Title: The give and take of online professional community

Authors: Peter R. Hester

Addresses: Department of Teacher Education, Rider University, 2083 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, USA

Abstract: This study examines Online Professional Community (OPC) in two projects from inside/outside perspectives. Patterns of OPC participation and differences between online and f2f communities are discussed, as are means of facilitating the development of OPC. Both projects met cyber-archaeological criteria for OPC and cyber-ethnographic features contributing to OPC are identified. The majority of participants interviewed reported feeling a sense of belonging to OPC and engaged in the construction of online identities: |Givers|, |Takers| or |Lurkers|. The majority of project postings were contributed by a few participants, increasing the importance of understanding the factors that influence the construction of online identity.

Keywords: online identity; professional community; web based communities; cyber-archaeology; cyber-ethnography; lurkers; teaching profession; givers; takers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2006.011764

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2006 Vol.2 No.3, pp.360 - 374

Published online: 20 Dec 2006 *

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