My (new) daily post (2)

My daily 700 words! Lets see if I can get on with them today 🙂

I had a fast read of a paper written by James E. Willis III: MOOCs and Foucault’s Heterotopia: On community and self-efficacy. 

The main question or quest they had was to understand why and help with the huge amount of dropouts in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). They touch the concept of self-efficacy and community and how intertwining them could help participants in completing a MOOC (very roughly put of course).

Why did I read the paper and where is my interest? I am trying to find theories that could explain the dialectic between being or inhabiting a place but not really doing so in physical terms, understanding the meaning of this relatively new phenomena and how can this feeling of inhabiting/not inhabiting can be analysed and make sense of it. I am trying to find some explanations or words, concepts, constructs that could define this dichotomy and its consequences. I am looking for theories that can account for the idea of belonging to a virtual space and transform that -even inexistent- space into a place. What are the differences then, between space and place? Geo-phenomenography is a theoretical framework used by Hung and Stabble (2011) in their work –Lost in space located in place– in relation to this idea of transformation but in a different context, namely school. What interest me is their idea of transforming the space into a place in the context of HE.

I am exploring ideas in relation to sense of belonging which the literature demonstrate is so important when learning. How can we enact this sense of belonging in students and in particular if we are thinking of having them designing their own space-place(?). Sorry I realised this is in the wrong order. It goes like this, I think or have a guess in Feynman’s words, that the idea of having a strong sense of belonging of a place will make you more likely to do things in this place, to commit to working in this place, to be confident or at least to feel safe within this place and you are more likely to learn in this place, hence building or crafting -co-creating- your own learning environment is very productive for a meaningful learning experience. Furthermore it is a rich learning experience per se, with varied learning outcomes, some of them unforeseeable. All this of course needs to be framed theoretically, which is always my biggest challenge!! I hope I can get there.

Here the video of one of Feynman’s lectures (where he speaks about the guess, the calculation or consequences and then the observations) that are always a pleasure to watch 🙂

I have made my guess, what follows now is the research for theoretical frameworks that explain this guess. In words of Feynman the next step is to do the calculations and look for the consequences of this guess and then compare it to the observations of nature, in the context of the event.

I found a work of Foucault together with Jay Miskoviec in 1986: Texts/contexts of other places

Starting with Galileo and the 17th century extension was substituted for localisation (P.22)

We might attempt to describe these different sites by looking for the set of relations by which a given site can be defined. For example describing the user of relations that define the site of …transportation, streets, trains  (P.23)

Well maybe there can be some answers find in this text? Some hours after…nop! I did not find any answer at the moment in this idea of heterotopias. A second reading will be done, lets see what emerges from that.

In any case I will keep on searching for theories that could have a language with which to name the phenomenon I am interest in.

There is a text of Carlos Giovanella: where he speaks of liquid spaces, fluid with no boundaries…liquid spaces in an organic era.

Non representational theory is another option I am looking at. John Wylie, Emma Waterton.


2 thoughts on “My (new) daily post (2)

  1. If you’re interested in liquid spaces I suggest reading Bauman’s ‘Liquid modernity’. You might also want ot consider the difference between Tonnies Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft distinction.


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