NESEA is piloting communities of practice (COP) for its members in which people can learn and problem solve together about a topic or practice they are passionate about. COPs are encouraged to meet online as well as in person.
A COP “is a group of people who share a craft and/or a profession. It can unfold naturally because of the members’ common interest in a particular domain or area, or it can be created with a specific goal of gaining defined knowledge. It is through the process of sharing information and experience with the group that members learn from each other, and have the opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.”
COPs create an experience of mutual learning and collaboration where every participant is both teacher and learner. In an effective COP representatives of a whole system are present to get the work done.
At the close of BE12, 5 COPs formed. Of the 5, we will conduct pilots with the topics of whole systems and next economy. We will begin online the week of July 18, 2012 in BaseCamp. John Abrams is developing the first next economy post to get the conversation going in BaseCamp. I am asking Jamie to do something similar for whole systems.
Save the date #1: To really accelerate COP participation, there will be an in-person workshop for NESEA members only. We will convene both the whole systems and next economy groups in the Pawtucket studio of New Commons on July 19th, 11 am to 2:30 pm. The agenda will feature both topical conversations on our two topics as well as collaborative conversation across the two topics. You can either bring a lunch or we will figure out how to make sandwiches available for people to buy — lunch and registration details will follow.
Save the date #2: The NESEA Annual Meeting will be held in September 15, 2012 in Portland Maine. On either 9/14 or 9/15 we will hold a second COP workshop. Stay tune for the final date.
Before July 19th, Robert Leaver will develop and post a draft “COP Guide” based on the contributions posted so far, online, by the COP work group. It will define what a COP is; describe the facilitator’s role and so on. I will also revise “the compact” of purposes and roles between members and staff for the COP work group.
We have to begin working together online in BaseCamp as it will take some time to get BuddyPress designed and ready for our use. The collaborative infrastructure group will be organizing with staff and members a work group to work on the design and use of BuddyPress.
I look forward to seeing you on the 19th of July –11 am to 2:30 pm in the New Commons studio in Pawtucket.
(Robert Leaver served as the BE12 Conference Chair and the BE11 Vice Chair)
 Communities of Practice as defined in Wikipedia based on the concept of Etienne Wegner.