A Student-Staff Community of Practice Within an Inter-University Final-Year Project

Dawn Bennett, Sally A. Male

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


In Australia, final year Bachelor of Engineering students complete an engineering research project. A small number of students (often between four and ten at any one university) elect topics in the field of engineering education. Relative to research in technical engineering, the insulated status of engineering education research can leave these students feeling isolated from other final year engineering students and faculty members. In 2013, we saw an opportunity to engage final year students and academics from two universities in a project to enhance industry engagement in engineering education. We established a research group of nine students and supervisors across the two universities. Each week the group met on campus and joined peers at the other university via a free Internet telephony service. Drawing on the reflections of community members, this chapter reports on the learning community that emerged within this project and the features that supported it. Critical to the community’s success were the regular meetings, the shared knowledge domain of engineering education, the commitment, diversity and quality of team-members, and engagement with the wider faculty and engineering education communities. Students and supervisors learned from and with each other and generated knowledge about the topic, collaboration, disciplines, research and themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImplementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education: Dreamers and Schemers
EditorsJacquie McDonald, Aileen Cater-Steel
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-2866-3
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-2865-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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