16 Pages

Student Perspectives of Online Discussions: Strengths and Weaknesses

Independent learning is a quality of distance education that may be especially adaptable to social work undergraduate students. Effective systems for independent learning are characterized by student responsibility, student choice, widely available instruction, and a variety of methods and media. This chapter addresses the dearth of research utilizing a quasi-experimental design and student performance measures in assessing web-assisted instruction in social work undergraduate practice courses. This practice course introduces students to social work generalist practice, defined as the application of knowledge, values, and skills of the general method of problem solving. In the experimental class section, students received their instruction with a combination of web-assistance and face-to-face instruction while students in the comparison class section received exclusively face-to-face instruction. Students were placed into one of the two class sections during registration. In both sections of this course, assignments were individually completed by students with the exception of the class participation requirement which was partially based on classroom group activities.