Graduate Professional Education from a Community of Practice Perspective: The Role of Social and Technical Networking
L. Polin. Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Envronments for Educators, 2, chapter 13, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, (2008)
This chapter describes the value and means of re-visioning graduate professional education as an activity that occurs at the intersection of three topics: practice, pedagogy and digital culture. The chapter considers social computing applications as a mechanism to support a shift in the context of graduate professional education from schooling for transfer to situated engagement. The Community of Practice model of learning supports this shift in roles and activities for students and faculty by increasing peer-to-peer engagement and opportunities to engage with experts and expert practice beyond what is locally available. Recognizing that practitioner-students often are not involved in vital, active, engaged, professional communities outside their workplace, and that many faculty members in teaching universities are, likewise, not centrally involved in a larger research community, the chapter offers a view of social and technical networking tools that create participation structures to bridge these communities. The chapter illustrates these ideas by reference to two graduate blended programmes (combining online and face-to-face settings).