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Innovative Teaching Strategies in the Time of COVID-19: Global Perspectives on Social Work Education

Ramapo

About the Global Social Work Symposium

This Symposium was born out of collegial conversations around the world on their experiences with Teaching Social Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a result, the Symposium will offer a space for Social Work professionals across the world to share experiences, innovative practices and discuss potential collaborations for research and teaching. We hope that with a successful Symposium in 2021, we can continue to coordinate this virtual gathering on an annual basis.

We are looking for presenters who are:
  • Scholars who have done research related to social work education in the age of COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Social work educators who implement innovative technologies in their classrooms, syllabus and assignment adaptations;
  • Field instructors or supervisors who can share their experiences coordinating students’ field work during the pandemic;
  • Social work practitioners; or
  • Students interested in social work education.

CEUs available for those with NJ Licensure

Symposium Coordinators

  • Dr. Liat Shklarski, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College (USA), lshklars@ramapo.edu, Profile (Content & Outreach)
  • Dr. John McTighe, Associate Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College (USA), jmctighe@ramapo.eduProfile (Content & Outreach)
  • Dr. Yael Latzer, Head of School of Social Work, Haifa University (Israel), ylatzer@univ.haifa.ac.ilProfile (Content & Outreach)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Nana Mbrah Koomson-Yalley, Lecturer of Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (Ghana), yalleyliz@yahoo.co.uk / Profile (Content & Outreach)
  • Ms. Luz Stella Chamorro Caicedo, Social Work Program Director, Universidad de Caldas (Colombia), luz.chamorroc@ucaldas.edu.co / Profile (Content & Outreach)
  • Dr. Stephanie Sarabia, Associate Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College of New Jersey, ssarabia@ramapo.edu / Profile (Symposium Proceedings)
  • Mr. Ben Levy, Director of International Education, Ramapo College (USA), blevy1@ramapo.edu / Profile (Logistics; Website; Int’l Coordination)

About the Host Institutions

Ramapo College of New Jersey (New Jersey, USA)
[@RamapoCollegeNJ]

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Public Universities North category, Ramapo College of New Jersey is sometimes viewed as a private college. This is, in part, due to its unique interdisciplinary academic structure, its size of more than 6,200 students and its pastoral setting in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains on the New Jersey/New York border.

Undergraduate students may choose to concentrate their studies in one of five schools with more than 539 course offerings and 36 academic programs. Ramapo College boasts an average student/faculty ratio of 16:1 and an average class size of 21; affording students the opportunity to develop close ties to the College’s exceptional faculty.

The College’s mission is focused on the four “pillars” of a Ramapo education, international, intercultural, interdisciplinary and experiential (hands on), all of which are incorporated throughout the curricula and extracurricular programs and help students push intellectual, personal and professional boundaries. The international mission is further accomplished through a wide range of study abroad and student exchange links with institutions all over the world. Additional experiential programs include internships, co-op and service learning.

   

Haifa University (Haifa, ISRAEL)
[@UofHaifa]

Over 18,000 students from a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds are enrolled at the University of Haifa, the largest comprehensive research university in northern Israel, and the most pluralistic institution of higher education in the country. Founded in 1963, the University of Haifa received full academic accreditation in 1972 and, since then, has created and developed a world-class academic institution that is dedicated to academic and research excellence. Through an accelerated growth strategy, the University has established Israel’s first “Multiversity” – a multi-campus institution that promotes extensive interdisciplinary studies and partnerships. The Multiversity is designed to improve access to higher education in the North, better prepare students for a dynamic job market and serve as a catalyst for economic expansion and strengthening Israel’s northern region.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, GHANA) [@KNUSTGH]

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is a university in Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is the public university established in the country, as well as the largest university in the Kumasi Metropolis and in the Ashanti Region. KNUST has its roots in the plans of the King Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I to establish a university in Kumasi as part of his drive towards modernization of his Ashanti kingdom. In November 2019, KNUST was ranked as the best university in Ghana and West Africa by U.S News and World Report. It was also ranked 14th in Africa and 706th in the world, with a global score of 42.4. In November 2020 it was ranked the best for the second time by U.S News and World Report. This time it climbed 2 positions to be 12th best in Africa.

Universidad de Caldas (Manizales, COLOMBIA)
[@UdeCaldas]

Founded in 1943 in Manizales, one of the main cities in Colombia’s “Coffee Triangle”, the University of Caldas can trace its roots back to the Instituto Universitario de Caldas set up 30 years earlier.

With a mission emphasizing the sustainable development of Central-Western Colombia, it has grown in stages, starting with the addition of faculties of agriculture in 1949 and veterinary Science in 1950, to cover the range of academic disciplines.

Today’s faculties are spread across four campuses in Manizales. The main campus hosts natural and exact sciences and engineering, law and social sciences are based in Pologrande, the faculty of health is in Versalles, agriculture in Sancancio and arts and humanities in Bellas Artes.

Classes are also offered in six regional centres while the “Virtual Campus” offers eight courses including a MOOC which translates as “Coffee : Science, Passion and Perspectives”.

