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SWRK 2010 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SWRK 2010 - Introduction to Social Work

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce students to the history and scope of social work programs, policies, services, and practices. The historical development of social work, its theoretical framework, knowledge base, and values as well as ethical boundaries are emphasized in the course. The introductory nature of this course provides the student with a broad overview of social work with its focus on systems of all sizes, including individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities.  The various fields of practicing social work are explored. This course integrates cultural competency and ongoing self-exploration for the student to assess if they are a good fit for the profession of social work.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to: 

  • Identify, analyze, and understand the social aspects of culture and the cultural heritage
  • Demonstrate an acceptable level of mastery of the history of social welfare, the field of social work, attitudes important in the social services, obstacles to communication in human services and social services available in communities
  • Use critical thinking and problem solving in the field of social service
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

ENGL 0810, Math competencies 1-5, READ 0810

Course Topics:
  • Module 1. What is Social Work?
  • Module 2. The history of the social welfare system and the social work profession.
  • Module 3. Poverty and Economic Disparity
  • Module 4. Human Rights and Social and Economic Justice
  • Module 5. Dimensions of Diversity
  • Module 6. Generalist Social Work Practice
  • Module 7. Child Welfare: Working with Children and Their Families
  • Module 8. Gerontology: Working with People Who are Older
  • Module 9. Health Care Services
  • Module 10. Mental Health Services
  • Module 11. School social work
  • Module 12. Substance Abuse
  • Module 13. Violence, Victims, and Criminal Justice
  • Module 14. Crisis, Trauma, and Disasters
Specific Course Requirements:

There will be two assignments that will require interviewing a social worker and visiting a local social service agency. Therefore some travel to conduct these interviews will be needed.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Students are required to submit a Word (docx) type document for all dropbox assignments. If you do not have Word, OpenOffice is an acceptable alternative for creating a .doc type of document. APA formatting is required for paper submissions. If you do not have the APA 6th Edition guide, OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab (linked under Web Resources) is a good APA formatting resource.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

All grades will be posted under the Grades tool, located under the Evaluation navigation link. Quizzes are automatically graded upon submission. Dropbox submissions are first read and evaluated by the instructor with any feedback included along with the grade. Discussion posts will be graded for thoroughness, and responses to others will be graded on depth of thought. The rubric that follows guides the submission expectations for the dropbox writing submissions.

Writing Rubric

CategoriesLevel 1Level 2Level 3Level 4
Knowledge/understanding information & ideasDemonstrates limited understanding of topic or themeDemonstrates some understanding of topic or themeDemonstrates considerable understanding of topic and themeDemonstrates thorough understanding of topic or theme
Thinking/Inquiry Analyzing & InterpretationAnalyzes and interprets information with limited effectivenessAnalyzes and interprets information with some effectivenessAnalyzes and interprets information with considerable effectivenessAnalyzes and interprets information with a high degree of effectiveness
Communication Language  StyleMeaning and intent are frequently unclear, demonstrates limited sense of purpose and audienceMeaning and intent are sometimes unclear, demonstrates some sense of purpose and audienceMeaning and intent are clear, demonstrates clear sense of purpose and audienceMeaning and intent are clear and engaging, demonstrates strong sense of purpose and audience
GrammarFrequent, major mechanical errorsSome major mechanical errorsSome minor mechanical errorsFew minor mechanical errors
Supporting Ideas/Facts with ReferencesCommunicates ideas with limited clarity, unsupported statementsCommunicates ideas with some clarity, few supported statementsCommunicates ideas with considerable clarity, effectively supported statementsCommunicates ideas with a high degree of clarity, insightfully supported statements
Length and content of responsesVery limited length of content with missing responsesLimited length of content with brief responsesModerate length of content with moderate responsesSignificant length of content with thorough responses

Letter grades for this course will be assigned based on the following scale.

Point RangeAssigned Grade
990 - 1100 pointsA
880 - 989 pointsB
770 - 879 pointsC
660 - 769 pointsD
659 or below pointsF

Graded Items

Discussions, 14 @ 10 points each140
Dropbox writing assignments, 14 @ 25 points each350
Topic paper, interview paper and agency visit paper, 3 @ 100300
Quizzes 14 @ 15 points each; final exam310
Total points1100


Grading Scale:
Assignments and Projects:


Each week there will be a quiz over the chapter content; multiple choice/true false. Each quiz is worth 15 points.


Each week there will be a required posting and at least 2 response postings addressing specific questions related to the chapter to promote classroom discussion. Discussions are worth 10 points.


Each week there will be a required writing assignment addressing specific questions over that week's chapter content. Dropbox submissions are worth 25 points.

Topic Paper

The student will choose any social work topic of interest to them. The student will find at least three peer-reviewed journal articles on this topic using the Tennessee Virtual Library system. The paper will include statistics on the topic, significant recent research findings on the topic, and how social work is intervening. This paper is to be written in the APA format. Specific directions for the paper will be in the module under the Contents tab entitled "Paper Assignments". It is worth 100 points.

Interview of a Social Worker

The student will need to interview a Social Worker in their local area or possibly someone they already know who is a Social Worker. There are specific questions that the student will be given to ask in the interview. These questions will be then be used as the outline for the written paper submission. There will be additional information for the student to include in the paper submission. The interview questions, the additional student questions , and paper directions will be posted in the module under the Contents tab entitled "Paper Assignments". This is worth 100 points.

Agency Visit Paper

The purpose of this assignment is for students to learn about the administrative arrangements of social service agencies. The student will physically travel to a local social service agency of their choosing to conduct an interview with the contact person at that agency. This may or may not be a social worker at that agency. There will be a prescribed interview questionnaire for their visit. The student will write a paper using the questions and responses as an outline. There will be additional questions regarding the visit for the student to include as well. These questions and directions for the paper will be posted in the module under the Contents tab entitled "Paper Assignments". The paper is worth 100 points.

Class Participation:

Students are expected to complete assignments weekly. The discussion postings serve as the primary means for the student to student interaction. Questions will be posted for each chapter that the student will post a response to. Then the student will read other classmates postings and respond to at least two other students.

Late Policy:

Students must complete their assignments on a weekly basis. All assignments are due by midnight on Sunday nights. Late work will be accepted but with a three point deduction per week it is late, unless there is a valid reason for the late submission. If you will be traveling and will not have access to a computer to complete work, please let me know and the quiz dates can be reset. If there is an emergency, please contact for exceptions on late work.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on January 16, 2018