Designing the future of learning through a community of practice of teachers of first year courses at an Australian university
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This paper argues that the future of learning, and the facilitation of quality teaching within that future, face significant challenge within the current Australian higher education context. A Community of Practice (CoP) approach to meeting the individual, institutional and societal demands on university teaching and learning provides the opportunity to meet these challenges, while supporting teachers and recognising their existing knowledge and expertise in designing the future of learning. CoPs provide a context for sustained professional conversations around identified domain and practice issues. They provide valuable professional support for academics who are increasingly overwhelmed by continuous change, excessive workloads and research output demands. The practice of CoPs generates a range of artefacts that embody jointly constructed knowledge objects, which can then be integrated into the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS). Ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of a CoP within higher education requires the recognition and alleviation of academic time poverty, the provision of appropriate institutional and financial support, and the ability to provide valuable and measurable outcomes from the community.