Exploring Digital Emotions: A Mobile Ethnography Case Study at the University of Iceland

Partner: UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND

Introduction
In the autumn of 2022, the University of Iceland embarked on an innovative journey to capture the real-time emotional and mental experiences of teachers and students engaged in online learning. By integrating mobile diaries through a mobile ethnography application, this case study aimed to provide insights into the digital classroom’s emotional landscape.

Methodology: Embracing Mobile Diaries
The study utilized mobile diaries to collect both quantitative and qualitative data directly from the participants during their online activities. Teachers and students were equipped with detailed instructions and access to a mobile app, enabling them to share their experiences through emojis, written texts, photos, and thematic tags. This approach facilitated a novel, in-the-moment data collection method, capturing the essence of their digital interactions.

Participant Engagement
The initiative saw participation from nine teachers and twenty-six students, all contributing to a rich dataset. Despite challenges in recruitment, a diverse group from various departments and roles shared their digital experiences, providing a comprehensive view of the online learning environment at the university.

Analytical Insights
Using Atlas.ti, the study delved into mood scores, pictorial evidence, and open-ended responses, crafting a narrative of the online learning experience. The analysis revealed a generally positive outlook towards digital classes, with notable preferences for interactive and engaging teaching methods.

Emotional Reflections
The mood analysis, depicted through emoji selections, highlighted a slight disparity between students and teachers, with students reporting a marginally more positive experience. The feedback tags and open responses further illustrated the valued aspects of online learning, such as flexibility, interactive tools, and the personal touch of educators.

Visual Narratives
Photos shared by participants added a personal dimension to the data, showcasing study environments and expressing feelings about the accessibility and convenience of online learning. These visual stories underscored the personal benefits and challenges faced by the community in a digital setting.

Concluding Thoughts
The mobile ethnography study at the University of Iceland unveiled a predominantly positive stance towards online education, tempered by reflections on the nuances of delivering high-quality digital interactions. This case study not only highlights the potential of mobile diaries as a research tool but also provides valuable insights for enhancing online educational experiences.

Future Directions
This case study sets the stage for further exploration into the digital emotional landscape of education. It calls for a deeper understanding of the activities and pedagogical approaches that resonate most with the online audience, aiming to foster a more engaging and effective digital learning environment.

By capturing the immediate reactions and feelings of its participants, the University of Iceland’s case study offers a glimpse into the future of educational research, where technology bridges the gap between traditional study methods and the evolving digital classroom

Relevant Links:
Placedu. (2022). Distance learning as it is experienced by its users. Executive summary:
https://placedu-project.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Executive-summary-EN.pdf