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Abstracts of Volume 24 (1, 2&3, 4) of the Journal of Technology in Human Services

Volume 24 (4), 2005

An Exploratory Study of Email Use by Direct Service Social Workers by Jerry Finn


KEYWORDS: email, ethics, information technology, social work practice


ABSTRACT:  A survey of 384 Central Pennsylvania social workers explored email use, attitudes, and difficulties. Results found that approximately three-fourths of social workers use email at work, primarily with co-workers. Almost one-third has used email with clients, although the majority of social workers believe that email for therapeutic purposes is both unethical and ineffective. A small minority of social workers has experienced difficulties that include violating a client’s confidentiality through email, sending email to the wrong person, and receiving harassing email. There is considerable variation in agency policy and training related to email. Implications for agency policy and continuing education are discussed.


Third Space: A Web-based Learning Environment for Teaching Advanced Clinical Practice Skills by Tazuko Shibusawa, David VanEsselstyn, and Susan Oppenheim


KEYWORDS: couples therapy, role-plays, distance education, educational technology


ABSTRACT:  This paper describes the design and integration of Third Space, an innovative computer mediated learning environment, in a couples therapy course for second year students in a MSW program.  While most computer mediated teaching is used in distance education, we developed a web-based program to supplement the teaching of clinical skills in a traditional classroom.  The Third Space web-based learning environment was developed to simulate couples therapy supervision by adding functionalities to a traditional bulletin board to enable students and instructors to view videotaped role-plays on the web and engage in online discussions about the role-plays.  The effectiveness of this learning environment was evaluated with questionnaires and focus groups.


Mental Health Professionals’ Exposure to Clients With Problematic Internet Experiences by Melissa Wells, Kimberly J. Mitchell, David Finkelhor, and Kathryn Becker Blease


KEYWORDS. Internet, mental health, mental health treatment, computer addiction, problematic Internet experiences


ABSTRACT  This paper examines clients’ exposure to problematic Internet experiences among a national sample of 2,098 social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and other mental health professionals. This analysis finds that mental health professionals are working with clients experiencing a range of problems related to Internet use.  However, these professionals have generally not been exposed to training or information in the professional literature on the topic of working with clients with problematic Internet experiences.  We identify several areas in which additional training is needed and review practical implications for mental health professionals.


The acquisition of social work interviewing skills in a Web-based and classroom instructional environment: Results of a study by Philip M. Ouellette, David Westhuis, Eldon Marshall, and Valerie Chang


KEYWORDS: telelearning, WEB-based instruction, social work interviewing, Social Work practice, distance education


ABSTRACT:  This article reports findings from a study initiated to explore similarities and differences in the acquisition of interviewing skills of two groups of students enrolled in a required undergraduate social work practice course. One group was taught interviewing skills in a classroom-based teaching environment by one instructor and the other group was taught interviewing skills in an online instructional environment by a different instructor. Results indicate no statistically significant difference in actual skill acquisition at the completion of the course between students in both groups as rated by an independent expert evaluator. Future research direction is recommended.


Teaching Social Work Research:  A Comparison of Web-based and In-class Lecture Methods by Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman and Susan Zuravin

KEYWORDS:  Web-based, teaching, on-line class

ABSTRACT:  Like many other disciplines, Social Work education programs are increasingly including on-line classes in course offerings.  Despite the rapid and widespread proliferation of web-based courses there is little data in the social work literature to inform educators about this teaching methodology.  Using a quasi-experimental design this study examines the performance of 73 MSW students on objective measures of learning in a social work research course.  Findings reveal that performance of students in lecture only and lecture with Blackboard supplement sections of the course was significantly better than performance of students in the on-line course.

Volume 24 (2&3), 2005  CSWE APM Tech Conference

not available yet

Volume 24 (1), 2005

An Ecosystems Approach to Human Service Database Design by Derek Coursen


KEYWORDS:  human services, systems analysis and design, data models, client-tracking systems, case management systems, ecosystems perspective, ecomaps, knowledge management, performance measurement


ABSTRACT:  Early client-tracking databases were strongly influenced by the structure of previous paper-based systems. More recently, there has been evolution toward databases that attempt to represent the interconnectedness of people in the human service environment. No consensus on best practices, however, has yet emerged. This paper presents a systems analysis technique and a data model based on one of the theoretical foundations of current social work practice: the ecosystems perspective. This approach facilitates a range of knowledge management and performance measurement capabilities that have so far been uncommon in client-tracking systems.


Title:  Computer Capacity and Use of the Internet for Client Services and HIV Prevention by Eric G. Benotsch, Valerie J. Wright, Terri A. deRoon Cassini, Steven D. Pinkerton, Lance Weinhart,  Jeffrey A. Kelly


KEYWORDS:  HIV, Internet, Prevention, Community Services, AIDS Service Organizations


ABSTRACT:  Organizations that provide services to HIV-positive persons or that are dedicated to reducing HIV transmission are beginning to use information technology in their work.  We surveyed 88 AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) in 42 U.S. states regarding their use of the Internet.  Most ASOs allowed individuals to contact them via email and half provided computers for clients to access HIV-related information.  One-third of the ASOs were conducting online HIV prevention programs. Most online programs employed an outreach model in chat rooms.  American ASOs are enthusiastically forging ahead with online prevention.  However, in most cases these activities would benefit from more refinement and formal evaluation.


Making it Real: Enhancing Curriculum Delivery through the Use of Student-Generated Training Videos by Caroline Rosenthal Gelman and Carol Tosone


KEYWORDS: social work training video, problem-based learning, interdisciplinary collaboration


ABSTRACT:  This article describes and critiques the creation of a student-centered, reality-based training video undertaken by students and faculty from the departments of social work and visual arts at a northeastern university. There are several key and innovative aspects to this video.  It is a collaboration between faculty and students of the schools of social work and the arts: social work students play themselves and students and affiliates of the school of the arts play clients and were responsible for all technical aspects of the video.  The interactions portrayed are based on real social work student process recordings, and client-worker interactions are followed by a supervisory session, underscoring the importance of feedback for learning.   The relevant literature on a variety of teaching techniques on which we based our work, including the use of role plays, simulated clients, and video technology, is reviewed.  Social work educators are encouraged to develop their own videos depicting their students’ unique experiences, using the interdisciplinary, collaborative, problem-based process presented. The technological capacity to deliver video on the web further enhances the accessibility and flexibility of this teaching strategy.


Technology, Social Inclusion and Poverty: An Exploratory Investigation of a Community Technology Centre by Steven Hick


KEYWORDS: Technology access; digital divide;; community work; poverty


ABSTRACT:  Community technology centres (CTC) are advanced as a major part of the solution to the so-called digital divide. It is believed that in the knowledge economy access to computing resources should level the playing field for low income people. Faced with a growing population that cannot afford computers or the Internet, government policy makers have been turning to technology community access points. This article presents an brief overview of the digital divide and whether or not CTCs can effectively address the problem. A CTC located at the Debra Dynes Family House in Ottawa, Canada – a centre that has been highlighted in newspapers and government reports as a success story in bridging the digital divide – is reviewed. The concept of social inclusion is explored to determine how CTCs are addressing poverty and social exclusion.

Software Reviews

ETHICPRIM by Rick Halverson 

Hardware Review

OpticBook 3600 (book) Scanner from Plustek by Timothy Adams

Web Reviews

Focus on Fundraising & Grantsmanship by Gary M. Grobman and John G. McNutt