Building a Virtual Community of Practice: A report from a working meeting in support of the CS10K Community
Several NSF CE21 CS10k grant recipient teams convened as an overall working group focused on building and supporting a virtual community of practice. While we had many participants, we did not have many high school teachers present to provide feedback on the Virtual Community site, www.cs10kcommunity.org. The group in attendance provided the following recommendations to strengthen the usability and usage of the Virtual Community site and the building of an overall Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP).
•Enhancing the website by curating content, building templates to provide consistent formatting, and defining quality expectations for content posted and on-going moderation.
•Improving the content posted by obtaining input from high school teachers regarding content and website enhancements.
•Starting with the creation of local communities of practice via in person meetings, and then extending the local community to a virtual one.
•Extending the local virtual communities to a network and, from there, building a national network. It is hard to build a virtual community where teachers feel comfortable sharing and exposing what they need to learn or don't know without personal interaction. We need to provide connections both between these communities and to an overall national virtual community of practice. This would enhance both local and national efforts.
•Creating a toolkit for teachers to advocate for Exploring Computer Science and CS Principles to administrators, students, parents, and their community stakeholders.
•Building metrics to gather common data from the wide variety of activities occurring in the local, virtual, or actual CoPs.
•Continuing the conversations from this initial meeting---the entire group thought it essential to share ideas, resources, and best practices. A CoP or VCoP group of the grantees is needed to ensure it happens.