A Mixed Method Evaluation of an Online Community of Practice to Enhance Faculty Participation in Service-Learning
MetadataShow full item record
Both theoretical and empirical literature demonstrates that service-learning contributes to student learning and also yields positive outcomes for faculty, communities, and higher education institutions. Nevertheless, the myriad benefits described do not motivate many faculty to use this pedagogy. This research study examined data to understand faculty perceptions of service-learning, faculty-identified incentives and barriers related to service-learning engagement, and the influences of University culture to explain low rates of faculty participation in service-learning. Based on the empirical evidence collected and a review of the literature, this study implemented an online community of practice (CoP) to increase faculty interest in service-learning, cultivate faculty relationships, and build a network of service-learning faculty at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). While the pilot version of this CoP failed to elicit the hoped for level of faculty participation, analysis of qualitative data highlighted short- and long-term recommendations to improve this approach to faculty development. One of the recommendations included augmenting Wenger’s (1998) social learning framework to include IT training and scaffolding around using CoPs online, rewards to routinize engagement, and a more concerted effort to understand the members’ expectations and needs within the online space. It is evident from this research that the complex culture within JHU influences participant engagement in this kind of faculty development but more work is needed to further understand the influences of this culture. In the end, training, regular prompting, and recognition may contribute to enhancing this CoP and creating and sustaining a community of service-learning faculty at JHU.