Fincher, Sally and Tenenberg, Josh
Using theory to inform capacity-building: Bootstrapping communities of practice in computer science education research.
Journal of Engineering Education, 95
In this paper, we describe our efforts in the deliberate creation of a
community of practice of researchers in computer science education
(CSEd). We understand community of practice in the sense in
which Wenger describes it, whereby the community is characterized
by mutual engagement in a joint enterprise that gives rise to a
shared repertoire of knowledge, artefacts, and practices.
We first identify CSEd as a research field in which no shared
paradigm exists, and then we describe the Bootstrapping project,
its metaphor, structure, rationale, and delivery, as designed to create
a community of practice of CSEd researchers. Features of
other projects are also outlined that have similar aims of capacity
building in disciplinary-specific pedagogic enquiry. A theoretically
derived framework for evaluating the success of endeavours of
this type is then presented, and we report the results from an
empirical study. We conclude with four open questions for our
project and others like it: Where is the locus of a community of
practice? Who are the core members? Do capacity-building models
transfer to other disciplines? Can our theoretically motivated
measures of success apply to other projects of the same nature?
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