games, design & education

eLearning and Digital Cultures – EDCMOOC

Digital Tree of Knowledge #edcmooc

In February 2013 I signed up for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures online course (EDCMOOC) from the University of Edinburgh.

This course was a great opportunity to experience a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and gain new perspectives on e-learning. The course asked participants consider the definition of ‘digital culture’, utopias and dystopia, being human in a digital age and the way that these themes relate to online education.

The image of the ‘Digital Tree of Knowledge’ represents the development of eLearning (digital education) and growth from the ‘information superhighway’ to the World Wide Web and moves towards Cloud technology and services.

* Image copyright Barbara Jara 2013 (All rights reserved)

The Digital Tree of Knowledge takes a brief look at the metaphors for the development of the Internet and then looks at the attitudes and hurdles that face the Education system if it is to fully embrace technology in the classroom.


  1. There are additional examples of teaching and learning tools that have been used extensively by teachers that are no longer supported, such as;
    • Etherpad which was bought by Google (to be incorporated in Google Wave, which subsequently also disappeared) was used by teachers and students to collaborate on documents in real-time. The code for Etherpad was made open source and other programs were eventually made available;
    • When was sold to Yahoo who in turn sold it to AVOS Systems, it caused a lot of distress to educators and students that used the site extensively to store references.
    • Flickr almost disappeared but has been revived (“Flickr is Back”,;

    Teachers that use technology in the classroom often embrace open source (free) tools and apps whose long term availability cannot be guaranteed. Maintaining servers and developing software costs money. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Prezi, Pinterest, Twitter, Edmodo and Moodle fare in the coming years.

  2. The threats to democracy extend beyond the “nationalisation” of websites mentioned in the video. It also includes the many attempts by governments around the world to legislate for censorship of the Internet and filter content and information. The development of surveillance software that tracks people on social media is particularly frightening (“Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm”; “The social media contradiction”). There are also numerous examples of people being sued for defamation because of comments they’ve made online (on forums, Facebook or Twitter etc). The Electronic Frontier Foundation confronts these issues and defends free speech, privacy and consumer rights –
  3. The pricing of ebooks and the publishing model is a complicated debate: “Why ebooks cost so much”;“Ebooks are overpriced”. It is similar to the difficulties that the music and movie industries have had with the distribution of digital media. Access to media, tools and digital resources in general is a hurdle for many students and teachers.

References and Credits:

Music: Piano Sonata No. 14, Beethoven, Ludwig van,_Op.27_No.2_%28Beethoven,_Ludwig_van%29

Original CC images
Modified by Barbara Jara

Barry M. Leiner, Vinton G. Cerf, David D. Clark, Robert E. Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, Daniel C. Lynch, Jon Postel, Larry G. Roberts, Stephen Wolff – The Internet Society
“Brief History of the Internet”

Bady, A (2013) “A moment of dreaming about higher education

Berners-Lee, T. (2013) “Tim Berners-Lee: Cyberspace is a “green plain”.

Carr, D. (2013) “Classroom Technology Faces Skeptics at Research Universities” – InformationWeek Education

Collis, S. (2013) – Twitter post and TwitPic

Danks, K. (2012) “Education revolution hits a hi-tech low point” – The Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Mitchell, B. Barry, W. and Jara, B. – EDCMOOC G+ Community post 5 Feb, 2013

Waters, S. (2013) “Migrating your Posterous Site to Edublogs”

Skorton D. and Altschuler G. (2013) “MOOCs: A College Education Online?”

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