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Top 7 Social Work Courses You Can Study Online - Open Education Online

Top 7 Social Work Courses You Can Study Online

Social workers are professionals who help individuals and communities in areas like housing, employment, health, education, and more. With the right education and training, social workers can solve complex social problems, help individuals build resilience, and support healthy, safe families and communities. Social work is also closely tied to social justice; many social workers consider themselves activists in housing equality, economic justice, human rights, and more. To learn more about social work and topics relevant to this field, here are seven social work courses available online:

Table of Contents

#1. Introduction to Social Work (AlaskaX)
#2. Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (University of Michigan)
#3. Understanding and Solving Poverty and Inequality (University of York)
#4. Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice (Harvard University)
#5. The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness (University of Toronto)
#6. Psychological First Aid (John Hopkins University)
#7. “Talk to me:” Improving mental health and suicide prevention in young adults (CurtinX)

#1. Introduction to Social Work (AlaskaX)

This edX course, which is part of the Professional Certificate in Introduction to Social Work, introduces students to social work concepts and practice. Students learn about the context of social work practice, its foundations, its history, and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Understand what a social worker is and what they do
  • Define concepts like oppression, privilege, and intersectionality
  • Describe the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice
  • Understand the theories and history of social work

How you’ll learn

“Introduction to Social Work” is a beginner class, so no prerequisites are required. The course takes six weeks with 4-6 hours of study per week. Coursework is a mix of videos, readings, and other assignments. If you want to earn a certificate and full access to the material, the course costs $99.

#2. Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (University of Michigan)

This Coursera course teaches students how United States social workers create change and support individual, familial, and community resilience. Students will learn the history of social work, what guides social work practice, the roles social workers fill in different settings, and the challenges facing social workers today. The course can be taken on its own or as part of the “Social Work: Practice, Policy, and Research” MasterTrack Certificate Program.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Understand social workers at micro, mezzo, and macro system levels
  • Describe the history of social work and what has shaped practice in the United States
  • Explore core frameworks in social work such as the ecological systems perspective, cultural humility framework, and evidence-informed practice perspective
  • Identify connections between social and social justice using the P.O.D.S. (privilege, oppression, social justice, and diversity) framework

How you’ll learn

“Social Work Practice” takes around 12 hours over 4 weeks to complete. Coursework includes videos, discussion prompts and forums, readings, practice quizzes, and four graded quizzes. Each is worth 25% of your grade. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.8/5 rating. Subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), German, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and English are available.

#3. Understanding and Solving Poverty and Inequality (University of York)

Guided by experts at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at York, students will learn about modern social issues, the global history of poverty and inequality, and possible solutions to problems in the United Kingdom. While the FutureLearn course is designed for anyone interested in solving poverty and inequality, A-level sociology and social policy students will benefit the most. Students interested in social work will also gain valuable insights and foundational knowledge.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Describe poverty and inequality, including an overview from a historical perspectiv
  • Understand the theoretical and critical arguments about poverty and inequality as concepts
  • Explore child poverty and health inequalities in the UK
  • Examine solutions through the perspectives of different actors in society, such as the Prime Minister, activists, and students

How you’ll learn

“Understanding and Solving Poverty and Inequality” is an introductory course. With four hours of study per week, it takes about 3 weeks to complete. Materials include videos, readings, discussions, quizzes, and a graded test. For a one-time $44 fee, you get perks like full access to the course, tests, and a printed and digital certificate. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.7/5 rating.

#4. Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice (Harvard University)

Many social workers help children, so understanding child protection and children’s rights are important. In this course, students learn about the causes and consequences of failing to protect children, as well as how to respond to abuse, violence, and exploitation of children. By the course’s end, students will have a solid foundation on child protection issues.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Understand the origins of child protection in international human rights
  • Identify the impact of violence, exploitation, and abuse on kids
  • Know how to assess and improve child protection systems
  • Describe who is involved in child protection

How you’ll learn

This edX course is divided into four parts stretched over 16 weeks. The weekly commitment is 2-6 hours, though the course is self-paced. Coursework includes videos, readings, assessments, and discussions. The Verified track, which costs $99, gives you unlimited access to the course materials, graded assignments, and a shareable certificate.

#5. The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness (University of Toronto)

Through this course available on Coursera, students learn about the history of modern mental health practices and how social factors impact mental health and illness. The course also explores questions like how social attitudes and developments around the world influence our understanding of mental health and illness.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Describe the history of mental health and illness, including asylums, community-based mental health care, and more
  • Understand what mental health is and what causes mental illness
  • Examine the social context of mental illness diagnoses and treatment
  • Identify the role of culture, families, and society in mental health

How you’ll learn

The course takes about six weeks to complete or 14 hours total. Materials include video lectures, readings, and quizzes. Subtitles are available in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, and Spanish. Enrollment is free, but if you want a certificate and full course access, you’ll need to pay a fee or sign up for Coursera Plus. At the time of writing, “The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness” had a 4.7/5 rating.

#6. Psychological First Aid (John Hopkins University)

As part of their jobs, some social workers respond to mental health emergencies. They need specialized skills. In this “Psychological First Aid” course on Coursera, students learn about the RAPID model. RAPID stands for reflective listening, assessment of needs, prioritization, intervention, and disposition. With this model, students will learn how to respond in environments like public health settings, the workplace, the military, and other situations where there’s psychological distress.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Describe key concepts related to psychological first aid, such as how reflective listening works
  • Identify between harmless psychological/behavioral crisis reactions and serious, potentially harmful reactions
  • Describe what intervention and disposition look like and their role in psychological first aid
  • Learn how to practice self-care

How you’ll learn

The course takes about 5 weeks or 6 hours total. Coursework includes video lectures, simulation videos, readings, discussion prompts, and graded quizzes. Each is worth 25% of your grade. If you want access to the graded quizzes and a certificate upon finishing the course, you’ll need to pay about $50. Subtitles are available in Arabic, French, German, Russian, English, Spanish, Ukrainian, Portuguese (European), Portuguese (Brazilian), Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, and Korean. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.8/5 rating.

#7. “Talk to me:” Improving mental health and suicide prevention in young adults (CurtinX)

Anyone can struggle with poor mental health, but young people are especially vulnerable. Increased awareness has helped, but in many places, people are still ill-equipped to respond to the mental health struggles children and teenagers deal with. This German-Australian collaboration teaches social workers, teachers, parents, and others how to help young people struggling with poor mental health and suicidal ideations. By the course’s end, students will have a better understanding of mental health and how to recognize and respond to mental health challenges, including their own.

What you’ll learn (excerpt)

  • Define what mental health is and how stress impacts mental health
  • Identify the factors that contribute to poor mental health and suicide
  • Understand strategies that help strengthen good mental health
  • Learn how to talk to people who may be at risk of suicide and what kinds of questions to ask

How you’ll learn

This course is divided into 6 modules. To finish the course in 6 weeks, you’ll need to study about 2-3 hours per week. Materials include readings, quizzes, and videos. If you want to earn a certificate and get unlimited access to course materials, you’ll need to spend $149.

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