The Connected Online Communities of Practice project is all about increasing the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice in education. Supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, theĀ  work is being carried out by a project team drawn from a six-organization partnership that’s led by the American Institutes for Research.

One project focus (see more here) is to “undertake case studies of both interesting communities of practice and of individual educational professionals’ use of online communities and other forms of social media to connect.”

Powerful Learning Practice is among a half-dozen “Notable” case-study communities currently featured at the project’s Connected Educators website. You can read the PLP profile here — and browse nearly 30 comments and responses from PLPeeps and other educators familiar with our work.

One strategy of the project is to produce in-depth interviews with leaders in the online community-of-practice world, and the Connected Educators site is currently featuring an informative Q&A with PLP leader and CEO Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Here’s their description:

“…the founder of the most popular community in our directory talks about effective moderation, sustainability, building-level communities, and much, much more…”

We’re smiling at the “much, much more” because (as you’ll see) Sheryl took the CCOP request seriously and offered up many of the insights she’s gained during nearly 10 years of creating, designing, leading, and participating in successful online communities of professional educators.

“We’re a company that’s open, transparent, that shares what we know,” she says. “We don’t hoard our secrets. When we say that all of us are smarter than any of us, we believe it and live it. We’re transparent about our work and we hope others will be, so we can all be better servant leaders.”

If you’d like to learn for yourself some of the secrets of building and sustained highly active, deeply thoughtful virtual communities of practice, don’t miss this interview.

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John Norton

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