Frameworks for understanding the nature of interactions, networking, and community in a social networking site for academic practice

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This paper describes a new social networking site, Cloudworks, which has been developed to enable discussion and sharing of learning and teaching ideas/designs and to promote reflective academic practice. The site aims to foster new forms of social and participatory practices (peer critiquing, sharing, user-generated content, aggregation, and personalisation) within an educational context. One of the key challenges in the development of the site has been to understand the user interactions and the changing patterns of user behaviour as it evolves. The paper explores the extent to which four frameworks that have been used in researching networked learning contexts can provide insights into the patterns of user behaviour that we see in Cloudworks. The paper considers this within the current debate about the new types of interactions, networking, and community being observed as users adapt to and appropriate new technologies.