Building an MSW virtual community of practice and collaboration
Students and alumni in the Master of Social Work program at California State University Stanislaus, have identified a need to create a virtual community of practice. Through conversations with students, the author of this project created a virtual community of practice (VCoP) that is accessible to CSU Stanislaus MSW students and alumni. The creation of a virtual community will help continue the exchange of learning between its members and support their educational and career development. Informal feedback from students and alumni was solicited by creating a suggestion box, and requesting what would members like to see in their virtual community of practice. Through this communication, forums were developed that contain themes important to students and alumni. The virtual community was guided by community of practice characteristics to ensure an active and successful website. Detailed research on other VCoPs and pilot testing it to the members help make last few adjustments. The virtual community can be found at www.socialjusticemsw.com, and it is a virtual environment grounded in social work practice and where members can pursue dialogue, learning, and engagement.