Accredited until 2026 as a High Quality University by the Ministry of Education, it was rated 10th nationally and the leading university in its region in Colombia’s Sapiens rankings for 2019. The development plan for the period to 2023 emphasizes bilingualism as a means of improving the mobility of both staff and students.

The early months of 2019 saw the university’s researchers claim a national patent for a “vacuum impregnator” which adds beneficial vitamins and minerals to foodstuffs and the opening of the new science centre as a public space enabling exchanges between academics and the community.

Notable alumni include Humberto de la Calle, the former national vice-president.

CEUs available for those with NJ Licensure

 

Registration

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Symposium Schedule (Subject to change)

DAY 1 (21 April) DAY 2 (22 April)
Concurrent Session #1 Concurrent Session #2 Concurrent Session #1 Concurrent Session #2
New Jersey, USA 9:00 – 9:00am EST Adapting Social Work Learning to Online: Lessons Learned from the USA & Israel

 

[Google Meet Link]

Approaches from Field Instructors to Support Social Work Interns During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 9:00 – 9:00am COT
Kumasi, Ghana 2:00 – 2:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 4:00 – 4:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 3:00 – 3:45am NZT
(+1 day)
New Jersey, USA 10:00 – 10:45am EST Creative Pedagogy During COVID-19: Transitioning from Study Abroad to Meaningful, International Online Course

 

[Google Meet Link]

Student Voices on Social Work Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 10:00 – 10:45am COT
Kumasi, Ghana 3:00 – 3:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 5:00 – 5:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 4:00 – 4:45am NZT
(+1 day)
New Jersey, USA 11:00 – 11:45am EST Field Education Supervision During a Global Pandemic: Quality Considerations for Field Directors

 

[Google Meet Link]

P-12 Social Work Practice and the Pandemics Paradox: Barriers to Educational Equity and Social Emotional Wellness

 

[Google Meet Link]

Transitioning Senior Capstone Projects to an Online Environment During a Pandemic

 

[Google Meet Link]

Using Simulation to Teach MSW Generalist Students Engagement and Assessment Skills

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 11:00 – 11:45am COT
Kumasi, Ghana 4:00 – 4:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 6:00 – 6:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 5:00 – 5:45am NZT
(+1 day)
New Jersey, USA 12:00 – 12:45pm EST Networking Lunch: Opportunity for informal conversations

 

[Google Meet Link]

Networking Lunch: Opportunity for informal conversations

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 12:00 – 12:45pm COT
Kumasi, Ghana 5:00 – 5:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 7:00 – 7:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 6:00 – 6:45am NZT
New Jersey, USA 1:00 – 1:45pm EST Innovative Strategies to Teach Mezzo Practice throughout the Pandemic

 

[Google Meet Link]

Using Choice as an Active Teaching and Learning Technique

 

[Google Meet Link]

La praxis y su relación con la intervención social-investigación en Trabajo social (Session en Español)

 

[Google Meet Link]

Lessons from an Elementary School – Creating Community in MSW Classrooms

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 1:00 – 1:45pm COT
Kumasi, Ghana 6:00 – 6:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 8:00 – 8:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 7:00 – 7:45am NZT

(+1 day)

New Jersey, USA 2:00 – 2:45pm EST Engaging Students Via Interactive Video Quizzes

 

[Google Meet Link]

Inter-professional Simulation: Virtual Practice Opportunities for Students Impacted by COVID-19

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 2:00 – 2:45pm COT
Kumasi, Ghana 7:00 – 7:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 9:00 – 9:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 8:00 – 8:45am NZT
(+1 day)
New Jersey, USA 3:00 – 3:45pm EST Student Engagement in the Online Classroom: Technology and Intentional Creative Pedagogy

 

[Google Meet Link]

Social Workers 2021, Meeting Clients Where They Are: Literally & Figuratively

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 3:00 – 3:45pm COT
Kumasi, Ghana 8:00 – 8:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 10:00 – 10:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 9:00 – 9:45am NZT
(+1 day)
New Jersey, USA 4:00 – 4:45pm EST Students’ Perspectives of Digital Competencies in Social Work Education

 

[Google Meet Link]

Teaching Through Traumatic Times: Educating MSW Students During a Global Pandemic

 

[Google Meet Link]

Manizales, Colombia 4:00 – 4:45pm COT
Kumasi, Ghana 9:00 – 9:45pm GMT
Haifa, Israel 11:00 – 11:45pm IST
Auckland, New Zealand 10:00 – 10:45am NZT
(+1 day)

Session Descriptions can be found on the tab above

Session Descriptions (in order of delivery)

“Adapting Social Work Learning to Online: Lessons Learned from the USA & Israel”

This session will include 3 individual papers, as follows:

“The impact of the transition from in-person social work education courses to online courses on Master Social Work students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic” – Social work courses are primarily being delivered in person and is often the preferred method for students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who self-selected an in-person education experience, are now receiving remote instruction. While research has shown that remote learning can be as effective as in-person learning, there is limited knowledge on how effective online learning is when it is forced on students. In this quantitative study we explored the experiences of 132 Social Work Master’s students with the transition to remote instructions and its effect on their personal and educational experiences. Results show that students’ attitudes towards remote learning has changed and was associated with their reported emotional state. In addition, remote learning enhanced home-work balance. In terms of the participants’ learning experience; they have participated less, and reported feeling less connected to their peers. Finally, while participants reported that they liked the use of breakout rooms, there was no statistically significant connection between experience with breakout rooms and satisfaction with remote learning.

