Note: This is an ontology specifically for emergent learning and MOOCs. See Ontology (nee Glossary) for a broader version.

In a research project on the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that was CCK08, I tried to formulate an approach that would include affordances, digital ecologies, and a connectivist methodology, in the broadest sense of the word, to research a connectivist course on connectivism (pardon the recursion).
I think the interesting questions are about the interaction betweeen the participants and the CCK08 environment / micro-ecology, and about the process of engagement in this micro-ecology as a whole.So I dont know if its possible to divide the participants, as variables, into blogger and moodlers, for no other reason than I think people move between blogs, forums, wikis, emails, etc, depending on wha they are or are not achieving in whatever domain they happen to be in.

The only way I can make sense of the research question is to:
1. Try to make explicit my tacit ontology (in the IS sense) of the research domain.
2. Find a way to first ask participants what they were trying to DO, and only then ask them what they were using to do this.

So what follows is a (possibly overtheorised) attemp to outline an ontology for CCK08 as a research domain, with some examples of affordances. I am interested in what changed during CCK08, and there is a before/on arrival/ in / post-MOOC outline of process which might be able to inform the questions the participants are asked.In each case I have tried to start with questions which are amenable to Likert/ multiple choice type questions, so that the answers can be aggregated.But I have also included in each of the four process phases one more open ended question, about how and why.

Basic Framework or Ontology (in the IS sense) for researching use of blogs/ moodle
This is a rough draft of an ontology that is implicit in my own thinking ...
1. Connectivism is an attempt to theorise, describe and model digital ecologies.
2. An affordance is the capacity for effective action within a dynamic and increasingly digital ecology. Affordances are the product of interactions between actors and their environment, which potentially change the actors and the environment in the process. [actors = animate and inanimate].
3. A digital ecology is, importantly, more than just a virtual ecology, as although it is substantially shaped by global digital networks, it is equally shaped by whats 'on the ground': digital actors - people, tools, machines, architecture, which also operate off-line.
4. Identity: your identity is a repertoire of affordances, and its part of what intelligent actors maintain for themselves.

5. Affordances: Examples of affordances offered by social software in various technologies (or digital niches in which to practice or prosecute them) might include all the above (top of page) and ... thoughts in progress, recorded conversations, communities of inquiry and practice, knowledge building, networking, fun, entertainment, etc.

Some ideas on the phases we might use to structure the research
1. Pre-MOOC: your default set of affordances ...
Which affordances were important parts of your repertoire before the course?
[This might translate into a hypothetical qustion like ...Would you agree with the statement: "I can't do without blogging every day"?]
How and where did you practice them? [practice as in ‘professional practice’]
Which if any of these affordances were specific to particular platforms, forums, practices, networks, spaces (human, ICT, meta-networks: blogs, MOOCs, forums, etc)?
And how and why?

2. On arrival
Which affordances did you expect to be able to practice on the MOOC?
Which if any specific platforms, forums, practices, networks, spaces (human, informatics, meta-networks) did you expect would enable you to practice/ extend these affordances, or explore and master new affordances?
And how and why?

3. In the MOOC
What platforms, forums, practices, networks did you use at the start, for which affordances?
Were these useful, successful, disastrous, frustrating, challenging?
Did you change strategy?
What did you change to?
And how and why?

4. Post-MOOC
What affordances are now important in your repertoire?
What’s changed – additions, deletions, parked, created, mastered affordances?
And how and why did these changes happen?

We could scrap all the phases except #3, but I think part of what 'connectivist' research needs to capture and describe is how participants' capacity changes as they engage with the MOOC, and with the capillaries and corridors within, and linked to the MOOC - it would be interesting to track 'inside' and 'outside' traffic too, although that might be restricted to just knowing 'that' people went 'off-screen' at specific times.