On-line communities

Rennie, Frank and Keppell, Mike (2010) On-line communities. Association for Learning Technology, Oxford, United Kingdom.

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Abstract

The term 'virtual communities' has increasingly been applied to communication networks in which the participants focussed on a common topic are not located in the same geographical place, but are distributed across the globe. Unfortunately the term seems to have almost as many definitions and descriptions as the 'traditional' communities of place, and arguments still emerge as to what is and is not an online community. Yet it is important that we have at least a clear working definition, even if we amend or reject this subsequently. We cannot begin to clarify how online communities actually function, nor compare their successes and failures to the operations of a physical 'on-site' community, if we cannot agree what constitutes such a community, and by definition, what does not. This is not as easy as it may seem. The difficulty is that 'community' appears to mean different things to different groups of people, some of whom even deny that there is such a concept, or that it is a useful way of thinking. Though most early work related to the concept of community as a physical territory where residents interact, there was also a contrasting view of community as 'an interactional field held together by the human need to interact with other human beings' (Allen, 1993, p.156). Due to the ability to utilise the internet to create abstract places (virtual offices, hybrid libraries, online work spaces, and spaces for peer-to-peer interactive games), representations of the self (online identities), and abstract interactions (with other identities and with automated tasks), (Streibel, 1998) it is this latter view of community which has come to be applied to online social networks. This is perhaps unfortunate, as an increasing number of formal and non-formal online communities are being utilised to sustain some very meaningful and substantial learning support activities for learners in higher education.


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Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Association for Learning Technology. This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2014 00:10
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014 01:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: virtual communities; social networks
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0805 Distributed Computing > 080503 Networking and Communications
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200105 Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25136

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