Creating a community of practice - Kevin Brace - 10th > 14th January 2011

Cloud created by:

Kevin Brace
18 November 2010

This cloud will contain details of the activities and resources associated with the topic of creating and nurturing an e-portfolio community of Practice.  Topic area hosted by Kevin Brace, Associate Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, Aston University.

Extra content

Indiciative resources that will contribute to the discussions;

Australian ePortfolio Project - Final Report

JISC RSC West Midlands e-portfolio CoP

ePortfolios and how they might support the development of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills.


EPAC Community of Practice :Electronic Portfolio Action and Communication

Etienne Wenger's latest work on the topic

Kevin Brace
12:50 on 18 November 2010 (Edited 12:52 on 18 November 2010)

Embedded Content

live webinar - Friday Jan' 14th - 12 - 1:30 pm

live webinar - Friday Jan' 14th - 12 - 1:30 pm

Accessible Alternative
added by Kevin Brace


George Roberts
7:31pm 8 December 2010

Looking forward to this discussion.

Kevin Brace
10:22am 13 December 2010

Thanks George, glad to have you on board. 

I've just been scanning thro' Etienne Wenger's new book "Digital Habitats"  - the taster material is well worth a look :

On the face of it, the technolgoy on which to base the virtual community seems quite superfluous! But it does require a great deal of thought on choosing the right platform.  For example, we could all say let's run a quick Skype meeting?  but we have some restrictions on Skype here at Aston. So that may not be good for all.

My previous e-portfolio CoP ran on Google Groups, which we felt was the best option to be least affected by the; Colleges, Adult Ed, Universities firewalls.  And knowing that some already had Google accounts, this would present less of a (not another log on) burden.

So it's imperitive that you really do think of your audience / community deeply, and choose the most suited technology. As in any good web design, think of the lowest common denominator - usually firewalls!

Any comments on this intial phase of planning a (virtual) CoP? 

I'm liking Sarah's choice of Cloudworks  :O)

Regards Kevin Brace.



Ray Tolley
5:10pm 20 December 2010 (Edited 4:25pm 11 January 2011)

Hi, Kevin,  am keen to get involved in discussions.

As you know, I see the whole ePortfolio concept as being much larger than just FE or HE.

Don't get me wrong, I think that over the years many institutions have made significant contributions to the whole understanding of ePortfolios - but we still have a long way to go.  I wrote a paper several years ago entitled 'Who's Hijacking our ePortfolios'  (best read in FullScreen mode) - and still, sadly, many institutions are continuing to hold entrenched positions as to the purpose of an ePortfolio.

Until we get to the position of accepting that the ePortfolio is learner-owned and not the property of the institution we will not make much progress.  Quite simply, the ePortfolio is a tool to supplement learning and assessment throughout a learner's life and lifestyles.  The ePortfolio can support students and faculty alike in collaboration and formative feedback but is not a cheap substitute for the institution's CMS/LMS.

As I often say in my blog, "Let the VLE do what it does best and leave the ePortfolio to do what it can best do."

Kevin Brace
8:28pm 20 December 2010

Glad to have you on the discussion Ray. As ever insightful comments I agree with. e-portfolios are indeed disruptive technology, and in being so, begin to shake up the established ways of teaching and learning. As you state Ray, we have much work to do. But the journey and effort is well worth it.  Don't forget VLEs are still very much mired in the object repository / resource lead pedagogy.  It'll take events like the current economic climate and ePDP to get HE really exploiting the personalised potential of e-portfolios - across the board.

Merry Christmas all.

George Roberts
7:19am 5 January 2011 (Edited 7:29am 5 January 2011)


Thank you for the excellent resources above. The Technology for communities wiki is particularly useful.

A couple of little resources from me about creating a community on line (not eportfolio spacific). The first, "What is needed for a community to function",  comes from the ELESIG community and is a list of actions that community facilitators need to flufil. The tasks may (should?) be distributed:

The second is a reflection on "Emerging criteria for community success" from the JISC Emerge project which used community of practice principles for supporting a JISC programme. In this post I put forward a list of oxymorons - seeming contradictions - which appeared to me to describe conditions of success for communities:

I posted a similar reflection to the eFramework wiki:

[all accessed 05/01/2011]

Kevin Brace
9:29am 5 January 2011

Some very insightful musings here George, and I'd tend to agree with them all.  Although I do not claim to be expert in this subject, my experiences do bear out and concur with your experiences & reflections.   The shared sense of purpose, and a desire and willingness to learn from others is top of my agenda.  And obviously the "belonging" to a group of similar minded people creates that sense of warm fuzziness (immeasurable), and the thinking that we are really sharing knowledge, not locked into silos.

