Brantlee Underhill, PMI Director of Practitioner Markets, discusses communities of practice with researcher and author Dr. Etienne Wenger.
- By email - You could set up an email distribution list but of all the options here this is the least elegant.
- Via Facebook - If you've already set up a facebook group you can send out a message to all members of that group
- Via a News forum - If you already have a forum set up then you could create a dedicated "News forum"
Twitter - If you don't mind your announcements being publically
viewable then you could create a dedicated twitter account and/or
hashtag to broadcast announcements. If privacy is an issue then I'd
avoid this one.
There will be times where the whole community, or sub sections of it, wish to get together to have a meeting. Again many options are available to you to do this but the best free ones I've encountered are listed on the video Conferencing page. Ideally you should have a link or be able to embed your meeting room into your portal so it's easy for your students to access whenever they need to.
I've combined the last two as, in my mind, they go hand in hand.
This is basically a fancy way of saying that the members of your community of practice should have a web based learning environment (like a VLE) available to them whenever they need to access it which contains the resources and activities that they can use to learn about whatever the focus of the CoP is.
So if you are using your institutions VLE for host your community of practice then you may also wish to create a separate area that holds all of your teaching materials and resources which your students can access. If you aren't then you could create either a separate Google site that holds all of the learning content for your students or you could just make it a subsection of the Google site that's being used as the community portal.
These are just some suggestions though, you can use any tool, free or paid for, as long as it provides some of the features required to form a Community of Practice.