Communities Of Practice Environment
Free (open access)
J. Feldman, D. Lee & D. Thaw
The Communities of Practice Environment (CoPE) project is an exploration of the potential for extending the social processes of the open source software movement to a wide range of other cooperative activities. The general ideas are best expressed in Steven Weber’s book: The Success Of Open Source, Harvard U. Press, 2004. Obviously enough, collaboration over the Internet is a core factor in the development of open source software by diverse and distributed individuals and groups. But these developers are all IT sophisticates - could people without such expertise also form effective distributed communities of practice? We have built and deployed a platform that explores this possibility. The CoPE project provides web-based support for formal and informal groups to democratically work together and decide upon actions of common interest. The workflow in a CoPE is organized around documents with group discussion and decision making involving these documents. A CoPE can be set up and operated without requiring any IT expertise. CoPE sites have been used by groups ranging from scientific conferences and university departments to multilingual community organizations. This paper describes the CoPE system http://cope.icsi.berkeley.edu and our experience with its use. Keywords: community of practice, collaboration, open source, content management, workflow, discussion, information technology, computer supported collaborative work, CoPE. 1 Introduction The use of web-based collaboration systems can greatly enhance the productivity of groups or organizations, especially if the group is distributed and it is difficult for group members to meet physically. CoPE is a system that facilitates cooperative work. It provides information management, facilitates communication within the group, and can help instil a sense of community.
community of practice, collaboration, open source, content management, workflow, discussion, information technology, computer supported collaborative work, CoPE.