One my objectives for 2008 is to provide the conditions for a community of practice around e-learning to grow on our campus. We have many excellent examples of e-learning in the classroom and online, but so far haven’t really had a platform for sharing that knowledge & experience.
First things first, obviously sharing “knowledge, methods, stories, cases, tools, documents” as described by Wenger is impossible if staff members don’t even know about each other’s existence. So we’ve set about establishing the needed connections. Monthly e-Learning Lunches began in the middle of 2007 and have a growing and loyal attendance (yay!). I’m also trying to introduce practitioners to each other just-in-time. Recently I invited one of our Business & Computing lecturers, to demonstrate her online course to a group of lecturers who are just making the first steps in putting their courses online. I say demonstrate, but what I really wanted was for her to show off, because she & her colleague really challenged themselves, always focusing on keeping the course flexible, project-based and learner-centred. The course looks great, and the demonstration was much appreciated by the lecturers.
Unfortunately, I got so busy that shock, horror, I forgot to thank Kim properly. About to send her a thank-you note, I reconsidered, a. it’s kinda lo-tech and b. doesn’t match my tactics this year. I’ve been getting excited about the concept of viral professional development as described by Jennifer Jones (aka injenuity) as I see VPD as a factor in the creation & maintenance of our community of practice. So starting today instead of notes, e-cards or chocolate fish (very popular in New Zealand) to say thank you, I will instead undertake a little hidden VPD and share a cool tool, neat resource or activity idea that I know matches what they are working on.
Here’s my thank-you for Kim, created in Sketchcast explaining my limited understanding of the concept of a critical path. (Note: a little glitch, I could only get Sketchcast to record audio in Internet Explorer, not Firefox.)
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