Category Archives: research

Designing Online Communities: Read My Accepted Dissertation Proposal

Wisdom of the Ancients: the web-comic-epigraph for my dissertation proposal, from XKCD

As of last monday, I have now successfully defended my dissertation proposal. In the context of my doctoral program, that means there is just one more hurdle to climb over to finish. I’m generally rather excited about the project, and would be thrilled to have more input and feedback on it (Designing Online Communities Proposal PDF). I would be happy for any and all comments on it in the comments of this post.

Designing Online Communities: How Designers, Developers, community Managers, And Software Structure Discourse And knowledge Production On The Web

Abstract: Discussion on the web is mediated through layers of software and protocols. As scholars increasingly turn to study communication, learning and knowledge production on the web, it is essential to look below the surface of interaction and consider how site administrators, programmers and designers create interfaces and enable functionality. The managers, administrators and designers of online communities can turn to more than 20 years of technical books for guidance on how to design and structure online communities toward particular objectives. Through analysis of this “how-to” literature, this dissertation intends to offer a point of entry into the discourse of design and configuration that plays an integral role in structuring how learning and knowledge are produced online. The project engages with and interprets “how-to” literature to help study software in a way that respects the tension that exists between the structural affordances of software with the dynamic and social nature of software as a component in social interaction.

What’s Next? 

At some point in the next year I will likely defend a completed dissertation. Places do dissertations differently, in my program the idea is that what I just defended is actually the first three chapters of a five chapter dissertation. So, at this point I need to follow through on what I said I would do in my methods section (to create chapter 4, results) and then write up how it connects with the conceptual context section (to create chapter 5, conclusions). So I should be able to grind this out in relatively short order.

At this point, I think this project should be interesting enough to warrant a book proposal. So I’ll likely start exploring putting together a book proposal for it in the next year as well. With that in mind, any suggestions for who might be interested in receiving a proposal on this topic are welcome.

Inspired by Josh at work I ran my undergraduate thesis through a tagcloud generator. I think its kinda neat. If you didn’t get a chance to read my thesis, you can see what the most repeated words were. So without further adieu, here is “A Child’s Eye View of Life as a Scientist”

accounts against albert almost american answers apparatus appears applied approach around atomic authoritative authority barometer beautiful beckhard become begins being biographer biography books case central century character child children compass connected consider curie dank different discussion distinct doorly early einstein ends eva example experience experiences experimental explicit fact father focus frank further gender general girl given hard highlight history however ideas important incident insight insists inspector instead later learn less levinger life lives manya marie matter mcpherson mention messages mileva moral mother nature newton notes objects offer paper parker passage past people personal physics picture possible power professor public pure questions radium rather readers rebellious relationship role russian school science scientific scientists second section several significance similar society something sources states story students study subject success teachers tells test texts theoretical theory things think told trend understanding value ways wife wise woman womanhood women wonder work world written years young
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