Abstracts of Volume 29 (2011) (1,2,3,4) of the Journal of Technology in Human Services

Volume 29/1: 2011, HUSITA Issue (Part 2)

The Use of Social Media to Improve Social Work Education in Remote Areas by Arja Kilpeläinen, Kirsi Päykkönen, & Jukka Sankala

KEYWORDS: social media, education, social work

ABSTRACT:  Social media provides a relatively new way to study social work. In this article, we describe an experiment to use social media in social work education. The use of social media and other distance-learning solutions, gives several advantages to both students and teachers. For example, it makes studying processes transparent, offers both peer encouragement and peer discipline, and enhances students’ competence in ICT. Since the role of technology in our everyday life is growing, it is crucial to learn to use social media as an educational tool.


Teaching and learning Community Work online: Can e-learning promote competences for future practice? By Anne Karin Larsen, Rina Visser-Rotgans & Grete Oline Hole

KEYWORDS: e-learning, community work, social work, virtual learning material, international courses, participatory action research, participatory action learning

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a case study of an online course in Community Work and the learning outcomes for an international group of students participating in the course. Examples from the process of, and results from the development of virtual learning material are presented. Finally the students’ learning experience and competences achieved by the use of innovative learning material and ICT communication tools are presented.


The Challenges for Faculty Using Interactive Television in Distance Education by Violet E. Horvath & Crystal S. Mills

KEYWORDS: distance education, interactive television, ITV, social work

ABSTRACT: Distance education (DE) is increasingly popular in the United States as a way for professional schools to attempt to respond to workforce needs and improve student access to higher education. Students unable to attend face-to-face (F2F) classes for reasons such as geographical distance, diversity, and economics, among others, benefit from being able to stay in their communities and obtain an education. Interactive television, or ITV, is a DE technology that is live and takes place in real time, making it especially useful for teaching practice classes. This paper reviews the research on DE and ITV, including their definitions and histories, and discusses the advantages and challenges of using ITV.


ICT and Life Long Learning Pedagogy for Development and Empowerment: An Illustration from Farmers in India by Thomas Amirtham & M. John Joseph

KEYWORDS:  Lifelong Learning for farmers, ICT enabled learning, Development

ABSTRACT: The contemporary socio-economic and political scenario in India hinders the disadvantaged communities from expanding their capabilities. Lack of opportunities and absence of enabling environment deter these communities from having equitable access to the fruits of ongoing development. In India the farming population (70%) in general and small and marginal farmers (63.0%) in particular are the worst affected by this asymmetry of opportunities. While the Indian growth story heavily hangs on agriculture, the distressed farmers resort to suicide for want of livelihood security. There is an urgent need to build the capacities of farmers to enhance their bargaining power in the socio-economic field and ensure a minimum standard of living. Life Long Learning (L3) aided by  Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a unique attempt that facilitates this capacity building process by providing horizontal, vertical and self –directed learning. By enhancing the cognitive social capital of the farmers, Life Long Learning improves their negotiating skills and expands their access to livelihood resources.  Since 1998, Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) in partnership with groups of farmers has demonstrated this in rural Tamil Nadu, India. This paper describes this process and outlines the outcome of this intervention where Life Long Learning has become  an effective tool in the hands of the weak in rural Tamil Nadu, India. We are deeply indebted to CoL for supporting this initiative.


Negotiating the content and process of collaborative practice in the development of open access e-learning resources: a case study from the social work curriculum in England by Judith Thomas & Anne Quinney

KEYWORDS:  blended learning, social work, interprofessional working and e-learning resources

ABSTRACT: This paper explores the challenges of developing open access on line multimedia learning resources in the area of Interprofessional and Interagency Collaboration in the social work curriculum in England. The paper outlines the process of developing these web-based interactive e-learning materials. It considers the different domains and discourses and the identities that the project brought together. These included those involving the commissioners, developers, subject material authors and peer reviewers; and those of theory, research evidence and professional practice. The paper reflects on the complex process of developing research-informed materials to enhance student preparedness for professional practice, through engaging with authentic scenarios.  

Volume 29/2: 2011, Generic Issue

Personal(ized) Health monitoring, Personalization and Personality by Dieter Rhode, Dipl.-Psych

KEYWORDS:  Health Monitoring, Personality, Personalization, Feedback, Adherence.

ABSTRACT:  Use of technology in individual health monitoring is predicted to be widespread in near future healthcare systems and in smart home environments. The term Personalized Health Monitoring (PHM) is proposed for these applications. A framework describing aspects of personalization and personality that are relevant to personalized health monitoring is presented. The framework addresses personal data, adaptability, feedback, and personality. Influence of personality on approach, interaction, and adherence to PHM technology are discussed. Personality is both a variable influencing monitored data, as well as a variable that can be monitored itself. An agenda for future research in the field of Personal and Personalized Health Monitoring is presented.


