Good CoPs and bad CoPs: facilitating reform in first-year assessment via a Community of Practice

Howlett, Catherine and Arthur, James Michael and Ferreira, Jo Anne (2016) Good CoPs and bad CoPs: facilitating reform in first-year assessment via a Community of Practice. Higher Education Research and Development, 35 (4). pp. 741-754. ISSN 0729-4360


The idea and implementation of learning communities are gaining favour in higher education institutions. In particular, there are a number of successful examples to emerge of the application of the Community of Practice (CoP) framework proposed by Wenger [(1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press] for fostering a learning environment for academics around their teaching practice. In this paper, we describe and reflect on the efficacy of a CoP process that was implemented within our university. The purpose of this CoP was to provide a space for academics to focus on assessment practices for first-year courses and identify opportunities for professional development in this area. For a variety of reasons detailed in the paper, the efficacy of this CoP was limited, and we conclude that in the current higher education environment in Australia, success with CoP approaches to improve learning and teaching outcomes may prove limited.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 03:36
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2021 01:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community of Practice; first-year assessment; institutional change; professional development; retention
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390499 Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
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