Supporting Collaboration and Self-Governance: Networked Knowledge Sharing in Academic Learning.
Governance in a civil society requires the active participation of well-informed citizens. Besides institutionalized discourses and negotiations of the political system and the mediated political communication in the public sector by mass media a third public sphere will gain importance: The communication of the citizens using new digital media. The adoption and evolving use of new digital media by citizens is an ongoing process, which requires new social and technical capacities to foster social and political communication. An important factor of this capacity is the self-organised knowledge sharing in networked communities of practice. This paper reports on experiences made with networked knowledge sharing based on a well-known groupware. In our exploratory work we focus on the micro level of understanding collaborative communication using new digital media. Information- and Communication Technologies (ICT) serve a crucial function in the process of knowledge management and should be understood rather as supporting the human being than substituting it. Davenport argues that, "Technology alone won't make you a knowledge- creating company." (Davenport/Prusak 1998: 142). We will later discuss the implications of this insight.
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