International Conference on Computing in CivilEngineering 2005, July 11-15, 2005, Cancun, Mexico
professional community of practice; online learning; civil engineering curriculum
This paper examines learning opportunities provided by the online engineering communities of practice. These communities are communities of professionals and others, who share knowledge and resources using the Internet as a communication and collaboration channel and a shared virtual community space. The discussion in the paper is based on a recent study of design features and functionality of existing online professional communities of practice, and on the authors' experience in teaching and development of the computer-based learning resources. One of the models for a virtual community of practice that provides great means for knowledge sharing and collaboration is the “Knowledge Portal” model. This model fulfills the basic online community of practice portal requirements including online learning resources that support learning opportunities for the members of the community. The authors discuss several learning scenarios enabled by the online Knowledge Portal and demonstrate how online resources could be used in the Civil Engineering materials curriculum. Within the conclusion, the authors recommend some design features and useful functionality of the online communities of practice that facilitate lifelong learning by the members of the community and enable wide-ranging learning opportunities for students that are entering the professional engineering field.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Computing in CivilEngineering 2005.