In This Story
Assistant Professor of Social Work and MSW Online Program Coordinator Daphne King provides tips for prospective Master of Social Work (MSW) students considering online programs.
King’s original interview was a part of MSW Online’s Ask An Expert segment
What are the most important factors for students to consider when choosing an online MSW program?
I think when choosing an online MSW program, applicants should understand the difference between an asynchronous and synchronous program, as well as what their learning style is so that they can choose a program that best fits their needs. Asynchronous learning is self-directed by the student at their pace with professors posting pre-recorded lecture videos in the course and using outlets like zoom to host virtual office hours. Synchronous learning could also be self-directed but there is a component where students will have to attend class sessions online at a certain day and time each week via platforms, such as Zoom. Whether asynchronous or synchronous, I think applicants should understand if they need more in-person face time for their learning before choosing an online MSW program.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of an online MSW program?
I think the most challenging aspect involves part of my answer in the previous question, building a connection between faculty and students in a virtual environment. It takes effort on the part of the professor and student to engage in activities to build that connection and engagement. This is especially challenging in asynchronous formats where you would not have in-person lectures or class time.
How do the fieldwork components of an online MSW program work?
In the program where I am the MSW Program Online Coordinator, field work or practicum works the same as it does for on-campus students. Students in the online program are required to complete the same hours as on-campus students based on requirements from CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) and complete their field practicum in person at the hosting agency within the business hours of the agency.
Can students take electives, or customize their online MSW experience?
In our 60-credit hour program, 12 credits are electives that students can take based on their interest or population they want to serve as social workers.
What types of jobs are MSW graduates finding?
From my experience, MSW graduates are finding jobs as school social workers, therapists, working in social services or child welfare agencies, policy work to shape the legislation and laws that govern our work, and hospital social work to name a very few. There are too numerous jobs to list that MSW graduates find themselves employed in.
If you had to choose one or two books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, etc. to be included on a required reading list for social work students, what would it be?
I would recommend the NASW Podcast Social Work Speaks and Savage Inequalities by Johnathan Kozol. I read this book over 20 years ago when I earned my MSW and many of the social problems and challenges discussed in that book are still relevant today.