Thanks so much for your comments and feedback - that's awesome and really useful for us.
Great idea re: pre-course hangout and making it a bit clearer re: course activities having a research focus in the course introduction. Thanks for these suggestions!
RE: live hangouts, at the moment our plan is to use some of the time to discuss various themes/questions/issues arising from particular activities and get a discussion going between everyone on the call (in the "course outline" document some sections/activities have things like "[Google doc] [Google Hangout]" next to them and these are the activities we've chosen to focus on for that week). Some of our anticipated points of discussion/exploration are also indicated in this document (e.g. see Week 4's "Themes to bring up for discussion") I think the Hangouts will also be partly informed by what we see participants are focusing on, their interests, ideas, experiences etc. so we'll be keeping it fairly flexible.
Thanks so much again for taking the time out to review the course : -)