Communities of Practice

The University of Adelaide Communities of Practice for Learning and Teaching (CoP) provide an avenue for passionate staff and current students to come together and explore new and innovative ways to enhance the learning and teaching experience at the University of Adelaide.   

Meeting on a regular basis these groups discuss topics of strategic relevance to the institution, develop teaching resources, outline best practice and deepen their knowledge and expertise. 

The work of the CoPs is shared at the annual Communities of Practice Symposium and then put into practice in various ways across the University.  Led by Community of Practice Facilitators these groups are voluntary and have representatives from all areas of the University.

For more information on how to become involved please contact the Teaching Excellence team.

  • Active Learning and Assessment

    Formally known as 'Flipped Classroom'. 

    Active learning and assessment brings together academics, e-learning advisors, early career teachers and researchers from every faculty across the university.

    Broadly our aims can be described as:

    • Capacity building for teacher professional development
    • Explore innovative approaches to learning and teaching - with the needs of students at the centre of learning
    • Facilitate cross-faculty dissemination of flipped classroom innovations.
    • Provide a forum for vibrant FC peer discussions and review of learning materials
    • Foster scholarly activity
    • Enable a cultural change of student-driven, active learning strategies across the university.

    Member experience Student's view


    • Monthly meetings with structured Agenda
    • Allows time for ‘fellowship’ informal discussion and networking
    • Participate in active and engaging scholarly activities
    • Special focus ‘bring a friend sessions’
    • Social Meetings –relationship building


    Current members

    Current members list for Active Learning and Assessment


    To join, please contact our facilitator Hayley McGrice.


    Formed in March 2019 the Adelaide Development Program for Educators and Professionals (ADEPT) aims to extend learning from the ADEPT modules by:

    • Creating a community for those new to the University or new to teaching
    • Offering a forum to further discuss how to translate research-based and inclusive teaching practices into learning environments.
    • Establishing a discussion space for those developing their teaching portfolio
    • Providing a support network for those wanting to pilot innovative teaching practices


    Activities undertaken in the CoP include:

    • Engaging in peer review to appraise teaching philosophies
    • Gathering prior-knowledge to inform the learning experience via Padlet and Mentimeter

    Examples of presentations we have enjoyed:

    • Presentations on the trialling of new teaching and learning approaches
    • “Connecting communities of practice: Insights from the eLearning community of practice, and how they can be applied to help online Canvas course creation”
    • “How to engage ‘Students as Partners’: What does research suggest is best-practice?”
    • What is the Higher Education Academy, and what do fellowships offer?
    • Peer review and support – open problem-solving sessions around curriculum planning
    • Professional statement writing workshop (guest presenter Linda Westphalen, School of Education). Conducted to support the development of a teaching philosophy
    • “Facilitating discussion and engaging students – barriers and opportunities”
    • "How to have a good first day of class” – Chronicle of Higher Education; strategies and discussion for implementation.

    Current members

    Current members list for ADEPT


    To join, please contact our facilitator Samantha Newell.

  • Discovery Learning

    The Discovery Learning CoP is a collegial community of scholars who explore different forms of discovery learning for research and best practice.

    Our CoP was formed in 2015 with a focus on teaching large classes. In 2016 we shifted focus to the design and implementation of Small Group Discovery Learning (SGDE) across all class sizes. To broaden our educational application, in 2018 we became known simply as the Discovery Learning CoP. Our members represent all of the Faculties of the University and include academic staff, education specialists, learning advisors and students.

    We have some key aims:

    • To be an inclusive and supportive forum for sharing experiences of discovery learning at the University of Adelaide
    • To focus on gathering and evaluating evidence for our practices and promote scholarship of teaching focused on discovery learning
    • To provide leadership on the development of resources for students and teachers using different forms of discovery learning
    • To encourage innovation and creativity in implementing experiences for students that communicate the excitement of discovery


    We meet around eight times a year, in a variety of locations but often trying to get away from our desks and into the outdoors, where we can better open our minds and engage in some stimulating and engaging discussion.  We often have guest speakers or presentations from members of our CoP.

    In April we have a half-day retreat at the beautiful Waite campus (in full autumnal glory) to spend consolidated time on discovery learning initiatives and ideas.

    Historical highlights:

    1. CoP members presented on Discovery Learning related projects at the Connecting Higher Education Conference, UCL, London
    2. CoP members participated in a mentor induction workshop for Discovery Learning
    3. Members were invited to attend or view Discovery Learning project outcomes in other disciplines
    4. CoP contributed to a Canvas site for showcasing Discovery Learning examples and guidelines
    5. CoP members peer reviewed a draft Discovery Learning University survey
    6. Members were subsidised to attend the iMELT conference in Adelaide in December 2017


    Resources on teaching philosophy that matches up with Discovery Learning:

    Current members

    Current members list for Discovery Learning


    To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Cathy Snelling or Beth Loveys.

  • Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching

    A community of staff and students to explore inclusive learning and teaching practices.

    • Design and implementation of an inclusive teaching framework offering tools and exemplars for inclusive course structure, delivery, assessment, feedback and review
    • Significantly increase the awareness of diverse student groups and of existing theory, tools and approaches for inclusive learning and teaching.


    Monthly meetings where we work on tangible objectives the community sets, directly reporting to the PVC(SL).


    Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching - Comic

    Current members

    Current members list for Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching


    To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Laura Grenfell or Claudia Szabo.

  • eLearning

    A community for academic and professional staff interested in the development of digital learning resources, the transition of courses from face-to-face to online delivery, MOOCs, and/or evaluation of the impact of e-learning strategies on student learning.

