Promoting a community of learning

Communities of practice consist of small working groups engaging in active, collaborative, year-long projects that are in support of the shared goals of the learning community. According to Etienne Wenger, author of "Cultivating Communities of Practice," these communities of practice are "groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis." (Wenger, 1998, 2002).

The communities of practice at Quinnipiac consist of faculty and staff members from across the university. Each community chooses a facilitator, the meeting schedule and the agenda for each semester. Materials are funded by the Collaborative.

Social and Emotional Intelligence
Facilitated by Christine Fitzgerald, Professor of Health Science, since 2011, this community of practice researches the critical issues and resources for social and emotional intelligence (SI/EI), and works to raise the awareness and increase understanding of social intelligence across the campus. To date they have used a grant from the School of Health Sciences Center for Interprofessional Education to provide faculty training in incorporating SI/EI skills in their classrooms. A recent workshop on SI/EI research and development was held for faculty and staff, conducted by David Caruso of the EI Skills Group and Special Assistant to the Dean for Organizational Development, Yale University. The members of the group also attended a presentation by another well-known author and expert in the field, Peter Salovey, co-developer (along with John Mayer) of the EI construct, and Provost at Yale University. The most recent project has been to design a new course for health science students "Social/Emotional Intelligence for Health Sciences" which will be offered starting Fall 2012.

Learner Centered Course Design and Practice
Facilitated by Frances Rowe, Director of Instructional Design and Technology Support, QU Online, the members in this community study their own course design methods and teaching practices, test new practices and shares findings within the community. They are working to adopt research methodologies from "Design for How People Learn" by Julie Dirksen (2012), in addition to others by Fink and Fink (2009) and Mosley and Whitton (2012).

How Learning Works
Facilitated by Mark Hoffman, Professor of Computer Science, participants in this community use research-based strategies from "How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smarter Teaching" by Ambrose et al. (2010) to devise and share strategies to improve learning.

Bradberry, T. & Greaves, J. (2009) Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego, CA: TalentSmart.

Caruso, D. & Salovey, P. (2004). The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass.

Goleman, D. (2006). Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. New York, NY: Bantam.

Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. and Norman, M. (2010) How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smarter Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dirkson, J. (2012) Design for How People Learn. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Fink, L. D. and Fink, A. K. (2009) Designing courses for significant learning: Voices of experiences. New Directions in Teaching and learning, 119, 1-113.

Mosley, A, and Whitton, N. (2012) Using games to enhance learning and teaching: A beginner's guide. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E., McDermott, Snyder, W.N. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

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