Understanding e-Mental Health Resources: Personality, Awareness, Utilisation and Effectiveness of e-Mental Health Resources amongst Youth by Authors: Xian Long Feng & Andrew Campbell

KEYWORDS: e-mental health, e-health, online health, depression

ABSTRACT:  The focus of this study is to replicate portions of the study by Neal, Campbell, Williams, Liu and Nussbaumer (2011) to determine if their findings translate to Australian adolescents. Specifically, this study aims to: determine personality types as predictors of knowledge and utilisation of e-mental health resources; identify subject usage rates of specific e-mental health resources; and identify subject views on the efficacy of these resources. Participants were an opportunistic sample of first year university students (N = 176) aged between 18 and 25. A single session online survey was administered. The hypotheses that extroverted adolescents are less likely to have an awareness of e-mental health resources when compared to neurotic adolescents; and extroverted adolescents are less likely to engage in seeking help from e-mental health resources when compared to neurotic adolescents, were not supported. This study was unable to discern the efficacy of e-mental health resources or the sample’s awareness of e-mental health resources. However, it was found that the sample was likely to engage in online help seeking behaviour for mental health concerns. Despite the limited findings, this study suggests several ideas that could be further explored.


Audience Response Systems: Using “Clickers” to Enhance BSW Education by Laurie A. Smith, Herb Shon, & Rowena Satiago

KEYWORDS:  Audience Response Systems, Clickers, Social Work Education

ABSTRACT:  Among new technologies for enhancing classroom-based education are audience response systems (ARS), also known as “clickers.” These handheld devices record student responses to instructor questions and send them electronically to a receiver which tallies the responses. Summary results are then projected, usually as a graph. Instructors piloted the use of clickers in undergraduate social work research and practice courses. Instructor and student experiences with the clickers were examined by type of course, frequency of use, ease of use, perceived impact on learning and use by students with disabilities. Instructors and students in both types of courses found the clickers beneficial. Minor differences by type of course were found. Some students with disabilities noted problems using the clickers. More use of clickers and research on their use in social work education is recommended along with continued attention to universal design in course preparation.


A survey of online practitioners: Implications for education and practice by Goutham M. Menon & Maureen Rubin

KEYWORDS: e-therapy; online counseling, use of technology in practice

ABSTRACT:  In the last decade the helping professions have seen a growing interest in the provi­sion of online counseling and therapeutic services for individuals. Like most fields of work, social work also has experienced a growth in the creative use of technology in various areas of professional work.  Based on this growing interest and the need for such services and research on its efficacy, a study was conducted to learn from e-therapists across the US on their experiences with this mode of service delivery. This paper elicits results from the online survey and provides recommendations to better serve our clients in the tech savvy world and future research endeavors. The main findings of this preliminary study include: 1) Many theoretical perspectives and models are being used to ground online practice, 2) e-therapists are beginning to use video-conferencing for online practice supplementing their face-face sessions, and 3) e-therapists believe that online interventions benefit their clients.

Volume 29/3: 2011, Generic Issue

Current and Future Trends in Internet-Supported Mental Health Interventions by Azy Barak & John M. Grohol

KEYWORDS: e-therapy, Internet, computer, online intervention, cyberpsychology

ABSTRACT:  Despite growing research in the past two decades involving Internet-supported or online mental health interventions, there has been only a few attempts to provide a synthesis of the research findings and future trends. The Internet has grown exponentially during this time, providing greater access to a wider population than ever before. Consequently, online mental health interventions have the potential to be cost-effective, convenient, and reach a more diverse population than traditional, face-to-face interventions. This paper reviews and summarizes the current research for online mental health interventions and discusses future trends. These interventions range from psychoeducational static webpages and complex, personalized, interactive cognitive-behavioral-based self-help programs, to video conferencing, self-help support groups, blogging, and professional-led online therapy. Future trends in online interventions include the greater prevalence of online therapy and the use of video chat and videoconferencing technologies to enhance and extend the therapeutic relationship. The use of texting (SMS), mobile communications, smart phone applications, gaming, and virtual worlds extends the intervention paradigm into new environments not always previously considered as intervention opportunities. We find that there is strong evidence to support the effective use and future development of a variety of online mental health applications.


Using email for Family Research by Roni Berger & Marilyn S. Paul

KEYWORDS:  Research and Internet; Research and e-mail; Research and world-wide-web; Internet and family research; e-mail and family research

ABSTRACT:  This article discusses conceptual, methodological and ethical challenges of using email to study families and offers strategies to address them. Specifically, the unique nature of issues related to sampling and data collection are addressed. Suggested adjustments and strategies include the use of insiders’ consultation, securing opportunities for all family members to voice their views, creating paths for expressing content typically conveyed nonverbally, letting respondents control the pace and shape of the dialogue, creating a virtual shared reality and informing participants’ about measures to protect their privacy. Directions for future research are offered.


