Exploring Online & Blended Course Delivery in Group Work Sumaiya Matin, MSW, RSW firstname.lastname@example.org Irene Carter, Ph.D email@example.com Presented at the XXXVI Annual Symposium of the International Association for Social Work with Groups
Trends in Online Groups • Increase in the use of online modalities social work higher education • Increase in students embracing online tools to progress their group projects, and they have positive perceptions of this use • Proliferation of technology and globalization • There is still sparse information on online methodology in teaching group work
Thesis • This paper examines face-to-face and online groups to provide strategies for blended teaching, consistent with the Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups (2006). • What are the pros and cons of online learning? • How can instructors effectively facilitate online learning and create environments conducive to communication?
What the Literature Tell Us: Benefits of Online Learning • Increased accessibility • Convenience and flexibility • Greater speed and efficiency in student-instructor communication • Adaptability to differing learning styles • Variety of delivery methods • Cost-effectiveness • Supplement to in-class material • Opportunity for active learning • Development of critical thinking
What the Literature Tell Us: Challenges of Online Learning • Student participation • Difficulty with technology, resources and understanding expectations • Too high of a workload • Time constraints (non-immediate responses, unclear deadlines) • Delivery being impersonal
What the Literature Tell Us:Comparing Face-to-Face & Online Learning 1. Fosters critical thinking which enables deep learning • Haberstroh, 2006 2. Conflict as opportunity to connect content & process • McConnell, 2005 • Domakin, 2005 3. Limitations in social connectedness can be achieved? • Slaghter van Tryon & Bishop, 2009 • Davis & Goodman, 2014 • Nagel et. al, 2009
Recommendations:Group Work Educators as Leaders 1. Establish Structure & Goals • Plan & organize course objectives/goals, units and deliverables • Create a checklist for students for how to deal with online technical problems • Simon & Stauber, 2011
Recommendations Continued:Group Work Educators as Leaders 2. Facilitate Group Norm Development & Cohesion • Ensure norms are consistent with the Standards for Social Work with Groups (2006) • Muskat& Mesbur, 2011 • Cohen et. al, 2013 • Slagtervan Tryon & Bishop, 2009 • Marks et. al, 2005
Recommendations Continued:Group Work Educators as Leaders 3. Increase Instructor Involvement • Continuous monitoring • Capacity building activities • Time limits to discussions • Posted follow up videos for transitions • Responding to conflict through postings or face-to-face • Opportunities for instructor self-disclosure • Reflection exercises as linking communication • Use a Points System for quality participation
Recommendations Continued:Group Work Educators as Leaders 4. Support the Instructor-Student Relationship • Training of instructors and students on use of online tools • Maidment, 2006 • Development of support groups for instructors
Implications &Conclusion • Social justice & cultural colonization • Cyber-bullying • Continuity of face-to-face interactions to the online setting • Better preparation for online clinical work & high technology workplaces
Question & Answer Period Discussion Questions • What are some challenges and positives you have experienced as group work educators in the online setting? • What are some methods to address non participation of students in online group activities? • What are some ways to handle online groups formed by students outside of the course, which impact in-class and online behaviours?
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