Differentiating between Communities of Practices (CoPs) and Quasi-Communities: Can CoPs exist Online?
David Hung, Maish Nichani, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
International Journal on E-Learning Volume 1, Number 3, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
In this article, we consider the basic issue of the differences between Community of Practices (CoPs) and Quasi-communities (Hung & Chen, 2002). We argue that fundamentally online communities (or quasi-communities) should be conceived as a 'sub-set' of real communities of practices and should not be confused as equivalent. Proponents of online communities who seem to equate online communities with CoPs fail to recognize that CoPs have intrinsic dimensions that technology cannot bridge (at this current stage of technological advancement). Using Activity Theory as a framework for analysis, we discuss on how technology can be used to support CoPs, and our argument is that technologies such as prevalent on the Internet seems to play a major role in complementing CoPs and not replace them. With the rise of the Internet, and its ability to reach out and connect people, it is unsurprisingly the focus of many community initiatives. Based on our analysis, quasi-communities can complement the processes of CoPs. By drawing out on research done by researchers and practitioners, we hope to implant the notion that online communities are only effective when it is used as an add-on or complement to already existing social structures in CoPs and not as a stand-alone initiative.
Hung, D. & Nichani, M. (2002). Differentiating between Communities of Practices (CoPs) and Quasi-Communities: Can CoPs exist Online?. International Journal on E-Learning, 1(3), 23-29. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2002 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
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