Student and staff experiences of using a virtual community, wessex bay, to support interprofessional learning: Messages for collaborative practice

This source preferred by Anne Quinney, Maggie Hutchings and Janet Scammell

Authors: Quinney, A., Hutchings, M. and Scammell, J.

Journal: Social Work Education

Volume: 27

Pages: 658-664

ISSN: 0261-5479

DOI: 10.1080/02615470802201754

Interprofessional Education (IPE) is a feature of many social work curricula and whilst content is difficult enough to agree, implementation raises further challenges. In 2006/7, IPE was introduced for six undergraduate professionally qualifying programmes, including social work, at Bournemouth University. Challenges included moving beyond shared teaching to collaborative learning; providing parity of learning experience for large student numbers (n = 600+) unevenly spread between professions across a wide geographical area; and supporting staff in adapting to changing learning and teaching practices.

Embracing opportunities for technology supported learning, a virtual town known as Wessex Bay was developed in partnership with service users and carers and embedded in the IPE curriculum, accessed through the university Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard. Populated by providers of health and social care services, service users and carers and other residents, it enables the facilitation of interprofessional learning and collaborative practice using evolving scenarios.

Evaluation using an iterative action research approach was undertaken. Emerging themes for both staff and students include technology issues, teaching and learning strategies, and professional identity. This paper discusses some of the implications for technology supported learning in situations where social work students are engaged in IPE.

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Authors: Quinney, A., Hutchings, M. and Scammell, J.

Journal: Social Work Education

Volume: 27

Issue: 6

Pages: 658-664

eISSN: 1470-1227

ISSN: 0261-5479

DOI: 10.1080/02615470802201754

Interprofessional Education (IPE) is a feature of many social work curricula and whilst content is difficult enough to agree, implementation raises further challenges. In 2006/7, IPE was introduced for six undergraduate professionally qualifying programmes, including social work, at Bournemouth University. Challenges included moving beyond shared teaching to collaborative learning; providing parity of learning experience for large student numbers (n = 600+) unevenly spread between professions across a wide geographical area; and supporting staff in adapting to changing learning and teaching practices. Embracing opportunities for technology supported learning, a virtual town known as Wessex Bay was developed in partnership with service users and carers and embedded in the IPE curriculum, accessed through the university Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard. Populated by providers of health and social care services, service users and carers and other residents, it enables the facilitation of interprofessional learning and collaborative practice using evolving scenarios. Evaluation using an iterative action research approach was undertaken. Emerging themes for both staff and students include technology issues, teaching and learning strategies, and professional identity. This paper discusses some of the implications for technology supported learning in situations where social work students are engaged in IPE.

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