Week 9 – Communities of Practice

This weeks topic was communities of practice and how important they are for developers. A community of practice is a group of people with a shared interest, “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.”(“Introduction To Communities Of Practice | Wenger-Trayner” 2022). A community of practice allows people to share ideas, and best practices in their fields in an attempt to boost each others abilities.

In order to define a community of practice, Wenger says it is neccessary to identify the following 3 characteristics:

  • The Domain: The domain is the interest the members of the group share. “A shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.” (“Introduction To Communities Of Practice | Wenger-Trayner” 2022)
  • The Community: The community is the relationship between the members of the community. In order for it to qualify as a community of practice, the members must interact with and learn from each other. “In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information.” (“Introduction To Communities Of Practice | Wenger-Trayner” 2022)
  • The Practice: The practice within a community of practice represents the “knowledge base” formed through the community’s regular interactions. “They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice.” (“Introduction To Communities Of Practice | Wenger-Trayner” 2022)

Working from home during the covid-19 pandemic, establishing regular contact with peers and colleagues through tools such as Discord(“Discord | Your Place To Talk And Hang Out” 2022) became a high priority for me. While studying my Bachelor’s I stayed in touch with my fellow students, keeping up to date on each other’s progress and assignments. Without realising it at the time, I had entered into one of my first communities of practice.

  • Domain: We all shared the same domain in the sense that we were all there together, working towards the completion of the same course.
  • Community: This sense of community within my class was very strong, beyond seeing each other (virtually) in class every say, we would usually call each other afterwards to discuss the class and any work that had to be done around it.
  • Practice: As each semester progressed, we would gradually develop our shared practice. If one person was falling down in a subject, they could easily reach out to the group and someone more proficient in it could share their knowledge.

Already in this course I can see the beginnings of another community of practice forming. Earlier on in the first semester I helped with the creation of our own Discord server for everyone on our courses. This has already seen a massive growth in popularity among my fellow students. It is a friendly environment in which we can discuss our work, gain feedback and help others feeling lost or looking for advice with their work.

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