Acker, University of Regina Faculty of Social Work
Saskatchewan, S4S 0A2 Canada
work, education, applications
technologies are undergoing a revolution in the complexity of the tasks they can
perform going beyond the collection, storage and retrieval of information to
mimic sophisticated human activities. The
Internet is adding a further dimension in the amount of information that can be
accessed in support of human service management, service delivery, research and
role should professional education play in the service of this new context of
human service practice? Will the
new IT developments serve to enslave us or be a liberating factor?
Will they isolate us as home workers or connect us into a global human
service network? Will they increase the disparity among groups and nations in
their access to resources or be an empowering force promoting an equitable
human service workers and students how to use and manage IT, the issues and
ethics involved in implementing IT in organizations and the challenges of
putting it in the hands of clients are the essence of a graduate course in the
Faculty of Social Work at the University of Regina. The above issues will be explored in this presentation.
information in this section will further elaborate on the abstract included
above in this proposal submission form but will not repeat the information
contained in it.
in information technology have dramatically affected the human services which
have always been involved in handling large amounts of information: e.g.
collection, storage, retrieval, manipulation, communication and use in decision
making. Social workers have traditionally not prepared themselves for this
revolution in the use of technology and find themselves alienated when
confronted with the requirement to use IT in their work.
At all levels, from front line workers to management, research and policy
development, issues arise such as when and when not to use IT, how to use it
most effectively, ethical uses, impact on clients, and implementation processes
and training to mention a few.
1994 the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Regina began to offer a
course at the masters level which would introduce students to basic word
processing, spreadsheets and presentation software.
Since then, under my direction the course has evolved to stress analysis
of issues over competency with software, though the latter remains included and
expanded to cover web site development.
intended audience for this paper includes educators, students, consultants and
social workers at every level of organizational practice, i.e. anyone using IT
or in an advising or decision-making position in the human services.
Learning objectives include:
the range of uses of IT in the human services
the emerging issues that confront the human services in the adoption of IT
in a critique of one example of a course for human service workers in IT:
content, teaching methodologies and use of technology, etc.
presentation will take the form of a paper enhanced by PowerPoint slides.
I intend to encourage audience involvement in the material presented.
intend to concentrate on issues involved in using and teaching IT in MSW
education but will touch briefly on selected Microsoft Office software programs
and their uses.
have been using the PC for 13 years and have added programs relevant to my
academic tasks as they became available and supported by the University.
I have been teaching the IT course since 1996, developing it further each
year. I developed and twice taught
an undergraduate on-line course, "The Legal Environment of Social Work
Practice", in 1999 and 2000 and am now developing an introductory social
work course to be offered entirely on-line.
Although I am self-taught, I am the social work department's technology
mentor when new faculty members are hired and general software trouble shooter.