    Technology is increasingly being used to facilitate active learning and collaboration, to better engage and support students via richer learning experiences and to accommodate the needs and expectations of students from different cultural backgrounds, with different learning styles, across different study contexts.

    The e-Learning CoP provides opportunities to:

    • engage in capacity building through professional development in e-learning.
    • support networking and collaboration between academic and professional staff across The University of Adelaide faculties and divisions.
    • engage university staff and students in scholarly activity, such as research and dissemination.
    • facilitate the sharing of best practices and examples in e-learning across the University.
    • provide a forum for constructive peer review and evaluation of e-learning.
    • provide opportunities for student participation and feedback in e-learning design learn from leaders in the field.


    • Monthly meetings - on alternate Tuesday and Friday's - with structured Agenda
    • Includes formal presentations or structured discussion on topics of interest.
    • Allows time for ‘fellowship’ informal discussion and networking
    • Participate in active and engaging scholarly activities
    • Social Meetings –relationship building
    • Ability to join via Zoom link remote/external access

    Current members

    Current members list for eLearning


    To join, please contact our co-facilitators Jessica Viven-Wilksch or Rebecca Vivian.

  • Employability

    Employability is the combination of knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities that enables a graduate to be successful in their chosen career. It can be embedded in the student experience within the curriculum and can be developed through co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.

    We are a community of academic and professional staff supporting student learning for employability.  We consider different approaches to employability development such as career development learning (CDL) and experiential learning including work integrated learning (WIL).

    Our broad aim is to support excellent teaching and learning practices that facilitate students to develop the knowledge, skills, contacts, confidence and networks they need to be ready for their future. With this as our guiding principal, we also aim to:

    • Enable the sharing of innovative practices and pedagogies
    • Collaborate on projects that encourage and support academics to embed employability in their courses and programs
    • Engage University staff and students in research and dissemination
    • Develop shared expertise in learning and teaching
    • Contribute to the professional development of staff
    • Provide professional development opportunities for staff on WIL
    • Encourage more students to co-create with us
    • Contribute to the development of a project across faculties that would enable students to work together on an industry-driven project that is multi-disciplinary (grand challenge)


    • Monthly meetings with agenda
    • Structured discussion of topics of interest
    • Informal discussion and networking
    • Lunch provided

    Topics for discussion

    • Experiential learning including work-integrated learning
    • Applied learning
    • Career development learning
    • Industry and community engagement
    • Internships and placements
    • Volunteering
    • Employability skills and capabilities
    • Building student and graduate professional networks


    To date the has focused on work-based learning sharing best practice amongst attendees and at the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) conference. We also produced a number of resources including:

    • a high-level framework for designing or reviewing work-based learning courses
    • an internships handbook for students that can be adapted by any faculty/discipline and online video modules to prepare students for internships
    • a high level Risk Management outline of do’s and don’ts

    Current members

    Current members list for Employability


    To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Amanda Able or Sharon Scott.

  • Global Engagement

    This new Community of Practice is due to be launched mid 2020. 

    For more information or to register your interest please contact the facilitator.


    Please contact our facilitator Emma Laurence.

  • HDR Supervision

    This new Community of Practice is due to be launched mid 2020. 


    For more information or to join, please contact our facilitator Natalie Edwards.

  • Learning Analytics

    A community for staff to explore the potential for learning analytics to improve student learning.


    • Assessment of student academic performance and the assessment of a course through the use of learning analytics.
    • Objectively improve course delivery and strengthen student engagement promoting a better understanding of teaching best practices.


    Monthly meetings where we work on tangible objectives the community sets, directly reporting to the PVC(SL).


    Learning Analytics CoP Visual Information Guide

    Current members

    Current members list for Learning Analytics


    To join, please contact our facilitator David Wilson.

    For more information, please visit the learning analytics webpage.

  • Student Engagement


    A community of people who want to learn, share and apply best practice for student engagement within the University of Adelaide.


    Monthly face-to-face sessions

    • Regular get-togethers to meet and chat with the community:
    • Unstructured chat time
    • Structured discussion of topics of interest

    Continuing online interaction

    Writing the student engagement blog

    • Writing pieces to share our learning with others:
    • Summaries of topics
    • Reviews of papers or resources
    • Stories of applying best practice
    • Student engagement blog


    Current members

    Current members list for Student Engagement


    To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Linda Westphalen or Colleen Ortega.

  • Student Leadership Programs

    Launched in 2020 the Student Leadership CoP works closely with the Peer Mentor Coordinators Steering Committee (PMC).  The PMC includes coordinators from faculty, school, and division-based programs that seek to improve the student experience by fostering peer connections through student mentor, ambassador, or tutor roles.  Coordinators of these programs meet regularly to share ideas and resources, and to plan shared professional development opportunities for the student leaders within their programs. 

    We are currently forming a student advisory group made up of student leaders from each of our programs, which will allow us to work with students on improving each of our programs and the reach of peer support more generally throughout the student population.

    Current members

    Current members list for Student Leadership Programs


    For more information or to join, please contact our co-facilitators: Shawna Hooton or Chelsea Avard.

  • Virtual Reality

    A community of academics and professional staff exploring the role of virtual and augmented reality in teaching and learning.


    • To provide a platform for sharing our experience of working with VR and AR
    • To find opportunities to collaborate
    • To develop shared expertise in the use of VR and AR for learning and teaching

    Current members

    Current members list for Virtual Reality


    To join, please contact our facilitator Paul McLiesh.