August 8th, 2014

Communities of Practice Bibliography

Barab, S. A., & Duffy, T. (1998). From practice fields to communities of practice. CRLT. Technical Report No. 1-98. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. available from

Bathmaker, A., & Avis, J. (2005). Becoming a lecturer in further education in England: The construction of professional identity and the role of communities of practice. Journal of Education for Teaching, 31(1), 47-62.

Further education colleges in England offer a wide range of post‐school education and training provision. Recently they have undergone major transformations that have resulted in considerable changes to the work of those teaching in them. In this paper we examine how cultures of learning and teaching in colleges are affected and how the nature of professional identity has changed. The paper considers the formation of professional identity amongst a group of trainee lecturers completing a one‐year full‐time teacher‐training course at a university in the English Midlands. Lave and Wenger’s work on apprenticeship to communities of practice is used to examine the effect of trainees’ teaching placement on the development of professional identity. Rather than identifying effective processes of increasing participation in existing communities of practice, a strong sense of marginalisation and alienation amongst trainees was observed. The paper argues that this is detrimental both to trainees and experienced lecturers if they are to actively engage in building new forms of professionalism for the future.

Brew, A. (2003). Teaching and Research: New relationships and their implications for inquiry-based teaching and learning in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 22(1), 3-19.

In order to bring teaching and research together, a fuller understanding of how academics conceptualise research and scholarship is needed. The paper discusses different ways in which research and scholarship are conceptualised and then provides two alternative models of the relationship between teaching and research based on different conceptions of teaching and different ideas about the nature of knowledge. The paper suggests that if the relationship between teaching and research is to be enhanced it is necessary to move towards a model based on the notion of academic communities of practice. The implications for higher education of doing this are then examined. It is argued that there is a need to reconceptualise the role of higher education and to renegotiate relationships between teachers and students.

Brooks, C. F. (2010). Toward ‘hybridised’faculty development for the twenty‐first century: blending online communities of practice and face‐to‐face meetings in instructional and professional support programmes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 261-270.
This manuscript begins with a synthesis of research on communities, communities of practice (CoPs), and the potential for their development in online forums, while specifically discussing the value of virtual CoPs for educational professionals in higher education. Working within constructivist and sociocultural frameworks, this manuscript addresses how online forums for faculty support can be beneficial in ways distinct from face-to-face environments. Further, this paper presents an argument for the hybridisation of faculty development by suggesting that online forums for collegial interaction are viable and culturally sensitive complements to traditional face-to-face faculty support, socialisation, and mentoring programmes. In conclusion, resources that can assist in designing a hybrid model of faculty development are offered.

Hodgkinson-Williams, C., Slay, H., & Siebörger, I. (2008). Developing communities of practice within and outside higher education institutions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 433-442.

Higher education institutions (HEIs) are largely built on the assumption that learning is an individual process best encouraged by explicit teaching that is, on the whole, separated from social engagement with those outside the university community. This perspective has been theoretically challenged by those who argue for a social constructivist learning theory and a more collaborative approach to learning. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) afford lecturers and students an opportunity for extending the boundaries of a learning experience, not merely beyond the lone individual, but beyond the limits of discipline boundaries within a specific university community and beyond the institution into the local community. This paper illustrates how a collaborative effort between lecturers and students from the Computer Science and Education Departments at Rhodes University, teachers from the local community, the provincial Department of Education and a non-governmental organisation developed into an unfolding virtual and physical community of practice which enabled ICT take-up in a number of schools in the Grahamstown District, South Africa. This discussion of what has become known as the e-Yethu project provides an example of how ICTs, underpinned by the insights of social constructivism, the notion of ‘community of practice’ and in particular Hoadley and Kilner’s C4P Framework for Communities of Practice, can serve to help HEIs understand ways in which ICTs can provide opportunities for developing collaborative learning within HEIs, and between the HEI and the local community

Iverson, J. O., & McPhee, R. D. (2002). Knowledge management in communities of practice. Management Communication Quarterly, 16(2), 259-266. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 225828141).

Knowledge management (KM) has gained increasing importance as a business strategy. However, there is no consensus on the best way to implement KM or even on its definition. This article offers communities of practice (COP) as a theoretical construct for understanding the interactive roles of information systems and people and also as a model for understanding how KM is negotiated communicatively between people. Next, the paper argues that the 3 key elements of COPs – mutual engagement, shared repetoire, and joint enterprise – encapsulate the socially constructed nature of knowledge creation, transfer, and management systems within and across organizations. Finally, the paper provides implications for the management of knowledge from and organizational communication perspective.