  • Dr. Kathleen Ray, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA
  • Dr. Liat Shklarski Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA

“The Abrupt Transition to Distance Social Work Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic” – Evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, specifically on social work education, is gradually emerging. While the empirical literature points to the effectiveness of delivering course content virtually as a method of teaching social work, research on the effects of the abrupt, forced transition from in-person to distance teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic is limited. This quantitative study presents findings from a survey of social work instructors about their experiences during the abrupt transition from in-person to distance teaching in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings reveal that the abrupt transition to distance teaching was perceived as stressful and required technological, emotional support, and workload adaptations from their institutions. The participants also reported that their work–life balance and attitudes towards distance teaching were positively affected by the change. Findings from this study suggest the need for comprehensive institutional support to improve distance teaching methods to prepare social work students to face the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrate that social work instructors see the benefit of distance teaching and may be more interested in continuing with it in the future.

The participants lacked adequate training on the use of technology and careful course planning, which are essential tools to support faculty in improving the virtual classroom. The results highlight the instructors’ need to adapt to distance teaching to engage students and improve their learning experiences. Finally, although distance teaching was not the preferred method, it offered a way of improving instructors’ work–life balance, and the participants became more receptive to the idea of teaching distance classes in the future.

As COVID-19 will continue to impact how social work education is delivered, it presents an opportunity to improve the virtual delivery of educational content to meet the needs of students who cannot engage in traditional in-person learning. Since COVID-19 has already impacted the delivery of social services, leading to some services being delivered virtually, making further investments in distance social work teaching will not only improve social work education but prepare students to work in a career that is becoming increasingly reliant on the provision of virtual services as well.

  • Dr. Kathleen Ray, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA
  • Dr. Liat Shklarski Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA

The transition to remote learning in schools of social work in Israel; a comparison between students and instructors” – Evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, specifically on social work education, is gradually emerging. While the empirical literature points to the effectiveness of delivering course content virtually as a method of teaching social work, research on the effects of the abrupt, forced transition from in-person to distance teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic is limited. This quantitative study presents findings from a survey of 144 social work instructors and 150 social work students about their experiences during the abrupt transition from in-person to distance teaching in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings show that teaching and learning non-clinical classes remotely (for example research classes) were reported to be as effective as in person. However, clinical classes which required forming of intimacy and interpersonal connections were perceived to be less effective when they were taught remotely. 

Both students and instructors agreed that the online platform improves work-life balance, saves time, and money. Important finding that should receive more attention in future research relates to the adjustment to remote learning of students with learning differences. 

As COVID-19 will continue to impact how social work education is delivered, this study presents an opportunity to improve the virtual delivery of educational content to meet the needs of students and instructors who cannot engage in traditional in-person learning. Making further investments in distance social work teaching will not only improve social work education but prepare students to work in a career that is becoming increasingly reliant on the provision of virtual services as well.

  • Yaara Paz, MSW candidate Haifa university, Israel

“Creative Pedagogy during COVID-19: Transitioning from Study Abroad to Meaningful, International Online Course”

Study abroad courses are offered by colleges and universities to engage students in learning from a different context and perspective that can significantly change how students view common social problems. Last spring, with travel restrictions suddenly imposed on countries due to COVID-19, faculty and their host country partners had to either cancel those experiences or approach the outcomes with flexibility and creativity. This presentation will share one such program that quickly transitioned from an MSW study abroad course in Lisbon, Portugal learning about drug decriminalization and Portugal’s national drug plan to an online course. The program attempted to keep a global focus despite travel constraints. Presenters used video, podcast, discussion, and guest speakers to convey to students a different context of substance use. Presenters will discuss lessons learned and meaningful takeaways from the experience.

  • Stephanie Sarabia, Associate Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA
  • Sara Las Cunha, Coordinator, CIEE Study Abroad, Lisbon, Portugal

“Field Education Supervision During a Global Pandemic: Quality Considerations for Field Directors”

Social work field education programs have experienced changes throughout time and part of change involved adaptations in supervision of students in field education. Monitoring and development of field education supervision is essential in assuring quality and satisfaction. Most recently, the COVID-19 global pandemic caused many social work students and field instructors to quickly shift practicum placements from in-person to remote learning; within the process, supervision shifted as well. This study obtained feedback from a small group of BSW students, MSW students, and field instructors regarding this transition of placement and supervision. The study’s framework asked about modalities of supervision used, as well as perception of quality of supervision, both before and after the adjustments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Supervision approaches that were reportedly used were developmental, didactic, strengths-based, and trauma-focused. Research findings will be used to enhance BSW and MSW field education within this specific Midwestern University, but could provide considerations for development of field education programs in other social work educational programs. Further, the reality of the digital world will not end after COVID-19, thus considerations will help propel programs as we continue forward within our new normal.

