Abstracts of Volume 22 (1, 2, 3, 4) of the Journal of Technology in Human Services

Volume 22 (4), 2004

A bilingual computerized voice-interactive system for screening depression symptoms by Gerardo M. González and Chris Shriver

KEYWORDS: Speech recognition; depression screening; CES-D

ABSTRACT:  The Voice-Interactive Depression Assessment System-III (VIDAS-III) is a bilingual computerized speech recognition application for screening depression.  In this study, 128 English- and 128 Spanish-speakers completed a demographic interview, an acculturation scale, the BDI-II, the CIDI-Short Form, and VIDAS-III.  The results suggested that VIDAS-III subscales (CES-D and DSM-IV criteria) demonstrated high inter-item reliability (.81 to .92), strong concurrent validity (.58 to .67), sensitivity (.72 to 1.0), and specificity (.40 to .72).  Both language groups positively rated VIDAS-III.  Male and female participants most often selected a digitized female voice to present VIDAS-III.  The findings suggest that speech computerized interviewing can accurately detect depressive symptoms in English and Spanish.

Internet Risks for Foster Families Online, by Jerry Finn and Ben Kerman

KEYWORDS: Foster Care, Online Safety, Internet, Digital Divide, Information Technology

ABSTRACT:  Foster parents and children (n=64 families) who participated in a program to reduce the digital divide among foster children were surveyed about difficulties experienced in use of online communications. Providing Internet access to foster families increased Internet use, but was not perceived by parents or children as taking away time from other family or social relationships. A minority of parents and foster youth, however, reported a variety of problems ranging from benign arguments over access to the computer or frustration over equipment failure to serious concerns about children receiving pornography or meeting a sexual predator online. Although the majority of both parents and social workers were confident in their ability to deal with Internet-related problems, approximately one-third had low confidence in their ability to deal with foster family’s Internet-related difficulties. Training foster parents on using filtering software to prevent pornography from coming into the child’s experience of the Internet significantly reduced problems related to pornography when compared to foster families not in the program.  Implications for social work practice are discussed.

The Global Program on Youth: Lessons Learned from Collaboratories in Action by Paula Allen-Meares, Norma Radin & Cynthia A. Hudgins,

KEYWORDS:  collaboratory, technology, social work, children

ABSTRACT:  The Global Program on Youth (GPY) employs a technology-supported, collaborative framework of problem solving, called a collaboratory, to improve the lives of children and youth.  Collaboratory partners use technology to share research, apply practice wisdom, and learn from the experiences and perspectives of diverse groups of people.  Findings from the initiative are presented in this article, highlighting the lessons learned from each of the participating collaboratories, including the rewards, challenges, and applications of technology-supported collaboration.

Modeling participant flows in human service programs by Derek Coursen and Bill Ferns

KEYWORDS:  human services, systems analysis and design, flow diagrams, data models, client-tracking systems, case management systems, administrative data

ABSTRACT:  Participants flow into, through and out of human service programs in complex ways: into a program’s screening process and out again without receiving services (ineligibility); from one internal state of receiving services to another (advances and setbacks); and out of and back into the program (repeating). Drawing on the traditions of the information systems field, we propose a methodology for defining and graphically modeling participant flows. The methodology, Status-Transition-Cycle (STC) mapping, assists in systems analysis and simultaneously suggests a data model convention for client-tracking systems.

Recent Developments in Laws and Ethics Concerning Videosupervision of International Field Students by Jini L. Roby, and Patrick T. Panos

KEYWORDS:  Ethics, Law; International Social Work, Technology, Videoconferencing, Supervision, Field

ABSTRACT:  Web-based videoconferencing is one method employed by some schools of social work to supervise students in international field placements.  This paper examines how specific international and national laws apply to that process.  Laws examined include the European Union Privacy Directive, the United States’ Health Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), other national laws, and the looming General Agreement on Trade in Service (GATS).  Based on the analysis of these laws and applicable ethics, a model of supervision and specific protocols are proposed to provide adequate supervision and maximum empowerment of local supervisors, while minimizing legal liability.

Visualizing Multilevel Agency Data using OLAP Technology:  An illustration and lessons learned by Dick, Schoech, John D. Fluke, Randy Basham, Donald J. Baumann, and Gary Cochran

KEYWORDS:  Data visualization, Online Analytic Processing, OLAP, decision making

ABSTRACT:  Various technologies exist that allow the visualization of data.  One major set of technological innovations known as OLAP (Online Analytic Processing) were tested in an three-year, exploratory research project to improve the decision making of child protective service staff related to federal CFSR (Child and Family Services Review) standards.  The OLAP application developed, called DEMOS (Data Enhanced Management Online Support) contained 6000+ clickable charts.  Staff using a standard browser on the agency’s intranet could drill down from statewide to unit level data and could slice & dice by clicking on staff, agency, and client characteristics such as client gender and age.  This article explains OLAP technology and illustrates its use in DEMOS.  The development process is described along with lessons learned and next steps.  While DEMOS success measures, frequency of use and improved decision making, were difficult to establish given the limited time that DEMOS was operational, DEMOS was well accepted by users and top management deployed OLAP tools to visually present other data within the agency. 


