Why Communities of Practice?
A community of practice (CoP) is a group of practitioners who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to share resources and ideas, build connections, solve problems, and create collective knowledge that directly impacts their practice.
There are four basic types of communities:
- Helping Communities - provide a forum for community members to help each other with everyday work needs.
- Best Practice Communities - develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, and strategies for their members’ use.
- Knowledge Stewarding Communities - organize, manage, and steward a body of knowledge from which community members can draw.
- Innovation Communities - create breakthrough ideas, new knowledge, and new practices.
Unlike committees or working groups, communities of practice are faculty-driven development opportunities that create a space for instructors to engage in meaningful and productive reflection on their teaching and classroom experience. Members co-create a collegial and supportive environment with shared ownership for the purpose, value, and outcomes they hope to achieve.