  • Melissa Ketner, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Indianapolis, USA
  • Christie Jansing: Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Indianapolis USA
  • Dianna Cooper Bolinskey: Associate Professor, Carver School of Social Work, Campbellsville University, USA
  • Lynn Shaw: Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Indianapolis, USA

“P-12 Social Work Practice and the Pandemics Paradox: Barriers to Educational Equity and Social Emotional Wellness”

The Covid-19 Pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Protests, the Insurrection at the Capitol and the competing inequities of race, health, gender, sex, technology, health, and food have challenged our education landscape, and severely impacted students and their families in many ways. Supervisors and field instructors find it difficult to navigate and perform their jobs effectively due to a variety of barriers and social constructs put in place. P-12 Social Work practitioners are in a paradox of field support for students, staff, and families while having to tend to their own well-being in the school and community context. Additionally, Black and Brown families distrust the educational system based on historical and systemic racism and implicit biases, resulting in a trust gap that schools and staff have the ability to meet their essential and unique needs – an area where our national and local leaders continues to fail.

This workshop brings together two P-12 Social Worker practitioners, their central office supervisor and a senior leader to share how they navigated and continue to experience this fully precedent time in our educational system’s and nation’s history. We will discuss the barriers to success, which include discussion on how the policies and procedures established in the educational system often benefit those in the majority (White students) but do not always afford the same opportunities for minorities; how Brown and Black families often mistrust White supervisors and field instructors and generally do not trust White people in general; how field instructors and supervisors of color often feel like they do not have a viable seat at the decision-making table; and how students of color do not see enough teachers who resemble their backgrounds and culture.

To provide context for the P-12 Social Worker paradox, we will share how we addressed the competing inequities of COVID-19 and its impacts on students and families lack of access to the internet and technological devices widens the educational achievement gap; the lack of supervision if parents work outside the home; the lack of resources for food, rent and utilities which remain limited due to COVID-19 related financial issues; the high death rate impacting students in Black and Brown communities psychologically; the transportation related issues; and the high stress in home environments leading to depression and suicidal attempts.

This pandemics paradox of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the Insurrection on the Capitol that P-12 Social Workers face requires calls to action to develop awareness and ways to dismantle and overcome the barriers that affect learning and retention. We will provide ways to develop tools and collect resources to help students and families stay engaged in the learning process; and name specific reform and restructures in programs – which promote that implicit biases reflected in existing language, guidelines, and behaviors – move beyond performance to action and transformational change. Specific examples and site based exemplars will be shared to show the field work driving towards Educational Equity and Social Emotional Wellness in P-12 Social Work Practice.

  • Pateath Herndon, Social Worker, DSST Public Schools, USA
  • Jamie Herring, Social Worker, DSST Public Schools, USA
  • Aaron J. Griffen, Ph.D., Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, DSST Public Schools, USA
  • Sam Lapres, Senior Manager of Mental Health, DSST Public School, USA

“Innovative Strategies to Teach Mezzo Practice throughout the Pandemic”

COVID-19 has changed the way we teach social work practice at the BSW and MSW level in micro, mezzo, and macro arenas. In group practice courses, one may assume that the most preferred setting for the learning environment would be in a face-to-face classroom. As a result of COVID-19, creative and innovative strategies are required to maintain the quality of the learning environment while ensuring that students remain engaged in competencies required by CSWE. This presentation will review methods to review and alter course syllabi for a BSW mezzo course and the included assignments to adapt to an online environment. While original course assignments could not be maintained due to restrictions of social distancing, many could be utilized or adapted. Using Zoom breakout rooms (or other similar technology) regularly during synchronous class meetings, the value of small group work can be maintained or even enhanced. Students and faculty also engaged in use of new technological tools and resources to support course learning. This course uses online group shadowing, partner presentations, development of group session proposals, and group session facilitation as various means of assignments. Further, data covering end-of-course feedback (in addition to course evaluations), assists in supporting instructor feedback about the course experience. Survey data will be shared during the presentation. Further, methods will be discussed to elicit this type of and similar feedback.

  • Melissa Ketner, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Indianapolis, USA

“Using Choice As An Active Teaching And Learning Technique”

Teaching in social work education, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has presented its share of challenges and unique opportunities. Pivoting, from a traditional face-to-face, to a synchronous online model for curriculum delivery revealed the need to reimagine teaching strategies and curriculum delivery methods. Of key importance were strategies that promoted, and sustained, student engagement in a highly interactive, participative, and dynamic course. Through an intentional process, faculty developed an innovative strategy, grounded in Choice Theory (Glasser, 1998), aimed to impact students’ connection to content, as well as promote persistence in the mastery of competencies (Ryan & Deci, 2016; CSWE, 2015). As a result, an active learning technique, titled “Choose Your Own Learning Adventure,” was designed to deliver content, as well as provide opportunities for students to actualize and demonstrate newly acquired knowledge through a variety of learning modalities. Providing course instruction through a module-based, synchronous online delivery method allowed the “Choose Your Own Learning Adventure” technique to be embedded within each module. This provided immediate opportunities for students to engage with content and demonstrate skills, in turn providing a higher likelihood for deeper learning outcomes and higher level of thinking (Nilsson, 2010). This workshop will explore the design and implementation of this innovative learning strategy in a graduate level, direct practice course. Additionally, we will share students’ shared experiences to this learning approach, discuss lessons learned for future teaching delivery in direct practice courses. 

