Good CoPs, Bad CoPs

Apologies for using the title Good CoPS, Bad CoPs in the context of Communities of Practice. I believe I have seen this in someone else’s blog but cannot source (despite a Google search) so acknowledgements to whomever.

(Found it 04/10/12 at: and it is a very good read).

I am going to be confessional here and spontaneous, which is, for me, is one of the delights of blogging. Wesch would refer to this as media ecology, in that the media often shapes the way we express ourselves.

I have just watched The Machine is Changing us: YouTube and the politics of Authenticy, which will be the focus of my next blog because I found it so inspirational (see below). If you haven’t seen this YouTube clip yet, make yourself a cuppa and nestle down for 30 mins. You won’t be disappointed.

So with this new information as a backdrop and an insightful Skype session with dear Craig I have come to the conclusion that this blogging project we have been asked to do has created something inbetween a good CoP (Community of Practice) and a bad CoP. I love it and yet I am frustrated by it’s artificiality. It’s aim seems to be misaligned with its purpose if we explore Wenger’research on social learning and CoPs and Yacci’s dissection of interactivity. I wonder if this relates to Bigg’s Constructivist Alignment Theory?

Are we learning from each other? Yes.

Could we learn more from each other? Yes.

How? By spending more time on what really counts – and that’s on interacting with each other. The pressure of writing lengthy academic posts seems to take away the reciprocity and authenticity that makes blog work.

Are we therefore achieving our goals?

Yes and no. We will (hopefully) meet the criteria set by the task at hand (module brief) but we will have had the opportunity to weave our web with each other that captures those difficult concepts to make them stick! I must resist the need to insert a spider’s web here…

Perhaps my empathetic disposition leads to this frustration and this is highlighted in my battle in the Reciprocity Quandary post. I think this blog would be more fruitful if we simply had more time to read and comment on each other’s posts! I suggest that this is how others may feel from reading everyone else’s posts. Wouldn’t it be lovely if all we had to do was exactly this? Choose 5 Web 2.0 technologies from the outset and really delve into each one and then collaborate, communicate and interact with each other without having to aspire to the monologue that I feel is expected of us. Surely this is active learning, participatory learning at its best? How could we showcase that we had met our learning outcomes? Wouldn’t our blogs and interactions be evidence of this with perhaps a short F2F presentation on our key themes and findings? Instead I am feeling I am letting people down and being discourteous by not completing the interactivity loop and commenting on everyone’s blogs in the way I would like.

Yacci speaks of the affective benefits of interactivity and in his definition concludes that “a physical response is a necessary condition of interaction” (Yacci, p.4) and that “perceived interactivity is a pyschological construct of each student“. I would be interested to hear how everyone else feels when we meet up.

There is an imbalance for me in this CoP in that the “task/content” interaction outweighs the “social interaction” and both are seen as “key variables in web-based learning” (Yacci, p.9). I need an image.

Imbalance of the CoP

Click to view larger image

So now my confessional is out of the way I need to roll up my sleeves and ponder why I am not like the crowd in trying to create an identity through YouTube…whatever!

4 thoughts on “Good CoPs, Bad CoPs

  1. Hi sis, you always have taughtful line on your blog and you are very creative in writing, is true that this blog issue have it sides but it is most do. It presentation does not give room for much interaction because the first thing you want to think of is how to complete you theory reading then to write on the post.
    Though it make one think of doing and know what you don’t know and give you room to discover yourself.
    Flickr best explain with the process involved in making gold adorable, you go around looking for pictures to upload before sharing it, with possibility of not been able to use videos like one will do with facebook.
    But i say you have helped to get up from my bed you may not know, look forward to seeing you

  2. “I love it and yet I am frustrated by it’s artificiality. It’s aim seems to be misaligned with its purpose if we explore Wenger’research on social learning and CoPs and Yacci’s dissection of interactivity. I wonder if this relates to Bigg’s Constructivist Alignment Theory?

    Very much agree with what you say here Beth, but don’t we think the issues here are that this VCoP is designed to be a taster of what it can be, or simply to experience what it is to participate in an online community, and to explore interactivity through looking at potentially interactive media? This VCoP is cultivated, and seems to embrace more recent notions of CoPs than Lave and Wenger’s, and Wenger’s original views. Do you agree with Dunlap and Lowenthal (in press, no date) when they say “[c]ollaboration and co-creation is no longer an option but more of an imperative in the world we live in today”? If this is the case, then surely cultivating (V)CoPs is an essential part of contemporary learning? And here it would seem to embrace L & W’s ‘situated learning’ + ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ even though it’s cultivated. Oh, it’s all so paradoxical.

    • Oops! 😦
      Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (in press). Learning, unlearning, and relearning: Using Web 2.0 technologies to support the development of lifelong learning skills. In G. D. Magoulas (Ed.), E-infrastructures and technologies for lifelong learning: Next generation environments. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

      • Just revisted this blog post Craig and have read the above article with great interest. I will be able to use some of the advice in this article to cultivate self-directed learning and promote metacogntive awareness in learners who start their blogs. It is essential that they see a “purpose” in blogging and the relevance of it. Remember when we first started and it seemed a bit scary? There is a moment of bravery here when we step into this new world. as Dunlap and Lowenthal stress, blogging “requires students to articulate their ideas and perspectives, encouraging them to be brave and bold about their contributions to the greater discourse”.

        Incidentally, I came across this in steve wheeler’s blog!/2012/01/learning-unlearning-and-relearning.html

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