What Is a Community of Practice?
A community of practice is a group of committed individuals who come together to engage in a collaborative process of sharing information, experience, and skills with the goal of learning from each other, enabling professional self-development, and building the capacity of its members. Learning within a community of practice occurs through a balance of participation (activities, conversations, and reflections) and the production of physical and conceptual artifacts (tools, methods, concepts, documents) (Wenger, 2010). A community of practice is a practice that goes beyond business as usual. It “give[s] rise to a perspective on the world” (Wenger, 2010), and because of this commitment, its practice goes beyond the institution.
Why Grow UDL Through a Community of Practice?
Proactively fostering equitable online learning spaces requires collaboration across departments and silos that span the institution, and beyond – to community members and resources. The facilitators and participants in this certificate course likely include: teaching faculty, instructional designers, curriculum specialists and quality assurance team members, accessibility consultants, educational technologists, counsellors, etc. All facilitators and participants bring their own lived and pedagogical experience to the course. By working together in communities of practice, we can help support a movement beyond siloed divisional, institutional, and disciplinary engagement to decolonize curriculum and make education truly accessible and equitable for all. Throughout this course, you will be invited to personally reflect on your own experience and what you might bring to your future community of practice, learning circle, or learning partnership. A specific UDL-focused community of practice that you might consider joining is listed at the end of the course.
Let’s begin with our first collaborative activity!