ALTC Teaching Fellowship Community of Practice Facilitator Resources
Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide a context for university staff to engage in sustained conversations around learning and teaching, situated in the members' field of practice. They are described as:
Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. Over time... [t]hey become a community of practice (Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) pp. 4-5).
These resources are prepared as an outcome of the ALTC Teaching Fellowship, ‘Community, Domain, Practice: Facilitator catch cry for revitalising learning and teaching through communities of practice’ to provide CoP facilitators with ideas and practical resources at different phases of a Community of Practice (CoP).
Table 2: Phases and Key Issues of a Nurtured Higher Education CoP
Topic or cohort focus
Scope CoP context
Seizing the institutional moment
Finding "the spark"
7 design principles
Nurturing “the spark”
Getting critical mass
Leveraging local knowledge and contacts
Credibility of core members and convenors
Avoiding institutional takeover/leveraging
Inducting new members
Keeping role focussed
Re-assess the critical issues or new trigger
Evolution of membership
Re-building critical mass
Re-negotiating institutional relationship
Star, C., & McDonald, J. (accepted for publication), CoPping it sweet: the state of play of CoPs in higher education, Higher Education Quarterly, Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, United Kingdom.
Associate Professor Jacquie McDonald
2010 ALTC Teaching Fellow
Senior Lecturer/ Learning and Teaching Designer
Learning and Teaching Support (LTS)
The University of Southern Queensland
Ph: +61 7 4631 2314
Fax: +61 7 4631 2407