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Standard 15

Technological Literacy

The program provides candidates with opportunities to understand and demonstrate skills in current technology for communication and collecting, organizing, distributing and analyzing data and resources in order to facilitate effective and appropriate outcomes in program management and individual student achievement.


PPS candidates have knowledge and skills in current technology. They are provided with a variety of opportunities throughout the MSW and PPS programs to demonstrate application of computer-based technology. Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced in a passing grade in the relevant courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of “Credit” for the field practicum. The specific content areas are listed and discussed below.

Knowledge and skills in current technology

California State University, Fresno has a computer requirement for all students which is published in both the General Catalog and the Schedule of Courses each semester. It states:

At California State University, Fresno, computers and communications links to remote resources are recognized as being integral to the education and research experience. Every student is required to have his/her own computer or have other personal access to a workstation (including a modem and a printer) with all the recommended software…In the curriculum and class assignments, students are presumed to have 24-hour access to a computer workstation and the necessary communication links to the university’s information resources. The university maintains a limited number of workstations in various labs to facilitate this access. It provides the means to allow students access from their home environment to university computing and network resources and to the Internet.

PPS candidates also have access to a wide range of technology resources and services at the university level through Information Technology Services (ITS). ITS provides a free electronic mail account and internet access to students. The Libraryalso provides a wide range of technology resources to all students including public computer workstations, ALIS terminals and CD-ROM workstations. The Department of Computer Science offers a variety of courses available to students to improve their technology knowledge base.

In addition to these university resources, PPS candidates have access to a computer lab in the McLane building that is assigned exclusively to the College of Health and Human Services. It is utilized for classroom instruction, statistical analysis of research data using SPSS, and for use by students in the college. PPS candidates also have access to a computer lab that is for social work students only in the Professional Human Services building which hosts the department and faculty offices and most social work classes.

The Department of Social Work has its own web-site with extensive information posted about the MSW and PPS programs, including faculty, courses and admissions information( Department information is also posted regularly on university Black Board.

Technological literacy is required of all candidates beginning with the university admission process to program completion and graduation. Both the computer requirement and the access to various university technology resources provide PPS candidates with the opportunity to develop knowledge of current technology. Course assignments that require satisfactory use of these resources ensure that all candidates have the opportunity to understand and demonstrate skills in the use of current technology. For example, S Wrk 200, Social Work Policy I, is designated as the graduate writing course for the MSW and PPS programs. As such, all students are oriented to the requirements of graduate level scholarship, including the need to utilize current technology. Completion of course assignments often includes the use of electronic databases, so students participate in a university library orientation which familiarizes them with the process of conducting ethical computer-based library searches. They also learn guidelines for APA format, computer presentation applications and the use of pertinent hardware and software for completing MSW/PPS program course requirements. Most courses are web-enhanced and integrate the use of technology in both instruction and assignments. For example, see the S Wrk 203 syllabus in regard to researching policies via Web-Sites Frequently Used.

Candidate knowledge of current technology continues to develop throughout the program.

S Wrk 260 and S Wrk 261, Quantitative and Qualitative Social Work Research, provide foundation content on all aspects of the research process. This content includes Computer Applications in SocialWork Research.

Lab skill exercises are used throughout the semester to allow for application of this course content. There is also careful examination of the legal and ethical issues raised in planning and conducting research, including those related to computer-based technology. Some of the topics addressed are plagiarism, confidentiality, privacy, and informed consent. Legal and ethical issues are infused throughout the MSW and PPS programs and candidates are expected to understand and adhere to the ethical guidelines of the social work profession.

Application of computer-based technology

PPS candidates demonstrate the ability to apply computer-based technology in the completion of a broad range of assignments throughout the MSW and PPS programs. Most of the courses use web-based methods for delivery of some course content, including Black Board, discussion groups, and blogs. For example, see the S Wrk 203 syllabus in regard to Web-based Instruction/Blackboard.

Students complete papers which require professional references. Thus, students regularly access computer data bases through ALIS terminals, CD-Rom workstations and the internet to conduct research and review of the professional literature. Other course assignments require application of specific technologies, such as the use of an EXCEL spreadsheet to prepare a program budget or preparation of a PowerPoint presentation for class. The Thesis/Project Seminar, S Wrk 292, and the culminating experience, S Wrk 298/299, require students to plan and carry out an independent research project. In doing so, candidates demonstrate application of various computer technologies from literature review to data analysis using SPSS. The program ensures that all candidates demonstrate skills in current technology through the satisfactory completion of course assignments and the culminating experience.

In addition to academic courses, candidates also demonstrate application of technology during both years of field placement, S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283. For example, see one assignment area from the S Wrk 280 learning agreement to Complete at least one report writing assignment from each of the following categories: e mail; meeting minutes; case notes/narratives. In order to perform effectively in any human service setting, students need to learn to use information management systems. All students who intern in public child welfare are required to use the CMS/CWS computer data-base for all client documentation. Interns complete a CMS/CWS training module and are certified to use this computer data-base in their field placement. Other placements utilize computer programs to assist clients with job searches, location of resources and other sources of information. As public schools become increasingly involved with the use of computer-based technology, PPS candidates are afforded the opportunity to utilize technology to support teaching and learning.

These opportunities occur in field work assignments such as academic advising in which student databases are accessed for the purposes of scheduling, evaluating transcripts, computing credits, etc. Students also utilize computer-based technology in assignments related to attendance, college and career planning, financial aid, community resources and general research. Information is then utilized in the assessment, planning, intervention and termination phases of service in support of pupil’s academic success.

Finally, candidates have ample opportunities to demonstrate computer-based technology skills in areas such as accessing the internet, downloading files, and using e-mail for communication. These skills are demonstrated in the completion of both academic and field placement assignments. The program ensures that candidates demonstrate skills in the use of this technology during weekly supervision in the field internship and in the evaluation of student performance in field placement. Candidates are rated on a scale of 1-5 on their performance in all required learning areas and must perform at a minimum of 80% to receive credit for field internship (see Appendix L: PPS Evaluation of Student Performance).

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