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Proc. Int. Conf. Intell. Capital., Knowl. Manage. Org. Learn., ICICKM ; 2020-October:72-79, 2020.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1000940


Communities of practice (CoPs) have been adopted in different contexts to facilitate knowledge exchange and mutual learning between professionals sharing common interests, practical issues, or decision problems. In higher education, they have been employed to favour interactions, "communitarian" mutual support, and exchange of experience within faculty, students, and staff. In all these situations, the central assumption is that collaboration helps, which implies a recognition that success in teaching and learning is more successful if individual problems, solutions, and experiences are shared and discussed openly. Currently, CoPs in general - and in education especially - are applied to "business as usual" situations - where there is often enough time for the community to discuss issues and reflect on possible solutions. Few is known about what happens in a totally different situation like the case of emergency - for instance, after a conflict, a natural disaster, or during a pandemic. In higher education, the faculty may need to react fast to ensure the continuity of educational services and/or to adapt it to the new scenarios. This paper examines the experience at University of Padova (Italy) at the time of the COVID crisis. The infection hit Italy at the beginning of the second term, and all instructors and students needed to quickly move all teaching and learning activities online. A CoP of faculty, established one year before, was asked to support this transition. The case study examines this experience by highlighting the structure of the CoP and its key roles, management style, functions and KM processes, achieved results, efficacy, and problematic issues. The paper provides lessons about pros and cons of a CoP in the special situation of a crisis due to pandemic. Also, it highlights pros and cons of this organizational arrangement applied to higher education institutions. © 2020 Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited. All rights reserved.