  • Dr. Tiffany Wigington, Associate Professor of Social Work, Tarleton State University, USA
  • Dr. Misty Smith, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Tarleton State University, USA

“Engaging Students via Interactive Video Quizzes”

In March of 2020, institutional settings were challenged to transform in-person courses to online platforms with robust instructional designs that encouraged student engagement via active learning. Many students struggled to adjust to remote learning, as they were forced to leave on-campus housing, some without books or computers, and return to their home settings due to safety concerns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One concern faced by instructors was how to keep the attention span of students in online courses as they were experiencing the sickness and passing of friends and loved ones, the challenge of caregivers being essential workers and going out to work each day, sharing technological resources with siblings, and much more.

An engagement strategy implemented by instructors has been the use of innovative technology such as the use of EdPuzzle to engage students in interactive learning. EdPuzzle requires that students listen to recorded lectures and/or videos on its platform and provides instructors the opportunity to embed materials into the videos. Multiple-choice, true/false, open-ended questions as well as instructor notes can be inserted in the video lessons to keep students engaged. In order to complete course quizzes, students must watch the video clips of the lessons in order to access the quiz questions.

  • Tana Connell, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Delaware State University, USA
  • Amy Habeger, Associate Professor of Social Work, Delaware State University, USA

“Student Engagement in the Online Classroom: Technology and Intentional Creative Pedagogy”

Social workers have been using different assistive technologies to deliver services to, communicate with, or gather information about their clients; however, social work education has been slow to embrace technology beyond what is available through email or learning management systems. The COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to remote virtual learning placed instructors in a position to try and find different ways to engage students in the virtual classrooms and field settings. Recent research shows that technology has a positive impact on student learning, and when well utilized, it can enhance the learning experience. This presentation will focus on how utilizing creative pedagogical strategies and online apps (such as Padlet, Miro) can enhance student engagement in online and hybrid courses. The presenters will showcase their strategies for providing a creative space as well as intentional engagement with the online environment and the world wide web. Additionally, the authors will provide examples stemmed from their general education, undergraduate, and graduate social work courses.

  • Dr. Laura Racovita, Dean & Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Southern Adventist University, USA
  • Corneliu Rusu, PhD, MSW, Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Southern Adventist University, USA

“Students’ Perspectives of Digital Competencies in Social Work Education

It is well known that social workers have been using technology in their day-to-day practice with clients especially in the areas of communication and assessment. Social work education, however, has been slower to embrace technology as an integral part of the curriculum. The COVID-19 pandemic and the swift conversion to remote learning has highlighted the existing gaps in digital competence and creative use of technology in social work education. This presentation will report on a quantitative, non-experimental study conducted with social work students enrolled in field practicum during the pandemic. The convenient sample includes undergraduate and graduate students from a private and a public universities the United States, and graduate students from a private university in Spain. The results of this research will be presented through the lens of a digital competence framework as foundational to the study. The presentation will compare and contrast the students’ perceptions from the two countries perspectives regarding digital competencies, and will provide recommendations for teaching, practice, and further research for a more global understanding of the imperative need for digital competence across the profession.

  • Mioara Diaconu, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Western Michigan University, USA
  • Laura Racovita, PhD, MSW, Dean & Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Southern Adventist University, USA
  • Domingo Carbonero-Muñoz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Law, Area of Social Work and Social Services, Universidad de la Rioja, Spain
  • Linda Reeser, PhD, MSW, Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Western Michigan University, USA

“Approaches for Field Instructors to Support Social Work Interns During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

The COVID-19 pandemic has a dramatic impact on our society to date and it also reshapes how supervision of social worker interns carries out in the field. This presentation summarizes main challenges for social work interns due to abrupt changes (e.g., such as remote working). And this presentation also shares approaches developed & tested effective in the field to support social work interns through the pandemic (e.g., new ways of training and supervision). To illustrate the specifics, this presentation uses cohort of social work interns from fall 2019 as an example to go through their end to end journey from onboarding to termination.

At the onboarding phase, social work interns face new challenges to get familiar with clinical practice process and tools. Instead of traditional approach of face to face sessions with new clients, they need to quickly pivot to conduct intake interviews via phone and video interviews. We develop new protocols for client intakes to ensure privacy and confidentiality for clients while also promoting trust building in the new format. Instead of observing supervisors utilizing electrical charting system, interns need to learn from online trainings, which requires additional handholding.

During the continuous supervision, trainings on various platforms (e.g., telehealth, online interactive play therapy) can be developed and deployed on the agency level while supervisors could leverage more frequent one-on-one check-ins (e.g., daily basis) to provide necessary trainings. Supervisors also adapt to new approaches to provide clinical supervision through remote learning. Specifically, supervisors could develop a playbook to share best practices on how to conduct phone and video sessions with clients, how to run video groups, and etc.

Supervisor also need to support interns during the pandemic and ensure their learning experience at the field placement. Supervisors could choose to run weekly agency interns support group, adjust case load based on capacity and adaptivity of interns, create more opportunities for interns to reach out to partner agencies and community organizations, and put an emphasis on advocating social justice for underserved clients populations. With the prevalence of mental health challenge and burnout during the pandemic, supervisor also need to be more sensitive with interns’ personal experiences and needs during the pandemic and provide support and assistance as needed.

