Thursday, 28 March 2013

What Makes Us Human - #EDCMOOC Final Feedback

Is she human?

I was doing fine, writing about my MOOCs and EVO workshops, then I suddenly stopped. In the meantime I got very busy. I attended a conference and I am planning to blog about it soon (though my idea of "soon" is quite flexible, especially when it comes to this blog).

Last time I was here, I promised to write about what makes us human, which was the topic of Weeks 3 and 4 of EDCMOOC (E-learning and Digital Cultures on Coursera). In the meantime, the course has finished, but I would still like to do as I promised. There are several reasons for this:

1. A promise is a promise
2. This is an E-portfolio and I have created some EDCMOOC artifacts that I would like to share here
3. It was a great course and it deserves positive feedback
4. It is time we stopped seeing online courses as something linear, something that has a beginning and an end. As Vance Stevens has said in a comment on this blog "these courses never, or should never, end ".

Back to #EDCMOOC. Weeks 3 and 4 were about what makes us human. This text by Neil Badmington is the editor's introduction to a collection of essays on posthumanism. What it did for me is made me want to read the whole book. If we are not defined by humanism, what are we defined by then? Could it be transhumanism? This text by Nick Bostrom really got me thinking and it was the main inspiration for my final project.

Nobody's listening

My favourite video in Week 3 was this one. And this clip we watched in Week 4 almost made me cry and again influenced my final project.


In Week 3 we were asked to create an image that would somehow show our understanding of the course. There was a competition and the winners were decided automatically using Flickr "interestingness" ranking through Flickriver. Flickriver calculates an image's "interestingness" based on the number of comments and "favourites" it receives. I shared four images (those are the images I have been using in this post), but the one that got most votes is this one:

Both Worlds

By the way, that's my son in our holiday house in the country. And what made me put "Both Worlds" onto the picture is my reaction to this text.

You can look at images created by other participants in the course here.

What final feedback can I offer? The course was yet another example of how the rigid Coursera format could be bent to enable a more connective experience. No "talking heads" here, no lectures in the traditional sense. Watching the videos was like going to the cinema and enjoying good movies (which just happened to be much shorter than ordinary movies). We wrote no essays. Instead, we created artifacts.

Speaking of artifacts, I would like to sign off with my final project. But, before I do, if you want to see more final projects, here's where you can do that. And here's one of the three final projects that I reviewed. This by Geri Ellner left a very strong impression on me, not only because it contains five digital stories, but also because I had never before seen used as a digital storytelling tool.

Finally, my project. Before you watch, ask yourselves what it would be like if you could upload your memory onto a computer? Would that memory be you, or someone else? And if you were to go away one day (as we all must, eventually), what would happen to your memory?

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