Blog Post

Online Tutorials as Community Building

Really neat conference paper:


Peer pedagogy in an interest-driven community:
The practices and problems of online tutorials
Dan Perkel
UC Berkeley School of Information
Becky Herr-Stephenson
UC Irvine Humanities Research Institute


While many have celebrated youth participation in online activities as an
empowering opportunity for socialization, creative expression, and learning, how
this participation plays out in practice is not well understood. In this paper, we
consider the ways in which peers teach and learn through the creation and
posting of tutorials within a self-described online community of artists and media
producers. We describe the practices associated with the production of tutorials
in terms of genres of participation, modes of engagement with new media.
Within the genres of participation framework, creating tutorials can be seen as a
way to earn reputation and demonstrate expertise within the alternative status
economy of a specific interest-driven community. However, we also show that
tutorials can be a source of tension between participants in such a community, as
members may view tutorials and their relationships to learning and improving
one’s craft in contradictory ways.

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