Reimagining value creation through a joint enterprise initiative in a research supervisors’ community of practice: A collaborative Educational Design Research project

The Research Supervisors’ Community of Practice (CoP-RS) at the University of Southern Queensland has been providing professional learning and networking opportunities for all HDR supervisors since 2009. CoP-RS meeting agenda is based on Wenger’s (1998) three elements of building community, sharing practice and growing domain knowledge, which in a higher education setting can lead to a focus on didactic presentations by ‘experts.’ This contrasts with what Wenger (1999) called joint enterprise, where members work together towards the achievement of a shared goal. The challenge of how to promote increased member engagement in the joint enterprise of the CoP resulted in the introduction of two “joint enterprise” initiatives, where members were invited to collaborate in special project teams on focused projects, designed to support specific aspects of the overarching goal for excellence in HDR supervision. This presentation reports on the use of Wenger-Trayner et al’s (2017) Value Creation Framework to guide the research, within an Educational Design Research approach (McKenney & Reeves, 2006; 2012), to answer to the following two primary research questions: How do project participants, CoP¬RS members and facilitators view the value of joint enterprise projects for themselves as research supervisors? What do the findings reveal about the value of social learning through joint and shared enterprise in a research supervisors' community of practice? The outcomes and effectiveness of these initiatives to date are evidenced through a combination of: CoP-RS member survey results; qualitative data from interviews and focus groups conducted with project team members and facilitators (value creation stories); and project artefacts as “reifications”. In combination, these data provide evidence of significant and valuable professional learning being generated and shared among members within a collaborative, cross-disciplinary academic community along with evidence of strategic value in support of the university’s quality improvement agenda. The findings provide clear evidence of “deeper” and “wider” effects of CoP-RS activities at personal, community and systemic levels attributable to a combination of members’ participation in CoP-RS meetings and in tailored joint enterprise projects that allow for collaboration, extended inquiry and substantive and tangible contributions to the practice community over time. Contextualisation, elaboration, and validation of Wenger-Trayner’s Value Creation Framework for measuring the impact of a research supervisors’ community of practice constitutes a further contribution to knowledge from this research that will be able to be used by others facing similar problems – a key outcome of Educational Design Research (McKenney & Reeves, 2006; 2012).