Volume 22 (3), 2004

Articles

Counseling and Technology: Some Thoughts About the Controversy by Paul C. Abney and Cleborne D. Maddux  

KEYWORDS: Counseling, technology, computer uses, Internet counseling, online therapies

ABSTRACT:  Counselors, like many other professionals, are being forced to decide whether or not to make use of technology in their work.  A review of the counseling and technology literature revealed existing controversies, and practical vs. philosophical concerns associated with incorporating technology into counseling.   The underlying assumptions held by advocates and opponents of technology in counseling are reviewed and discussed The premise of this article is that the controversy concerning computers in counseling may be misunderstood if taken merely at face value, and may be symptomatic of a much deeper disagreement. These differences can be further explored by recognizing the varying worldviews which can be characterized as modernist and postmodernist perspectives. In conclusion, tolerance of dual approaches to applying technology in counseling will best permit the counseling field to progress.

Researching Health Communication Technology Intervention Projects: The Challenge of Achieving Utilization Levels Sufficient for Evaluation by Pamela Whitten and Jill Rowe

KEYWORDS:  Evaluation, Health Communication Technology, Telemedicine

ABSTRACT:  The deployment of interactive communication technologies to deliver health services and education has grown significantly over the past decade.  Telemedicine, the use of telecommunication technologies for health care, is one specific application that has enjoyed significant public and private funding for research projects.  However, telemedicine project evaluators have run into a serious barrier in their research efforts, namely the deployment of telemedicine is often tremendously time consuming and often yields utilization levels inadequate for research purposes.  This article seeks to overview this problem through a case analysis of a multidimensional telemedicine project in Michigan that enjoyed both success and failure.  The article concludes with a discussion of five universal challenges that must be addressed for project evaluators to achieve utilization levels to allow for reliable research conclusions.

 Internet Use among People with HIV/AIDS by Laurie A. Smith

KEYWORDS: HIV/AIDS, Internet, social support, empowerment

ABSTRACT: The Internet offers people with HIV/AIDS timely information about treatment advances and supportive social contacts for this stigmatized disease, yet little is known about Internet use patterns among people with HIV/AIDS. This study of 120 persons with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. found approximately 19% used the Internet for HIV/AIDS-related purposes, much lower than the rate for general Internet use among the U.S. population. Lower incomes were associated with lower rates of use, echoing the “digital divide” found in the general population. Access from home was most common and information sought was primarily on medical treatments and medications. Possible reasons for low access rates, strategies for increasing access, and implications for other client groups are discussed.

 Health-care professionals’ participation in an online discussion forum: the impact on structure, content and interaction by Jan-Are K. Johnsen, Oddmar Ole Steinsvik, and Deede Gammon

KEYWORDS:  Social Support, Internet, Research Design, Professional Role.

ABSTRACT:  The study investigates the impact by health-care professionals on a Norwegian Internet discussion forum. A comparison of the same forum in time-periods with either high or low level of professional involvement was performed. The hypothesis was that professional involvement would have marked effects on the interaction in discussion forums; among other things encourage short and factual/practical interaction patterns at the expense of social climate. A range of different methods were utilized, quantitative analysis, (qualitative) content analysis, and visual mapping. The results show differences between high and low professional involvement in the forum in terms of activity level, distribution over week-days, social presence density, and structure. Some methodological reflections are offered, as well as recommendations for future research.

 Software Reviews 

Web Reviews



Volume 22(2), 2003

Articles

Researching Health Communication Technology Intervention Projects: The Challenge of Achieving Utilization Levels Sufficient for Evaluation by Pamela Whitten & Jill Rowe

KEYWORDS:  Evaluation, Health Communication Technology, Telemedicine

ABSTRACT:  The deployment of interactive communication technologies to deliver health services and education has grown significantly over the past decade.  Telemedicine, the use of telecommunication technologies for health care, is one specific application that has enjoyed significant public and private funding for research projects.  However, telemedicine project evaluators have run into a serious barrier in their research efforts, namely the deployment of telemedicine is often tremendously time consuming and often yields utilization levels inadequate for research purposes.  This article seeks to overview this problem through a case analysis of a multidimensional telemedicine project in Michigan that enjoyed both success and failure.  The article concludes with a discussion of five universal challenges that must be addressed for project evaluators to achieve utilization levels to allow for reliable research conclusions.

Internet Use among People with HIV/AIDS by Laurie A. Smith

KEYWORDS: HIV/AIDS, Internet, social support, empowerment

ABSTRACT: The Internet offers people with HIV/AIDS timely information about treatment advances and supportive social contacts for this stigmatized disease, yet little is known about Internet use patterns among people with HIV/AIDS. This study of 120 persons with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. found approximately 19% used the Internet for HIV/AIDS-related purposes, much lower than the rate for general Internet use among the U.S. population. Lower incomes were associated with lower rates of use, echoing the “digital divide” found in the general population. Access from home was most common and information sought was primarily on medical treatments and medications. Possible reasons for low access rates, strategies for increasing access, and implications for other client groups are discussed.

