Communities of Practice (CoPs) are naturally forming groups of individuals who come together through a shared passion or goal and learn collectively by reciprocating knowledge and experiences. With competing demands of faculty, universities are increasingly challenged to provide professional development opportunities that actively encourage innovative pedagogical practices to enhance student success and quality of the learner experience. We report on four embryonic CoPs, based on collaborative processes, supporting institutional transformation and the formation of a new education model at Ireland’s first Technological University (TU). Juxtaposing a series of planned learning innovations with spontaneous interactions and actions of CoP members, we draw out common themes with respect to how these members developed as professional educators, how they accelerated the adoption of new innovations and their perceived factors for CoP success. Findings from this funded initiative are first reported as separate case-studies each covering a six-month period. The CoP model is then evaluated as a professional development strategy to initiate and sustain practice-based change. Finally, a thematic analysis of our shared perceptions across the four CoPs is undertaken. Whilst selection bias is inherent in these perceptions, we nevertheless conclude from our shared experiences that CoPs are particularly attuned to rapid and extensive adoption of teaching and learning practice innovations and organisational transformation in Higher Education (HE). Consequently, CoPs can serve as vehicles for sustainable professional development in teaching and learning practice. Based on our findings, we offer recommendations for fostering CoPs in supporting strategy-as-practice in the technological university sector.
Harvey, Jen; Dodd, Derek; Deegan, Catherine; Freeman, Olivia; MacMahon, Cormac H.; and Williams, Helen
"Cultivating a Community of Practice model to support and encourage innovative T&L practices to engage practitioners and enhance student success,"
Irish Journal of Academic Practice:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/ijap/vol9/iss2/3