On Wednesday March 11, 2015 Eli Baker shared what he learned about communities of practice through his Master Research and then facilitated a discussion of how EECOM could use this knowledge going forward. Participants from the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories join in the teleconference call.
There was a focus on addressing both the social and the technological sides of communities of practice so people are engaged, committed and present despite distance, time zones and varied schedules. You can read Eli’s thesis here. There are two more calls scheduled for 2015 so watch your inbox and this website for details!
Abstract of Eli’s thesis: A qualitative study using an action research methodology was conducted to observe what value a national community of practice (CoP) had for the resiliency of Canada’s geographically dispersed, non-profit, environmental education (EE) network leaders. Research suggests that North America’s non-profit sector faces a looming leadership crisis as its executive leaders are subjected to escalating anxiety, burnout, and feelings of isolation (Cornelius, Moyers, & Bell, 2011). Peer support networks, alternately known as a CoP, have been proposed as a potential means of sustaining such beleaguered executives. This research reveals that Canadian EE leaders found value in a CoP as a forum for networking and relationship building, as a medium for professional development, and as a source of support and inspiration. This thesis recommends the establishment of a national CoP for Canada’s EE network leaders and outlines recommendations to inform the creation of such a community.
Download the full thesis here: http://dspace.royalroads.ca/docs/handle/10170/678
The discussion included many ideas of how EECOM could support the development of communities of practice in Canada (similar to the Affiliates model of NAAEE). Some of the ideas noted were:
1) having a day before or after the EECOM conference for affiliates to gather, share and learn;
2) having an established structure for a community of practice (like there is a call every 3rd Thursday at 1pm);
3) fundraising, using a section of the website as a repository for sharing of documents;
4) a Facebook page.
There was emphasis on addressing both the social and technological sides of communities of practice. Having at least some face to face interaction is important if possible. Eli was invited to engage with EECOM in the future as work continues on this model. Others who were there please feel free to add!