Online communities

Bradshaw, Pete (2006). Online communities. PFP Publishing.

Abstract

“Our online community provides a dynamic forum for you to discuss current topics and concerns with the wider education community.“

This quote is taken from the Teachernet website [ ], but could be claimed to apply to any number of education sites. Increasingly, online content is being complemented by with opportunities for readers to interact with each other or participate in debate. This article will look at the proliferation of such ‘online communities’. It will consider how they might be used to support teachers and school managers, how they might be most effectively used and how ‘virtual’ communication complements and overlaps with the ‘real world’. Finally it challenges the very notion of this dichotomy.

What then is an online community? Simply it is community, a collection of people, who are communicating or working together online. Often the term is used to describe the software or online space – “Click here to enter our community” – but if it is a true “community” then it must involve a defined membership, however loose that definition.

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