to be a “posthuman pedagogy”. Please comment on the task page once you have something you’d like to share with the group.

This week, if you haven’t already, please get in touch with your tutor to discuss your final assignment topic and form. Weeks 11 and 12 are assignment preparation weeks, so you will want to know going into them what your topic and planned format will be. A reminder that you can (and we encourage you to) nominate up to three of your own assessment criteria, and you should run these past your tutor as well. All the information about the final assignment is here and in your course guide.

You may also want to begin thinking about your lifestream submission – this is due on Sunday 11 December. The last item in the lifestream should be a 500 word summary, posted in your blog. We would like you to submit your lifestream in WebCT for the sake of formality – you just need to provide a text copy of your final summary, and link to the lifestream, in the appropriate assignment space.

As ever, Siân, Jeremy and I wish you a great week!

Week 9 begins!

During this week we will continue the reading, thinking and discussion on cyborgs, posthumans, and other troubling of established boundaries – building towards next week when we begin applying some of this to the challenge of pedagogy and learning design. There have been some super posts on these themes emerging in the blogs, and it has been great to see the ethnographic discussions continuing. Peer support is a really valuable part of the course, so keep up the excellent commenting folks! It has been fantastic to see a couple of new course participants where friends have been brought to class, and I am looking forward to their involvement in the coming cyborg and posthuman discussions.  Also remember the wallwisher is still active, so keep posting your contributions!

This week might be a good opportunity for thinking ahead to your final assignment. As you know, this has to be in digital form, and the topic and some of the assessment criteria are entirely up to you to define. The deadline isn’t until midnight on Sunday the 8th January, but now is a good time to start getting input from Sian, Jen and I, and from the group if that would help you with your emergent ideas.  Post to your blog, or email Sian, Jen or I if you’d rather have a one to one.

Looking forward to more blogging, tweeting and discussion on cyborgs and posthumans! Let boundaries be thoroughly disrupted!

Cyborg hand
Creative Commons License photo credit: Debs (ò‿ó)♪

Week 8 is here….

Welcome to block 3 – time has gone quickly and this is our final course section.

The micro-ethnographies are coming together – still a couple to come but the majority are in and looking terrific. We suggest spending a few more days commenting on ones you may not have had a chance to see or discuss yet, alongside getting to grips with this week’s activities.

Block 3 is concerned with the over-arching theme of posthumanism, and we start with some readings aimed at orientation to this complex set of ideas. Hayles and Haraway are the classics, but you might do best to start with Pickering for an accessible introduction, if you’re unfamiliar with this area of thought. Either way, you’ll probably want to spend a lot of weeks 8 and 9 just reading and thinking as you work your way through some of these readings. You’ll find some discussion questions to help you – blog your thoughts if that seems appropriate and post a tweet when you have a blog post to share with the group.

When you’re ready, post your contribution(s) to our collaborative story of being posthuman in Wallwisher – you can do this anytime this week or next.

Please also feel free to invite a friend or colleague to class this week and next – if you know someone who would be interested in the material we’re covering over this fortnight, why not invite them to blog their own responses and tweet along with the class? Let us know who’s joining us in the comments on the ‘bring a friend to class‘ page.

Finally, remember to keep feeding your lifestream, and to write your weekly lifestream summaries.

Hope you enjoy the week!


Ethnography Week – welcome to week 7

hi everyone, and a big welcome to week 7! This week we’ll have a chance to admire and discuss the fruits of your efforts over the past few weeks as you’ve developed your ‘micro-ethnography’, exploring the concepts raised in the readings from this block and your own investigations on the web.

The list of ethnographies is here – add a comment with a link to your own when you’re ready to share it.

Try to make sure to leave some time this week for engaging with others’ work, and commenting on it as well.

Have a great week!

Midway through the semester – Week 6

Welcome to Week 6 everyone! This is the midway point of the semester, and Sian, Jen and I are thrilled with the lively discussions and exciting work emerging in the blogs and lifestreams so far. Well done to everyone.

You should all have had your mid-point formative lifestream feedback by email last week – if you haven’t received yours, or have any questions, let your tutor know.

This is the week to begin work on your micro-ethnography. You should now have decided what to focus on – if you are still in any doubt, please email your tutor. The discussions in the Holyrood Park Hub and Twitter have been fascinating, and it seems that most people are firming up some really interesting ideas. You can continue to use the Holyrood Park Hub discussion board space, Twitter, and your blogs to discuss your plans and emerging issues with each other.

Remember as you proceed that this is a small and low-stakes project – it needs to appear in your lifestream, but it is primarily intended as an opportunity to be creative and to understand in practice some of what is discussed in this block’s readings. It’s also a way for you to provoke more engaging conversations amongst the group, so do feel free to be experimental and questioning in your process and presentation.

Looking forward to all the ethnographies! Have a super week!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Henry Swanson 420

Into the field – week 5

The visual artefacts/artifacts are all up now, and they’re looking really good – so please do continue to drop by them and make some commentary when you can. I think collectively they do a great job both of thinking with the visual in terms of academic ‘writing’, and providing some takes on our key cyberculture themes which are both critical and very personal. Great job –  as Kevin said on Twitter, the bar was set pretty high on this activity!

We’re approaching the mid-way point of the course, so at some point over this week you’ll be receiving (by email) some feedback on your lifestream from your tutor – just to give a sense of how things are looking for the final mark on this part of the assessment.

We are moving on this week, however, to consider virtual communities – whether they exist, how they might be defined and how we might research them. The plan is to take some time over this week to brainstorm ideas for communities which might be investigated for the ‘micro-ethnography’, and to discuss possible ways of presenting the ethnographies (again, this should be in some kind of digital form). There’s a discussion forum up now in the MSc Hub at:


which we can use to discuss and share ideas. This is also the place to discuss ethical issues – we have some good expertise on the course relating to research ethics (thanks Austin) so if you’re stuck with any of the ethical aspects of your chosen ethnography, please do discuss it with the group!

If you’re looking for some extra inspiration, as well as discussing with the group you could take a look at the ethnographies produces in previous instances of this course:

EDC 2010

EDC 2009

Given the quality of the visual artefacts, I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this block’s work – best of luck with it, and see you on the discussion board in the Hub, and in the blogs.