The bottom line that drives me is the desire to not reinvent the wheel, which I do see all over education.  And an implicit desire to mine for information - which sometimes can be a bad thing! Are RSS feeds our saviour or the work of the devil!!

My primary inspirations come from running technolgoy centric communities for local FECs & HEIs (Moodle, Eportfolios, Web 2.0, etc) whist working for JISC RSC West Midlands, and secondly the very very good CoP run by Helen Walmsley at Staffordshire University - which exemplifies (IMHO) all things good with an online CoP.

One of which we are demonstrating - ACTIVE participation. !OD   : open to all <<< Join in <<<< Which I can explain more of next week.  

Merry new year to all.

Kevin Brace
12:32pm 5 January 2011

Just a quick note to remind you all, that we begin officially next Monday 10th Jan. But as you can see, George has kindly taken the baton and run with the discusssion, which is exaclty what we wanted.  I was aiming at an informal weeks worth of asychronous chat/threaded discussion covering the topic of --

"what makes a good CoP?", and indeed how do we then take forward those agreed points into this e-portfolio project, to ensure its longevity and continued active particiation?

So, I'd like you to peruse some of the indicative resources I've added to the top of this page, then to begin digesting the comments already proffered.  There are some very experienced e-portfolio people and e-learning types joining us online, so this whole project promises to be much *serious* fun. Don't be shy, join in the debate.

So,  the first week kicks off on January 10th, with 5 days of threaded discussion, then my week concludes on Jan 14th with a synchronous webinar from 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm.    The webinar will be a lively debate on our threaded discussions/outcomes and hopefully more about this JISC project and of course e-portoflios in general.  the URL for the Elluminate webinar will be posted out on Monday 10th Jan'.

I was hoping to get the JISC project leader Alison Felce to join us on the 14th, but our busy calendars have dictated otherwise.  I'm sure we'll catch up with Alison Felce and Sarah Chesney next week online.

Sarah Chesney
5:35pm 5 January 2011 (Edited 5:44pm 5 January 2011)

Hello and happy new year to everyone.

It's thrilling to see Kevin, George and Ray already contributing to this discussion and sharing valuable resources. Thank you to Kevin from Aston University for leading this week long activity and providing us with a basis on which to build our further discussions. These activities are open to anyone with an interest in e-portfolios and we welcome contributions from the UK and internationally. As Kevin has so rightly pointed out, we do need to avoid reinventing the wheel and should be focusing on building upon lessons already learnt by ourselves, our peers and colleagues. This will only be achieved if we are willing to share our experiences.

I shall serve as the person who just checks everything is going fine, so if you have any problems accessing/using the Cloudworks site or adding resources, please contact me on I shall put all suggested resources into one area at the end of each week so that there is an easily accessible point where you can return once the activity is over. I shall log in every week day to check things are running smoothly and shall summarise the discussions periodically whenever appropriate.

I'm looking forward to this venture and welcome your participation. I shall also be joining Kevin on 14th Jan for the synchronous webinar. Best wishes, Sarah

Alison Felce
12:28pm 6 January 2011

Hello everyone and (another) Happy New Year greeting.

It's great to see the discussions starting and the site being populated. Thanks Kevin for starting these sessions off and Sarah for all your work in setting up the site and getting people involved.

I'm going to try and join the live discussion on 14th and will be visiting the site regularly to follow on-going threads.

Emma and I will be leading the session starting on 17th Jan so look forward to some interesting discussions then.



