I’m going to cheat a bit today and take a bit from a paper I’m trying to write.
As part of the elearning strategy here at MPOW, we have been encouraged to form communities of practice to facilitate the implementation of the strategy.
Definition: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for
something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Human learning is a social activity.
- share knowledge and learn from and with each other
- provide a common ground for people
- are formed organically because people want to share
- are self-governed
- Learn from/with each other
At the beginning of 2010 we set up an Information Literacy Community of Practice. Its purpose is to provide a forum and support for teachers of information literacy, both librarians and academics. Gatherings have included:
- A “journal club” discussing articles about active learning
- Using social media to connect with our users
- Information literacy and Matauranga Māori
- The best things in life are free – using free online tools in our teaching
- A technology “petting zoo”.
The community’s aims are to:
- Create a repository of examples of information literacy-friendly assessments and teaching plans
- Encourage a collaborative approach with lecturers to teaching the skills
- Link in with the academic literacy and the various eLearning communities on campus
- Upskill us all in web 2.0 technologies
- Ensure that work done in one community will benefit the others and hopefully bring new people into the information literacy community.
The CoP has a dedicated space on the institution’s Teaching and Learning Ning where discussions can take place asynchronously and outside of face to face gatherings.
The participation in the CoP has waxed and waned depending on the topics and timing of meeting. We’ve had some good attendance from outside of the library which in turn has helped us to reach out across unit barriers. It has been a good experience for us on the whole.
One of our gatherings has been written up as an exemplar of the Living Curriculum (another current push at our institution.