Annotated Bibliography #8

Terrie Lynn Thompson. “Work‐learning in Informal Online Communities: Evolving Spaces.” Information Technology & People 24.2 (2011): 184–196. (Atypon). Web.

This paper seeks to investigate how workers engage with each other in informal online communities to learn about their field of work. It operates from the assertion that, while there is a large amount of work-related learning done through the internet, most of it is situated in formal online courses, implying the need for a more comprehensive understanding of less formal learning spaces. This investigation was conducted through interviews with 11 self-employed contractors and consultants who do not have staff working beneath them. This paper seems to be directed at workers in the same position as those interviewed, but also possibly web designers who have the power to implement the changes argued for into new mediums of field-specific communication between professionals for their own advancement. I chose this source because it examines the usefulness of existing channels for informal learning and how they could be improved and used in the future and because it ties in very nicely with the article I annotated in my post titled Annotated Bibliography #7 in that they both discuss at length the implications of the “Affinity Space” that is developing in online spaces. The only flaw that seems to exist with this research paper is that the sample size (11 individuals) may have been too small to attain accurate results for it’s purposes. Overall, this article would be useful to anyone seeking to explore how the online built environment has influenced discourse between independently employed professionals.

Annotated Bibliography #7

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Davies, Julia. “Affinities and Beyond! Developing Ways of Seeing in Online Spaces.” E-Learning and Digital Media 3.2 (2006): 217–234. Web.

This article examines the environment of Flickr, a free online image hosting website that supports a community wherein members can share their own photos and explore those of others. Davies asserts that through flickr, new multimodal teaching and learning relationships are formed through the “Affinity Space”, first coined by James Paul Gee. An Affinity Space is anywhere that informal learning takes place, and here it is argued that the Affinity Space of flickr uses in images exclusively to create new meanings and discourse. One piece of information that has given me a new perspective on the online built environment is this column’s offering up of evidence for the broadening of the term “literacy” to include more modes than just text, like images, at a time when the visual mode is becoming increasingly intertwined with the textual mode, especially in online spaces. The only flaw I could find with this article is that is was published ten years ago, so the Affinity Space and new definition of literacy discussed inside have probably expanded a bit beyond the framework outlined inside. I chose this article because it is valuable to anyone trying to analyze the multimodal rhetoric of online spaces since they are, almost by definition, places where informal learning takes place through the users’ voluntary exploration of them. although I was unable to export them to this blog post, it is worth noting that this article also included several images from flickr, including a picture of the welcome page, and several example of posts by users.