Johnson, C. M., (2001). A survey of current research on online communities of practice. The Internet and Higher Education, 4(1), 45-60.

The author surveys current literature on communities of practice and their potential development using networked technology and remote collaboration, specifically with respect to World Wide Web (WWW) communication tools. The vast majority of the current literature in this new research area consists of case studies. Communities of practice have the following components that distinguish them from traditional organizations and learning situations: (1) different levels of expertise that are simultaneously present in the community of practice; (2) fluid peripheral to center movement that symbolizes the progression from being a novice to an expert; and (3) completely authentic tasks and communication. Supporting concepts include aspects of constructivism (i.e., ill-structured problems, facilitation, collaborative learning, and negotiated goals), community knowledge greater than individual knowledge, as well as an environment of safety and trust. Virtual communities are defined as designed communities using current networked technology, whereas communities of practice emerge within the designed community via the ways their participants use the designed community. Current networked technology has both advantages and disadvantages in emergent development of communities of practice. Because most collaboration is text-based, norms are reduced, enabling introverted participants to share their ideas on an equal footing with extroverts. However, the greatest problem with virtual communities is withdrawing, or attrition. This problem can be reduced somewhat through good facilitation techniques and adequate scaffolding, especially in the cases of online communication techniques and technical support. Finally, the author recommends further research questions and proposes a case study, whose purpose is to observe the effects of an emerging community of practice within the designed environment of a virtual community.

Rees, A., & Shaw, K. (2014). Peer Mentoring Communities of Practice for Early and Mid-Career Faculty: Broad Benefits from a Research-Oriented Female Peer Mentoring Group. The Journal of Faculty Development, 28(2), 5-17.

In light of recent interest in the limitations of early and mid-career mentoring (Driscoll et al 2009; Trowers 2011), this case study of a women’s scholarly activity and goal setting Community of Practice (CoP) indicates that such groups can offer extensive peer mentoring at one teaching-oriented state university in the United States. Using a questionnaire and open-ended essay, this study explores the impact of this CoP on its participants. We find that peer mentoring occurring in this group includes: goal setting, establishing a sense of institutional community; appreciation for group interdisciplinarity; an old girls network; friendship; feelings of connection to and membership of a group; and, support for professional development. This study has important implications for faculty development facilitators in that peer-to-peer group mentoring CoPs have a variety of benefits central to supporting female pre-tenure/early career faculty and post tenure/mid-career faculty as successful community members.

Sherer, P.D., Shea, T. P., & Kristensen, E. (2003). Online communities of practice: A catalyst for faculty development. Innovative Higher Education, 27(3), 183-194.

This article addresses the concept of communities of practice and how it has come of age for the professional development of professors as teachers. Thanks to current technological options, faculty developers can enhance the opportunity for the entire faculty to learn through the use of online communities. Designing a faculty development portal using community of practice concepts can be an effective means to jump-start, facilitate, develop, and sustain faculty involvement in academic communities.

Smith, M. K. (2003) ‘Communities of practice.’ The encyclopedia of informal education,

The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development. In this article we outline the theory and practice of such communities, and examine some of issues and questions for informal educators and those concerned with lifelong learning.

Steinert, Y. (2010). Faculty development: From workshops to communities of practice. Medical teacher, 32(5), 425-428.

The author discusses the formal and informal approaches to faculty development of medical educators. She states that faculty development which results to self-improvement could be categorized into learning by doing, learning by observing, and learning through reflection on experience. She says that medical educators could find their development through learning from peers, students, and mentorship.

Trowler, P., & Knight, P. T. (2000). Coming to know in higher education: Theorising faculty entry to new work contexts. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(1), 27-42.

This research contributes to practice in the induction of faculty staff entering new work contexts and identifies theories that are worth further testing. Lightly structured interviews with 24 new entrants to the academic profession were complemented by re-analysis of transcripts from another interview study with 50 faculty members and by appraisal of data from three North American studies. The account of the processes of socialisation into academic life that was developed from repeated analysis of these data sets leads to some propositions about better induction. As the emerging account was repeatedly tested by appraising it for goodness of fit with the data, it was found that activity system theory and the idea of communities of practice contributed to a fuller and more coherent position. Consequently, it is argued that there is value in treating these two notions as heuristics that can evoke fresh understandings of higher education practices.

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