Abstracts of Volume 18 (1/2, 3/4) of the Journal of Technology in Human Services, 2001


Volume 18(1/2), 2001

Special Issue:  Going the Distance:  Use of technology in human services education, Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Technology Conference, Charleston SC, September 1999, (Ed.)  Gotham M Menon & Nancy K. Brown


Introduction by Nancy K. Brown and Goutham M. Menon 


The Utilization of Technology in Graduate Schools of Social Work by Rebecca Sager Ashery

KEYWORDS:  Technology utilization; Schools of social work

ABSTRACT:  Fifteen faculty from graduate schools of social work and staff from three social work organizations were interviewed by telephone for this qualitative study to describe utilization of technology.  Schools were engaged in technology activities that ranged from basic to special technology projects.  For the most part there was unevenness in the use of technology within each school and between schools.  A number of themes emerged.  Eleven recommendations are given to help schools to become leaders in the field of social work and technology.


The Impact of Distance Education Technology on Blending Two Cultures by Priscilla R. Smith and Nikki W. Wingerson

KEYWORDS: Distance education, technology, social work, culture

ABSTRACT:  The authors describe their experiences with distance education technology as it has impacted the development of a joint MSW program’s shared culture.  This phenomenon is examined from a symbolic interactionist perspective which focuses on interactions, shared perspectives, contexts, participations, and meanings.  While most interaction occurs in their “smart” rooms, the authors have found one-on-one and in-person interactions to be the most productive in terms of creating shared perspectives, a vital part of culture.


Successful Distance Learning Graduate Education in Human Services by John J. Newhouse

KEYWORDS:  Distance education, distance learning, graduate education

ABSTRACT:  There is a critical learning process unique to graduate human services education. This process needs to be applied in the distance-learning environment.  The planning and designing of course material, along with instructional strategies need to incorporate the five phases of this learning process.  Faculty who use this process to develop and deliver their distance programs will utilize the technology and educational environment of distance learning to the fullest.  This paper gives readers the framework for designing human services courses so that graduate students benefit from the structure and presentation of course material in the unique environment of distance learning.


Using Technological Tools to Enhance Learning in Social Work Diversity Courses by Marie Huff and Sherry Edwards

KEYWORDS: Diversity; electronic mail; listserv; social work education; cultural competence

ABSTRACT:   This study explores the educational benefits of using email and electronic discussion groups as instructional tools in social work diversity classes. The authors look at practical ideas of how these technological tools can be used to aid classroom instruction, increase student awareness of human diversity issues, and to enhance cultural competence. Students rated their experience as positive overall, and believe it gave them more opportunity to process the course content and expand their discussions outside the classroom. Students also report that they took more time to think about their responses than they do in traditional classroom discussions.


Enhancing Critical Thinking and Professionalism through Use of the Discussion Forum in Social Work Practice Courses by Janet L. Pray

KEYWORDS: Technology, discussion forum, social work, critical thinking

ABSTRACT:  Development of critical thinking skills, application of theory, ethical decision‑making, and achieving a professional identity are among the goals of social work education. This paper describes a three-year experience integrating discussion forums into graduate and undergraduate practice courses. Forums were designed to promote students’ ability to use theory, analyze controversial issues, analyze and address ethical issues, professionally critique the work of peers, and conceptualize practice problems and issues for discussion in the forum.  Evaluations indicated that discussion forums enhanced the depth of thinking about practice and practice issues and increased the sense of collegiality among students.


Distance Education: The Role of the Site Advisory Committee by Christine B. Hagan

KEYWORDS: Distance education, site advisory committee, DE site involvement

ABSTRACT:  This paper describes the role of the Site Advisory Committee (SAC) as a link between the off-campus sites and the host university.  The role of the SAC is to provide advice, regional perspectives, and suggestions for distance education program enhancement. SAC activities, structure, and program evaluation plan will be addressed. 


Evaluating ITV-Based MSW Programs: A Comparison of ITV and Traditional Graduates’ Perceptions of MSW Program Qualities by C. David Hollister and Youngmin Kim

KEYWORDS:  Distance learning, interactive television, MSW programs, social work graduates, instructional support

ABSTRACT:  Traditional and ITV-based MSW graduates at the University of Minnesota are compared on their perceptions of learning, relationships with instructors, adequacy of access to resources, connections with others students, staff support, connection to the school.  Possible impacts of ITV exposure on graduates’ use of electronic technologies are also examined.  ITV graduates generally rated the program’s impacts on learning and their satisfaction with various program supports equal to or higher than did graduates of the traditional program, with the exception of students’ connections to other students and access to resources such as libraries and computer labs.