Thomas Rickarby
10:36am 7 January 2011

The recreation of ideas doesn't just happen in higher education, but throughout academic research, especially in the humanities and social sciences. I have read countless articles (if only because I haven't been bothered to count!) where I can identify a very similar idea being put forward in a different discipline. For example, the work of Schon and Wenger to me seems to dramatically close to the epistemological understanding of the phenomenological thinkers - Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. The way I see it is that we are all looking at the same things with very similar eyes and so certain ways of thinking and solving problems are undoubtedly likely to occur - good examples include the theories of evolution and calculus which had multiple simultaneous originators, despite our tendency to associate big ideas with particular individuals. I would also be very much suprised if no-one had before made the point that I am making now.

What does this mean for a community of practice? Kevin was advocating a desire not to re-invent the wheel, but to mine for information. I actually think that the recreation of ideas can lend strength to the argument for particular solutions, but equally research and practice does benefit from the diversification of effort. I sense that the key point kevin is making is that we ought to use the community as a forum to share our diverse experiences and perspectives and in that way learn how much we already know as a group and to divise a way of ensuring that the experiences remain diverse whilst we work to keep our responsibilities in our professional roles, many of the issues involved in which will be similar. What do you think, how does a community of practice really develop its shared understanding?

Sheila Counihan
10:55pm 8 January 2011

Hello Everyone and a Verry Happy New Year to All!!

Some really interesting and useful discussion already underway so I am looking forward to the rest of the week. I agree with Kevin's wish not to re-invent the wheel and as Thomas has pointed out, the notion of originality is indeed rare these days as we are all learning from such diverse sources and having a medium such as this allows us to share our thoughts and ideas.

For me a CoP really works when there is commitment and common purpose. For our students the common purpose is usually easy enough to identify, however it is the golden nugget of commitment that often remains elusive. I have previously used the simple and often overlooked technology of SMS to 'prompt' 'poke' or otherwise encourage students to log in and participate in online discussions and it worked quite well. Participation then gradually leads to the development of shared understanding. However, I have found that students are often more focssed on developing their own understanding especially at undergraduate level, which is an important step before moving on to a shared understanding so I think it is important to make a distinction between these two stages.



Kevin Brace
8:51pm 9 January 2011

Thanks for the insightful comments Sheila & Thomas.  I would add to add to these about the nature of CoPs, yes these fora do provide a place for common and shared discussion (see also Greek Agora), to build upon and develop shared idea(l)s. And what I omitted to mention is that I often feel in these online collaborative spaces is a chance to reflect upon one's or others thoughts. Which in our busy schedules is very important indeed.

So we've got shared ideas, continued discussion, reflective spaces, comiitment to share, and comittment to participate - all as positive CoP traits?

And to recognise the final point that Sheila makes about developing ones own perspectives.

Regarding Thomas' point about shared understanding - I'm not too sure.  But at the very least, we've had a chance to discuss and reflect upon ones own perceptions to develop deeper or transverse thoughts.

I believe the modern education system is respeonsible for undoing any collaborative learning modes. And it's not until later in life we have to re-learn this important skill. How much trouble do we have designing and running assessed group projects at HE level!!!  Collaborative practice does not come easy, and it's far too easy to work in blissful isolation.

Thankfully we all appreciate the need to collaborate in our area of expertise and even more so in the current financial situtation - which should encourage greater shared thought and practice? Big business is slowly waking up to the importance of knowledge sharing using tools like Huddle & Yammer. Luckily now we have a plethora of tools like this cloudsworks to help us.

Kevin Brace
9:01pm 9 January 2011

Regarding the organisation and facilitation of CoPs how much do you agree with the comments made by Jon Scharer in this 7 minute podcast on the subject?

Establishing Effective Communities of Practice (CoP)

Thomas Rickarby
10:55am 10 January 2011

My first reaction is that there may be some differences in trying to establish a community of practice which sits within a particular organisation and one which includes practioners from across a sector. I think John's podcast is closer to describing such communities as they arise in individual businesses and organisations - the organic component of such organisations is more likely to occur when people cross spaces, in buildings, at meetings or in online organisational spaces etc.

Of course it isn't this simple, because individuals from many different organisations often meet at conferences and through common professional and organisational bodies - such as JISC or the HEA, which is how I've become aware of this ePCoP project. What I think is important is creating a space in which a community can flourish and I think the voluntary nature of the associations that John is referring to (he calls them permeable boundaries for some reason!) are at least making it easier for me to contribute as this community starts to establish itself. Professional relationships based on a shared interest in ePortfolio practice already exist, and I think the ePCoP project has the potential to create a single, open space in which those relationships can become part of a larger network.



