Developing an Effective Community of Practice for the Uptake of TFL - An Ulster Business School Project

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The concept of sharing practice and knowledge through the development of effective Communities of Practice (CoP) is gaining ground in the HE arena, focusing on the ability of a community to “cultivate organisational knowledge” (Puspitasari and Numao, 2012: no page cited). Initial observations noted the development of informal organisational communities (Tremblay, 2007), however more recently, the cultivation of more formal developments is gaining momentum (McDermott, 2000, 1999, Swan et al, 2012, Wenger et al, 2002, as cited in Tremblay, 2007). CoPs are described as groups who “don’t necessarily work together every day, but they typically meet because they find value in their interactions. As they spend time together, they typically share information, insight and advice……They become a community of practice” (Wenger et el., 2002:4-5). It has become apparent in recent years that such an informal community exists in the UBS and even throughout the University, in relation to the uptake and adoption of technology facilitated learning (TFL). Hence this project seeks to galvanise that progress and further develop this community for the benefit of staff and students alike. In this informal CoP there is growing evidence of best practice in relation to how TFL can support teaching, learning, assessment and feedback and the implementation of the Ulster Principles of Assessment and Feedback. Numerous case studies and exemplars have been disseminated across the University through CHEP events, TFL workshops and seminars and externally at HEA and subject specific events and conferences, evidencing this growth. However, there is an on-going need to encourage wider dissemination and adoption of TFL and ultimately to share that effective practice. This project aims to share elements of good practice between colleagues and to encourage the wider embedding of such across courses through the development of a more formal CoP, building on the existing informal activity. This CoP focuses on the development of guides, case studies and wikis on the implementation of particular aspects of TFL. The initial focus of this project will be on the use of Wimba voice authoring/email, Turning Point, Grademark/Turnitin and e-portfolios. Additionally, the aim is to pilot a mentor system to help staff who may be less familiar and/or more resistant to the use of the technology, allowing them to learn more about its functionality and key benefits in order to make informed decisions about its utilisation in their modules/courses. In addition, the intention is that the case studies will cross-fertilise each other with project staff embracing new technologies for assessment and feedback, acting as mentors and mentees to one another.Such a CoP or Faculty Learning Community (FLC) (Nugent et al, 2008) could help address and alleviate barriers to the uptake of technology such as a resistance to embrace new technologies, and a lack of knowledge about how the technology might enhance aspects of assessment and feedback practice. FLCs have been used to good effect elsewhere, in particular for enhancing the use of technology for teaching and learning (Nugent et al, 2008). In particular, Nugent et al (2008) found that such communities can help support “the exploration of digital technologies and their integration into teaching and learning” (2008: 56): this project would aspire to just such an outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherUlster University
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2014
EventCHERP Annual Conference: shaping and Sharing Learning at Ulster - Jordanstown
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


ConferenceCHERP Annual Conference: shaping and Sharing Learning at Ulster
Period1/01/14 → …


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