School of Social Work
Social Work Distance Learning Program
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
Connecting with Content
The School of Social Work's Distance Learning Program is based in Port Angeles, Washington, but its students come from communities all over Washington's Olympic Peninsula. To participate, students meet all day on five Saturdays of the quarter. Recently, Program director Lynn Keenan and School of Social Work doctoral student Rebecca Macy (see above) experimented with substituting a required technological component--an EPost message board and Peer Review projects--for one of the class meetings.
Initially, Professor Keenan said, student reaction to EPost was mixed. She attributed some of this apprehension to age: "the average age of this group is 45, and the youngest is 33, so it's not a particularly computer-savvy bunch." Predictably, Keenan said, the most computer-savvy like the technological component most, and the least savvy like it least.
Despite the initial difficulties, however, Keenan counted the technology experiment a success. Technology changes teaching,
Like Macy, Keenan noticed that students participated more when the instructors were participating. She suggested that this may be because the students know that the instructor is engaged in the process. She also gave students a grade for their participation in the technology aspects of the course. Finally, she discussed the comments on EPost during class meetings. All these strategies helped to keep her board active.
by Emily Jones, February 2001
Please note: EPost has been replaced by GoPost, which offers expanded features to support online discussion and collaboration.
Peer Review is no longer available. Learn more about using other Catalyst Web Tools to accomplish similar tasks.