Creating a TeleLearning Community for Training Social Work Practitioners Working with Troubled Youth and Their Families by Philip M. Ouellette

KEYWORDS: Distance education, web-based instruction, telelearning community, teleconferencing

ABSTRACT:  With the advent of several new communication technologies and the improvement of Web-based instructional software, combining several technology-supported teaching mediums may be a viable added dimension to consider when teaching advanced Social Work practice courses. What follows is a description of how faculty from two separate universities collaborated to create a dynamic telelearning community to train Social Work practitioners working with troubled youth and their families. By combining different technology-supported teaching mediums such as teleconferencing and a Web-based instructional environment, a unique “hi-tech” learning atmosphere evolved. Conditions that facilitate or hinder learning efficacy are explored as well systemic challenges.


e-Tools and Organization Transformation Techniques for Collaborative Case Management by Brenda Kunkel and Toni Yowell

KEYWORDS: Collaborative case management, technology transformation tools, technology transformation issues

ABSTRACT:  Welfare and workforce development reforms propel individual agencies into formal partnerships with one another.  Collaborative Case Management is the cooperative delivery of social services to common clients.  This paper describes technological tools and organization transformation issues for collaborative case management.  A road map for a successful transition includes a shared vision, business/technology requirements, an information management strategy, redesigned jobs and processes, and a change management strategy..


Using Geographic Information System (GIS) Technology to Integrate Research into the Field Practicum by Robert L. Watkins

KEYWORDS:  Social work education; information technology; geographic information systems

ABSTRACT:  This article reports on efforts to answer some basic questions arising in the introduction of technology into the social work curriculum.  It involves an on-going project to integrate research into field instruction by training students to use Geographic Information System technology to identify and meet information needs of their field placement agency.  Background on the project is given, with discussion of three concerns that shaped it.  A explanation of how GIS works and how it can be used in the human service agency is provided, along with an account of the project's outcome.  Preliminary conclusions regarding future efforts are offered.


Information Technology and Oppressed Populations: Integration or Isolation? by Julie E. Miller-Cribbs

KEYWORDS:  Keywords:  Digital divide, access issues, social work response

ABSTRACT:  Recent research has documented the growing gap between those who have access to information technology and those who do not. Reviewing available literature regarding the lack of access to computers and technology by oppressed groups, this paper discusses problems inherent in ignoring this issue in social work education and practice. Finally, some of the promising interventions currently used to address problems of access are outlined and recommendations for social workers are highlighted.


Volume 18(3/4), 2001

Proceedings from the 4th Annual Technology Conference for Social Work Education and Practice, (Ed.)  by Julie Miller-Cribbs


Introduction by Julie Miller-Cribbs 


Strategies for Creating MIS Technology to Improve Social Work Practice and Research by Elizabeth Johnson, James Hinterlong & Michael Sherraden 

KEYWORDS:  management information system, program administration, evaluation research 

ABSTRACT:  This paper illustrates the potential for management information system (MIS) technology to integrate information collection, management and reporting within a single program or network of organizations.  Properly devised and created, MIS applications can improve administration, service delivery and practice evaluation.  Three strategies are offered to guide the design and development of MIS software.  This paper is based on lessons from the production and implementation of MIS software that serves as a management and evaluation tool for a nationwide policy demonstration.  Data from the MIS have helped to shape state and federal policy.


The Deployment of Information Technology in an International Rural Health Project by David A. Patterson

KEYWORDS. International health care, database development, cataract surgery eye camp 

SUMMARY. This paper presents a case study of the utilization of information technology (IT) in a cataract surgery eye camp held outside a remote village in India. Detailed here are the organizational and technological context of the project, the steps taken in the development and deployment of a patient medical database, the data collection procedures employed during the eye camp, and the resultant information products of these endeavors.  Discussed are the implications for the application of IT in the documentation and evaluation of time-limited health and social service delivery projects. 


Web-Based Technology Makes Clinical Data Systems Technically and Economically Practical: Are They Politically Feasible? by Norma H. Wasko 

KEYWORDS:  Internet, Technology, Clinical, Data, Systems 

ABSTRACT:  The creation of data systems capable of tracking health service inputs and outcomes were a major thrust of health reform.  It proved neither technically nor politically feasible.  Recent advances in software, communication technologies and measurement tools suggest integrated information systems, reliable at the individual case level, are now practical.  This paper explores one possible model of a clinical information system for behavioral health services and asks, “Is implementation of such a model now politically feasible?”


Evaluation of Distance Education Programs in Social Work by Jane Macy, Ronald Rooney, C. David Hollister & Paul Freddolino 

KEYWORDS:  Distance education, interactive television, web-based, social work education

ABSTRACT:  Social work courses and programs delivered with distance technologies continue to increase in number. This article reports on current social work education research on distance courses and programs, and makes recommendations for future distance education research. Distance education research in other fields is described to give context for social work efforts.


