Exploring Online Communities

analytical Essay
1501 words
1501 words

Exploring Online Communities First language, then print, and now telecommunications allow us to link thoughts and form communities, or groups based on common interests or common localities. However, in the not so distant past of the pre-virtual reality and pre-telecommunications age, community was the place where people lived, worked or played. For most of human recorded history, community was close to home and place dependent. Nowadays, cyberspace exists and permeates the 'real' world in which we live. Increasingly more humans belong to multiple communities, some of them transcending the limitations of location, time and space. As a result, new kinds of communities have emerged. Cyber communities have expanded the parameters of what we call communities and that process demands a new look, or a definition of electronic communities, most particularly educational cyber communities. Mercer (2000) gives all communities, virtual or face to face (F2F), the following attributes: 1) they share a body of experience or a common history; 2) they are united by common purposes and joint activities to develop a community of practice; 3) they form a collective identity such as students in a class, members of a church, etc.; 4) they give members reciprocal obligations or responsibilities towards each other and define roles for appropriate behaviors; in addition, they have rules and norms affording membership to the group and stability of the community; 5) they build a discourse community employing a specialized language and genre and not using the “proper” format may exclude members; thus newcomers may need to be ‘apprenticed’ to experienced ‘experts’ to learn the discourse. Therefore, electronic communities like F2F communities... ... middle of paper ... ...dy image. Computers and Composition, 14 (2), Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed: New, revised 20th –anniversary edition. New York: Continuum. Grubb, A. (1999). Building cyber-learning communities in WebCT. Retrieved October 10, 2002, from Georgia State University Web site: Mercer, N. (2000). Words and minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge. Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace: Effective strategies for the online classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Savenye, W. C., Olima, Z., & Niemczyk, M. (2001). So you are going to be an online writing instructor: Issues in design, developing and delivering an online course. Computers and Composition, 18,(4), 371-385.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that in the past, community was the place where people lived, worked, or played. cyberspace exists and permeates the'real' world in which we live.
  • Explains that electronic communities like f2f are composed of interdependent people seeking deeply embedded human social needs to interact, belong, and share interests or commonalities.
  • Explains that cyber communities bring together people with similar interests, objectives, and backgrounds. thinking together and jointly creating knowledge and understanding is one of the goals of building an educational community.
  • Describes the principles of humanizing computer-mediated environments and the importance of developing a sense of learners’ community.
  • Argues that social constructionists assume that learning occurs among persons rather than between persons and things and that knowledge is contextual and relative. however, one cannot magically mandate a community.
  • Argues that online teaching and learning may require teachers' and students' re-acculturation so they may grant authority to peers instead of the teacher as the sole source of valuable knowledge and decision-making.
  • Argues that cyber learning communities should include much interaction, sharing, bonding, and cooperation among all its participants. students and instructors should agree on the rules of classroom engagement.
  • Argues that teaching students how to give effective feedback, be a good collaborator, and become aware of interlocutor relationships is of paramount importance to develop healthy cyber communities.
  • Opines that although there is no magic and universal potion to create effective educational cyber communities, considering these general principles may help in designing and implementing more collaborative, student-centered and human cyber learning environments.
  • Cites berzsenyi, c., bruffee, k. a. and buckley, j.
  • Explains that teaching and the loss of body image are discussed in computers and composition.
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