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Why communities are not good?

Why communities are not good?:
Quote: “Communities are nightmares for novices: lack of clear roles or structures, overflow of information, discussions that you join in a middle, strange language… Communities could be good to stay updated in the field or get specific questions answered, but they are hell if you want to get solid understanding of the domain.”
Comment: Yes, which is why communities need a variety of components: searchable archives, tools for dialogue/debate, access to gurus, forum for self-expression/reflection…as well as structured exposure to content. What we currently call a course (which is basically just someone’s conception of how content should be experienced) is still reflected in a community. Most communities currently do not have this more formal path of learning (but they should). If communities are to play a stronger role in education, they will need to include this…as well as means of assessment and evaluation.


  1. Lilia wrote:

    I wonder if it will be still a community once we add ‘more formal path of learning’…

    I also expect that this would require diffusing the instructor’s role between many people. I believe that at the certain moment ‘teaching’ skills will become as important as learning to learn skills (see also on it). By ‘teaching’ I mean facilitating learning of others and not teaching :)

    Monday, October 13, 2003 at 5:28 am | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Lilia,

    I think it still remains a community even if we add a “more formal path”. Your original post effectively highlighted the problem with communities: they are not geared to newcomers. If communities/networks are to be used effectively in education, this weakness needs to be addressed.

    Most software development communities already include a section committed to newcomers. A rough representation is the Python site ( The site includes a section for beginners…allowing them to complete tutorials, read benefits, see code, etc. Newcomers can get comfortable with the language before they move to active participation in the community.

    The use of communities/networks in education is still fairly new. The proof of value will be in the doing. Methodolies/best practices, etc. will emerge through use. I believe that the notion of courses (as structured exposure to content) will render them as a subset of communities…not the heart of the learning process (as they currently are).

    Other aspects of formal/informal learning with communities in higher education still needs to be worked out…in particular, how to evaluate competency against a skill set. Rory mentioned the challenges of evaluating portfolios in respons to my original post on this ( These challenges need to be overcome…but I don’t think they’ll be a significant challenge in the adoption of community-based learning in education.

    Monday, October 13, 2003 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  3. Cours magistral ou p

    Monday, October 13, 2003 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  4. Cours magistral ou p

    Monday, October 13, 2003 at 10:24 pm | Permalink