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EDU8605 Building Communities of Practice

Semester 1, 2015 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Educ

Contents on this page


Examiner: Joan Conway
Moderator: Dorothy Andrews


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 (EDU8605) 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:


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:

  1. define the concept of Communities of Practice and distinguish it from related concepts (Assignment 1)
  2. 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)
  3. critically review and discuss the efficacy and limitations of Communities of Practice as an organisational learning tool (Assignment 2; Assignment 3)
  4. develop and nurture a community of practice with focus on structure and stages of development (Assignment 3)
  5. explore the development of leadership/people capability/organisational capability through Communities of Practice (Assignment 3)
  6. apply 'open space technology' as a framework for collaboration in developing knowledge around an issue or theme (Assignment 2)
  7. demonstrate competence in collaborative scholarly writing
  8. 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? 10.00
2. Frameworks for collaboration 10.00
3. Structures and developmental stages for COP 20.00
4. COP and organisational learning 20.00
5. Facilitating COP - facilitating learning 20.00
6. Analysis, reflection, evaluation and review - critical success factors for COP 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

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.
  • Current references are available in the course materials via Studydesk.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information //

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Independent Study 80.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 20 20 25 Mar 2015
ASSIGNMENT 2 40 40 22 Apr 2015
ASSIGNMENT 3 40 40 03 Jun 2015

Important assessment information

  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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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:
    Not applicable.

  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 policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  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 at //

Other requirements

  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. Students enrolling in ONLINE 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 //