The evolution of a community of practice at the Queensland University of Technology for lecturers involved in large first year units
Quinn, Carole, Smith, Judith E., Duncan, Margot E., Clarke, John A., & Nelson, Karen J. (2009) The evolution of a community of practice at the Queensland University of Technology for lecturers involved in large first year units. In 12th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference. “Preparing for Tomorrow Today : The First Year Experience as Foundation.”, 29 June - 1 July 2009, Townsville, Queensland. (Unpublished)
Communities of practice (CoPs) may be defined as groups of people who are mutually bound by what they do together (Wenger, 1998, p. 2), that is, they “form to share what they know, to learn from one another regarding some aspects of their work and to provide a social context for that work” (Nickols, 2000, para. 1). They are “emergent” in that the shape and membership emerges in the process of activity (Lees, 2005, p. 7). People in CoPs share their knowledge and experiences freely with the purpose of finding inventive ways to approach new problems (Wenger & Snyder, 2000, p. 2). They can be seen as “shared histories of learning” (Wenger, 1998, p. 86). For some time, QUT staff have been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at sharing ideas and resources for teaching first year students such as the Coordinators of Large First Year Units Working Party. To harness these initiatives and maximise their influence, the leaders of the Transitions In Project (TIP)1 decided to form a CoP around the design, assessment and management of large first year units.
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