Chris Millson writes: I made this mix after taking the E-learning and Digital Cultures online course (MOOC) from Edinburgh/Coursera. The peer assessed part of this course was to create a 'digital artefact' (this is what I submitted). But following the course, through finding some fellow peers who were into music via Twitter, I was motivated to create an alternative artefact, in the form of a 'reflective mix'(!). The tracklist is influenced by some of the course themes - including digital communication and assessment. It would never meet the assessment criteria, but it was fun to make, and was an interesting way to think about the course themes.
I hope you enjoy it.
Zomby: Test me for a reason: For what reasons are people taking MOOCs? Some have said that they open up learning opportunities to more people: universities are offering courses indiscriminately, and without any limits on class sizes. Some have called them elitist, in that they favour people with time, motivation and internet access. If your top priority is getting enough work to pay the rent, you're less likely to take a MOOC than someone more financially secure. I'm not sure what I think yet. Maybe both.
Tests were a topic of interest in EDC MOOC. How valuable is a score of 0, 1 or 2 on an assignment from three peers? How anonymous is this 'anonymous' feedback, when artefacts could easily include identifying information? The marker was generally anonymous, but not the person being marked. Is this a problem? I felt that EDC MOOC's decision to pass everyone who submitted the assignment, and marked three others, was a good one. That way, the score may give some indication of the degree to which an assignment met the criteria, but didn't determine pass/fail. Perhaps we could also (up/down) mark people's feedback...
Freezepop: I am not your gameboy This song suggests that we shouldn't treat people like gameboys. I agree. It also sounds a bit like a gameboy.
Chateau Flight ft. Nicola Kramer: Connected I enjoyed the short film, 'Inbox', in which two strangers are connected. The way it parallels online communication was cool. I won't spoil it for you though.
Ugly Duckling: Dumb it down I don't think that EDC MOOC represents dumbing down; I found it pretty difficult. However, in taking the course, I did consider whether certain aspects of e-Learning might be leading to 'dumbing down' of learning. For example, in my artefact, I tried to explore the extent to which 'personalising' content to users was narrowing their experience - perhaps in a bad way. Limiting what information someone might want, based on guesswork, seems bad to me. However, some limits have to be made in order to create a useful learning experience.
Aphex Twin: IZ-US The title of the video, 'The machine is us/ing us', made me think of this track (IZ-US). I also see Richard D James (Aphex Twin) as one of the pioneers of modern electronic music, so is perhaps an example of man and machine working together.
Freezepop: Emotions and Photons Emotions and photons, like Communication's lost later on, suggests to me a relationship between the mind (emotions) and physics (photons). We know that the two coexist, but emotions seem more mysterious. I also thought the lines, 'Six stories above / I watch the world creep by' reminded me of the video 'Thursday'. You should see why if you watch/have watched it.
As One: Freefall The idea of technological determinism was pretty new to me. Does technology determine society, or the other way around? I think the two both create forces and interact with each other. Just like the movement of a whale falling towards Earth is not determined by only one of the items, but a force arising from both (and more).
ELO: All over the world One of the first things I saw of EDC MOOC, before the course opened, was this Google Map, where participants could add their (or any, to be fair) location. It showed that there were participants all over the world...
Disclosure ft Sinead Harnett: Boiling I like this track. I've included it for that reason. In the same way, my original artefact was a creative experiment, not all of which was directly related to the course.
Shameboy: Attention Spam Is the current way in which we use technology and the internet - and therefore much of the way we now learn - a result and/or cause of diminished attention spans? I like this track because it evokes for me ideas of infomania (which you might call attention spam), short attention spans, but also excitement. Is having a long attention span virtuous anyway? I'm bored of this paragraph.
Cocosuma: Communication's lost I wanted to include a largely acoustic track over a largely electronic one, to represent the mix of 'digital' and 'analogue' in the world. I don't think the two can physically be delineated, but exploring the differences has been really interesting, along with similar topics such as human/machine. 'Communication's lost' seemed like an extra-appropriate song, what with communication also being a theme in 'digital cultures'.
Lamb: Small This track, to me, is about how small one person can feel when they think about everyone - and everything - else in the world. I found myself having some thoughts like this while taking EDC MOOC!
Peace Orchestra: Who am I This track, featured in the Animatrix (a series of short animated films, inspired by The Matrix, which I think all depict a technology-driven dystopia), seemed appropriate to the mix, and the title, 'Who am I?', also suggests the question of identity in a complex world.
Teebee: So high I included this for the flow of the mix. If you really want a link, it describes the vertical extent of the space lift in Thursday (above). But really, it's just a link track.
The Futureheads: Robot Could a robot write a track about how it feels to be a robot? I think so, by emulating humans imagining how it feels to be a robot. But could they mean it? I don't know. Am I a robot? No, a robot would have better mixing skills.
Chris Millson was a participant on the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. He works in technology-enhanced learning for careers and employability at the University of York, and is also interested in social media. Find him here: http://www.thisischris.co.uk/