The lifestyle of a student-led community of practice in higher education

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Implementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education




School of Education




Knaus, M., & Callcott, D. (2017). The Lifecycle of a Student-Led Community of Practice in Higher Education. In McDonald J., Cater-Steel A. (Eds.), Implementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education (423-446). Springer, Singapore.

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This chapter profiles a higher education community of practice that has developed as a result of student initiatives. It demonstrates how a core group of students in a university context were the driving force in organizing social and academic network support systems to assist students in their transition to university and in developing a sense of identity and belonging. In the outset, it was not intended to be a community of practice, but as the commitment, drive and energy of the core group became evident, other members wanted to be a part of this developing community. The benefits for individuals included increased motivation, self-confidence, experiences in leadership roles, and a sense of belonging. The community of practice became an asset to the organization providing support networks for students as well as social engagement. This chapter will center on the lifecycle of the organization that became “Network Teach”, and uses Lave and Wenger’s (Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991) social learning theory to demonstrate the progression of how a community of practice evolved.



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