by Rachel Voorhees
The Adelphi University School of Social Work takes pride in providing its students with small classes where they can interact with faculty and classmates. With the jam-packed schedules of many graduate students—which can include full- or part-time employment and often family responsibilities—attending class can be a challenge.
To cater to the needs of these busy students, the School has decided to provide distance learning, with courses that are either fully online or in the blended format, which combines online learning with four face-to-face classes scheduled during the semester.
“It’s another way for us to meet the needs and demands in our students’ lives,” said Beverly Araujo Dawson, Ph.D., associate professor.
The classes offered include Human Behavior Theory for Social Work Practice, parts I and II, (510 in the fall and 511 in the spring), in either the online or blended options; Social Work Assessment and Diagnosis (710), which is offered entirely online in the summer; and Contemporary Social Work (736), in the blended format in the spring.
Graduate student Catherine Albanese said she appreciates the convenience of learning online.
“I like the freedom to move at my own pace,” she said of the Social Work Assessment and Diagnosis class she took this past summer. She said the class was good preparation for taking the licensing exam online.
Tricia Joyce, D.S.W., said the faculty carefully deliberated over which course would make the best transition to an online format.
“Content-heavy courses work better online,” Dr. Joyce said. “Face-to-face is better for teaching students how to work with clients in the field.”
She explained that she utilizes online learning tools such as multimedia content to make the curriculum “accessible and understandable.” For example, in the Assessment and Diagnosis class, Dr. Joyce provides links to videos in which students can observe people with various diagnoses, such as schizophrenia. In addition, discussion boards and conference calls give students and instructors the ability to interact.
Drs. Joyce and Dawson said that online classes not only accommodate busy students, they also prepare future social workers to get further acquainted with different electronic systems.
Dr. Joyce stated that it is important for graduate students to become more comfortable with technology as it continues to make inroads in the social work field.
For graduate students interested in taking these classes, open enrollment for the Spring 2014 semester begins October 14. The department hopes to have more online and blended course offerings for the Summer 2014 term, according to Dr. Joyce.