Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators

Editors, Chris Kimble, Paul Hildreth and Isabelle Bourdon
Publisher, Information Age Publishing

As a two volume set:
Hard cover ISBN: 1593118678 , Soft cover ISBN: 159311866X

As separate volumes:
Hard Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118635 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118651
Soft Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118627 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118643

Volume 2, Chapter 1 - Designing for Growth: Enabling Communities of Practice to Develop and Extend their Work Online


A teaching professionals' Community of Practice (CoP) can affect professional growth through informal collegial interactions. The desire to support professional growth through community has led scores of teacher education, induction, and professional development providers and educators to seek online virtual spaces to meet their CoP needs. This chapter provides examples of using a phased approach to help CoPs become virtual CoPs in Tapped InŽ, a Web-based virtual environment for professional development providers and educators, and CLTNet, an online network; CLTNet supports the United States National Science Foundation's Centres for Learning and Teaching in graduate training, research, and practitioner development. As many organization leaders and users have noted, the greatest value to the organization and its CoP is the phased assistance that CoP community developers provide to CoP leaders and participants. This phased approach enables leaders to articulate their CoP vision, understand what is possible online, support and scaffold their initial online activities, and gradually remove the scaffolding as the organization's capacity to use the online environment to sustain and scale its CoP's activities grows. Through this phased approach, leaders gain an understanding not only of what is possible online, but also of what is possible in growing virtual CoPs.


Melissa Koch
Judith Fusco