BYTE Week Forum Focuses on Communities of Practice

Posted: January 13, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

To stimulate discussion about communities of practice (CoP) at George Mason, the Instructional Resource Center (IRC) plans a forum, “Support Resources for Fostering Communities of Practice at Mason,” on Jan. 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Room 311. To register, click here.

A community of practice is a powerful interpersonal network within which participants collaborate with others to create and share knowledge around a common area of interest and practice, says Eugene Lord, training coordinator at the IRC. He sees them as informal learning venues for teaching with technology by encouraging the sharing of lessons learned and best practices across different academic communities in the university.

“The IRC can play an important role in helping to connect people who share an interest in teaching and learning with technology by supporting the formation of groups and fostering the development and maintenance of existing nascent communities,” says Lord. “As part of this initiative, the IRC hopes to identify other types of CoPs and work with them to provide technology tools and community development expertise.”

Lord points out that the university has new tools such as the George Mason Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) Listserv and upgraded Townhall conferencing and collaboration software that are not widely known and not used to their full potential for social networking. Another tool that is particularly effective for connecting people on the distributed campuses is video conferencing.

The TLT Listserv list is managed by the Division of Instructional Technology (DoIT) Learning Support Services staff. Click here to learn more or join. All George Mason faculty are welcome to participate.

Communities of practice at George Mason communicate using Townhall software, which provides an online space and an array of tools for establishing a virtual community of practice. Faculty members who don’t have a Townhall account can log in as a guest or register to create an account here.

To learn more about communities of practice, click here. To create a community of practice, e-mail

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