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Community building in higher education communities of practice

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 2:15pm – 3:45pm parallel mini-workshop



Room 2 – 303-G14, Sem



Associate Professor Jacquie McDonald
University of Southern, Australia

Dr Alisa Percy
University of Wollongong, Australia

Jade Kennedy
University of Wollongong, Australia



This workshop will bring together facilitators and potential facilitators of higher education (HE) communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), or social learning communities. The workshop provides facilitators with their own social learning space to connect, share and learn from each other, and potentially create the foundations for ongoing engagement as a national online community of facilitators.  Drawing on her OLT Fellowship work, Community, domain, practice: facilitator’s catch-cry for revitalising learning and teaching through communities of practice, Associate Professor Jacquie McDonald will lead the workshop participants through a series of activities that involve individual, small group and broad group reflection and discussion on practice that explores the critical role and strategies of an effective facilitator.


Target audience

The audience will consist of academics and students who currently facilitate or plan to facilitate a community of practice in the HE context. It is expected that participants will already have foundation knowledge of communities of practice.


Intended Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Connect with facilitators of social learning communities from a variety of HE contexts
  • Reflect on and share experience of facilitation and community building within specific theoretical frameworks (eg. community, domain, practice)
  • Engage in an experiential learning process in a modelled community meeting:
    • community building – using a yarning circle protocol
    • domain development – understanding the value of yarning circles in building community
    • sharing practice – reflecting on facilitation and leadership in community building
  • Invitation to join an open international community of CoP Facilitators to access resources and engage in ongoing professional learning with a network of social learning leaders


Outline of Activities

  1. Welcome and overview
  2. Community Building – Yarning Circle
  3. Domain development
    1. the three essential elements of communities of practice
    2. the value of yarning circles for community building
  • demonstrating the value of communities of practice
  1. Sharing practice – interactive activities for reflecting on and sharing practice
  2. Thinking forward to an online community of facilitators
  3. Wrap up


Presentation topic

Mini-workshop 6

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