I’m planning to attend the 2017 Council of Social Work Education Annual Program in Dallas. This is my fourth APM, and once again, I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with and learn from colleagues across the spectrum of social work practice and education.
I’ll be participating in two presentations:
“The licensure exam: development and evaluation of a synchronous group intervention.” (Sunday, October 22, 7:30 a.m.) Students in my program express anxiety over the pending licensing exam, as it impacts their ability to transition to professional engagement after graduating. I developed an entirely online, synchronous seminar that reviews and deconstructs test items provided by the ASWB as part of their group study package. While our school’s pass rates are high, I was interested in finding out of the sessions impacted students’ anxiety about the exam. Professor Carol Coohey and I will present on the intervention design and results from the study. ( 7:30 a.m….bring coffee.)
“Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice.” (Saturday, October 21, 2:00 p.m.)This presentation is summarized in this blog post, on MacroSW.com. If you aren’t familiar with #MacroSW, check out the About page. Also, check out the topic for this Thursday’s chat here. If you are attending the conference in Dallas, follow both the #MacroSW and #APM17…we are planning to have a meetup to join in the Twitter chat at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central (Dallas is included in the Central Time zone…yes, I had to look it up).
I’ll be blogging throughout the conference, mostly as a way to capture the environment and overall experience. I can be found here and at @spcummings on Twitter.
Well, that was short and amazing several days. I just got back and now I can write this wrap-up post. (Seriously, American Airlines, no wifi on the plane from Dallas to Des Moines?)
Today was a half-day with four sessions. (As you may have gathered, I advise you click on Sean Erreger’s Storify link above.) I was able to take in presentations on helping distance education students become part of the school identity. For many online programs, particularly programs where online/hybrid programming is just starting, this is key theme. Students participating in fully-online programs are at risk of feeling isolated. “On ground” residential programs can’t take any part of what the on-ground experience provides; so, how can we transfer that? Programs have been doing short, intensive “institutes” that last over the weekend or through the week, usually at the start of the academic year, where students in hybrid or fully-online programs travel to the mother campus. The feedback discussed in these sessions suggest this is a highly positive experience for students in online and hybrid programs; I’ll always seek out these presentations to learn how this kind of student orientation and enculturation evolves.
All the sessions I attended throughout the week were engaging and thorough; a couple could have been for any conference, if not specifically one tailored for distance education. At this point, I would support argument that “distance education” may soon require less emphasis as a model for social work students, as the delivery becomes more ubiquitous. I suspect this is the case; at the core of all these presentations and discussions is the passion and focus people have for the social work profession. Another post for another time. Speaking of which…
…while on the wi-fi-free plane ride back (again, c’mon, seriously?) I wrote up a list of things I’ve learned to adapt my conference attendance capabilities. Rather than post that here, I’ll save it for a future post.
A big thanks to the people who made #SWDE2017 happen, especially the hosts, OLLU! Here’s to #SWDE2018!
I’ll post thoughts on day two shortly, in the meantime…
I did get to see a little of the area tonight. While I do get work done while at conferences, the benefit of getting to know your colleagues is that you can go out together to see the area. I was advised to run along the riverwalk. Later, we had dinner at Mi Tierra.
I was up at 4:00 this morning. Typically, I make room for conference travel, but this time, I’m practicing the art of cramming. I’ll be at the hotel right before the conference starts today. This is the third social work distance education conference, and I’ve attended them all so far.
My scheduling trade-off has an unintended side effect; seeing friends and colleagues already at the conference site, posting to social media, does make me feel like I’m missing out. I have to remind myself I need to work yesterday and would have needed to stay put in my hotel room if I was in San Antonio last night (or suffer the consequences of bad decision-making). I also recall bailing out of my last conference, switching to an earlier flight to save half a day and get back home sooner.
I am starting to blog again doing what I did last time: writing about my conference experiences. Next week I’ll be attending the 3rd Social Work Distance Education Conference, and I’ll write about it in this space. Good times!
If you plan to be in San Antonio next week, I hope to see you there.