Sourcing or creating teaching materials of good quality takes time - time that individual educators often cannot spare. Turning to traditional publishers, which provide copyrighted materials guaranteed to be of a certain standard, can save instructors time, but does mean giving up control.
The alternative time-saving solution is to collaborate with peers in communities of practice, where knowledge and resources are shared.
Grasple has been supporting communities of practice for over six years, and in this time we’ve seen collaboration take many different shapes. We’ve identified seven distinct patterns of collaboration, which we’ve captured in the schematics below. We’re excited to share these here, because we hope they will help communities of practice find or fine-tune their preferred pattern of collaboration, and add to the language with which they share their best practices.
The seven patterns of collaboration we’ve identified share common elements, which are represented in the visualizations by the following symbols:
Our view is that instructors don’t suddenly start reusing and sharing resources via online platforms. A first step is to collaborate with one or two colleagues, either in or outside their organisation.
There clearly isn’t one right way to collaborate. We’ve identified seven different patterns of collaboration, and we’re confident that our list is not exhaustive. However, we do see a pattern emerge of communities of practice starting small and growing gradually.
This hinges on trust; people contribute their scarce time and solid efforts more confidently when they trust that others within a community of practice will also pull their weight and respect everyone’s work. Keeping communities of practice small and local initially, can help to foster trust. Once communities of practice are well established, they expand their reach by formalising and/or collaborating with other individuals or communities.
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