Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking for a community of practice to support my EdD research

 One of the requirements of my EdD is to join a community of practice in the field of my professional practice and/or research. I have to keep a record of my contributions to the COP, and reflect on the learning that I gain from belonging to that COP. So I have been having a think about about what constitutes a COP, and where I can find one that meets my learning needs and the requirements of my EdD. It goes without saying that the COP has to be a virtual one, considering my research is about online professional development.

My blog
My first thought was that my blog could be my COP. I have a lot of comments and feedback on my blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter when I post blog posts there. But I cannot rely on people to interact with my blog, as and when I want them to. Responses are ad hoc and serendipitous, so I would really call the communication related to my blog a network of practice, as opposed to a community of practice. In reality, it is probably a case of semantics, but I have decided to keep my blog as a place where I do my reflecting, and any comments or feedback will be a bonus.

Midwifery research email group 
I have belonged to the JISCMail Midwifery and Reproductive Health Research Email Group for quite a few years. There are not a huge number of posts but it is populated by the great and good in midwifery research. But to be perfectly honest, I always feel a tad intimidated when I post there. I am always afraid a Professor So-and-So is going to tell me to stop wasting everyone's time. So if I'm feeling that uncomfortable, this group is probably not a good place to share my inner most research thoughts with.

Twitter: #phdchat
My final thought was actively joining a weekly discussion that is held on Twitter called #phdchat. This is a COP consisting of research students who get together on Twitter using the hashtag "#phdchat" to support each other, share resources and discuss issues that relate to their research. On the few occasions that I have attended the discussions, I have found people to be very friendly and helpful.

I have decided to make this my COP because it is utilising social media and "tests" the principle of online professional development, which is what I am also researching. My aim is to attend at least once a month. I'll let you know how I get on.

Do you use Twitter for professional development? How do you use it? What weekly discussions do you attend and recommend?

Image: '1934 ... Albert holds court!'


Jo said...

Umm! Sarah was a bit taken aback by new theme. Imho - & very much my own opinion it is a bit gloomy/forbiidding in comparison to your previous one.

Wr to CoP is #phdchat strictly within the def of the field of your professional practice and/or research? My very vague feeling is that this might be a grey area – again very much a “gut feeling”

In my area of adult lit/num there are not really enough people that I have yet found on Twitter to support a regular chat. So I often drop in to #ELTchat (English Language) #edchat (General mostly school) and also others such as #elemchat. There is also #VocEd but we don’t have a regular chat!

PS when will you make it to WA – wld so like to meet up 

Sarah Stewart said...

Ummm....I wasn't to keen on it either, so have put my blog back to where it was. It does need an overhaul but I think I might leave it until I get back from my holiday.

Sooooo...want to get over to Perth to meet you and Phil. It will happen one day, but not this year...not unless someone pays for me, which isn't going to happen...need to get myself invited somewhere as a key note speaker LOL

As for #phdchat it has grown to quite a large network so you know there will always be someone around to talk to. It's probably not so much a community of practice, but more of a network of practice...but I don't think that's going to matter re my EdD requirements.