According to Etienne Wenger, a Community of Practice (COP) has three characteristics First, a COP has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. Second, in pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. Finally, members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction. The development of a shared practice may be more or less self-conscious. The "windshield wipers" engineers at an auto manufacturer make a concerted effort to collect and document the tricks and lessons they have learned into a knowledge base. By contrast, nurses who meet regularly for lunch in a hospital cafeteria may not realize that their lunch discussions are one of their main sources of knowledge about how to care for patients. Still, in the course of all these conversations, they have developed a set of stories and cases that have become a shared repertoire for their practice. Hub Owners and Managers may likewise benefit from the development of a Community of Practice as a way to share new hub developments, ideas, best practices, lessons learned, and other information of interest. This session will not be a formal presentation, rather an opportunity for hub owners, managers, and expert users to explore interest and ideas for the development of a COP that will benefit all of us. Join us as we examine common goals and develop a unified voice for new hub developments.
Ann Bessenbacher is a Project Coordinator for the Discovery Learning Research Center at Purdue University. She is the technology steward for STEMEdhub.org and also works on the management team for CLEERhub.org. She is also the database administrator and curator for all of the assessment data at the DLRC. Before that Ann served as the Data Operations Manager at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. She works on the communities of practice for two different websites built on Purdue's HUBzero technology. She has fifteen years of experience in the delivery of information and data, as well as the management and analysis in both scientific and administrative areas.
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