John Peters
3:16pm 10 January 2011 (Edited 3:21pm 10 January 2011)

Hi folks,

 OK, I've listened to the Jon Scharer podcast and read through the comments above.  I did not react well to Jon Scharer and I'm just trying to think through why! 

I think some of the problem is with the way the initial observations and construction of the idea of communities of practice have been bent from initially being a critique of poor management into being some sort of management tool.  My readings of the early work by Lave and Wenger, developed by Wenger, suggested that communities of practice exist irrespective of management.  They exsist, not because managers create them but, because they emerge and develop with the community. They function, for better and for worse, as the secret guardian of the culture, values and professional knowledge of that community.  They thus cannot be created by management but they can be damaged by poor and over intrusive management and it may be possible to develop them through withdrawal of management and allowing community leadership to emerge.  Instead of JS saying 'we should set something up and then look to see if there are existing communities of practice we can use', we should be saying 'what are the communities of practice that exist and how can we free them up to help them flourish and open out'.  Fortunately with eportfolio I think we are in the latter position.  There is a community or there are communities - they don't have to be created - and we may be able to help them to become more explicit about values, assumptions, practices and hopes and to develop a greater community through this increased self-awareness.

My own experience of working with communities of practice  is varied.  I've hit problems when trying to push a community further than it wanted to move, I've learnt that foisting a community on individuals who don't have that sense of belonging is pointless but I have found that working with communities to deliver new developments that are important to them can be incredibly effective. 

The latest example I'd cite - which has lessons for both eportfolio and developing communities of practice - is the National Action Research Network on PDP and ePortfolio practice. 

Details at:

And published outcomes at:

Here there was an existing community who had themselves identified a community need.  We helped them help each other meet some of that need.  One of the few failures of the project was in terms of developing a virtual community. Colleagues prefered face-to-face communication, or the use of existing technologies, rather than the use of a dedicated social network site to keep in touch.  Time for proper human social interaction was important. 

Sarah Chesney
6:20pm 10 January 2011 (Edited 6:20pm 10 January 2011)

Hi, just summarising at the end of the day.

I’ll post the links embedded in messages in resources at the end of the week if they are not already there – thanks to Ray, George and John for highlighting resources that are important to them. I feel quite strongly that this community of practice shouldn’t be simply discussion driven, that it is an opportunity to share resources that have been either written or reviewed by ourselves as well.

This week will be concerned about whether we need another community of practice and if so, how we take steps to ensure that there is a return on our efforts throughout the funded period of the community (until end March 2011) and hopefully beyond.

Before we submitted our request for funding to the JISC, we did do a brief survey of what communities already existed to support e-portfolios. There are some excellent communities already in existence, and I’m hoping that the guardians (or sponsors/chairs etc) will step forward and advertise these as John has already done. What we found, however, when we did our (albeit brief) survey, was that there wasn’t really a CofP that existed to discuss only ‘e-portfolio pedagogy irrespective of which platform was being used’. ( I am now cringing as someone will inevitably point out that I’m overlooking an obvious example.)

As Kevin points out to Ray: ‘e-portfolios are indeed disruptive technology, and in being so, begin to shake up the established ways of teaching and learning’ and this gets to the crux of why we feel an e-portfolio community of practice centred on pedagogy is needed and why we feel it is timely.

General (i.e. not e-portfolio specific ) resources on what constitutes a successful CofP are a good basis for discussing what we want from a CofP like this and why. George’s links are particularly helpful as they are written from recent experience and can underpin our own approach – a chance to avoid reinventing the wheel, which is a theme within the discussions so far. I suspect we may only have an answer to Thomas’s question

‘What do you think, how does a community of practice really develop its shared understanding?’

at the end of these activities, and even then, I’ll not be confident we have answered it.

Sheila raises the crucial issue of participation and its value, but how do we value participation if it’s distinct from the ‘student’ drivers such as assessment?

Finally, I think we do need to address the issue of virtual vs face to face if we are going to really get to the nub of what makes a successful CofP. John points out that this was vital in the CofP he led, but as Kevin points out, we have the impact of a severe economic climate. Do we need to be realistic and pragmatic and reluctantly say goodbye to some of our face to face communications ? We certainly would be excluding some members if we held some face to face meetings – we can now welcome practitioners from outside the UK with open arms – surely this is a win?

