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August 07, 2008


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Cool, Amy.

I am a fan of Etienne's.

I'm curious: do you see any difference between a virtual community or a community - and a virtual (or not) Community of practice?

Etienne has visited New Zealand several times now. For a little while there was an attitude "We have a certain kind of problem" and "A CoP is the answer" so "Please give us three communities of practice by June 1st".

PS - I appreciated the link to Seth Godwin as well.

Cristina Costa

Thanks for the simple yet relevant account on your personal experience.
I think what you described makes all the sense in the world. It is when we feel we need to bond with like-minded people to support our learning that it becomes relevant and we engage more. The group then transforms itself community, and those individuals with whom we collaborate become an integral part of what we are and do. I have a similar story - and in fact if it hasn't been for the web that has helped bridge such interactions I would probably be feeling I don't belong to where I am. I do need to connect to people who help me think. They contribute to my learning and help build up my confidence to do more and better.

Sarah Stewart

Thanks for this nice summary of CoP. I have recently been trying to get my head around what a community it compared to a network, so it was helpful to see your summary of the different elements of a community. If we are saying they can be formed deliberately, how do we do that?

Amy Lenzo

How exciting-I have THREE comments! Thanks to each of you for your thoughtful responses.

Derek, Yes, I do see a difference between a community and a community of practice - the difference being an emphasis on shared learning in the latter.

As for there being a differences between virtual and face to face communities, I think that the variations in communities have less to do with technology that the strength of the relationships between people.

Perhaps there is a sense in which virtual communities need stronger bonds (whether they be personal or of shared intent) in order to stay engaged & "live" without the glue of day to day physical interaction, but I'd have to think about that some more.

Cristina, I share your need to connect with other people as thinking partners, and am so glad to have your input here. I look forward to more cross-fertilization between us and others on the course and beyond.

Sarah, Thanks for your comment (and the compliment!). I don't think I was saying that communities of practice can be formed deliberately. Rather, I believe that an emerging CoP can be nurtured and developed (or hindered and squelched).

I too find the question of how we can nurture that development a fascinating one for further exploration. I think that will be the focus for at least one of our modules.

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