Continuing Ed in Social Work

My project will be an online platform for on-demand learning/training for those who work in human services. My main goal is to build a learning management system to house short 30-45 minute courses (on racial equity and trauma-informed practice for starters). This will serve as a proof of concept. I intend to use a pre-existing WordPress template such as one of these. I think the most intensive part of this project will be developing and producing the course since I plan to record short videos. The WP site seems like the easier part. This is also a personal passion project of mine that I hope to launch as a business with nonprofits, companies, or individuals. I haven’t decided yet who the best audience will be long-term. In the short-term, I intend to test it out with those in my social work, non-profit colleagues to get a sense of the user experience, the teaching methods, and relevance of the topics.

8 thoughts on “Continuing Ed in Social Work”

  1. Hi Ashleigh, I love your project idea! It is something that is needed so badly in every discipline, but especially so in public-serving environments. I am really excited to see where you take this.

    To take some of the work-load off of yourself, have you thought of inviting professionals in your field to donate/submit a mini lesson? Maybe an ITP grant could be used to pay contributors…

    1. Katie, this is such a good idea to ask them and potentially use grant money to compensate them. I hadn’t thought of that, but it was definitely a place where I felt stuck. I didn’t want to ask people to do anything for free. And I like the option of asking them to “donate” content. I would still be have to worry about the production part. Maybe I could ask them to just serve as subject matter experts instead of submitting a lecture. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about variation in production means and quality, unless I found a low cost, accessible, and useful way for everyone to record themselves in a consistent format. Maybe I could give them a short outline on a topic and main things to cover/answer, have them just record audio in a voice note or something, and then I could lay that over some slides to create a short, practical mini lesson. 🤔

      1. Oo, yes! I feel like mini-chats from “subject matter experts” seems like a really low-cost (time-wise) way to bring more voices into your project.

        What you said about low cost/accessible recordings reminded me of this platform: It was just demonstrated for me and essentially, you can create a link and send it out to those who may be interested in contributing and they will be able to record a short video (you can set time limits on the videos). All of these videos will be saved directly to the link and you will be able to download the videos to post on your website or just upload the link. The Biology faculty are using this platform to upload 5-min lightning talks about their research for an upcoming new student open house. So, students will have access to all the videos to watch on their own time.

  2. Thank you, Ashleigh– this is exciting to see.

    When you say “short 30-45 minute courses,” what exactly do mean? Videos? Videos then activities, then feedback? Readings? What do you imagine the context of the “student” will be. Will they be alone? Part of a group engaging with the materials?

    It seems to me you may be imagining a curriculum or teaching and learning materials, rather than a “course,” per se. If you approach it through that lens, it may unlock additional calculations. For instance, most instructional videos are much shorter than the time length you imagine; their modularity is a value. 3-5 minute videos which—when combined with other teaching and learning materials and perhaps a community with which to engage those materials—can enable students to build knowledge in an area.

    I’d urge you to think about doing an environmental scan, to identify what’s out there already that may address similar needs, and then to think about how what you intend to produce will be different.

    Looking forward to seeing this develop!

  3. Thanks, Luke. The courses would be on demand asychnronous with video and presentation, 2-3 modules each. The 30-45 min is an estimate of how much time a learner would devote start to finish. There wouldn’t be feedback although that’s and idea worth considering. The learner would take the trainings on their own. I have also been thinking about what a learning community would look like for those who take the courses.

    I’ve done and environmental scan. My idea is somewhat unique in terms of the content focuses on human services and social work with the lens and values for social justice, anti-oppression, and racial equity throughout the content. It is also unique that the courses will be on demand, not live webinars or live weekly sessions.

  4. I am really excited by this project– especially as someone who knows so many people who work in the human services sector but are not trained as social workers and don’t have to do the mandatory hours for state professional development required to maintain their licenses. This seems very intense to do in an independent study semester, but I am very excited to see what you create in that time! It will be such a valuable resource to the field.

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