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#Abstract; #Info


Following #UvAMOOC on Twitter

A Network Analysis of a Massive Socio-Technical and Cross-Platform Online Learning Environment

T. de Keijser, F. N. van der Vlist (alphabetical)

In this article we argue for a conceptualisation of MOOCs as socio-technical and cross-platform learning environments. We explore different competing visions and expectations of a contested space, and observe the kind of actors that are actually attracted by these visions and expectations to grasp what kind of learning environment these actors help constitute. To do this, we trace distance learning and interactivity as two initially separate historical and conceptual lineages of contemporary educational technology, and paid careful attention to the particular visions of learning these technologies carry with them. We argue that MOOCs build on Web 2.0 as a platform (O’Reilly 2005) as well as on online social networks to conjure up a specific socio-technical learning environment. We specifically focus our attention on Twitter, and how this microblogging platform is deployed as part of massive online learning environments. To operationalise this research, we have devised an outline for an analytical framework for ‘following Twitter’, both as medium and as a network of actors (Latour [2005] 2007). This framework would not just render productive particular issues such as uncertainties and instabilities with which we are presented, but also allow us to ‘put ahead of us’ that which we want to study. Consequently, it enabled us to do a network analysis and describe what is actually happening inside the ‘data-space’ as it has been captured by the DMI-TCAT, a device we deploy to ‘follow the medium’ (Rogers 2009) in our acquisition of Twitter data. Ultimately, we debunk some of the idealised visions and inflated expectations following from Web 2.0 ‘possibility thinking’ in the case of our pilot study of UvAMOOC on Twitter. This pilot study then caused us to reconsider the concept of ‘context collapse’ (Marwick and boyd 2010) and the co-existence of a range of actors involved to different degrees within the same ‘data-space’.

Internet research; digital methods; educational technology; online learning environment; network analysis; Twitter; #UvAMOOC


Kind Assignment; Working Paper
Author T. de Keijser; F. N. van der Vlist
Instructor A. Ben-David; E. K. Borra; B. Rieder; R. A. Rogers
Publication Date 2013, December 6
Institution University of Amsterdam