Establishing Online Communities of Practice: The Case of a Virtual Sports Coaching Community

  • Sue WhatmanEmail author


This chapter reports on a pedagogical innovation that aimed to develop a community of practice amongst sports coaches around the world who were completing an online postgraduate course of study. Strategies that reflected diverse understandings of rapport and relational teaching were introduced across 2015. Drawing upon understandings of practice (Kemmis et al., Changing practices, changing education, Singapore, Springer, 2014) and conditions or constraints upon practice—practice architectures (Kemmis and Grootenboer, Enabling praxis: Challenges for education, Amsterdam, Sense, 2008, pp. 37–62)—the chapter outlines how the sayings, doings and relatings of this community were shaped and shifted by the pedagogical decision-making of the lecturer. Data include students’ assessed contributions to online discussion, peer reviews, anonymous surveys, learning management system analytics and the lecturer’s reflections. Findings show that whilst building a sense of community and rapport in an asynchronous online environment is challenging, it is possible and, indeed, expected.


Community of practice Continuing professional development Practice architectures Rapport Engaged pedagogy Asynchronous online learning Higher education pedagogies Sports coaching 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and Professional StudiesGriffith UniversityQueenslandAustralia

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