CoP Theory

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. (1)

The Domain

A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. (1)

Google sites can allow a community to publicly (or privately) explore, define, and express a common identity.

Google sites can be a medium to allow for a community to project what they stand for and what it means to them. (example)

Issues and concerns facing the community can be clearly laid out and there can be space for a forum to comment or comments can be directly entered on each page. (example)

By publicizing what a community stands for you therefore increase your chances of bridging connections between other domains, groups, individuals, or organizations. (example) (2)

The Community

Members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. (1)

Google sites can support a feeling of togetherness by providing a focal point to communicate and share information. It is especially useful for connecting community members who are on the periphery. (example)

The public aspect of a website and especially a site so intricately linked in with the Google search means that it will easily be found by a google search engine. This can help new people find the community and to strengthen and broaden the existing community. (examples)

When using Google Sites in combination with some of the other Google Tools like Google Groups or Google + you can offer many more opportunities for users to connect in meaningful ways. Discussion topics and forums can be established. Various users can be assigned roles and subgroups, conversations, and new pages can be created by their own initiative. (2) (Google Group example - SFU French Club)

The Practice

Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of doing thing. (1)

This technology can enable a sustained mutual engagement by providing opportunities for users to maintain connections within their domain. See relevant news or information around a practice. They can share stories or ideas in news updates or forum posts and these can translate to the potential for other users to be inspired or have their practice enhanced as a result. (example)

Technology can accelerate the act of refining ones practice in the sense that it can connect you to a much wider audience of practitioners than you might normally have access to in your daily life. Having a platform to receive and share ideas with a collectively interested audience is a great way to speed up your practical development. (example)

Over time as the technology is used, the depth and usefulness of the tool increases as well. As more items are added to a site the knowledge base increases and provides more opportunities to share and engage with stories, solutions and concepts. (2)