Finally at termination of internship, for interns who developed relationship with their clients in person but need to terminate the relationship remotely (e.g., cohort of 2019 intern), supervisors need to develop new approaches to support interns and their clients for a smooth termination with the agency.

  • Qiuyuan Liu, The Child Center of NY, USA

“Student Voices on Social Work Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic” 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life throughout the globe. Social work educators have needed to adjust their policies and practices while maintaining necessarily rigorous standards. There now exist many groups, forums such as this symposium, and publications, where faculty share their experiences, ideas, and best practices. This panel will add a much needed voice to the conversation. A panel of undergraduate and graduate social work students at a state college will share their perspectives on social work education throughout the pandemic. From personal, family, and community experiences, to online learning and completing their field placements in modified settings, students will share feedback about what has worked well, and share their thoughts on where there may be room for improvement. These student perspectives may provide important insights as social work education continues to respond to the ongoing pandemic. Implications for post pandemic online social work education will be explored.

  • Colleen Martinez, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA;
  • Annyjah A. Hocutt, MSW Student, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA;
  • Yuriria Martinez, MSW Student, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA;
  • Courtney Ober, MSW Student, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA

“Transitioning Senior Capstone Projects to an Online Environment During a Pandemic”

This presentation will address the learning opportunities presented to Alvernia University’s BSW Program faculty and students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlight how they embraced the CSWE Grand Challenge to harness technology for social good. The presenters will talk about the impact on the Bachelor of Social Work Program (BSW) student capstone requirements and the adaptations made to accommodate the new learning environment. Alvernia University BSW students participate in three major projects during their senior year, including interdisciplinary simulations, peer mentoring, and community conference planning. Each of these projects is framed as student-centered and employs face-to-face pedagogy.

The learning components were adapted to allow for interactive, online pedagogy. The interdisciplinary collaboration occurred via Zoom in the form of a discharge planning team meeting comprised of social work, nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy students. The Social Work Internship Mentoring (SWIM) peer-mentoring program was adapted from a half-day presentation to a podcast series recorded and disseminated to BSW juniors through an online platform. Finally, the student-organized community social work conference was adapted from a one-day in-person event to a virtual half-day event. Although the students have collaborated across locations to participate in interdisciplinary education (IE) projects, it has never been implemented as a virtual activity. Each year, the Philadelphia Center students travel over an hour to participate in the IE main campus location event. Similarly, this is the first time that Alvernia University BSW students will collaborate across locations on the SWIM and conference projects.

The presenters will briefly describe each project and related tasks, identify the associated core competencies and the dimensions of social work practice: knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes. They will also discuss how each task was modified to occur in an online environment. The presentations will feature perspectives from social work faculty on challenges and opportunities presented with the adaptions to a collaborative online learning environment.

  • Kevin Lally, Alvernia University, USA;
  • Ohenewaa D. White-Ra, Alvernia University, USA

“Using Simulation to Teach MSW Generalist MSW Students Engagement and Assessment Skills”

In fall 2020, four field education faculty, who are also LCSW practitioners, taught 285 generalist MSW students via Zoom, to apply and evaluate engagement and assessment skills with clients, using simulations. This new, required course, Field Skills Seminar, was created by the field faculty, in consultation with Marion Bogo and colleagues from schools of social work and nursing.

Over five, 2.5-hour classes, students simulated interviews with clients whose lives depicted problems of loss, mental illness, aging, depression, immigration, gender and ethnic marginalization, and health/illness. Students were assigned interviewer, client, or observer roles and wrote reflections after simulating each. Learning through simulation theory was taught through lectures, media, and PowerPoints, based upon Marion Bogo’s “Social Work Practice”, 2nd edition, 2018, and readings from clinical social work journals. Students practiced engagement and assessment skills using brief, scripted micro and macro simulations involving individuals, families, and groups. Giving and receiving feedback, supportively and critically, in service of acquiring interviewing skills, was a guiding ethic. Students took risks, acknowledged sweaty palms, reported “the shakes,” and shared fears of appearing unskilled or unintelligent while role playing their respective characters. Their concerns were openly explored and appropriately normalized, and students gained traction as they practiced, and practiced, and practiced.

Faculty were active and supportive, demonstrating interviewing techniques themselves, collegially redirecting students when needed, and underscoring the need for all practitioners, themselves included, to establish trusting and respectful relationships with clients as preconditions to providing interventions later. The cognitive and affective processes of Bogo’s “Holistic Competence” conceptual framework were identified and present in each class. Through simulations, students experienced themselves as people, with a collection of their own life experiences and impressions, as well as themselves as social work students and future professional social workers, who are bound to practice effectively and ethically.

We had intended to teach this course in-person and hope to when health conditions permit. However, and why our roundtable is being proposed for a gathering on Global Education, we did, indeed, reach into students’ homes, often across states, and joined with them, as they endured the global pandemic that had also interrupted their plans. Student evaluations were overwhelmingly positive: “Even though I experienced some performance anxiety when engaging in roleplay activities, these were extremely valuable and I felt more confident and comfortable in my actual engagements with clients in field after my roleplay in the social worker role in this class. I also appreciated the length of the class; we had time to dig into the material as well as individual feedback.”

