In last week’s Spotlight, I talked about how Michigan State University Extension works across state boundaries using Dr. George Sundin and the apple scab project as an example. I noted that Dr. Sundin collaborates with experts from other states in a way that integrates research and extension. A great way to collaborate across state lines is to join an eXtension Community of Practice (CoP). A CoP is a virtual network of content experts – faculty, specialists, industry experts, clientele and government agency representatives – who share knowledge or competence in a specific content area. Simply put, they work together virtually to advance research and education.
CoPs create or assemble a database of educational products and resources, peer review educational products, contribute answers to questions from Ask an Expert and maintain ongoing engagement with the communities interested in their field (Communities of Interest).
Among the benefits that far outweigh the work involved are opportunities for collaborative research with colleagues from multiple institutes and disciplines, access to the latest technology and more efficient delivery of educational services. If you’d like to find out about further benefits, want to join a CoP or maybe even create your own, visit the MSU Extension Professional Development portal site at http://www.msue.msu.edu/portal/default.cfm?page_id=377802&pageset_id=298464.
On the right top of the Web page, click on the title “Community of Practice: What – Why – How.” This will bring up a Microsoft Word document that will answer all of your eXtension CoP questions. I encourage you to get involved.