I’m looking forward to the rest of the week when we can iron out some of our feelings about communities of practice before looking next week at specific e-portfolio pedagogy and the work done at the University of Wolverhampton.

Kevin Brace
6:19pm 11 January 2011 (Edited 6:26pm 11 January 2011)

Evening all, thanks for the summary so far Sarah,

In repsonse the comments made by John & Thomas, what I tend to agree with, from the podcast is a need for some kind of central faciltiation, to tactfully guide and hopefully move dicussions on. I did post the link as a bit of curve ball, as well, to gauge repsonse. !oD

Of course there could and should be more than one faciltiator. And the second point made by the speaker is the obvious need for the CoP to be very much a home grown community, that clearly fulfils a need.  The rest of the talk is clearly aimed at managers who are desperate to leverage as much knowledge from the work force without acually understanding the nuances of social networks, and "the power of the crowd" , or indeed the Open Source business model - sometimes called wikinomics. 

My experiences echo John's , whereby I tried to create a CoP that catered for many levels of engagement, from lurker (information gather), to active particiapnt (Ray Tolley being typical of this demographic), and also experts, who would act as facilitators, and provide advice to all.  My role was to keep the whole thing ticking over.

It did "work" for a while, but after a year or so, the collaborative space, became similar to me pushing nuggets of information into willing inboxes. Which was ok, but not really a CoP in the true sense.

I believe that the model did work, but required many more events, and others willing to take the reigns.  Good exemplars of the longevity of CoPs are the American EPAC (see links above) , and Helen Walmsley's  Models of best practice I mentioned in an earlier post. And also the countless number of active JISCmail lists in existence.  Those do have an "owner" but most are regular postings by enthusiastic subject specialists.  Remember also the Bulletin boards (The WELL) started in the USA Circa 1985, that really worked well, and also the UK - which often features on TV & radio as the voice of the UK mum.

So, as we know there is really no magic formula, but some rules can apply,  and do help.  And also what should be recognised that some CoPs have a shelf life. If that's  6 months or 6 years, so be it.

I agree with Thomas' point, the space needs to be as "open" as possible, and of course driven by the agenda of the active participants.

What also makes me happy is that this cloudworks platform appears to be quite appropriate, and we haven't descended into a discussion of whether we should use Huddle, Yammer, crowdvine, ORkut, Ning, Elgg, etc, etc..

Has anyone any more expereinces of running CoPs to share , either F2F or online which can move us forward, as we gallop to the middle of the week!!

Sarah Chesney
4:43pm 12 January 2011 (Edited 4:43pm 12 January 2011)

As we move towards Friday’s Elluminate session we should start to consider some of the more practical aspects of creating a community of practice. We have some ‘givens’ – things we can’t change because our sponsor (JISC) has accepted our bid upon the following remit:

1. This community of practice will be concerned with e-portfolios and the pedagogy underpinning their use. In particular it is first and foremost (but not exclusively) interested in the outcomes of the projects using e-portfolios in the Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development Programme.
2. This community of practice will have an online presence.
3. During the funded period (until end of March 2011) the participants will consider sustainability for the period beyond funding and recommend ways forward.

However, beyond this, it is now up to the people who have expressed an interest in this community to decide upon its vision and outputs as a result of this vision. Here are some suggestions:
We could have a community that shares resources, comments upon them and if it is the author who is sharing, invite feedback with the intention of enhancing these resources.
We could have a community that operates like the National Action Research Network on PDP and ePortfolio practice. John Peters has put the link to the output of this group in his posting. The forward and the introduction to this edition of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education provides an overview on how this community operated. It was time limited and has a series of outputs that will be of value to other practitioners external to the community. If John or anyone who participated in this community wants to feedback in depth to this discussion about their experience, then that would be really useful.
We also need some protocols. How will we moderate our postings if we are indeed a community that welcomes everyone? Is anyone (or should anyone) moderate each posting before it is made? Who would that steward be?
So, in short, please can we now move onto some practical issues about running a vibrant, useful and friendly community (if that’s what we all want!) that has a vision and identified outputs. All contributions to the discussion welcome, or save them for the Elluminate session on Friday.