Health-care professionals’ participation in an online discussion forum: the impact on structure, content and interaction by Jan-Are K. Johnsen1, Oddmar Ole Steinsvik2, & Deede Gammon

KEYWORDS:  Social Support, Internet, Research Design, Professional Role.

ABSTRACT:  The study investigates the impact by health-care professionals on a Norwegian Internet discussion forum. A comparison of the same forum in time-periods with either high or low level of professional involvement was performed. The hypothesis was that professional involvement would have marked effects on the interaction in discussion forums; among other things encourage short and factual/practical interaction patterns at the expense of social climate. A range of different methods were utilized, quantitative analysis, (qualitative) content analysis, and visual mapping. The results show differences between high and low professional involvement in the forum in terms of activity level, distribution over week-days, social presence density, and structure. Some methodological reflections are offered, as well as recommendations for future research.

Software Review

Web Reviews



Volume 22(1), 2003 (Proceedings of the South Carolina Technology Conference)

Introduction by Nancy K. Brown & Julie Miller-Cribbs

Articles

Stalking and technology: The double-edged sword by Emily Spence-Diehl, MSW, Ph.D.

 

KEYWORDS:  stalking, cyberstalking, victimization, stalkers, victim services, stalking victims

 

ABSTRACT:  This conceptual paper examines several intersections between technology and the problem of stalking.  In addition to reviewing and analyzing relevant research and policies, the paper draws on the author’s experiences as a researcher and social work practitioner specializing in stalking intervention.  Its primary focus is on the “double-edged sword” aspects of this problem, where technology is recognized as a useful tool for both stalkers and those trying to stop the stalking. 


 

Teaching practice methods using interactive television:  A partial replication study by Christine B. Kleinpeter and Marilyn K. Potts

 

KEYWORDS:  Distance Education, Teaching Practice Methods, Interactive Television

 

ABSTRACT:  This study compares 52 on-campus and 26 distance education (DE) MSW students enrolled in two practice methods courses.  This is a partial replication study, describing the results of the evaluation of the second cohort of a large DE program.  The results from the first cohort are reported elsewhere (Kleinpeter & Potts, 2000). The DE students were located at four universities linked through interactive television (ITV).  The comparison group was located at an urban university, taught in traditional classrooms.  Comparisons were made on student grades, faculty evaluations, and field instructors’ evaluations.  Results indicate that no significant differences were found between on-campus and DE students which supports the findings of the first cohort, despite a reduction in faculty visits to off-campus locations, a greater use of ITV instruction, and an increased reliance on the use of local site coordinators as assistant instructors in the classroom.


 

On-line, Computer Based, Interactive Simulations: Bridging Classroom and Field by Brett Alden Seabury

 

KEYWORDS: computer mediated education, interactive video simulations, crisis theory, suicide assessment

 

ABSTRACT:  This paper briefly describes two educational tutorial programs, and the efforts of this author to evaluate the effectiveness of these computer mediated programs. One interactive program is designed to teach students how to apply crisis concepts to a practice simulation, and the second program is designed to teach students how to assess lethality with a suicidal client. Formal evaluations by students of these two programs and student performance on a follow-up quiz have produced positive results. In  a comparison study of classes who completed these programs and compared to a class that did not have the training has also produced significant, favorable results.


 

Integrating the WebCT Discussion Feature into Social Work Courses: An Assessment Focused on Pedagogy and Practicality by Valerie Scott Massimo, MSW, Ph.D.

 

KEYWORDS:  pedagogy, threaded discussion, social work teaching

 

ABSTRACT:  Technology must support pedagogy, rather than serve as an end in itself. Based on adult learning literature, the article details how threaded discussion, a simple and easily accessible WebCT tool, was incorporated into four different social work courses. Its effectiveness clearly depended upon the degree to which it was integrated into an overall pedagogical approach, rather than used as a technology add-on. When appropriately integrated, its use in small group work was found to enhance learning, overcome computer resistance among students, increase the likelihood that students come to class prepared, and thereby free up class time for interactive, dynamic activities.


 

Agency Utilization of Free Internet Web Sites by Paul P. Freddolino

 

KEYWORDS:  Families; Child Welfare;  Technology;  Agency web sites;  Parenting

 

ABSTRACT:  A social services department in the United Kingdom established a web portal and provided resources to enable agencies to publish their own pages on the Internet.  Numerous web features were available, but few agencies utilized them.  The portal is described, features identified, and several explanatory factors that may explain variance in uptake are considered.


 

Site Development In A Distance Education Program by Christine B. Kleinpeter and John Oliver

 

KEYWORDS: Distance Education, Administration, Social Work Education

 

ABSTRACT:  This paper focuses on the strategic planning involved in developing a distance education (DE) site within a state university system. It is hoped that this paper will benefit faculty and administrators who are considering using DE to achieve university goals and meet the growing needs of the professional workforce.