A virtual knowledge-building community is a group of people who collaboratively produce knowledge through an online-mediated environment. The process and means for sharing and producing knowledge in such a community can be described as a place where “knowledge creation is built into the social fabric and into the technologies that support knowledge work” (Scardamalia, 2001). Virtual knowledge-building community is a unique case of a virtual community in which the processes of knowledge building are preformed through interactions between group members. In the early twenty-first century, on the Internet we observe a rapid growth in the number of virtual knowledgebuilding communities. These include joint authoring tools, collaborative tagging arrangements, collective recommendation aggregators, and other creative uses of the Internet. One of the most prominent forms of virtual communities involved in the practice of building knowledge, are the ‘open source’ communities such as the Wikipedia project (Rafaeli, Hayat, & Ariel, 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Locus of Knowledge: The location where the knowledge creation is being implemented. This conceptual pose enables the important distinguishing between the individual and collective level.
Knowledge Building: The continual and dynamic production of ideas with value to a community. The processes of exchanging and negotiating these ideas, contribute to accomplishing more synergetic ideas.
Wikipedia: An online, free access, volunteer-contributed encyclopedia. As a wiki-based application, Wikipedia pages are created by a group of collaborating users. In Wikipedia, all users are potential authors and editors of the content. Initiated in 2001, the project of Wikipedia currently has millions of articles in many dozens of language versions.
Community Of Practice: Group of individuals that have passion and common interests in a shared topic. Those individuals are working together for a better understanding and broadening of their knowledge, expertise and their ability to solve related problems.
Interactivity: A process- related variable concerning responsiveness that can take place between two or more players (various combinations of human or non-human) exchanging information, under direct or indirect conditions.
Virtual Community: Group of individuals that share some common interests and participate (actively or passively) in online-mediated spaces. Through their ongoing interactions, they build an online-shared-public space and sustain a feeling of membership.