Kevin Brace
8:27pm 12 January 2011 (Edited 8:31pm 12 January 2011)

I could not agree more Sarah,  about trying to focus on some of the more pragamtic aspects of nurting this community.   My musings this week have been moving towards some of these protocols based upon my previous experiences of facilitating a similar CoP.  Therefore, can we please base some discussions upon the following points;

1) Shared vision of what we can and would like to achieve (within the boundaries mentioned above)

2) self moderation protocols

3) facilitators

And taking my lead from Mr Wenger in his digital action note book , pp 152, 153. I propose we take some of those headings suggested to move any CoP into the next stages. Hopefully, by trying and prioritise some of our parameters so we can agree some ground rules to proceed. Nothing too onerous, I promise.  Using the headings below, please have a go at rating some of these "orientations".  I will use these and any other ideas thrown into the mix, to drive our webinar agenda this Friday lunchtime.

Rate each orientation (from 0 being irrelevant to 5 being very important)
Meetings - 5  - I'd also like to propose frequent (monthly webinars following a theme, to pull together previous discussions)
Open-ended conversation - 4  (multi topic preferably)

Projects - 4  ( I believe we need projects to generate tangible outputs - otherwise we'll loose focus and die - rapildy)

Content - 2 (less important to "host our own", if we reference existing work in the area of eportoflios, and by linking to other CoPs)

Access to expertise - 4 (we need experts, facilitators, and mentors - to ensure a healthy mix of minds and experience, etc)

Relationships 3 (difficult to quantify! But obviously a relaxed and o- pen atmosphere of mutual respect is expected by all)

Individual participation - 4 (on the face of it vital, but according to the acton note book, we may need to define this further?  I'll need some ideas here -help)

Community cultivation - 5 (this is where we discuss and prioritise facilitators, self moderation ,etc, as mentioned by Sarah)

Service context - 3 ( we have a remit to adhere to under the JISC funding parameters, amongst these is being cognisant and actively linking with other CoPs , eg Centre for Recording Achievement, and eportfolio/PDP Jiscmail list)





George Roberts
8:14pm 13 January 2011

I wonder whether it might not be better to think that actually we *do* have a community of practice already. It is a bit loose and definitely multi-modal, but none the less a CoP of sorts. There may be issues with over reifying the CoP concept. So, this particular activity system, funded until the end of March, will be but one element of the ongoing life ot the community. It might be unreasonable to load one small BR project with either the task or responsibility of being THE CoP for ePortfolios. I would take a leaf out of the Elesig book and plan some events, seminars, maybe a presence at ALT-C, maybe case studies. Maybe we coould share our own eportfolios among ourselves and discuss how we interpret them for ourselves?

A lot of questions. Sorry that this week has gotten very busy. I will be at a JISC working group meeting on Friday so will miss the Elluminate session. Hope it goes well.

Kevin Brace
11:13am 14 January 2011 (Edited 11:15am 14 January 2011)

Thanks very much George for for these insights - your input has been at that pragmatic level I was aiming for this week. 

And a big thank you to all contributors this week, your input is helping to steer us onwards and upwards.

I agree we do have a CoP, and very useful it's proving to be already.  And indeed I had planned to look at your earlier post before the webinar to remind myself of your experiences. Reflecting upon my experiences and the criteria points I used above, reaffirms  your previous ELESIG emerge points . Wich  are presented in a more succinct way of identifying key operational parameters, than the Wenger criteria. But both should lead us to a democtratic and indeed pragmantic way forward under the parameters of this project.

Those ELEISG points are so prescient for the end of the first week's activities  - I'll copy them into here and refer back to them in the webinar along side the critera points, I've made above. 

The direct link is :

Online Community functions:

  • Welcome new members
  • Share resources
  • Discuss work in online environments
  • Facilitate online discussions
  • Present work at online events
  • Provide feedback on work and presentations
  • Host online events (webinars)
  • Summarise discussions
  • Collaborate on papers for publication
  • Help with access to facilities
  • Lead online group
  • Join core team


Thomas Rickarby
12:20pm 17 January 2011

Hello, I am sorry I was unable to attend the webinar as I had an interal meeting at the same time.

