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Multimodal Profusion in the literacies of the MOOC - Code Acts in Education seminar series

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Jeremy Knox

on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of Multimodal Profusion in the literacies of the MOOC - Code Acts in Education seminar series

Code Acts in Education seminar series
Digital 'Literacy/Literacies'
'succeeds "computer" (-based, -assisted and -mediated), "online", "networked", "web-based" and the now ubiquitous "e-"' (Goodfellow 2011, p131)

- established in the 'ability to read and write', located 'within' an individual, and an essential requirement to participate in society (Goodfellow 2011).
Multimodal profusion in the literacies of the MOOC
Implications for 'digital literacy'
Knowledge isn’t something re-produced or re-created outside of a situation (in the human mind).
Knowledge is within and part of enacted relational processes.

Identification of a single ‘author’ of digital work is problematic
Decentring the subject allows us to move beyond an instrumental view of technology and simplistic ideas of empowerment
'Digital literacy' - that encompasses a critical take on the learning subject
'E-learning and Digital Cultures' MOOC, known as 'EDCMOOC'
'Digital Artefact' final assignments - examples of human and non-human entanglements
Goodfellow, R. (2011) ‘Literacy, literacies and the digital in higher education’, Teaching in
Higher Education, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 131144.
- a broader consideration of social and cultural practices and contexts that organise what counts as 'literacy'.

...'the myriad social practices and conceptions of engaging in meaning making mediated by texts that are produced, received, distributed, exchanged, etc., via digital codification' (Lankshear and Knobel 2008, p5
Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2008) Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices,
Peter Lang, Oxford.
'Electracy' (Ulmer 2003)

'Transliteracy' (Thomas 2007)
Necessary to function ‘normally’ in contemporary society
Essential for future survival
Unquestionable given the sweeping changes in society, signally by digital networks in particular
Qualities that an individual must attain through the instrumental use of technology
separation and mastery
E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC
331 of 1719 submitted digital artefacts
Digital Artefacts of the EDCMOOC

Foregrounding relationships between humans (the social) and non-humans (the material).

The relation (the in-between) becomes the focus, rather than human beings or objects (such as technologies).

Human and non-human come about as the result of relations, rather than pre-existing them as pure forms.

Human and non-human ‘make’ each other through relation.

Represents a challenge to orthodox ideas in education and digital literacy which centre the human being (as distinct and exclusively in possession of agency).


Counters what may be an over-emphasis on human agency, particularly in digital literacy discourse (digital ‘skills’ as mastery and control).

Responds to the idea that online environments are ‘virtual’ or somehow ‘immaterial’.

Receptive to the ‘situatedness’ of educational events

Offers alternatives ways of understanding knowledge – what it is and how it comes about

Allows us to acknowledge ways that software and algorithms co-produce digital work (rather than being simply ‘tools’ for human use).


Digital literacy defined as skills-based training and ‘future-proofing’ of the self can be viewed as a response to the perceived loss of stability and authority in digital space.

The digital artefacts of the EDCMOOC demonstrate complex, contingent, specific and relational sociomaterial practices.

Resulting ‘knowledge’ might be considered a collective enactment of human and non-human agencies, with significant implications for the way that assessment is typically viewed in education.

Digital literacies work needs to acknowledge and accommodate the contingencies of code, which shape the work produced in educational contexts.
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