Your Brightspace learning environment can effectively support a Community of Practice (CoP) for your learners and/or your instructors. A CoP is a group of people who come together around a central interest, concern or profession. Building a CoP is a valuable strategic option to help support your adoption of Brightspace and help achieve success initiatives within your organization. Used properly, this can be a very successful way for learners and/or instructors to engage with each other across the traditional boundaries of courses and departments. This interaction provides a good forum for sharing best practices, asking questions and sharing ideas. In some scenarios, the CoP might be for learners only providing them a place to interact with each other outside of their scheduled class section groupings. A CoP could also provide a foundation for instructors to interact with each other across departments. And, in some strategic cases, a CoP can also provide an excellent platform for learners to interact with instructors or other industry professionals beyond the ones that are registered as the instructor for their specific course section.
How to Get Started
A CoP is created in Brightspace just as any other non-academic course offering or instance. It can be created in any department that you wish and can be assigned to any semester (or term) parent, if desired. The name of the course should identify it as a CoP course. Any desired participants (instructors or students) need to be enrolled into the CoP course, just as they would be in any other course offering. However, since this is a non-academic course, the enrollment will typically not be processed through your SIS (student information system) integration. Most commonly, the enrollment for this course is handled manually using Bulk User Management or via API.
As an example, if a course is created for an Instructor CoP, once the course is created, then any desired resources can be loaded into the course. This could include information about upcoming feature enhancements included in the continuous delivery updates, it could include training and enablement resources, job aids and quick tip or Pro-tip sheets, knowledge checks, self-assessments and checklists. It could also include discussion forums providing instructors an opportunity to ask questions of their colleagues as well as reply to questions from others. It can also provide a great way for instructors from across the organization to interact and make connections with other instructor champions within your organization. Just as with any other course, release condition widgets, news announcements and intelligent agents can be used to provide personalized and contextualized information or communication to participants.
What to Use it For
The CoP course also provides a convenient way for faculty or students from a variety of programs or departments to share ideas, ask questions and provide feedback. The CoP course provides an excellent framework for leveraging the ePortfolio tool and the sharing groups feature. Sharing groups can make the sharing aspect in CoP very easy to maintain. ePortfolio artifacts or presentations can be created by any CoP member and shared to the sharing group to all other participants. Depending on the sharing permissions, other participants can then be given the ability to comment on or review, using a rubric, the artifact(s) or presentation(s) shared. In professional licensure education programs, such as health related fields, the CoP provides a valuable mechanism for learners to connect, learn from and interact with licensed industry professionals.