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SCoPE Community. Essential Elements for Informal Learning. Sylvia Currie, SFU Heather Ross, SIAST. Met in person for the first time today!. Overview. Background of SCoPE Elements, emphases, and catalysts Evidence that SCoPE is a virtual learning community The work that is needed.

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Scope community

SCoPE Community

Essential Elements for Informal Learning

Sylvia Currie, SFUHeather Ross, SIAST

Scope community

Met in person for the first time




  • Background of SCoPE

  • Elements, emphases, and catalysts

  • Evidence that SCoPE is a virtual learning community

  • The work that is needed

About scope

About SCoPE

  • Launch fall, 2005

  • Free, open to the public

  • Identify and build on SFU interests and expertise and also serve an international audience

  • Encourage the use of SCoPE for research on online communities

Starting point

Starting Point

  • Simple, web-based environment

  • Essential communication tools

  • Careful not to “over design” before launch

  • Began with discussion about the community

  • Core activity: monthly seminar discussions

  • Designed for busy people

    • No obligations

    • No guilt allowed!

Elements of communities

Selznik (1996)








Schwier (2001) -

Virtual Learning Communities

An orientation to the future



Elements of Communities



  • “Let's get started. I really liked how Richard set up the last seminar so I'm going to do something similar.” (Heather Ross - 5 November 2006)

  • “In the last seminar on online facilitation, Nick and Sylvia used some tools to give us an ‘at a glance’ overview of the discussions. We’ll also be using these tools in this session.” Therese Weel 4 April, 2007



  • Discussions about SCoPE

  • Vote on name, logo

  • Members’ blogs

  • Appreciation of contributions: “I want to acknowledge David for sharing his cogent notes on our seminar so far. They provide a useful and succinct picture of where we’ve been and where else we might go… (Sarah Haavind 2 June, 2006)

  • Profiles



  • 880 members

  • 43 countries

  • 28 members have volunteered to facilitate seminars

  • 16 Special Interest Groups have been created

  • 3,531 posts

  • 99,211 guest views



In keeping with the tradition at SCoPE, newcomers, latecomers, lurkers, and passersby are always welcomed!

  • Not all participants are visible

  • Opportunity to become familiar with the culture

  • Model respectful communication

  • To date zero instances of inappropriate behaviour

Plurality mutuality

Plurality & Mutuality

  • Encourage association with related groups

  • Reciprocity / mutual exchange of services and interests

  • Bringing in knowledge and examples from outside groups

Technology access and communication

Different modes and levels of engagement

Email subscriptions to forums


Invisible presence


Incidental learning

Spontaneous entry into a discussion

“Been lurking asynchronously, but my activation threshold has been reached and I have to jump in with some desultory comments.”

Corrie Bergeron - 26 January 2007

Technology: Access and Communication

Technology co construction

Technology: Co-Construction

  • Smartcopy/ referencing

  • Wikis

  • 3rd party tools

  • Cross-referencing earlier forums

  • Marginalia for tracking/summarizing

  • Search by individual forum or entire group



  • Members decide the future

    • Ideas for seminar topics emerge through participation

    • Special interest groups to continue discussions

  • Unlike traditional courses with start and end dates, SCoPE continues and is shaped by members’ interests



“SCoPE is such an amazing learning environment. See you on the 4th!” (Ian McLeod 2 April 2007)

Sharing knowledge in workplaces and local communities (plurality)



The work that is needed

The work that is needed

  • Organize discussion threads for casual participation

  • Management of resources generated through participation

  • Porous boundaries

  • Continue to advance our work together

  • Celebrate our accomplishments

Join us

Join us!

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