Abstracts of Volume Seven of Computers in Human Services, 1990

Special issue: Computer Literacy in Human Service Education edited by Richard L. Reinoehl and B. Jeanne Mueller


Volume 7 (1/2), 1990

Introducing Computer Literacy in Human Services Education by Richard L. Reinoehl and B. Jeanne Mueller

ABSTRACT: A definition of computer literacy is provided which incorporates both functional literacy and a professional or mastery level of computer literacy in human services. Ramifications for human services curriculum development is explored along with a discussion of resource issues, including that of faculty development. An introduction to the sections of this volume and the individual manuscripts is also provided.


Automating the Social Work Office by Roger A. Lohmann

ABSTRACT: Social work was not originally an office-based profession, but has become so in the past few decades. In the process, the information technology of social work practice has changed relatively little. Social work practice has yet to develop unique computer applications, comparable to developments in medicine, law, architecture, education and other fields. Most interest in computer applications in social work to date has been clerical and made use of off-the-shelf applications. The potential of currently available technology for office automation in social work offers the prospect not only for important productivity improvement, but also for a means to dealing with unmet needs and for humanizing the environment of the social work office. Realizing such gains, however, will require new forms of organizational coordination.


Teaching Computer Literacy to Human Service Students by Jane Adams Lamb

ABSTRACT: This paper explores the reasons for the continuing resistance to computer use among human service workers and argues that an elementary level of computer literacy should be required of all human service students. Various teaching methods that facilitate the transition from computer ignorant to computer literate are presented. Hands-on experience is essential throughout the curriculum, including word processing in methods classes, statistical analysis in research, and data management in field experience.


Gender Inequality in Computing by Jane Reisman

ABSTRACT: This paper argues that human services educators involved with computer literacy should consider societal patterns of gender inequality in computer use. These patterns are examined in four institutions: the leisure industry, the media, education, and the family. This examination indicates that males receive greater support and encouragement to be computer users in these institutions. Far from revolutionizing society, the computer has conformed to society, becoming another element of the status quo. It is suggested that human services programs make a concerted effort to encourage females to train for and seek positions which involve the use of computers.


Interactive Graphic Presentations: Developing Microcomputer Graphic Displays by Michael J. Kelly, Michael L. Lauderdale, and Glenda J. Postle

ABSTRACT: Microcomputer graphics is a relatively new area of computer literacy for educators. Graphic information presentations are easily understood and useful in a variety of educational settings. This article reviews the graphic output that can be obtained from commonly available programs and hardware. It discusses in detail the types of available graphic software and graphic output. Its main focus is on the microcomputer as a learning station running graphic presentations which enable users to interact with the program. The development and use of interactive programs is reviewed through an example of social ecological mapping and their use in education.


Computer Literacy in Social Work: The Case for a Programming Language by A. James Schwab, Jr. And Susan S. Wilson

ABSTRACT: When compared to the definition of computer literacy and the tasks identified to accomplish it, computer courses offered in schools of social work generally omit content related to the use of programming languages. The content, problems, and opportunities of a course for social work students using a programming language approach is described. It is argued that a programming language approach is essential if the social work profession is to assume responsibility for the ways in which computers are implemented in social services.


The Perspective from the Field on Computer Literacy Training Needs by Nancy R. Hooyman, Paula S. Nurius, and Anne E. Nicoll

ABSTRACT: Rapidly evolving computer technology is changing agency life and social work practice and challenging schools of social work to incorporate such information technology into their curriculum in order to prepare students for these changes. This article describes one effort to meet this challenge: a planning and data-gathering approach utilized by the School of Social Work at the University of Washington to integrate classroom and practicum preparation with computer applications in the field. As part of this process, human service agencies that serve as practicum training sites and potential employers for master's level students within the Seattle metropolitan area were surveyed. Based upon findings from this survey, this article presents an agency-based perspective on computer literacy training needs through addressing the questions of who is using what computer tools, toward what service ends, with what expected level of proficiency, and with what future needs and directions in mind. Implications of these field-based findings for curriculum planning, for practicum development, and for the conceptualization of computer literacy within human services are identified.


