Films nominated by the group

I’ve gathered together film clips suggested in everyone’s tweets and blogs – loads of good stuff here. Please let me know if I missed anything! I’ll keep adding to the list.

Disease of machinery from Westworld (1973)

Attack ships on fire from Blade Runner

Humans & Super-Intelligent Machines (Robert Sawyer interview)

The Mactiny, the smallest computer in the world

Daft Punk: Electroma

The Cathedral

Naked Lunch typewriter enemy agent

Modern Times

Heart to Heart

Catfish official trailer

The Social Network official trailer

Frightened Rabbit: “I Feel Better”

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Lifestream setup screencasts/videos

I was testing out the very excellent web-based screencasting tool yesterday and decided to make a couple of lifestream setup screencasts to talk through the process of getting to grips with your lifestream. I hope they’re useful – let me know if you’d like additional ones made on a particular aspect of the lifestreams or the blogs.

Part 1: getting started, adjusting the settings, adding Twitter –

Part 2: adding additional feeds, including a ‘generic’ feed –

Transcripts from Synchtube tutorials, Week 1

Here are the transcripts of the text chat from our tutorial/screenings in Synchtube in Week 1 of the course. Thanks everyone for a great couple of chat sessions.

Tutorial 1
First: our fantastic (if slightly technically challenging!) evening on Wednesday 22 September. We talked about “Bendito machine (Episode 3 – Obey His Commands)“.

Transcript 1: the part of the chat that specifically related to the film

Transcript 2: the full chat from Wednesday evening (including welcomes and introductory chat about the course, lifestreams, and life in general)

Tutorial 2
Second: Thursday morning’s transcript – our really interesting chat around the restaurant scene clip from David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ
Full chat transcript


A few people have been asking for more information on the lifestream, so we thought it might be helpful to expand a bit here, as everyone grapples with setting theirs up.

The first thing to be aware of is that your blog posts within WordPress will automatically feed into your lifestream, so any blogging you do in this environment (and we hope you’ll do lots!) will automatically appear and be counted when the lifestream is assessed at the end of semester. Any comments you post on other people’s blogs will also automatically appear – you don’t need to do anything to set this up, though you can of course edit the lifestream and take things out before the end of semester, if you want to.

The idea with this course is for you to actively begin to use a variety of sites that are relevant to your study in direct or indirect ways – for example adding links to delicious, uploading images to Flickr, or creating ‘micro-blog’ posts in Tumblr – so you will also want to feed these into your lifestream as appropriate. The Course Guide has a lot of good guidance on how to do this, so please take a look. You can continue to add feeds as the course progresses, and likewise you can delete them, so please don’t feel you have to plan for every eventuality at this stage.

A few people have had problems setting up the Twitter feed (you are almost certain to want to include Twitter in your lifestream, if only to capture your thoughts on the film festival this week and next). The main thing to bear in mind with this is that you *don’t* need to include your Twitter password when you set up your lifestream feed – this is only for those who protect their their tweets (not recommended for this course). Again, the handbook takes you through this step-by-step – take a look at page 19 for this.

Finally, in terms of conceptualising what the lifestream is for, a couple of resources beyond the Course Guide might help. The link I tweeted yesterday collects together some great reflections from previous students on the process and value of lifestreaming , while an open dialogue, and subsequent student comments, we had this time last year on the EDC site might also be of interest.

Best of luck – you know where we are if you need more help with this.

Week 1 – welcome

Welcome everybody to the start of ‘E-learning and digital cultures’.

As you know, this is one of the more experimental courses on the MSc, in which we’re using a ‘radically open’ course design to explore some of the most interesting and exciting ideas and practices emerging in the study of digital culture, and what they might mean for educational practice.

There’s a lot of lifestreaming, blogging and tweeting activity already, which is great! It can take a while to fine-tune the lifestream to get it doing exactly what you need it to do, so please seek out help from me or Jen if you need it. Communication on this course may seem strangely ‘disaggregated’, with the absence of a discussion board, but as the first few weeks pass it should all start to hang together and the group will start to feel more like a coherent community. The blogs are key to this so please do spend a bit of time reading each other’s words when you can, and commenting when inspired to do so.

We’ll all be meeting this week in the synchronous tutorials in synchtube. The synchtube rooms are now available on the Film Festival page. We’ll be watching and chatting about Bendito Machine on Wednesday 8pm, and a clip from ExistenZ on Thursday morning at 10am.

Bendito Machine stands alone, but if you don’t know the film, you might find it useful to read the wikipedia plot summary of ExistenZ before the tutorial to get a bit of context.

Try to get along to at least one of the synchtube tutorials so we can do some socialising as well as course discussion – and remember we’ll also be tweeting on the film selection for this week, between Wednesday and Sunday.

Finally – best of luck with all your studies this semester – we hope you enjoy Digital Cultures!

Logging in to your blog

This year we’ve tried something new – creating a way for you to access and login to your Wordpress blog using your University of Edinburgh authentication. The system is working pretty well, but Wordpress has a habit of throwing up its own login requests from time to time, and these can be frustrating because they don’t work with the EASE authentication we’ve put in place.

So, just to be clear: there is only one method by which you can access your blog dashboard on this web site, and that is by going to

If you are not already logged in with EASE, you will see a page that looks like this:

Enter your student number and your EASE password, and you should be taken to the dashboard, where you can edit your lifestream, approve comments, create blog posts, and customise your Wordpress site.

At various points in your personal blog, or when you are notified by email of comments on your blog, you may be offered a link which takes you to a non-EASE login page that looks like this:

This page is no use to you at all – nothing you type here will get you access to your dashboard. We will try to sort it out so that this page doesn’t appear, but in the meantime just be aware that you should ignore this page and go straight to You may want to bookmark this link so you can go directly to it.

Hope that’s clear – let us know if you have any questions about it.

It’s orientation week!

Hi everyone, and welcome to orientation week. An email went out late yesterday afternoon with details of how to access your Wordpress blog and lifestream – look out for the one from me which explains how to log in with EASE.

It’s great to see some early experiments with the look and functionality of your Wordpress blogs, lifestreams, and with the Twitter tag for the course (which is #ededc).

You may have already noticed all the links down the right side column of this page. These contain all the course information, as well as links to everyone’s blogs and lifestreams, tweets and comments from the course. I thought I’d draw attention to one link in particular, which is the “Everyone’s blog posts” link at the top of the “Course Participants” section. This is a collection of all the posts across the whole site, and is one quick way to see what everyone is blogging about. You can also add the RSS feed from this page to your feed reader if you have one.

See you around this week, and in earnest from Monday!

Welcome to 'E-learning and digital cultures'

Welcome to all University of Edinburgh MSc in E-learning students who are studying this course over semester 1. This fragment of the web is where much of the activity for our work over the coming weeks will be located – link from here to our discussion board, your blog, your lifestream and the course content. And please remember that all of this – apart from the discussion board and the copyright protected readings – is public and open to the web!

The course looks at online learning within the context of the emergence of a specifically digital culture, drawing on theory from media studies, cultural studies and the study of cyberculture, as well as the educational research influenced by these areas of thought. We consider the possiblity of cyborg pedagogy, twitter a film festival on the theme of cyberculture, conduct micro-virtual ethnographies and explore the visual representation of academic discourse, all in the interests of a deeper understanding of how internet cultures and learning cultures are intersecting and changing each other.

The course starts on Monday 20 September 2010, and runs for 12 weeks.

Your tutors are Sian Bayne and Jen Ross. You know how to contact us – but also watch this space here for course announcements and other things you should know about. Best of luck with your studies this semester!