Enhancing the student experience through sustainable Communities of Practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The switch to online off-campus teaching for universities worldwide due to COVID-19 will transform into more sustainable and predictable delivery models where virtual and local student contact will continue to be combined. Institutions must do more to replace the full student experience and benefits of learners and educators being together. Methods: Our centre has been delivering distance blended and online learning for more than 40 years and has over 4000 alumni across five continents. Our students and alumni come from varied healthcare disciplines and are at different stages of their career as educators and practitioners. Whilst studying on the programme students work together flexibly in randomly arranged peer groups designed to allow the establishment of Communities of Practice (CoP) through the use of online Discussion Boards. Results: We found Discussion Boards encouraged reflection on learning, sharing of ideas with peers and tutors, reduce anxiety, support progression, and enable benchmarking. This led to a highly effective student sense of belonging to each other, our educators, and the wider University, with many highlighting an excellent student experience and maintaining a thriving CoP within the alumni body. Conclusion: Despite being based on one large postgraduate programme in medical education, our CoP approach is relevant to any undergraduate programme, particularly those that lead to professional qualification. With our mix of nationalities, we can ‘model the way’ for enabling strong CoP’s to share ideas about best practice with a strong student and alumni network which can be shared across the international healthcare community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-105
Number of pages4
JournalThe Asia Pacific Scholar
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2022


  • Communities of practice
  • Sense of belonging
  • Student experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Reviews and References, Medical


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