Implementing a Social Work Curriculum on Information Technology by Santos H. Hernandez and Patrick Leung

ABSTRACT: This paper examines issues related to the implementation of a social work curriculum for the teaching of information technology as a tool for human services practice. It is based on the experience of the School of Social Work at the University of Denver. The discussion focuses on issues related to fiscal resource development, capacity building to develop faculty expertise, and faculty resistance. It culminates in the formulation of guiding principles for the implementation of a social work curriculum on information technology.


Constructing a Computing System for a School of Social Work: A Case Study by Robert G. Green

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the selection and implementation of computing systems in schools of social work. Two major groups of selection variables, those pertaining to the unique needs of the professional school and those relevant to the particular university computing environment, are identified. A case study describing a recently installed computing system for a large school of social work is then presented and the manner in which both sets of selection variables guided the design and implementation of the system is discussed.


Experiential Exercises for the Development of Computer Literacy Among Social Work Undergraduates by Jerry Finn

ABSTRACT: This paper describes exercises and assignments used to promote computer literacy among social work undergraduates. These exercises were used as course assignments in an elective course for seniors, "Information Technology and Human Services." Exercises met four criteria: (1) they assume no previous computer experience or knowledge, (2) they are directly related to human services practice, (3) they promote mutual support, (4) they are experiential. Exercises include use of word processing, database, spreadsheet, electronic mail, privacy invasion, shopping for a computer system, and impact of information technology on the larger society. The potential placement of computer literacy exercises in the social work curriculum is discussed. It is suggested that a single experiential course best meets the need for promoting computer literacy among social work students.


Teaching Information Technology to Human Service Students: Meeting the Needs of the Future by Menachem Monnickendam and Ram A. Cnaan

ABSTRACT: This article specifies the knowledge and skills needed by human service professionals in order to utilize the potential of information technology for better care delivery. The conceptual foundation proposes an integrative approach that views management, case management and treatment as one integrated process in the human service agencies and which must be reflected in the information system design. A course for graduate students that incorporates this concept was developed in two schools of social work during a three year period and is presented in detail.


Volume 7(3/4) 1990

Partners in Thinking and Learning by Richard L. Reinoehl

ABSTRACT: The author describes a perspective on computing which views the role of computers as moving beyond that of a tool, to becoming our intellectual partner in learning and thinking. A brief review of computer controlled video and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and their impact in computing is provided. Next comes a discussion of the computer's ability to stimulate bonding and increase the personal efficacy of their users-and the ramifications for human services education.


Interviewing Skills and Computer Assisted Instruction: BSW Student Perceptions by John E. Poulin and Carolyn Ambler Walter

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the use of the Interviewing Skills for Human Services (I View Skills) computer program that was incorporated into two undergraduate social work courses. The goals and objectives of the I View Skills program are described as well as how the program was integrated into the course curricula. Findings on the students' perceptions of the I View Skills program based on a Pre-test/Post-test design are reported. Implications of the findings for computer aided instruction in social work education are discussed.


Using the Computer to Teach and Learn Social Policy: A Report from the Classroom and the Field by John P. Flynn

ABSTRACT: This is a report of applications of computer-assisted instruction of social welfare policy content and computer simulations of social welfare policy processes. The applications were carried out in a university setting with graduate social work students and in the field with licensing workers in child welfare. These experiences, including their advantages and disadvantages, are described and evaluated and the implications of their use is discussed.


Computer Simulations in Mental Health Education: Current Status by Matthew E. Lambert, James L. Hedlund, and Bruce W. Vieweg

ABSTRACT: Computer simulations for mental health education can be broadly categorized into five groups: (a) Interviewing Simulations, (b) Clinical Diagnosis/Treatment Decision-Making Simulations, (c) Case Management Simulations, (d) Organizational Management Simulations, and (e) Psychopathology Models. Applications from each group are described, and problems or issues associated with simulation in mental health education are discussed.


Computer Simulations in Mental Health Education: Two Illustrative Projects by Matthew E. Lambert, James L. Hedlund, and Bruce W. Vieweg

ABSTRACT: Two computer simulation projects currently under way at the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry are described and discussed. The first project has focused on the development and testing of four behavior therapy case simulations for use In training mental health professionals to make behavioral assessment and treatment decisions. The second project involves developing a set of simulations to train users of a computerized expert consultation system for emotional crises, CATCEC (Computer Supported Assessment and Treatment Consultation for Emotional Crises).


