I just listened to an elluminate session which took place today through Otago Polytechnic with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach from the USA. There were also participants from around New Zealand and from Brazil. It was a very interesting discussion about communities of practice and online communities. Based on the original concepts developed by Etienne Wenger. Very relevant to my thesis. I found that rural midwives really want to get together with other rural midwives to share stories, practice experience and tips and to ask questions. Midwives love to talk and chat but usually want to physically get together. I am interested in looking at how developing communication tools could assist these midwives to have one or more communities of practice in which they can share and support each other.
Communites of practice can’t be created but Sheryl described how those with a passion can initiate the ideas and as others become comfortable trust in the community can develop. Communities members need to have trust in each other. Lots of discussion about global communities of practice. However I think this can also be of value to a geographically isolated scattered group who share common practice concerns. For example rural professionals who do not have the opportunity to meet with follow professionals could find support in online communication groups.