An Initial Comparison of Live Instruction and Immersive Video Modes of Progressive Muscle Relaxation by Peter G. Mezo, Jeanna Hall, Christopher M. Duggan, & Valerie A. Noël

KEYWORDS: Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Anxiety, Immersive Video

ABSTRACT:  Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an established treatment for the reduction of anxiety, and has been delivered via live instruction, audiotape, videotape, and immersive video. Although previous research has compared some of these modes of PMR delivery, this is the first study to compare live instruction with immersive video. Participants completed one session of either live instruction or immersive video PMR, and outcome data was obtained for affect, satisfaction, and heart rate. Results indicate the comparability of live instruction and immersive video PMR conditions, as well as the overall effectiveness of a single-session of PMR. Moreover, results suggest the potential superiority of immersive video over live instruction in terms of perceived value.


Free Web-Based Statistical Analysis: A Viable Option for Human Service Agencies by Andrew Quinn,

KEYWORDS: Internet, Web-Based Statistical Procedures, Descriptive Statistics, Inferential Statistics, Graphing, Human Service Data Analysis

ABSTRACT:  This brief report describes the usability of web-based procedures (graphing, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics) for human service agencies.  Observations indicate that benefits to using these web-based statistical procedures include the plethora of available procedures, the available help files, the outputs mimic those of desktop statistical programs, and outputs can be copied and pasted into agency documents.  Drawbacks included the inability to save data and the need for a priori knowledge about statistical procedures.  In conclusion, web-based procedures are a reasonable alternative for agencies who cannot afford expensive statistical software.


Book Reviews:  The Use of Technology In Mental Health (Applications, Ethics and Practice) by Thomas Craig


Application Reviews:  Poll Everywhere Audience Response System by Herb Shon & Laurie Smith

Volume 29/4: 2011, Generic Issue

Understanding Nurse Perceptions of a Newly Implemented Electronic Medical Record System by Bree Holtz & Sarah Krein

KEYWORDS: Electronic Medical Record; Adoption; Nursing Informatics; Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology

ABSTRACT: Nurses the frontline of healthcare; however, there has been little theoretically-driven research on their acceptance of information technology use in care delivery.  This research utilized the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model to understand how hospital nurses perceived the implementation of a new electronic medical record (EMR) system. This study used mix methods. The survey responses indicated that social influence and performance expectancy were significant factors in system adoption.  Effort expectancy did not have a significant influence on the intention to use the EMR.  The interviews were utilized to better understand these results. The UTAUT model highlighted factors that are important to nurses during an EMR deployment and can help in future implementations of technology in healthcare.


An Exploratory Study of Health Professionals’ Attitudes about Telepresence Technology by Annica Kristoffersson, Silvia Coradeschi, Amy Loutfi, & Kerstin Severinson-Eklundh

KEYWORDS: human-robot interaction, evaluation, organizational perspective

ABSTRACT:  This article presents the results from a video-based evaluation study of a social robotic telepresence solution for elderly. The evaluated system is a mobile teleoperated robot called Giraff that allows caregivers to virtually enter a home and conduct a natural visit just as if they were physically there. The evaluation focuses on the perspectives from primary healthcare organizations and collects the feedback from different categories of health professionals. The evaluation included 150 participants and yielded unexpected results with respect to the acceptance of the Giraff system. In particular, greater exposure to technology did not necessarily increase acceptance and large variances occurred between the categories of health professionals. In addition to outlining the results, this study provides a number of indications with respect to increasing acceptance for technology for elderly.


Preliminary Validation of an Online DSM-Based Mental Health Referral Inventory by Robert Epstein & Laura Muzzatti

KEYWORDS:  mental health test, mental health referrals, DSM, online testing

ABSTRACT:  A brief online inventory was developed as a much needed corrective for the hundreds of unscientific tests that are used now by millions of people to self-diagnose mental health problems.  The primary purpose of the new inventory is to refer people to mental health professionals for further evaluation when they are experiencing problems that might be diagnosable under DSM guidelines; it is not designed to diagnose, however.  The inventory was found to be a valid and reliable measuring instrument based on analysis of data obtained from 3,403 subjects. The 54-item checklist looks for 18 common problems identified in the DSM-IV and takes from 5 to 10 minutes to complete.  Test scores proved to be good predictors of a variety of self-reported criterion measures, including happiness, personal and professional success, history of hospitalization, history of therapy, current participation in therapy, employment, and level of education.  Females were found to have slightly more mental health problems than males, but no differences in scores were found by race or ethnicity.


Lessons Learned From Using Adobe Connect in the Social Work Classroom by Amy Cappiccie & Patricia Desrosiers

KEYWORDS: Adobe Connect, online learning, synchronous learning, asynchronous learning, social work curriculum

ABSTRACT:  Adobe Connect is synchronous web conferencing software available to colleges and universities. This pilot study sought to understand student and faculty participation in use of this software as part of an already established hybrid master’s level social work curriculum. This software was utilized in two courses: concentration year field practicum and advanced social work practice. Student feedback and satisfaction are presented. Lessons learned for using such software are explored. 


BOOK REVIEW:  Human Attention in Digital Environments Edited by: Claudia Roda, Cambridge University Press, New York  Reviewed by Michael A. Turk