Eye on Ethics: The Elephant in the (Virtual) Classroom: The Ethical Implications of Online Social Work Eucation

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


I have spent much of my career in social work education and value the richness and remarkable teaching moments that occur when a group of students and their professor convene in person to wrestle with difficult intellectual issues, engage in thought-provoking dialogue, and master challenging theories and practice models. There is a vast divide between the use of distance education technology to supplement classroom-based education and the online social work education programs—not just courses—launched recently by a handful of universities. While the new online model clearly has staunch supporters, it is clear that many social workers and educators are beginning to raise compelling questions about the ethical implications of this new phenomenon.