Issue debate assignment, SOCW 6355
Students will work in small groups to debate on the following
. You are encouraged to quote class readings,
guest speakers, relevant web sites, etc., to make your points. Debates
are not graded. The debate
, the process for determining topics
appear below. We will vote
on the topics first, then decide the debate teams. Have your choices
of topics and possible team members ready for class discussion.
Debate Schedule for Spring 11
Possible Debate Topics
Debate topic 1: Digital Divide
Pro: Access to IT for many of social work's constituents (the poor, people with
disabilities) is a major problem that social workers must address
Access to IT will solve itself just as access to other technologies like the
television and the telephone.
Debate topic 2: Would you refer your loved one to a social worker who
got her degree online?
- Pro: Online education is just as effective as classroom education
- Con: Students can develop social work skills & values only through
Face-to-Face (F2F) education
Debate topic 3: E-therapy
Therapy can be delivered over the Internet. E-therapy should be
embraced for reasons such as it is one way to make a very scarce resource
available to those in need.
Con: Therapy cannot or should not be delivered over the Internet.
E-therapy should be resisted for reasons such as machines can never take the
place of humans and do therapy.
Debate topic 4: Workplace Privacy
- Pro: Human service employers should NOT monitor workers online
activities and read employee emails
- Con: Human service employers should monitor workers online
activities and read employee emails
Debate topic 5: Organizational change and technophobia
- Pro: Implementing IT applications is a change similar to other changes social
workers implement. One reason
is that social workers are not more technophobic than are similar
- Con: IT has unique characteristics that make change involving technology
different from other changes. One
of the unique characteristics of human services IT is that social workers
are more technophobic than similar professionals
Debate topic 6: Ethics of Technology
- Pro: Technology
is value free in and of itself. Values
and ethics comes into play when we examine how people use technology
- Con: Technology
is not value free because it is based on and espouses western philosophy and
Debate topic 7: Technology displacement
- Pro: IT will displace social workers in the future
- Con: IT will create as many new jobs as it displaces or more new jobs
Debate topic 8: Cyberspace and isolation
- Pro: Cyberspace isolates people more than connects them, e.g., most
times they are sitting in front of a computer interacting with the web and not
socializing with anyone.
- Con: Cyberspace connects people more than isolates them, e.g., they
are using a computer to connect with others, although not always in real time.
Debate topic 9: Cyberspace and safety
- Pro: Cyberspace is safer for teens than the F2F world
- Con: Cyberspace is more dangerous for teens than the F2F world
Debate topic 10: Impact of working at home
- Pro: 'People working at home' will solve many more human service
problems that it will create.
- Con: 'People working at home' will create many more human service
problems that it will solve.
Debate Topic 11: Information technology empowers
- Pro: Technology empowers people by giving them the information
needed to live in this complex world, for example, information about their
their health and welfare lets people challenge those in power.
- Con: Technology empowers the few who control it and disempowers
the rest, for example, the majority of the world is losing access to their
information, intellectual property, resources, opportunities for
advancement, language, and culture. Technology and the Internet are
another way for the rich to control how the world works in order that they
can control and benefit from the work of the poor.
Debate topic 12: Individual privacy
- Pro: What is all this fuss about privacy. Only the crooks
and deviants need to fear monitoring by governments. We are the
government and we need information to protect ourselves from all the
problems in this modern world.
- Con: Governments with GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, and automatic monitoring
of electronic communications are accumulating too much information on the
average law abiding citizens. A good government will represent its
people rather than spy on them. Sooner or later, governments will use
the information they collect for control and punishment of anyone
challenging the government are anyone different from the norm.
Debate topic 13: Internet knowledge is good for
- Pro: It is good for clients to come into counseling with the
results of online screenings of potential problems, knowledge of solutions
and their effectiveness, etc.
- Con: Internet sites cannot possibly diagnose clients and recommend
treatment. Thus, that provide these services do a disservice to
clients and professionals.
Email me a topic of your choice
Debate Format (Time required = 30 minutes)
- Take poll to see the class's initial position of class members on the
topic All but the debaters vote whether they are pro or con on the
- A coin is flipped and the team which guesses correctly whether it lands
heads or tails gets to choose whether they will go first or last in the
- First debate team takes 3 minutes to present its initial arguments.
A one minute warning is given in chat box of Connect.
- Opposition takes 3 minutes to present its initial arguments. A one
minute warning is given.
- First side has 2 minutes for a rebuttal. A one minute warning is
- Opposition has 2 minutes for a rebuttal. A one minute warning is
- Take poll to see the class's final position on the topic. The team
which changes the most votes is the winner.
- Announcement and congratulations to the winner.
- Open forum for discussion of topic by all.
Process for determining debate topics
- Class members will cast 2 vote on any of the topics above or create new
topics. Class members will also indicate whether they prefer to argue
the Pro or Con position.
- Topics with the most votes will be selected for debate. Instructor will post
the topics selected and select teams based on class interests. Typically, 4-8
students will form the 2 teams for a topic.
Preparation for Debate
I suggest doing a Google and Google scholar search and maybe a crisp search
<http://crisp.cit.nih.gov/crisp/crisp_query.generate_screen> on your
topic to gain evidence. For the CRISP search, be sure to select multiple years.
A few emails or IMs to coordinate efforts and arguments will be helpful also.
Resources to refresh you debating skills