“Faculty engaged the entire class in reflections on roleplays as well as other group activities. The roleplays were extremely helpful. Even watching other students’ simulations and providing feedback to them was helpful for my own growth and self–reflection. Faculty were warm and encouraging and their feedback helped to build my confidence in my field placement and in the program in general. They also provided very detailed and helpful feedback on the written reflection exercises which was much appreciated.”

  • Trinay Thomas, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Associate Director of Field Education, Rutgers University – Newark
  • Nancy Schley, MSW, LCSW, Teaching Instructor and Associate Director of Field Education, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
  • Bernardo Hiraldo, MSW, LCSW, Teaching Instructor and Associate Director of Field Education, Rutgers University – Camden
  • Mark Lamar, MSW, MBA, LCSW, Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Executive Director of Field Education, Rutgers University

“La praxis y su relación con la intervención social-investigación en Trabajo social” (En español)

El artículo presenta una discusión en torno a la experiencia de la formación de quienes serán los trabajadores sociales, en este caso, se expone una construcción en el aula que se fundamentó en la experiencia de investigación del Reconocimiento de las organizaciones de víctimas y de sus apuestas en la construcción de paz, además de la lectura crítica frente a la experiencia docente en el programa de trabajo social tanto en Manizales como en La Dorada. La investigación tuvo por objetivo: “reconocer y caracterizar las organizaciones de víctimas de La Dorada –Caldas- y la forma como en ellas se involucra o no el tema de la construcción de paz” (Semillero Observatorio Paz y Ciudadanía 2019). Uno de los aprendizajes significativos de los líderes sociales era la apuesta singular para que otras personas conocieran y reflexionaran acerca de la experiencia de ser líder, que otros escucharan sus testimonios, sus vidas y que, otras personas se conectaran quizá de una manera más cercana a lo que sucede en los territorios. Siendo la docente tutora del semillero, llevó a cuestionarme sobre cómo transmitir las voces de los líderes sociales en las aulas de clase, especialmente en un contexto colombiano fraguado por la violencia social, política, económica, cultural que se vive en las dinámicas de los territorios rurales. Tato la investigación como la proyección se articulan en el ejercicio docente, se retoma lo que sucede en estos contextos y se pone a circular esos saberes en el proceso formativo dentro de las aulas de clase. En ese sentido, recordé la experiencia de Nariño con asociaciones de mujeres campesinas , en este proceso, entendí que uno de los grandes debates al cual un trabajador social se enfrenta son la configuración de dilemas éticos, estos espacios de discusión frente a las decisiones que se construyen en la intervención social, no sólo tendrá impacto en la vida de otros, tiene por su puesto un dilema afecta la construcción de identidad del trabajador social. El dilema es un “argumento formado de dos proposiciones contrarias disyuntivamente, con tal artificio que, negada o concedida cualquiera de las dos, queda demostrado lo que se intenta probar” (RAE 2011); todos los dilemas implican tres factores fundamentales: a) duda, b) reflexión, c) no lugares . El dilema es un ejercicio reflexivo enfocado en la escritura crítica y política que se construye con el estudiante de trabajo social, es un espacio para hablar con voz propia con relación a lo que le indigna, es decir las injusticias sociales inclusive las propias que viven. El dilema se compone como un proceso de tránsito por los contenidos bajo esas características, por una parte, la duda permite que el estudiante comente sus dudas con relación a la identidad profesional, esto le permite considerar su subjetividad política, el acto de dudar con relación a lo que “hace” un trabajador social o darle una discusión sobre cuál es su identidad profesional relacionado con la intervención social-investigación social. 

  • Luz Stella Chamorro, Universidad Caldas, Colombia

“Lessons from an Elementary School- Creating Community in MSW Classrooms”

The switch to online teaching happened in an instant for schools across the country and educators were forced to reimagine the delivery of academic content. However, it was quickly evident that what students needed were opportunities to create and sustain feelings of community and camaraderie. Supported by teachings from NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, Dr. Bettina Love and Dr. Gholdy Mohammad, I propose that creating community in online settings is as important if not more important than the delivery of content. During this workshop, participants will have the chance to reflect on their own practices, learn and define what it means to them to be part of a community and come up with a plan of actionable steps to take to increase community in their classrooms.

  • Gabriella McBride, New York University, USA

“Inter-professional Simulation: Virtual Practice Opportunities for Students Impacted by COVID-19”

COVID-19 has significantly disrupted field education and its signature in-vivo experience in agencies and relationship-building with clients, colleagues, and field instructors typically enjoyed by students (Bogo, 2015). The pandemic has also impacted the number, variety, and quality of available field placements, particularly in urban areas with multiple schools of social work. To address these challenges, our School implemented an online Field Seminar, a contingency plan for unplaced and displaced students to keep them on track with learning, field hours, and credits. Students were assigned to cohorts led by field instructors with deep agency practice knowledge. Upon completing modules containing virtual simulations, role plays, videos, webinars, and readings, with reflective questions and agency spotlights embedded within them, students meet with their School-based Field Instructor for weekly group supervision and reflective discussion.

