The roles of social networks and communities in open education programs

Utpal M. Dholakia, Richard Baraniuk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Open Education Programs provide a range of digitized educational resources freely to educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. In the current chapter the authors study how the educational experience for users and the effectiveness of these programs can be enhanced by incorporating new social networking technologies along with traditional virtual communities, such as bulletin boards and chat-rooms. An overview of open education programs is provided, discussing their common characteristics and participants' motivations for joining and contributing to such programs. The authors also consider the roles played by collaboration processes in open education programs, examine how communities evolve on theses sites, their roles in making the programs sustainable, and what site organizers can do to enhance these processes. They conclude the chapter with a discussion of future trends and how social networking technologies will contribute to the next generation of open education programs. Throughout, their discussion is informed by our experiences and engagement with the Connexions project (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781605662084
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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