Creating and Facilitating Communities of Practice in Higher Education: Theory to Practice in a Regional Australian University

Peter R J Reaburn, Jacquie McDonald

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Abstract

Communities of Practice (CoPs) have been operating successfully at Central Queensland University Australia (CQU) since 2009. The major purpose of this chapter is to use a scholarly reflection approach to share what we have learnt are the keys to creating, sustaining and facilitating CoPs within an Australian regional university. A second purpose of the chapter is to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of creating, sustaining and facilitating CoPs within a higher education setting. We highlight the importance of meeting the CoP members’ needs, of keeping the focus on the domain of the CoP, of engendering trust within the CoP, and when in the role of facilitator, sharing your passion for the domain through regular engagement with CoP members between CoP meetings. Critically within the higher education sector, we also highlight the importance of ‘managing up’ and engaging the senior leadership/management of the university to ensure the sustainability of CoPs. Finally, and based on our extensive experience as drivers of CoPs within regional universities, we share our Top 10 Tips to creating and facilitating CoPs within a higher education setting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunities of Practice
Subtitle of host publicationFacilitating Social Learning in Higher Education
EditorsJacquie McDonald, Aileen Cater-Steel
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Chapter6
Pages121-150
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-2879-3
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-2877-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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Reaburn, P. R. J., & McDonald, J. (2017). Creating and Facilitating Communities of Practice in Higher Education: Theory to Practice in a Regional Australian University. In J. McDonald, & A. Cater-Steel (Eds.), Communities of Practice: Facilitating Social Learning in Higher Education (pp. 121-150). Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2879-3_6