This month, MediaCommons takes on the question: How do we build digital cohorts and academic communities?

In The Wealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler argues that with today’s cheap access to computers and internet, “The removal of physical constraints on effective information production has made human creativity and the economics of information itself the core structuring facts in the new networked information economy” (4). The digital age is supposed to help us connect across distances to do things not possible before. As more of the work we do happens online and more universities offer online admittance, the creation and use of digital networks and technologies becomes increasingly more important. Yet these communities do not build themselves and even spontaneous communities require existing structures.  

There is a great deal of theory on how networks and communities work. However, it’s always beneficial to see that theory in application. For the next four weeks MediaCommons has asked experts, scholars, teachers, and students to weigh in on the question of digital academic communities. Daily we will post short responses to the question of how these communities are cultivated, how we cross over into other communities, how graduate students in online and hybrid programs create community, and how we evaluate the successes and failures of these communities.

Many in our MediaCommons community have worked in digital cohorts and academic communities and we invite you to join our conversation through commenting and sharing links on the site and through social media. Our intention is that these short posts turn into much larger discussions with your help and insight. At the end of the month we hope to aggregate these into a larger document for use after the project is completed. To keep up with these daily postings, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


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