Setting the Environment for the Development of a Community of Practice: The Case of the On-Line National Customs Brokers Course in Australia

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It is generally accepted that the notion of a Community of Practice (CoP) originated from Lave and Wenger’s 1991 work. They provided a definition of a CoP as being one without boundaries, where the membership is not necessarily clearly defined, and where participation is voluntary, and occurs at different levels. The flexibility of the CoP is its strength. These authors argue the case for what they coined as “legitimate peripheral participation”, a notion that is useful in educational contexts, where students are not experts, but indeed, participate in a range of activities, initially as “fringe members”. As they develop expertise, they are likely to remain members of the CoP, but in a different role – from learner to master, and thus become a resource for learning within that CoP. This paper describes the fostering of a CoP developed through a carefully designed new on-line environment. The learning resources, the teaching methods, and the frequency of instructions, together with the information technology platform, are analysed from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
In conclusion, this course is proposed as a model of good practice for on-line teaching and learning, based on the positive outcomes reported so far.

Keywords: Community of Practice, On-Line Teaching and Learning, Education Innovation
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Setting the Environment for the Development of a Community of Practice

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Economics
Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University

Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical industry. He has held a number of roles in finance, sales, marketing, customer service and logistics, all with an international focus. Roberto teaching experience spans over 20 years with experience in Higher Education, TAFE and private education providers. A full time member of staff at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, since 1998, Roberto has a Master in Education and Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and is currently undertaking his Ph. D. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Economics and Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry though a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002 Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters.

Ref: I08P0390