Lawrence, Jill and Sankey, Michael (2008) Communities of practice: a sphere of influence enhancing teaching and learning in higher education. In: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2008 (ANZCA08), 9-11 July 2008, Wellington, New Zealand.
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[Abstract]: Power is framed within systems of influence and, in higher education, one field of influence potentially lies in the discourses cultivated and disseminated within a Community of Practice (CoP). Communities of practice provide contexts for sustained professional conversations around identified domain and practice issues. These are particularly pertinent in the Australian higher education sector which is facing significant challenges from individual, institutional and societal demands on university teaching and learning with academics increasingly overwhelmed by continuous change, excessive workloads and research output demands. This paper reports on a Community of Practice which was initiated to improve the quality of first year teaching in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Topics covered by the community include course design, embedding academic values, graduate attributes, and student retention strategies. The paper will also report on a research project which complemented the Community of Practice, its purpose to evaluate the community’s effectiveness as a sphere of influence in transforming the faculty teaching and learning culture. The project found that the community has significantly contributed to the professional development of participating staff, fostering a transformative learning approach for these teachers. It has also provided a vehicle for disseminating best practice to promote quality teaching and learning across the Faculty. In describing the ways in which the community influences the communication processes within the faculty, the paper demonstrates how a community of practice approach can exercise power: how it can strive to augment an organisation’s communication processes to enhance teaching and learning within a higher education context.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)|
|Additional Information:||Authors retain copyright.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||community of practice, first year students, teaching, student retention, organisational communication|
|Subjects:||330000 Education > 330300 Professional Development of Teachers > 330305 Teacher Education - Higher Education
220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts - General
|Depositing User:||Dr Michael Sankey|
|Date Deposited:||15 Jul 2008 00:23|
|Last Modified:||02 Jul 2013 23:04|
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