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MAKO Commons

Are you interested in meeting fellow faculty members from across the University and working together to improve your teaching and learning practice and research? Do you value sharing knowledge, ideas, and resources with your colleagues? If so, we invite you to participate in LEC’s MAKO Commons, a virtual community of practice (vCoP) for NSU faculty.

What is a community of practice?

Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) defined communities of practice (CoPs) as groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis…” (p. 4). Members of a CoP use it because they find value in the interactions of sharing information, insight, and advice. In addition to these aspects, community members find satisfaction in the connections they make with others who share similar interests. Within the context of higher education and faculty professional development, CoPs have been used to support formal and informal learning (Buckley, Steinert, Regehr, & Nimmon, 2019).

What is the MAKO Commons?

The MAKO Commons is NSU's faculty virtual community of practice (vCoP). We are using an agile approach to develop this vCoP and hope that our members will help us build a community that is relevant, meaningful, and inclusive. Our goal is to foster and sustain a community of NSU faculty that advances the learning of all members. Our mission is to connect faculty across NSU so that we can share ideas, information, and resources related to research and practice in teaching and learning. We strive to engage in collaborative learning within an environment of shared authority, trust, and mutual respect. We hope through the MAKO Commons to Make All Knowledge Open so that we can learn from each other and strengthen our institutional capacity for effective teaching and learning.

The primary activities that sustain this group as an intellectual community include:

  • Providing opportunities for communication, collaboration, and interaction among all members
  • Encouraging the sharing of information, knowledge and experiences
  • Supporting the development of teaching and learning expertise through research and practice
  • Cultivating faculty mentor and mentee relationships

Who can join MAKO Commons?

We welcome anyone who is involved in teaching and learning at NSU and is willing to share their knowledge and learn from each other. MAKO Commons members may include, for example, administrators, staff, full-time and part-time faculty, instructors, adjuncts, University School teachers, etc. We encourage those who are new to teaching and learning as well as those who are seasoned professionals (and everyone in the middle) to participate.

Where do I find the MAKO Commons and what do I do when I get there?

The MAKO Commons is housed in Canvas, NSU’s learning management system. MAKO Commons is an online space for faculty to share knowledge and information specifically related to teaching and learning at NSU. It is primarily discussion-based using the Discussion tool in Canvas. However, we hope to hold some live discussion sessions either face-to-face or via Zoom during the upcoming academic year. 

How often will you communicate with me?

We post 2-3 announcements in Canvas per month so we advise you to set your Canvas notifications to receive those announcements in your email inbox. You can also set other notifications (such as how often you receive Discussion updates) according to your preference. 

Our announcements are brief and provide updates on what’s happening in the Commons, the topic of the month, any timely conferences or calls for proposals relating to teaching and learning, etc.

I’m Interested, what do I do next? 

If you are interested in joining, please contact Marti Snyder, Ph.D., Director of Faculty Professional Development, LEC at


Buckley, H., Steinert, Y., Regehr, G. and Nimmon, L. (2019). When I say…community of practice. Medical Education, 53, 763-765.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, MA. Harvard Business School Press.

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