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Maple M. Developing Web-Based Distance Education for Rural Social Work Students. 2010.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/7353
Developing Web-Based Distance Education for Rural Social Work Students
Educational requirements for students studying Social Work include covering the theoretical and practical skills (including fieldwork) required of a social worker in order to meet eligibility requirements of the relevant professional body upon graduation. A fundamental part of this education is the development of the student's ability to understand the association between human behaviour and complex social interactions. Historically, such education took place in lecture theatres and tutorial rooms where students were able to debate a range of diverse views within a relatively safe environment. Today, however, many students are opting to undertake their studies via distance education, with a growing number of education providers offering Social Work programs in this manner. New education resources and Web 2 technologies are assisting in the delivery of such programs. There are many positive features associated with this type of education provision, including bringing the classroom to geographically isolated students, increasing flexibility in responding to relevant and contemporary social issues, and engaging new technologies to foster collaborative pedagogies, build students' technical proficiency and cultivate communities of practice prior to professional employment. There are also challenges associated with using new technologies in education. This paper explores the development, design, and implementation experiences of a rural university commencing a new undergraduate Social Work degree program utilising online technologies.