I am participating in the #change11 MOOC (massive open online class) as I mentioned last week, and while I am still not sure what sort of time or resource commitment this will mean for me in practice, I think it may have some potential usefulness for my doctoral research.
With this stated, I am very interested in how the facilitators of the course will use the information provided, so was happy to read the posting of privacy information that was shared with participants. Good for them to discuss this all so openly at the beginning of the course.
If I am reading this correctly, the researchers who are facilitating this course state that anything publicly shared that is related with the course (most readily identifiable by the #change11 tag), can be used for research purposes. This seems consistent with the current (though somewhat dated and in the process of revision) Association of Internet Researchers guideline for ethical researcher and participant consent – Ethical decision-making and Internet research: Recommendations from the aoir ethics working committee document.
I am wondering what sorts of ethical issues around consent or identification may surface in this, especially given the enormous data set that is being created related to this course? For example, I published this posting (anybody can see it), it is tagged with the course (#change11), and is identifiable (my name and picture are on this site). Does that mean the researchers can quote me or otherwise identify my if they want to in their research around the MOOC? Do they need my permission to quote me, given I am saying this publicly? Will I know this even happens? If I am stating all this publicly, is that my default consent? Is anything online really ever private?
These are not easily answered, and having engaged in Internet research myself I know that various ethical boards will interpret these questions in different ways, I do think it is valuable to ask them, especially as (I suspect) many participating in this course will not even consider them . . . until they get quoted or referred to, of course!
Now that a few days since the end of the AoIR Internet Research 11 (#IR11) conference, and I am struggling to get back into my regular work and studies, I want to take a few moments to debrief my experience and list some of the take-aways I have.
While I liveblogged all the sessions I attended, and had a somewhat active Twitter feed, there are a few things I have not said, namely what ideas and thoughts and experiences stand out to me as those critical incidents? What were some of the themes that I noticed that resonate with me?
- From the pre-conference session on career development for early academics, I take away the fact that others who have similar interests come from all over the place, and that academia as a second career is no longer (or becoming no longer) taboo. I thought I was the only one considering this, and was glad to see I was not isolated in this manner. As it is also apparent that European academics can move around, so can American ones. As I am between two systems (I live in New York and study in the UK), this comes with it many potential opportunities.
- Interdisciplinarity seems to be an acknolwedged benefit. While in many ways interdisciplinarity means people from various disciplines who work together on this or that project, I found it refreshing that there are a few others out there who share the internal interdisciplinarity that I have as well. Is it really so bad to feel constrained within silos, given how human history has so many examples of good ideas being shared and the benefits that arise from seeing the world with wide-open eyes, and not just limited ones?
- Being active on the conference backchannel presents interesting opportunities to connect. Just like in an office or other life situation, there seems to be a greater power in what unofficially happens than only what is listed on the schedule. How else to track some of this than following and participating in the conference backchannel (which in this case was Twitter #ir11).
- Following people on Twitter before or during a conference is entirely different than meeting them F2F. As many people do not use their real names or use avatars that do not resemble their current pictures, I struggle with making the connection. How many times I was next to people who I have spoken to numerous times and with whom there were missed connections. Likewise, there were a number of people I spoke to who I now regret not getting cards or other ways of maintaining contact. Wish there were a contact list with the participants!
- Another thing I noticed was how much I like liveblogging and Twitter streaming during conferences. I have done this before, but it seems to take on an entirely new world when there are others with a tech interest in attendance. Nothing like talking about ideas I started to develop earlier.
- Finally, my research paper. I have never had so many people show interest in my research before, though having spoken to 8 people in the following hour after I presented my paper, and coming away with so many new ideas and next steps, I believe that I got what I came for from this conference–ideas for next steps for my research and some new possible directions for my doctoral thesis proposal which I begin working on in January. While I did not expect anything specific, being open to the moment and open to suggestions can have powerful effects.
This all said, I am now looking forward to Internet Research 12, which is scheduled to be in Seattle in 2011.
I blogged and Tweeted so much during the AoIR IR11 conference, that I did not have the time to upload any of the photos I took during my time in Gothenburg. Just uploaded them to Flickr. Want to see all the other photos from the conference? Those can be found at Flickr here with the ir11 tag.
Here is the final session of the conference. What a light way with a serious subject to end a very full AoIR IR11. I wonder how people have the time for this, and I wonder what the effect would be if I tried one or more of these?
Moreover, I wonder too what extent people who research the area of gaming in turn play games? That seemed answered at one point.
Perhaps I should try one of these?
e-Research is the distributed and collaborative use of digital tools and data in the production of scientific knowledge. Interesting definition; wonder who developed it? Some really interesting researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute. Eric T. Meyer, Ralph Schroeder, and Lucy Power.
Discussion of accessing files from Friendfeed, specifically about Friendfeed groups that can be highly specific. Seems like a powerful opportunity to develop a communication network.
I want their work around e-Research; was told it was online (search for Eric T. Meyer).
Christiano Orsi Pio (originally was from Brazil) is now speaking about Corporate portals as tools for information sharing within organizations. Hmm, I have used many a corporate portal, and while some are fantasic, those are among the more expensive ones. Interesting that his research showed more struggles with small organizational adoption than large ones using portals.
Roger Altizer from Entertainment Arts and Engineering at the University of Utah (the Master Games Studio) is speaking on Sustaining Participation through citation, or gaming attribution. My first game-based presentation I have attended. Struggling to keep up with aspects (names, companies, etc.). Well, as there were so many presentations at ir11 about games, glad I have finally been able to make at least one of them.
When Internet is not Sustainable Platform for Knowledge Sharing: The (Rise and) Fall of Google Lively is the final paper in the session by Isto Huvila. I have heard of this, though never saw it before the screenshot that Isto just showed. Interesting research around how a virtual world chat space ended and what the fans and users did, at first to protest and then beg and finally to move to other locations.