The Transformation of Social Work Education through Virtual Learning
Over the past few years, numerous highly ranked, Tier 1 universities across the United States have embraced the development of advanced online degrees, a niche of secondary education long held by a small group of private, for-profit universities. Rapid advances in online learning technology, increasingly sophisticated, and easy to use ‘learning management systems’ and ‘anytime, anywhere access’ has dramatically increase the demand of individuals, mostly full time employed, working professionals. This volume addresses the dramatic changes that are occurring in social work pedagogy as more schools develop online programs. The University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak Peck School of Social Work launched their ‘Virtual Academic Center’ with a cohort of 80 online students. The program has now reached a ‘steady state’ of 2,200 ‘virtual’ students now representing two thirds of their MSW student population. Additionally, the school launched a doctorate of social work degree with a focus on leading and managing innovation, leading public discourse and management of large complex systems. This book essentially tells the ‘USC story’ with the challenges faced in embracing this new technology, teaching social work courses in an online environment, as well as pedagogical enhancements made by faculty in converting traditional campus based courses to the virtual environment.
R. Paul Maiden joined the Virtual Academic Center at the Suzanne Dworak Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, USA, in August 2017 teaching in both the DSW and MSW programs. Prior to his ‘migration to the clouds,’ he served as Executive Vice Dean and Clinical Professor with operational responsibility for a top-ranked, and the largest graduate school of social work in the United States. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Social Change and Innovation. He spearheaded the development of the school’s military social work, created the San Diego Academic Center, expanded the school’s annual global immersion offerings and led the development of the school’s Virtual Academic Center, the first and web-based MSW program serving a national student population. He also led the development of a DSW, a professional doctorate in Innovation, Leadership and Advanced Social Work Practice Management Complex Systems.
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