Galley, Rebecca; Conole, Grainne and Alevizou, Panagiota
Community indicators: a framework for observing and supporting community activity on Cloudworks.
Interactive Learning Environments (in press).
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Cloudworks (Cloudworks.ac.uk) is a social networking site designed for sharing, finding and discussing learning and teaching ideas and experiences. Design and development of the site has been based on an iterative analysis, development and implementation approach, underpinned by ongoing research and evaluation. To this end, we have been seeking to establish strategies to enable us to systematically position transactions and emerging patterns of activity on the site so that we can more reliably use the empirical evidence we have gathered (Galley, 2009a, Galley 2009b, Alevizou et al., 2010a, Conole et al, 2010). In this paper we will introduce a framework we have developed for observing and supporting community development on the site. In building our framework we have used empirical evidence gathered from the site, then related it to the literature from a range of disciplines concerned with professional and learning communities. We link research relating to distance learning communities with studies into Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), self-organising communities on the web, and wider research about the nature of learning organisations and continuous professional development. We argue that this framework can be used to capture the development of productive communities in the space (i.e. how far cohesive, productive groups can be said to be emerging or not) and also help focus future
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