Online Learning and Social Work – A proposal


I’m on a theme at the moment so run with me. I have through various conversations that I’ve hooked into among Occupational Therapists come across this programme OT4OT (Online Technology for Occupational Therapists)

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It is a proposed, international educational programme using occupational therapists internationally to provide and support web-based learning or as they call it a ‘virtual exchange schedule’ to promote learning and understanding and uses of technology to grow international knowledge about occupational therapy internationally.

It’s a fantastic model but I’m desperately jealous. Where is the social work equivalent? How about an international ‘virtual exchange schedule’ of free programming that social workers internationally can both contribute to and participate in? Why do we leave these things to those who organise and charge fees which are too large for individual interested practitioners to attend?

I’d love to find out more about this model and see if there’s a way of pursuing a similar experience in social work internationally but I’d need people to come on board. Is there anyone firstly who would contribute their expertise to run virtual sessions or discussion groups throughout a ‘day’. Any social work departments willing to help with technology aspects and providing an educational ‘oversight’ to the quality of submissions? The idea would be for an international event to broaden international experiences of social work. I think it could be a fantastic resource and opportunity.

An opportunity for ‘people like me’ who are not linked directly to universities to run ‘events’ online, it could also be an opportunity for those who teach to share some of their information globally and gain experience and exposure of running online events.

I need to do a bit of work behind the scenes regarding technical aspects and how that  might work but I don’t think it needs to be complicated.

Anyone interested? I can put together some kind of mailing list or group on Google to discuss further. I just want to know if I’m shooting into the wind or not!   I’ll do a bit of investigating regarding hosting and technological needs over the weekend and will write up posts as I find out information. I think it could be something really exciting.

(just as an aside – wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if this was something our ‘College of Social Work’ or BASW were to put together without nudging – that’s the kind of innovation and progressive thinking I’d like to see from a professional association rather than messing around and replicating unions that already exist).

9 thoughts on “Online Learning and Social Work – A proposal

  1. Certainly sounds an interesting idea and worth pursuing. There are so many issues about being released for training – not just the cost. Also could run very niche topics which it might otherwise be difficult to access.
    In the meantime we need to make more use of blogs and websites such as your own. As a practice educator I encourage students to follow a number of blogs to boost their learning and challenge their thinking.
    I look forward to seeing how your idea progresses.

  2. Thanks for your responses. I’d be interested to see what has happened in Alaska and will explore – and share ideas as I have them. It’s something that I think has legs.

  3. Sounds very interesting….I would definitely be interested in this and learning more. We might have some expertise in our school (www.socialwork.buffalo.edu) that we can bring to this as we have a range of Web 2.0 type things we have done already, although it’s hard for me to say given I’m not real clear on all of what this involves. In addition to my interest I have quite a few faculty and professional staff (i.e.. social workers) who might be interested in this, too, even without me asking them to do it 😉

  4. Thanks for your responses. I’ve set up a ‘placeholder’ site – I don’t have any wish to ‘control’ or ‘run’ this but thought it would be handy to have a separate site for discussion etc. I’ve put a very simple blog/chatroom/forum there (www.sw4sw.net) so do come over to the forum there as it might be a better way to collate potential interest.

    I really want to emphasise that I’m sure there are a million people who could do this better than me so if anyone else wants to take over the site or the project, I’m happy to relinquish. I just want to explore some of the possibilities (look at the OT site for an idea what my ‘dream’!).

    Thanks again for the positive responses. I know it’s a bit ‘left field’ at the moment but I think there’s a great deal of potential

  5. @Fighting Talk – great ideas, would be happy to play a tiny part in supporting, facilitating even just by confirming you have come up with a positive way forward. Also do you know about the work of Tarsem Cooner at University of Birmingham on blended learning – you can google him or I can send some papers

  6. Thanks Carolyn

    I’ll check that out and see what I can do. I am moving quite slowly at the moment but there’s nothing wrong in knocking some heads together and seeing if we can come up with something

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