The contingency plan has been well-received by students and new methods of learning in the field curriculum area are being explored. However, students continue to crave opportunities to practice with clients, to be observed, and to receive feedback. To meet this need, students in the Field Seminar were invited to participate in a virtual inter-professional simulation exercise in collaboration with nursing and pharmacy students. The simulation is based on an end-of-life scenario and is conducted entirely through Zoom.

To accommodate public health measures during the pandemic, social work students participate virtually on an inter-professional team addressing the medical and psychosocial needs of the family of a patient who has been severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Students interact with the parents of the adult patient, collaborate with their inter-professional peers, and create a treatment plan for the case. Students are observed by faculty from each discipline and are provided feedback using the Debriefing with Good Judgement model (Rudolph et al., 2006). Unlike nursing students, social work students rarely have the opportunity to be observed in practice and to receive feedback from faculty (Kourgiantakis et al., 2019). Social work students typically don’t have the opportunity to collaborate with other professions in a medical setting and to deepen their understanding of the nuanced approaches of different disciplines until they are employed (Kelly et al., 2020).

Virtual simulation is a creative way to foster learning, while expanding field-related interactions and pedagogy. Through the use of technology, virtual simulations can provide students (outside of the field practicum) the opportunity to interact with standardized clients, and other disciplines, while receiving constructive feedback on their practice skills. Technology can increase student access, and provide flexibility to accommodate a greater number of learners at varying times during the day. By participating in the simulation exercise with nursing and pharmacy colleagues, social work students were able to practice the Inter-professional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies of collaboration, roles and responsibilities, communication, and teamwork (IPEC, 2016). This unique opportunity is a viable resource and was embraced by students in our contingency Field Seminar awaiting placement with an agency setting. 

  • Anne Dempsey, DSW, LCSW, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work, New York University
  • Nicholas Lanzieri, PhD, LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, New York University
  • Virgen Luce, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, Assistant Dean of Field Learning & Community Partnerships, New York University

“Social Workers 2021, Meeting clients where they are: Literally and Figuratively”

This session will prepare social workers with critical knowledge, values, and practice to better serve clients on the ground and in virtual social work settings. Due to COVID restrictions, social work practitioners instantaneously changed their approach to supplying direct services to consumers. Whether incorporating infection prevention in-person practices or transitioning to a virtual platform, social workers’ engagement practices shifted to meet this need. Since most consumers do not have the choice to restructure how they receive their social service needs in the pandemic, it is up to social workers to incorporate engagement techniques that meet clients where clients are. With the rise in virtual clinical engagement practices, we will review the revised NASW Code of Ethics on technology, highlighting ethical and cultural considerations. 

  • Mary Beth Ali, Rutgers University, USA

“Teaching Through Traumatic Times: Educating MSW Students During a Global Pandemic”

COVID-19 presented even the most seasoned instructors with unique, unprecedented, and complex challenges. The sudden move to an online platform, learning to use technology alongside students and considering new methods to engage and educate students created a trial-by-fire situation for all. As a Teaching Assistant and now Adjunct Professor in the Master of Social Work Program at New York University, I have observed and struggled with the above challenges. Students have shared feelings of disconnection from their school experience, unpreparedness for graduation, and fearfulness for their professional futures, or, as one student stated, “prematurely burnt out.”

Of particular interest are students enrolled in trauma classes; how do we teach students about working with trauma while they are personally living through an unprecedented trauma, a global pandemic with no clear ending? This presentation will examine the challenges presented by COVID -19 for MSW instructors and students, emphasizing the conundrum of teaching students about working with traumatized clients while personally experiencing a prolonged trauma.

Using varied technological resources in the presentation, participants will increase their teaching toolbox and focus on three objectives:

  1. Through presentation and open dialogue, we will discuss ongoing ideas to enrich both students’ online learning experience and their engagement in course materials
  2. We will address students’ concerns and frustrations as they prepare to enter the social work profession and consider helpful responses.
  3. Based on experience and a literature review, we will examine how teaching trauma during the current pandemic compares to teaching during past traumatic events (e.g., 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina). What are the educational takeaways considering the shared and prolonged trauma simultaneously experienced by instructors, students, and clients?

After reviewing lessons learned and exploring ongoing challenges, the presentation will conclude with suggestions, thoughts, and considerations for the future educational needs.

  • Shari Bloomberg, New York University, USA

Technical Details

Each session will have a unique look through the platform GOOGLE MEET.

Join a meeting: You can join a meeting from any modern browser on your desktop or laptop. There’s no additional software to install. Simply tap the meeting link in the schedule.

Video and audio preview screen: After clicking your meeting code or link, you can adjust your camera and mic and see how you look before entering the meeting. You’ll also get a preview of who has already joined the meeting. 

Layout: Meet automatically switches the layout in a video meeting to display the most active content and participants. To switch the layout, click the three dots in the lower corner of the Meet screen.

For more guidance, please visit: https://apps.google.com/intl/en/meet/how-it-works/

Ramapo