The quote I posted from Wenger, McDermott and Snyder suggests that "if you just get together and talk about something," this could be a CoP (assuming what you talk about is a 'practice'). In the spirit of what Pallof and Pratt characterize as "willingness to critically evaluate the work of others" I wonder how Christopher will support his contention that a listserv would not be a CoP because it does not "engage in practice" by doing something other than talking.
I have to say in advance that I regard Christopher as the group's expert in residence on this topic, as he is steeped in the literature and as he says eats, drinks, and breathes this stuff (and you can see him eating it on web cam if you join us for our Sunday chats). So I am taking a risk here by engaging the master in a topic I know relatively little about, but am eager to learn more, and so look forward to the response.
Meanwhile, I wonder if our interest is really DISTRIBUTED communities of practice. It's nice to have the clarification and the perspective of CoPs being so ubiquitous in all our lives, and it's appropriate to have come to that realization in this week of our session, but I think the interest of this group is indeed DCoPs.
What do you think? Should we narrow our focus to DCoPs? If you want to discuss this, fine, but don't answer yeah or nay in email - I'll set up a Yahoo Group survey.
> From: Christopher Johnson [mailto:christopher.johnson@...]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 8:41 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [evonline2002_webheads] Re: Communities of Practice--definition
> Hi Christine and everyone,
> CoPs have nothing to do with technology. They have existed since time
> began.Vance's reference to hunting groups is a perfect example -- sharing
> knowledge (talking, but also hunting together) to get meat on the table.
> Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) refer to online CoPs as distributed
> Jenny Preece refers to distributed CoPs as a type of virtual community.
> There are other types as well (e.g., social networks, gaming organizations,
> and virtual teams).
> There is some question about how CoPs can work in a distributed/CMC
> environment. There are studies currently addressing that question (e.g., my
> dissertation). Social groups and professional networks are not CoPs per se.
> You need both the community and the practice. If you just get together and
> talk about something, that's not a CoP. Sure, you talk (a lot) in a CoP,
> but the members also need to do things together ("engage in practice").
> I hope this clarifies it somewhat. More in Week 4,
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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