A Community of Practice is the terminology used on the RF Connect platform to refer to individuals assembling online to discuss and work on topics of common interest. The Canadian Association of Chief of Police (CACP) has opted to use the RF Connect portal as the official secured shared workspace for its various general and special purpose committees, and it is our hope that the portal will be adopted as a preferred workspace by others in the Canadian policing community.
Types of communities of practice
- Private: RF Connect subscribers can join these communities of practice by invitation only (e.g. all CACP committees).
- Public: All RF Connect subscribers can opt in and join these communities of practice which are generally focused on a specific strategic policing issue or priority (e.g. Law Enforcement in Social Media, Lawful Access and Electronic Surveillance, etc.). These communities of practice will have an active “Join” button located to the right of the screen and the name of the community of practice.
- Open Forum: Accessible from the RF Connect home page, the Open Forum is the general access point and “chat room” for all RF Connect subscribers.
Structure of a community of practice
Each community of practice includes the following sections:
- Discussion: This is the “chat room” where members of the community of practice can post messages with inquiries or comments to engage colleagues in an online discussion related to a particular issue or topic.
- Library: This is where members of the community of practice can access, store and share documents or resources of interest to the group.
- Events: This is where members of the community of practice can create and/or promote an upcoming event (e.g. meeting, conference, etc.).
- Members: This is where you can access the list of existing members of the community of practice and send direct email messages to them.
Creating a community of practice
Once a successful access to the secure portal is achieved with a username and password, all RF Connect subscribers can create a community of practice.
However, the CACP wishes to avoid the creation of multiple communities of practice devoted to a specific policing issue, topic, or priority. As a result, the CACP reserves the right to review and approve all new communities of practice. Should there be perceived duplication, the CACP National Office may communicate with an RF Connect subscriber to discuss the individual’s objectives for creating the community of practice and propose next steps to achieve these objectives while meeting CACP’s goals to align efforts and facilitate discussions related to policing and public safety matters on RF Connect.
Prior to creating a new community of practice, subscribers are asked to:
- Access the list of existing communities of practice by clicking on the “Communities” button in the main (horizontal) navigation bar at the top of the page, and select “All Communities”, from the drop-down menu.
- Enter a key word in the “Search” bar located in the main (horizontal) navigation bar at the top of the page to see if any existing communities of practice related to your topic of interest already exists.
If there does not appear to be an existing community of practice related to the policing issue, topic, or priority you are interested in, you may create a new community of practice:
- Click on the “Communities” button in the main (horizontal) navigation bar at the top of the page.
- Click on the “Create a New Community” button located in the upper right corner of the “Communities” landing page.
- Upon entering the proposed name for your committee, please make sure that you click on the “Check Availability” button (one last check to ensure that a community of practice does not already exist).
- Complete each of the remaining fields and click on the “Save” or the “Save and invite members” button at the bottom of the page.