25th Nordic Conference of Social Work Schools, ‘’Social Work Teaching at the intersection between Research and Practice’’, Tampere, Finland, August 28-30, 2013. PARTICIPATORY LEARNING OF COMMUNITY WORK IN AN E-LEARNING COURSE Anne Karin Larsen & Grete Oline Hole, Bergen University College, Norway. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Social Work VirCamp Courses online international courses i social work • A consortium of 8 European partner institutions • Offering several online courses within international comparative social work • Courses with 5 – 10 15 ECTS credits http://www.vircamp.net A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College The questions! • Is it possible to construct an online course in community work that manages to give students the experience of being in a community setting? • Where the community work method is visible in the construction of the course and through the interaction between the participants • Where the core principles and values of community work; participation, democracy and empowerment are expressed throughout the course, not only through the readings but through the participation and co-construction of knowledge in the virtual classroom. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Research question “What is the best way to construct a learning arena in community work that demonstrates the use of community work theory and method including participatory, emancipatory and democratic spaces for co-construction of knowledge in an e-learning environment?” A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College The Community Work course A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Task-centred and participatory Triggers A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Community work practice roles (after Tesoriero, 2010:260, printed in Larsen, Sewpaul & Hole, 2014) A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Facilitative roles The teacher as facilitator, by arranging the course in a way that stimulated students learning process. Engaging students in group activities, co-writing, project work, and roleplaying stakeholder meetings. Offering students the possibility to manage to link their own working in groups to the community work process. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Students learned • To organise group- and stakeholder meetings online; • To use each other’s skills and knowledge by working together; • To inspire each other by creating enthusiasm for the project they were developing; • To find different ways to motivate each other. • By working together on the case they became dependent on each other’s contributions and activated each other’s participation. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Educational roles The teachers was a ‘guide on the side’, by • assisting and accompanying, • giving feedback and information to help the students to understand the situation in the community and be empowered through their active participation in the learning process. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Students learned To sum up, by being a ‘guide on the side’ and by letting the students solve their own problems, the teachers offered students the opportunity for some important learning through collaboration and reflection. This can be a good strategy in many situations and is transferable to the educational role of a community worker. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Representational roles • The course stimulated students to knowledge sharing. • Creating a blog for publishing their project to media and a broader audience. • Stimulating their networking skills by searching for allied in the community. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Students learned • To contribute with and share their own knowledge in the project. • To publish information about their project to reach a general public. • Networking when creating alliances among people in different (power) positions, using their skills and knowledge to promote change in the community. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Technical roles The course triggered students competences: • In doing research. • Presenting their findings. • Managing to develop a project plan with a budget. • Working online. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Students learned • To map a community by collecting demographic data, systemizing data about the community and clarifying assets and needs. • They learned how to use ICT as a tool in community work and how to use technology in a professional setting. • They learned to take the leading role in online meetings, to be a leader for a project group, to plan and arrange online meetings, to solve disagreements, and to manage work-share and time-schedules. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Critical questioning roles • Students should write in their own reflection blog. • Reflections were open for all to read. • Extracts from the reflection were a part of the final evaluation. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Students learned: For most of the students, critical reflection was a new and challenging thing to do but also rewarding when they managed, as one of them expressed ‘[...] through reflection and sharing ideas I have learned to critically analyse everything I saw, read and heard. In the end we always come up with new ideas and understanding which I think was good, unlike “spoon feeding” information to students’ (from Q11, 2011 midway survey). A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College Back to the core consepts we started with: Participation Democracy Empowerment A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College References Larsen, A.K. & Hole, G.O. (2014) Participatory learning of community work in an e-learning course, in Larsen, A.K., Sewpaul, V. & Hole, G.O. (eds) (2014) Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge (available September 2013). Larsen, A.K., Visser-Rotgans, R. & Hole, G.O. (2011) Teaching and Learning Community Work online: Can E-learning promote Competences for future Practice? Journal of Technology in Human Services, 29(1): 13-32. Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (2008) The handbook of action research, participative inquiry and practice, London, UK: Sage Publications. Tesoriero, F. (2010) Community Development, Communityt-based alternatives in an age of globalisation, Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia. A.K.Larsen and G.O. Hole, Bergen University College PARTNERS IN THE PROJECT Bergen University College, Norway (leading partner); Jönköping University, Sweden; Inholland University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands; K.H.Kempen University College, Belgium, (now: Thomas More University College) University of Complutense, Spain; Miguel Torga University College, Portugal; Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany; Bodø University College, Norway; (now: University of Nordland) University of Liepaja, Latvia; Lusofona University, Portugal; Swansea University, United Kingdom Mittweida University of Applied Sciences, Germany. Development of the course was one of the aims for the SW-VirCamp project funded by the EACEA Lifelong Learning Programme – Call for Proposals 2008 (EAC/30/07). Reference number: 142767-LLP-1-2008-1-NO-ERASMUS-EVC. This presentation reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.