Distance Education Alumni: How Far Have they Gone? by Marilyn K. Potts & Christine Hagan Kleinpeter

 KEYWORDS: Alumni, distance education, social work education, educational outcomes.

ABSTRACT:  This evaluation compared 34 distance education (DE) and 38 on-campus alumni regarding employment-related outcomes; professional activities; satisfaction with MSW program components; and development of knowledge, skills, and values.  Findings showed equivalent outcomes in most respects.  DE alumni were generally positive about the extent to which the program enabled them to develop professionally.


Evaluating Distance Education: A Multidimensional Evaluation by Bruce Dalton

KEYWORDS: Distance education, distance learning, student outcomes 

ABSTRACT:  The empirical evaluation of distance education is social work has lagged behind that of other fields. This research compares classes taught in person and via interactive television on the dimensions of student satisfaction (course evaluations), and educational outcomes (pretest, post test, and follow up design). The research design and controlling for the instructor variable (the same instructor taught both courses) adds methodological rigor not present in prior evaluations. Outcome differences between the instructional mediums were explained by the demographic and other differences brought by the students. This research joins the bulk of such research that finds the effectiveness of the mediums comparable.


Using Video Clips as Test Questions: The Development and Use of a Multimedia Exam by Dick Schoech

KEYWORDS:  Multimedia assessment; multimedia testing; supervisor certification; child protective services 

ABSTRACT:  Innovations in multimedia provide new formats for delivering and scoring tests and for constructing test items.  This article presents a case study of the development of a multimedia exam that assesses child protective services supervisor competence.  It describes the need, design, development, validity, standardization, use, status, issues, problems, and lessons learned.  While multimedia offers potentials, it also makes modifications, enhancements, and delivery more complicated. By examining this experience, others can avoid mistakes and pitfalls when undertaking future multimedia assessment endeavors.


A Video Streaming Pilot Project: Applications in Social Work Training and Education by Sandra C. Robin, Richard Reardon, & Billie V. Strand 

KEYWORDS:  Video streaming/webcasting, online, social work training, social work education

ABSTRACT:  Video streaming or Webcasting is a delivery technology that has potential for enhancing social work education and training.  This delivery method moves participation in education and training beyond the barriers of distance and time.  This paper discusses a pilot project that used this technology to make a videoconference available to social work colleagues across the country. 

Attitudes and Opinions Regarding the Use of the Internet for Continuing Education Among Social Workers by Timothy Barnett-Queen

KEYWORDS: Internet and continuing education, technology and continuing education, social work license renewal

ABSTRACT:  Development of continuing education opportunities for social work license renewal requires participant access to the Internet, knowledge of the Internet's use and willingness to enroll in such programs.  A survey of a random sample of licensed social workers in New Mexico revealed that 71% of participants (n = 403) have used the Internet while 61% reported no formal training in the use of the Internet and its features.  Findings are reported that reveal substantial interest among subjects in the Internet as a medium for continuing education programs for license renewal.


Implementing Web-based Learning: Evaluation Results from a Mental Health Course by Alan J. Knowles

KEYWORDS.  Implementing web-based learning, evaluation and social work education, constructivist learning environments 

ABSTRACT. This paper reports on the evaluation results of a web-enhanced mental health course. The instructional design of the course was based on the principles of constructivist and collaborative learning environments. Students strongly supported the use of web-based learning in this course and found that the online environment enhanced their learning. The benefits and disadvantages of web-based learning and the implications for future course development are discussed.  Issues in implementing web-based learning in social work education are also identified.


Ensuring that Course Websites are ADA Compliant by Susan Sarnoff 

KEY WORDS:  websites, disability, accommodation

ABSTRACT:  This paper explores how social work course websites can meet recommendations for ADA compliance.  It addresses the current and expected rules for compliance, the types of disabilities that require accommodations and the accommodations that each requires.  It discusses the software and hardware features and options available to students with disabilities.  It also discusses software available to web authors to create accessible websites and identify noncompliant features.  Following these guidelines will enable students with disabilities to fully benefit from online courses–and will offer benefits to users who do not have disabilities, as well.


Older Adults and the digital Divide: Assessing Results of a Web-Based Survey by Laural Opalinski

KEYWORDS: Computers, Internet, seniors, older adults

ABSTRACT:  This study used an on-line, web-based survey to assess the significance of computer and Internet technology in the lives of adults over age 60. A convenience sample of 110 individuals from the United States, Canada and other countries responded to a 20-question survey regarding individual use, opportunities for learning, family and social connectivity and preferences for and barriers to effectual use.  Particular focus was made on the self-described perceptions of personal control and life satisfaction within the responding population.


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