Videodisc Development for Human Service Professions: Potentials and Risks for Production by University Faculty by Larry K. Bright

ABSTRACT: Videodiscs have excellent capacity for storing slides, motion pictures, graphics, or text. Through advanced laser applications, videodisk information and motion pictures can simulate human interaction, allowing the viewer to "interact" in human crisis situations simulated in video. Video presentations can be stopped by the viewer, who can select among alternatives the outcome of actions on the screen. A video screen "teacher" can be programmed to discuss simulations with the viewer. The benefit of this "human dimension" possibility in computer-assisted instruction is the critical ingredient which can be of major interest to human service professionals. Appropriate learning programs need to be made available on videodisc equipment to make a major improvement in the education and continuing education for both human service professionals and their clients. In universities with a spirit of interdepartmental cooperation, there is potential for faculty in social work, education, and psychology to bring together their resources to produce quality videodiscs for use in preservice and inservice programs. Videodiscs for human service professions have been successfully produced by the College of Education and Human Service Professions at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Suggestions are reported in this article on how videodiscs can be produced for use in human services.


Interactive Technology Impacts on Increasing Cultural Awareness in Education for the Human Services by Dennis R. Falk and Helen L. Carlson

ABSTRACT: Understanding and being sensitive to the needs of persons from another culture is one of the most important abilities for people working in the human service; it is also one of the most difficult abilities to develop in students and in-service professionals. Two videodisc applications on cultural diversity developed at the University of Minnesota Duluth present content related to Southeast Asian refugees and American Indians. Processes used or simulated in these applications include interacting cooperatively with members of the other culture, engaging in problem solving activities, gaining background knowledge on other cultures, comparing and contrasting values, talking directly with people from another culture, and talking with someone who knows both the majority and minority culture. Preliminary research studies indicate that these applications have been well received by human service students at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.


Interactive Learning Models Using Videodiscs in College and Inservice Instruction by Helen L. Carlson and Dennis R. Falk

ABSTRACT: Different patterns of learner-instructional system interaction occur in diverse learning models. In passive models, the learner receives stimuli and is molded by the instructional system. In active models, the learner engages in dynamic interchanges with the system to construct personal meaning. A continuum of active and passive learning models have been used to develop level three interactive videodiscs for collegiate core and inservice education in the human service professions. Five specific models ranging from a present/test/remediate approach to a problem-solving simulation are described. For each model unique features of the front-end analyses, instructional designs, and user evaluations are provided.


Formative Evaluation and Editorial Review in the Development of Videodiscs Related to Human Service Professions by Mark E. Nierengarten

ABSTRACT: The importance of formative evaluation and editorial review during the development of an interactive videodisc is often overlooked. The rationale for the integrated use of formative evaluation and editing during the process of design, production, post-production and programming is presented. The role of the instructional designer, as well as some of the focal points, in formative evaluation and editing is discussed.


Teaching Students by Having Them Emulate an Expert System by Joel G. Sacks

ABSTRACT: An expert system, designed to demonstrate a procedure that students found difficult to master, became the stimulus and the prototype for developing a better way to teach this material. The new method was to have students simulate the computer by rigidly following a set of explicit instructions. This enabled the students to learn what formerly eluded them: the logical deduction of new hypotheses from a set of linkable propositions. Success in carrying out this mechanical task became the basis for their understanding the logic behind the procedure.


Caring vs. Cashflow: Using Computers to Explore Dilemmas in Human Services by Charles McClintock

ABSTRACT: The administration and delivery of human services often involve apparently conflicting goals, such as the desire to offer quality services to those most in need while maintaining a sound financial status for an agency. Using the example of needs for caring vs. cashflow in a hospice, this article describes how computer simulation was used to explore possible solutions for this common dilemma in human service organizations. A system dynamics model was developed to represent student and staff beliefs about the causal relationships between processes of caring and cashflow. A generic system dynamics computer application, STELLA, was used to simulate and explore varying assumptions and beliefs about agency functioning. The simulation period proved very useful as an educational tool, and as a motivator for staff to pursue a solution to the caring vs. cashflow dilemma.


Computer Enhanced Education in the Human Services: An Annotated Bibliography by Matthew E. Lambert and Bruce W. Vieweg

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