Building virtual communities: learning and change in cyberspace
Building virtual communities: learning and change in cyberspace
Building virtual communities: learning and change in cyberspace
Price: $13.23 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Released: 2002
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Page Count: 416
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0521780756
ISBN-13: 9780521780759
User Rating: 4.0000 out of 5 Stars! (1 Votes)

Review

'... this volume provides an important initial grounding to a topic of much interest to educators, designers, sociologists, anthropologists, and even past, present, and future community members.' Convergence 2003

Book Description

Building Virtual Communities examines how learning and cognitive change are fostered by online communities. The chapters provide a basis for thinking about the dynamics of Internet community building. This includes consideration of the role of the self or individual as a participant in virtual community, and the design and refinement of technology as the conduit for extending and enhancing the possibilities of community building in cyberspace. Building Virtual Communities will interest educators, psychologists, sociologists, and researchers in human-computer interaction.

John Harpur (Trim, Meath, IRELAND) | 4 out of 5 Stars!
24/11/2002

I found this to be a mildly interesting collection of papers but rather uneven in focus and range. Several papers tried to reach theoretical heights while others contented themselves intellectual twaddle. For example no one speaks of a 'telephonic community' emerging post Alexander Bell. People were more grounded in those days it seems.

There is much emphasis on Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) throughout the book as a significant leap into a new state of togetherness. Much of this is hard to argue with if it was merely stating the obvious, i.e. kids talking about games in chat rooms, parents discussing their kids math progress, etc. However, one can't but feel that the thrust of the book in towards overkill. The internet is in many of these instances is simply a souped up penpal system.

It is easy to be critical of a book like this and see it akin to any other book telling us how much sand is in the Sahara. However, the authors clearly believe that the internet can inspire a new communal modality.

I am not sure I would share their enthusiasm having run several lists and online 'club's over the years. What strikes me as glaringly absent, is an analysis of how one motivates users to remain within a group and contribute. How do you motivate people? Crack that and the world will change. A recent issue of the Communications of the ACM published interesting research from Microsoft showing just how hard it is to get people to come forward socially on the net.

I wouldn't recommend passing over this book. It is worth skimming out of interest just to keep yourself abreast of emergent themes but I would put in the second rank and in preference first buy a good elearning book (by Alessi for instance).

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