Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Communities of Practice in Universities

Some outcome resources from the last CPSquare Foundations Workshop are beginning to surface. This group project focuses on higher education and SCoPE is featured as a study case.

Communities of Practice in Universities
Barbara Berry, Karen Guldberg, Jenny Mackness, Cassandra Star

I was interviewed by Barbara Berry where we spent some time trying to get to the enablers and disablers for the SCoPE community. Actually, it wasn't really an interview, it was more of a really interesting dialogue sharing how perceptions of value in a community can be so varied. This group project builds on a selection of comments and questions posed by Etienne Wenger during the workshop "stories campfire". One comment in particular would make a very good in- depth piece of research for SCoPE:

Universities, paradoxically, are not always conducive to communities of practice and the kind of collective learning they thrive on. (Etienne Wenger 3 Feb 2008)

Thanks to the vision of Ron Martiniuk and Cindy Xin of the (then) eLearning Innovation Centre, SCoPE got its start at Simon Fraser University in 2005. Through a major reorganization in the areas of instructional support, educational development, and media services, and through fiscal year-end appeals to keep SCoPE running and through several attempts to integrate SCoPE activities with the regular operations of the university, SFU has continued to host the community on a server in the Learning and Instructional Development Centre, providing technical support, graphical design, and site customization.

SFU also supported my part-time position as Community Coordinator, and assigned a Program Director to oversee the project...until Monday, March 31st 2008 that is. With budget cuts across the board the SCoPE project just didn't make it across the fiscal border.

After a few months of digesting this news, and negotiating a memorandum of understanding to continue to host SCoPE on a server at SFU in exchange for my continued moderating role, it's actually beginning to feel like a fresh new beginning.

As word started to spread about the uncertain future of SCoPE it was remarkable how many members rallied 'round! My inbox is full of kind words, testimonials, and generous offers to help. Thank you thank you thank you. This affirmation caused a shift in energy from the ongoing struggle to integrate SCoPE into SFU's institutional structures to finding new ways to support the 1,500+ (always including the unknown peripheral participants) members who are finding value in the community's free and open activities, all facilitated by volunteers. Many of details still need to emerge but SCoPE will continue, without a doubt.

Thanks, Barbara, for contributing a story about SCoPE and for CPSquare Foundations Workshop project group for making their work public.

No comments:

Post a Comment