8.17 Using Social Network Analysis to Highlight an Emerging Online Community of Practice
In this exploratory study, Cocciolo, Chae and Natriello investigate the extent to which the communicative processes exhibited within a large digital repository illustrate the emergence of an online community of practice (CoP). In order to make this claim, we present a method for identifying the emergence of an online CoP using Social Network Analysis (SNA) on communication data (i.e., uploads and downloads) and institutional role (i.e., expert/faculty vs. novice/student). The analysis reveals that the online repository provides opportunities for novices to perform the role of the expert knowledge facilitator. We posit that these conditions constitute a necessary element for the emergence of an online CoP.