FET8605 Building Communities of Practice

Subject Cat-nbr Term Mode Description Units Campus
FET 8605 3, 2010 WEB Building Communities of Practice 1 Toowoomba

Academic group: FOEDU
Academic org: FOE003
Student contribution band: National Priority Teaching
ASCED code: 070303



Examiner: Kaye Cleary
Moderator: Karen Noble


The apparent success of self-organising Communities of Practice (CoP) has encouraged organisations, networks, and institutional units to foster CoPs aligned to institutional interests. Traditionally CoPs have evolved as a loose collective of individuals coming together to share ideas, strategies, resources and solutions related to an activity or practice; institutional cultivation of CoPs challenge the perceived organic nature of these entities. Contemporary lifelong and lifewide learning imperatives continue to encourage robust self-organising CoPs as individuals move into and out of institutional settings and between professional sectors. Success in building and sustaining CoP invites critical, reflective evaluation with innovative stimuli, applying strategies to fashion otherwise fluid, dynamic entities, nourished and shaped by a plexus of resources.


This course aims to critically examine the concept of Communities of Practice and related phenomenon emerging across sectors as diverse as education, management, and the social sciences. By applying theoretical and empirical frameworks to highlight issues around conflict, trust and mutuality, inclusion, power, and the significance of broader social and organizational contexts, learners will investigate and evaluate the development and sustainability of Communities of Practice. Participants in the course will experience first-hand the development of a learning community as they create their own knowledge around organising themes and key capacities for the building and facilitation of Communities of Practice. NOTES: 1. This course (FET8605) is available through INTERNET DELIVERY ONLY. There are NO print materials for this course. 2. For details of the technical requirements and accessing Internet study materials, please consult the following URL: http://usqconnect.usq.edu.au.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On completion of this course students will be able to:

define the concept of Communities of Practice and distinguish it from related concepts. (Assignment 1)
using a range of contemporary research and theoretical positions, analyse the functions and importance Communities of Practice play in a range of contexts. (Assignment 2)
critically review and discuss the efficacy and limitations of Communities of Practice as an organisational learning tool. (Assignment 2; Assignment 3)
develop and nurture a community of practice with focus on structure and stages of development. (Assignment 3)
explore the development of leadership/people capability/organisational capability through Communities of Practice. (Assignment 3)
apply 'open space technology' as a framework for collaboration in developing knowledge around an issue or theme. (Assignment 2)
demonstrate competence in collaborative scholarly writing.
Demonstrate competence in written language and scholarly writing including correct spelling, grammar and bibliographic referencing.


Description Weighting (%)
1. Definition and needs analysis - what are Communities of Practice? Setting the agenda to respond to identified needs?
2. Frameworks for collaboration
3. Structures and developmental stages for COP
4. COP and organisational learning
5. Facilitating COP - facilitating learning
6. Analysis, reflection, evaluation and review - critical success factors for COP

TEXT and MATERIALS required to be PURCHASED or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials are available for purchase from USQ BOOKSHOP (unless otherwise stated). Orders may be placed via secure internet, free fax 1800642453, phone 07 46312742 (within Australia), or mail. Overseas students should fax +61 7 46311743, or phone +61 7 46312742. For costs, further details, and internet ordering, use the 'Textbook Search' facility at http://bookshop.usq.edu.au click 'Semester', then enter your 'Course Code' (no spaces).


Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Framing the future,
( www.tafe.sa.edu.au/institutes/papa/ftf/home.htm)

Staff development and communities of Practice,
( www.framingthefuture.net)

(Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information http://www.usq.edu.au/library. The gateway to education resources is here ... http://www.usq.edu.au/library/help/facultyguides/education/default.htm)

Wenger, E. 1998, Communities of practice: learning meaning and identity, Cambridge University Press, NY.


Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00


Description Marks out of Wtg(%) Due date
ASSIGNMENT 1 20 20 03 Dec 2010
ASSIGNMENT 2 40 40 03 Jan 2011
ASSIGNMENT 3 40 40 28 Jan 2011


  1. Attendance requirements:
    This course contains discussion forums where students' participation is formally assessed and successful participation in that discussion group is required to complete the requirements to be awarded a passing grade in this course. There are no other attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.
  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assessment item.
  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.
  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.
  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.
  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.
  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.
  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These polices can be found at the URL http://policy.usq.edu.au/portal/custom/search/category/usq_document_policy_type/Student.1.html.


1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. http://www.usq.edu.au/library/help/referencing/default.htm


  1. Detailed criteria to be used in marking contributions in assessment item 1 will be provided in the course materials. These will be based on frequency of contribution, range of types of contribution, responses to contributions of others and linking of contributions to course content.
  2. Students will require access to e-mail and Internet access to UConnect for this course.
  3. IMPORTANT NOTE: Working with Children: State law in Queensland requires that all adults (including university students, pre-service educators, trainers, vocational teachers, industry educators) working with children under the age of 18, in the state of Queensland*, obtain approval before commencing such work. Many education courses include a practical component (professional experience, project work, research, assessment etc..) that may require engagement with children under the age of 18. It is your responsibility to ensure that you possess a current suitability card (Blue Card) before commencing any practical components of this course. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18 UNLESS YOU POSSESS A CURRENT 'BLUE CARD'. For further information: http://www.usq.edu.au/education/profexp/bluecard *If you are undertaking practical experience outside the state of Queensland, Australia you should check local requirements.
  4. Students enrolling in WEB courses MUST have ongoing convenient and reliable access to the Internet in order to access course materials and participate in activities that will affect assessment. The levels of equipment required may change from time to time, with the most recent specification listed at http://www.usq.edu.au/currentstudents/computingstandards/default.htm. You can check whether your computer system meets these requirements from Uconnect (http://uconnect.usq.edu.au/).

This version produced 17 May 2011.