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Using the Internet in social work education: Implications for policy

, The Union Institute, United States

Doctor of Philosophy, The Union Institute . Awarded


The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a set of possible guidelines for using the Internet to teach social work courses. Guidelines were developed through the study of distance education research and with the compilation of suggestions from social work educators who participated in focus groups on this topic. This exploratory study used qualitative research to confirm the research of education professionals from many different fields. Five focus groups, traditional and Internet-based, were conducted with twenty-nine undergraduate social work educators.

Assumptions were made that undergraduate social work educators would have strong opinions about using the Internet in social work education. It was also assumed that the educators in the focus groups would have differing opinions about using the Internet as a supplementary information source versus using the Internet as a large part of the course instruction.

While the focus group participants held favorable views on how the Internet is used in social work education, they had numerous suggestions for programs to improve the future use of the Internet in social work instruction. Among the suggestions was for programs to ensure adequate interaction between faculty and students and to ensure that adequate training and support are available when the Internet is used as an instructional tool.

The suggestions made by focus group members closely mirrored the findings of other researchers. Recommendations are made that social work programs work to ensure quality in their courses when the Internet is used as a partial or primary means of teaching courses. Recommendations include ensuring sufficient contact and interaction between faculty and students, and providing technical support for faculty and students. Programs are encouraged to monitor the expenses required for courses using the Internet and other computer applications to guard against income and financial resources determining student success or failure in classes.


Faux, T.L. Using the Internet in social work education: Implications for policy. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, The Union Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2019 from .

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