About the Study

Today social, online platforms facilitate how we share, communicate, and connect with one another. Increasingly in higher education, we see graduate students, professional staff, administrators, and scholar-practitioners sharing on social media to solicit advice, offer personal reflections, share resources, join a group discussion, participate in learning, and build professional relationships online. Digital tools and social technologies help us leverage what we do within our professional network and contribute to online communities — but what does all of this mean for the work we do in higher ed?

The Networked Communities of Practice study is created to explore how higher education professionals and practitioners participate in online networked communities. We would like to learn how and why graduate students, professional staff, senior administrators, and scholar-practitioners in higher ed and student affairs are engaged with blogging, Facebook group discussions, Twitter chats, producing podcasts, using hashtags on Instagram, and more for their networking, learning, and contributions to the field inquire about and ask:

  • What communities do you participate and interact with online?
  • Why do you contribute or interact with these networked communities?
  • How does your digital practice impact your professional identity and influence?
  • What type of professional development, networking opportunities, and learning activities have you experienced in these communities?
  • What benefits, challenges, and affordances occur within your networked practice?
  • What happens when your social and professional networks collide?

This research project is being conducted by Dr. Paul Eaton (Sam Houston State University) and Dr. Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas) and has been approved by the SHSU Institutional Review Board (#30423) and the UNT Institutional Review Board (#16-310). [IRB: IRB 16-310 Pasquini Continuation Approval Letter 2018-2019]