Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Online discussion with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

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.

2 comments:

Sarah Stewart said...

Interesting to see your reflections on this session-have a look and see what I came up with. Knowing how 'anti' technology midwives can be some times, do you think rural midwives (or urban ones for that matter) will use the Internet for community collaboration? Sarah

Carolyn McIntosh said...

I totally agree with your comments in your blog Sarah. It is interesting that we all take different messages from what we hear depending on our are of interest, or where our grey cells are taking us at the time. I do think midwives are becoming more comfortable with online communication all the time. There are some of course who will never be comfrotable in this medium. I think it might require a traveling roadshow to go around rural areas and show midwives the possibilities to get them started. Otherwise establishing an online community works through word of mouth and probably will come in time but will take forever to get there. Of course the egroup you started is still going. However I got bumped off this years ago and never got back on again. It is open to everyone and I think this is something that might need to be debated. Should a midwives group be just a midwives group or should it include consumers as well? Or is there value in having both types of groups?
Lots still to think about in this one.

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