For the past 5 years Liverpool Hope University has been running a pan-university network of Communities of Practice (CoP). The network arose from a university-wide conversation concerning the best manner to share ‘best practice’.
We recognise that the impact of top-down initiatives where practitioners are told about ‘best practice’ are very limited. A decision was made in 2013 to create collaborative teams in which both staff and students can engage in a developmental dialogue concerning learning and teaching.
Impact of work
Across the two campuses at Liverpool Hope University there are currently 37 members of staff who lead and facilitate the CoPs. Liverpool Hope University adopt an inclusive approach whereby a CoP can be started by any member of staff to ensure there is diversity and inclusivity and does not stifle innovation or creativity. There are currently facilitators representing every faculty with students, early and mid-career academics, Associate Professors, Professors and Pro VCs facilitating CoP sessions.
In the 2016/17 academic year over 240 staff voluntarily engaged in at least one CoP session. The CoP sessions cover a range of sector and institutional issues including; learning outside of the classroom, student experience, educational technology and feedback and assessment strategies. All of the CoP’s are ultimately focused on providing a better Learning and Teaching experience to students. The impact of the CoP network has been far reaching with numerous examples both institutionally and beyond.
Plans for the future
The Catalyst-funded second phase of the initiative has involved the development of a cross-institutional Learning and Teaching resource ‘institutional Memory Bank’. A smartphone application is being developed to allow staff and students to search for Learning and Teaching resources and conversations captured from the CoPs. This project is the first of its kind to allow for a sustainable cross-institutional dissemination of Learning and Teaching resources and conversations for the whole academic community within and beyond the institution.