Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 27th Jan 2022, 04:17:27am EET

Session Overview
Paper Presentation Session 9: Learning/Teaching Methods II
Thursday, 17/June/2021:
10:45am - 12:15pm

Session Chair: Marika Lotko
Location: Parallel Session 2

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Social Work Distance Learning: Teaching Tools and Methods

Marika Lotko

Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia

In Latvia, the first wave of Covid-19 dates back to the period from 12 March to 9 June 2020 when the state of emergency was declared. Even before the declaration of the state of emergency, the management of Rīga Stradiņš University decided that the study process would take place remotely.

The first question that arose was how to provide the study process remotely so that it was equivalent to face-to-face studies. The strength of the Social Work study programmes, like other RSU programmes, was the previous developments in the provision of e-studies, that was used by teaching staff already before the pandemic and the declaration of the state of emergency for placing study materials, assigning tasks to students, making assessment and undertaking other activities. The time, when the state of emergency was declared, was also the time when graduates had to take the National Examination and students had to start field placement.

Distance learning and teaching were provided using various platforms: Moodle, Zoom, MsTeams, Panopto, Respondus Mundus. Innovative tools such as H5P, e-voting, Wiki, Dictionary, Mentimeter, etc. enabled interactive distance learning and teaching process, variation of the tasks to be assigned for the acquisition of knowledge and skills. New platforms and tools have been mastered even upon starting the academic year 2020/2021, which imposes an additional burden on lecturers and also students.

Reflecting on the distance learning, students have mentioned both its strengths and limitations. The following features were mentioned as strengths: recorded lectures give the possibility to pause the lecture and view it repeatedly as needed; the Zoom platform is considered to be a modern platform for learning study courses; an opportunity taken by lecturers to involve various practitioners in remote lectures was highly valued and also the time saved to commute from home to the University was appreciated. The disadvantages mentioned were the following: the state of emergency generally made it difficult to learn the subject matter; it was not possible to apply theoretical knowledge in practice and a poor Internet connection hindered the study process.

Social work online teaching in English: shared knowledge and internationalization across Finnish universities in times of pandemic

Janet Anand1, Gorana Panić2, Anu-Riina Svenlin2

1University of Eastern Finland; 2Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius/University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Teaching social work remotely became necessary under the global pandemic condition. Teachers and students were challenged by the demands of the pandemics to switch quickly from face-to-face classroom to online education. However, a well-designed online course or a lecture drove by effective online learning is different from remote teaching as an immediate response to the covid-19 crisis.

This paper is based on the results and lessons learned from the recent social work education project Developing online social work teaching in English, implemented in 2019-2020 by the Finnish National University Network for Social Work (SosNet). One of the project’s aims was to contribute to the internationalization of Finnish social work education. The project involved collaborative efforts among social work educators from six Finnish universities and numerous universities across Europe and the globe. As a result, there are six newly created social work online courses and e-learning resources.

In the presentation, we will focus on the questions of purpose and benefits of social work online teaching in English for the involved teachers and students, as well as the social work curriculum, and its pedagogy. The paper is driven both by our reflections on implementing the project and the data from students’ evaluation of the online course “Global perspectives in social work.” We will present our observations and direct experiences as the project coordinators and as the responsible teacher for the course.

Although the project concerns online social work education in the Finnish context, it contributes to the discussion about needs and resources for social work education's own transformation, demanded currently by the global pandemic and other crises anticipated in the future.

Teaching Pandemic Social Work Course in Times of Global Public Health Emergency

Oleksandr Kondrashov1, Jeanne Albutra2

1Thompson Rivers University, Canada; 2Thompson Rivers Universy, Canada

One way to actively respond to the pandemic challenges is to share knowledge about pandemic social work and prepare students to practice social work in a global public health emergency. In summer 2020, the first pandemic social work was offered at the Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada. This course critically examines the social work responses to the pandemic, with a specific focus on COVID-19.

The presenters will share the process of the course design and curriculum development. As part of the course, students learn how to articulate the social worker’s roles during the pandemic, develop adaptive responses to pandemic challenges, and prepare emergency response action plans for human service organizations. Students also learn how to describe what strategies should be used to communicate risk and engage communities to detect, prevent and respond to the pandemic and examine strategies for preventing and controlling pandemic. By participating in weekly Zoom meetings, connecting with practicing social workers, students could also outline social work direct practice skills and hygiene measures to protect community members against the pandemic. Course assignments focused on developing a professional response to ethical dilemmas during the pandemic and how to use online social networks to provide access to credible information and respond to infodemic concerns. Thirteen units of the course with more than 100 learning activities are now fully available online on the course webpage: and through e-course pack.

Critical Realism or about what to study even though we can not see

Sandra Mendes1, Sara Melo2

1Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal; 2Instituto Superior de Serviço Social do Porto, Portugal

This individual presentation addresses the creation of the Social Work scientific project based on the sociohistorical analysis of its emergence in academia, in Portugal and in the USA. Its central themes are the institutionalization of Social Work in graduate training as well as the creation and development of the PhD as advanced training. To this end, we explore the institutional determinants guiding the American case and the implementation of the same for the Portuguese case, based on documental analysis of the reports produced by the Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES). We intend to show the plausibility of the use of critical realism as an alternative epistemology to social work education.

Rapport building as an entry to the communities: Exploring Service Users involvement in community work education

Ishari Gunarathna1, Bhagya Jayawardeene2

1National Institute of Social Development, Sri Lanka; 2Western Sydney University, Australia

The professional social workers are entitle and committed to evidence based practice, empirical practice with their clients at all the interventions incorporate with individuals, families, groups and communities. Such practice demands the students to equip with knowledge, practice and skills to match with the client’s needs.The entry to an unknown community by a Community Social Worker is crucial and strategic in terms of trust, legal or formal acceptance and professional recognition. Being a part though theoretically explained in Social Work Knowledge base, the application is varied and complex in different community contexts. Therefore this study has attempted to explore the experience of service users who associated with community social work projects and elucidate their perception on community social workers skill practice in rapport building at the preliminary phase. The focus of the study geared on five distinct functional and geographical community work projects in Sri Lanka and community members recognized as the main source of data. Accordingly the perceptions will be extracted through interviews with service users from selected communities and the unique approach at the entry made by the community workers will be critically examined to derive recommendations for best practice. Moreover the findings derived from the on-going study are expected to add knowledge to the existing body of Social Work knowledge and sharpen the skill practice to effective community work engagement in Sri Lanka.

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