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Technology Stewarding as a Medium to Develop and Sustain Niche Online Communities
Author(s): Ann-Louise Davidson (Concordia University, Canada), Issa Gulka (Concordia University, Canada), Andre Valle (Concordia University, Canada) and Chantal Castonguay (Concordia University, Canada)
Educational, Psychological, and Behavioral Considerations in Niche Online Communities
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Vivek Venkatesh (Concordia University, Canada), Jason Wallin (University of Alberta, Canada), Juan Carlos Castro (Concordia University, Canada) and Jason Edward Lewis (Concordia University, Canada)
The goal of this chapter is to operationalize the theoretical argument about the importance of technology stewarding in the development of niche online communities. To bring about successful changes in a system, technology stewards propose technological solutions that will help to solve the problems of a community they know well. Assuming the role of a technology steward is the theme of a course in the M.A. in Educational Technology Program at Concordia University. Students enrolled in Social Computing and Computer Supported Collaborative Learning have twelve weeks to find a community that needs technological solutions and to propose such solutions to help them develop and to sustain their livelihood. The body of this chapter presents three vignettes, each consisting of a student project. Andre and Chantal’s vignettes both describe the creation of online learning communities with second language students, while Issa’s vignette describes the creation of an online support community of people suffering from the symptoms of a systemic illness. The three vignettes describe the approach in which each project was undertaken, the outcomes, and the lessons learned.