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Developing a community of practice to support the space engineering higher education community

Berthoud, Lucy; Glester, Andrew


Lucy Berthoud

Andrew Glester
Occasional Associate Lecturer - Applied Sciences


The UK-based “Space Universities Network” (SUN) was formed in 2016 with the aim of enhancing the quality of learning and teaching by providing support and resources to the space science and engineering higher education community. The goal of this research was to pilot the running of this education network as a Community of Practice and then to use the existing concept of value creation to evaluate it. A Community of Practice is a recognized way of encouraging interaction and shared best practice to learn together. This paper starts with a review of Communities of Practice in the literature, then describes the process that led to the foundation of the SUN network and its evolution. The methods and process used to establish the infrastructure and regulation of the community are discussed. Next, the UK context, the aims and objectives of SUN and the membership of the community are covered. Results include newsletters and email lists which have been used as methods of communication, training of staff has been achieved through workshops by recognized experts and a curated webbased repository of resources has been used to exchange ideas for classes, icebreakers, case studies, questions, shared facilities database and practical exercises. Evaluation of the community has been carried out via a survey of members. In conclusion, a community of practice has found to be a useful vehicle to enable the space higher education community to interact and learn from each other in order to raise the level of space education in the UK. Once firmly established, it is hoped to expand the network through partnerships with similar networks in other countries

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Apr 11, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9789633132869
APA6 Citation Berthoud, L., & Glester, A. (2018, April). Developing a community of practice to support the space engineering higher education community. Paper presented at 2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities: April 11-13 2018, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Dr Lucinda Berthoud received a Master's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bristol, UK in 1990 and a PhD in Space Physics from ISAE in Toulouse, France in 1993. She worked at the European Space Agency, NASA Johnson Space Centre and Airbus Defence and Space. She is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Aerospace Engineering department and works for Spacecraft manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. In 2014 she was awarded UoB teaching award for the Faculty of Engineering. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded a University of Bristol Teaching Fellowship in 2016. Andrew Glester received a Bachelors’ degree in French from the University of Exeter UK in 1998, then a Masters’ degree in Business Management from Kingston Business School in 2000 and a Master’s degree in Science Communication from University of the West of England in 2015. He is a producer and director, project manager, radio presenter, host and marketing professional operating across several industries. He has coordinated several networks and hosts ‘PhysicsWorld’ and ‘Cosmic Shed’ podcasts, as well as the Apollo 11 Campervan.
Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities: April 11-13 2018, Hungary, Budapest at Budapest University of Technology and Economics [SSEA-2018-24] Budapest University of Technology and Economics.


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