This chapter presents experiences of time-limited networked forums created for the purposes of sharing views and insights on specific development topics (through fixed-length, Internet-based conferences), gathering wider feedback and broadening participation. It illustrates the effectiveness, represented by global outreach and frequency of interactions, of the communication medium in stimulating an online dialectic dialogue involving multiple stakeholders. The experience described represents an example of time and scope-based online interactions in a distributed community. This distributed virtual network is organized and temporarily brought together for ad hoc and timebound knowledge exchange. The chapter summarizes experiences that can be replicated to solicit knowledge creation and sharing across multiple domains.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Dialectical Discourse: Identifies a specific articulation of a discussion (either online or face-to-face) that enables reaching consensus only after a clear presentation of diverse point of views (consensus/dissensus from thesis, antithesis to synthesis).
Online Discourse Management: Identifies the exchange of ideas and viewpoints mediated by a computer mediated communication medium via a discussion board, a learning management system or any other synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tool.
Interpretive Discourse: Focuses on a discussion that evolves from the interpretation of phenomena based on inductive experiences and the context of the actors and social interactions.
Distributed Network Structure: Refers to the organization of a large, not co-located, number of nodes connecting various participants to an online discussion forum (Internet conference).
Normative Discourse: Focuses on a discussion formulating value judgments (how things “ought to be”) based on thoughts, beliefs and emotions which are part of humans’ value systems.
Internet Conference or Think Tank: Refers to an online forum for dynamic presentation of selected content topics supported by a discussion management tool to solicit asynchronous discourse among participants.
Knowledge Assessment Exercise: Refers to a methodological approach to the study of knowledge management drivers in selected environments, with a specific focus on developing countries. The exercise leads to the compilation of benchmarking data and analyses of comparative knowledge drivers and indicators.