You could well already be working on this,  but it might be useful to have the outcomes of the webinar posted to this discussion, as a quick reference for future contributors - I'm not sure everyone has time to go through an hour of recorded material!

Sarah Chesney
4:59pm 17 January 2011 (Edited 5:42pm 18 January 2011)

Hi Thomas, good point! Here it is and I'll make it more prominent on the front page as well. Download sumamry: Jan 14th summary.

14th Jan Elluminate discussion summary: Present: Alison Felce, Emma Purnell (moderator) Geraldine Jones, Julie Hughes, Kevin Brace (lead facilitator), Lisa Gray, Rob Ward, Sarah Chesney, Sarah Ruston. Kevin led the discussion and broke the session into three parts with succinct questions he wanted us to respond to:

1) What is our CofP shared vision? Do we have any tangible outputs we would like to achieve?

2) What do we feel about self-moderation or a self-managed CofP? Do we need named facilitators/leaders/managers?

3) Mechanics of supporting and sustaining a CofP

1) What is our CofP shared vision? Do we have any tangible outputs we would like to achieve? This is a summary of the responses:

a. Using the CofP to find partners for further research collaboration, leading to research collaboration among members of the CofP. This was felt to be a main aim of the CofP. Dissemination to wider audiences about our e-portfolio work and transition across contexts was felt to be of value to ourselves and the wider community. Dissemination would include papers collaboratively written for conferences including Alt-C; ECEL; PebblePad; Eifel. NB we have time if we want to submit a proposal to either ECEL or Eifel, but the deadlines are coming up soon. b. Identify lessons learnt from our own experience and practice. c. Identify gaps in knowledge and information. d. Liaise with other CofPs and bodies including AAEEBL; ELESIG; CRA. e. Retain currency and relevance of the CofP, and in particular meeting members’ needs.

2) What do we feel about self-moderation or a self-managed CofP? Do we need named facilitators? I’ve conflated the two points as the discussion seemed to highlight that the issues associated with both are intertwined. This is a summary of the responses:

a. This has particular relevance for the ePCoP community as it is only funded until the end of March 2011. During the funded period there is a facilitator (Sarah Chesney) and lead institution (University of Wolverhampton) to oversee the CofP development. The Elluminate attendees felt that after March there still needs to be leadership, management and facilitation, not necessarily in equal measures. Using the Cloudworks site to host discussions does give the CofP a level of moderation and protection. There are named Cloudworks moderators from the Open University, responsible for moderation, who keep a close eye on a daily basis and immediately remove inappropriate material. In addition Cloudworks uses Molom as its spam catcher. The decision on protocols has an impact on the role of/ for facilitators in the future.

3) Mechanics of supporting and sustaining a CofP a. Face to face meetings were felt to be necessary, but with the context in which we were operating it was important to link in with other face to face events to reduce costs.

b. Monthly webinars were convenient for some, for others this would be difficult to achieve every month. February Elluminate Webinar to be arranged by facilitators. The potential for communicating via Elluminate with an international audience was discussed.

c. Multiple threads in asynchronous discussion groups need to be around life-long learning, work force development and work-based learning in order to align with the JISC programme aims that funds this CofP.

d. Creation of content – it was felt that we could synthesise and comment upon other content, signposting to external resources. It isn’t part of the remit of the JISC funded ePCoP to create content, but there is the opportunity to make existing resources more accessible than they already are. In addition, any papers written as a result of this CofP can be counted as ‘content’.

e. Kevin raised the question of whether we can embellish/add to the list produced by George Roberts for the successful functioning of a CofP (available here ) e.g. add to the list gap analysis, keeping the community relevant to members.

Immediate actions:

1) Circulate dates for February webinar and confirm who will lead this.

2) Send publicity to a wider audience including international audience – send suggestions to Sarah Chesney please.

3) Consider submitting a proposal borne out of ePCoP work to one of the identified conferences (Eifel or ECEL). Suggestions on the discussion area of the ‘Any questions/any answers?’ Cloud

Intermediate action:

1) Identify suitable events to link an ePCofP meeting to.

2) Consider sustainability of ePCofP post March 2011 including the necessity to have a lead facilitator or named leader.

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