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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Building a community of (new media) practice : sharing learning stories from a videoblogging collective Brennan, Karen


We live in a participatory culture, an environment characterized by the proliferation of production and sharing via computer-mediated communication. However, in my department, situated in a faculty of education at a Western Canadian university, there was a documented disconnect between consuming new media and participating in new media. To address this disconnect, following the participatory action research tradition, I initiated a videoblogging collective, which was modeled after NodelOl, a grass-roots endeavor dedicated to community-based new media capacity building. This study examined how individuals experienced participation in this new media collective. Sessions were conducted twice-weekly for a period of six weeks, and I documented my observations and interpretations by journaling. Through interviews, eight group members shared their stories of new media and technology support, experienced both prior to and as a consequence of their participation in the collective. Predominant themes were developed through data condensation and categorization, and formed the basis of a chronological narrative that expressed the findings as a collection of ten stories interleaved with related stories from group members. I used a situated learning perspective to interpret experiences of videoblogging and technology support within our community of practice through the dimensions of mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. With respect to mutual engagement, participants experienced tensions in belonging. Full participants appreciated a closeness among members, but questioned their own roles within the group. Peripheral members experienced a benefit to witnessing the potentials represented in the group's work, but were disappointed by the inaccessibility of group relationships or capacities. With respect to joint enterprise, participants explored their understandings of videoblogging. Video production was experienced as a process critical to understanding video as a form of multiliteracy. Despite promising technological capacities, blogs were experienced as problematic spaces lacking privacy and prone to superficiality. With respect to shared repertoire, participants described how relationships and domain cultivated resources and routines. Participants had experienced group learning of technology skills as challenging, and our repertoire consequently evolved toward formats such as individual help or email. Our group sessions provided needed space for discussion and inspiration, space in which members could listen and share.

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