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Fostering eABCD: Asset-Based Community Development in Digital Service-Learning

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JHEOE Volume 22, Number 2, ISSN 1534-6102


The continuing expansion of digital service-learning is bringing emergent dynamics to the field of community engagement, including the challenge of fostering asset-based views of community partners in online spaces. "Online disinhibition" ("Suler," 2004) can prompt harsh critique or insensitive language that would not have occurred during face-to-face relationships. Traditionally, the field of community engagement has drawn on asset-based community development ("Kretzmann & McKnight," 1993), which calls for relationship-driven, asset-based, and internally focused partnerships, to encourage ethical and positive interactions with community members. However, this theory was not originally intended for digital, text-based interactions. This article explores how aspects of asset-based community development might be enacted in online partnerships, in electronic asset-based community development (eABCD). A case study of a digital writing partnership between college students and rural youth is used to illustrate how students can be supported in asset-based, relationship-driven, and internally focused interactions in online service-learning collaborations.


Shah, R.W., Troester, J.S., Brooke, R., Gatti, L., Thomas, S.L. & Masterson, J. (2018). Fostering eABCD: Asset-Based Community Development in Digital Service-Learning. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 22(2), 189-221. Retrieved April 16, 2021 from .

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