The afternoon opened in the second workshop, where this time I had opted for In it for the long term – evolving your community of practice over time: learning from the New Social Media, New Social Science network (#NSMNSS), headed up by Kandy Woodfield, Curtis Jessop and Wasim Ahmed.
After discussing what community meant in this context, Kandy proposed that although we’ve come to understand quite well how communities are formed, there is less awareness of how they are sustained. This session was about considering the strategies undertaken which have thus far maintained momentum in the New Social Media, New Social Sciences community. In small groups, we were asked to discuss and consider several questions, then feed back our findings to the whole group.
Rather than go through the questions and list the findings, since that summary has already been done over on the NSMNSS blog, let me just link to that. Though these points arose in response to questions around sustaining an online community, there are things to learn here for anyone conducting online research; drivers and inhibitors of engagement, how to encourage new voices and attract fresh participants.
Short Papers 3 & 4
At this point I should be recounting my experiences in the final sessions, but unfortunately I chose poorly and the sessions I attended didn’t fulfil any learning needs for me. In each session, I had a to make a choice between two equally interesting sounding papers, but seemed to have opted for the wrong one on each occasion … but without retrospect, who knows.
Although my own research is focused more on pre-tertiary educational contexts, the majority of experiences I had during the day were sufficiently broad in their applicability to be of considerable use to me. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with people I’ve so far only ‘met’ online; this is a virtue of conferences many people talk about. In addition to moving my thinking on the ethical issues in my research forward, I also collected a bunch of resources and links to academic papers that will prove of great use. All that AND a useful drinks cup too!