Online Student Supervision Training: Accessible and cooperative learning in social work

  • Bowles, Wendy (Creator)
  • Michael Collingridge (Creator)
  • Jennifer McKinnon (Creator)

    Impact: Social Impact, Public policy Impact

    Impact summary

    This participatory action research project aimed to develop shared national standards for postgraduate education in supervision of social work students during their compulsory practicum or field education placement. The standards aimed to incorporate industry and professional requirements together with postgraduate education standards, and to produce supervision resources that could be accessed by all universities, employers and supervisors who host social work field education placements.

    The research was conducted between 2008 and 2010 with 7 universities, an employer and the professional accrediting body involved in the project team (led by CSU). During the national workshops held as part of the project 23/26 Australian universities running social work courses participated.

    Impacts included changes to national accreditation field education requirements for Australian social work programs with training in supervision of social work students now a compulsory pre-requisite to become a supervisor in field education programs. Resources from the project are available nationally through the professional body’s website and continue to be used and downloaded. Requests to adapt the supervision handbook have been received from Indigenous social work programs in Canada, from social work supervision programs in New Zealand and from a university in Papua New Guinea planning to develop social work education.

    The main impact is in the changes to national accreditation field education requirements for universities offering social work programs as well as the formation of 2 national field education networks to progress standards and curriculum development in field education who are still active even though their structures and personnel have changed: a national committee of the AASW and a National Field Education Network hosted by Australian and New Zealand Social Work Education and Research (ANZSWWER) a peak body in social work and welfare education. The online resources created as a result of the research are still used nationally and are promoted through the AASW’s national website.

    Change to national accreditation requirements made in 2012 means that universities must provide training for supervisors (field educators) and that social workers supervising students must undertake training before taking a student. The required training is provided free and online by CSU promoted through the national AASW website.

    Charles Sturt led the project. Other universities included University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney, Victoria University, Flinders University, Newcastle University and Australian Catholic University. The employer was NSW Dept Community Services and the professional body was the AASW.

    In 2019, due to the ongoing impact and usefulness of online resources, Charles Sturt was approached by international peak social work and welfare education and research body ANZSWWER to form a reference group with Charles Sturt to update the materials for national and international use. Universities participating in this group include Charles Sturt, University of Auckland, La Trobe University, Flinders University, RMIT and professional body AASW.
    Impact date01 Feb 200830 Dec 2021
    Category of impactSocial Impact, Public policy Impact
    Impact levelBenefit

    Countries where impact occurred

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • Papua New Guinea