Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Community of Practice

The slides on Community of Practice we were asked to look at this week brought up a couple key points, as far as I am concerned. The first of these is the idea of passion. The first quote from Wenger talked about "groups informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise." I think that we have been developing a community of practice here because of our passion. At the beginning there was not much shared expertise, but our interest turned into passion and that passion allowed us to each develop some expertise that we could share with others. But I think passion was the key.

Next was the quote from Brown that described communities of practice as "peers in the exectution of real work". This is another very important aspect of what we have done. From the beginning of the course, we have had very real tasks to perform, the results of which were out there for everyone to see. In our struggle to perform those tasks, we had "a real need to know what each other knows". As I compare this experience to the one I have had with another course like this, I see the value in the real work to help us develop this community of practice. The tasks we had with the other course weren't real ones. And the passion with which I started the course soon faded.

So I must say that I am exptremely grateful to Bee and Aaron and Graham for designing the course they way they did. And I am equally grateful to everyone in the course for the time and effort each person put in on it. I have learned a lot from so many people!


Nathan Lowell said...

You have the knack of putting your finger right on it, Nancy. Please don't stop writing here ... or if you do, let me know where to point my aggregator :D

Nancy McKeand said...

Thanks, Nathan. It is nice to know I'm not just talking to the wall here! I expect to keep writing here for the forseeable future, and I welcome your comments.