Many students who choose to participate in our DL program are living with situations that make being a student a challenge. Common situations for our students might include: single parents, caregivers, full-time employees in rural and tribal social services, living in extremely rural situations with limited access, living with a mental health diagnosis, non-traditional age student, returning students, history of substance use, limited technology experience, history of experience in the social service system, community and cultural obligations.
While these issues may be similar to those experienced by our campus students, our DL students do not benefit from faculty/staff seeing them in the hallway or the natural helping networks that form between students as they travel from class to class together. In an effort to support our students we have developed the following strategies:
- VIRTUAL CAMPUS
Using a downloadable and web-based technology, we have designed a virtual campus that allows for students to meet up with faculty/staff using audio, video and screen share technologies. In this computer-based and mobile application, students attend classes, access academic advising services, get help with doing research from the HSU librarian and meet with peers for study sessions and group projects. This virtual campus is available to students 24/7 and requires minimal technology skill.
- DISTRIBUTED LEARNING COMMUNITY SEMINARS
DL students take a Community Seminar each semester of the program. The purpose of this additional course is to build community among students, staff and faculty; to support students in making connections across the curriculum and their lived experiences; and to provide strategies for student success in an online education program. These are SW 411, SW 511 and SW 611.
- REGIONALLY-BASED PROFESSIONAL & ACADEMIC COACHES (PAC)
The Professional & Academic Coaching (PAC) program is designed to offer professional and academic support for students enrolled in Humboldt State University’s (HSU) social work distributed learning programs. The PAC program assists students in transitioning into their chosen educational program, developing tools for successful completion of the program, as well as building their professional identity as a Social Worker. This includes navigating the academic setting, time management, prioritization of tasks, negotiating academic and employment demands and utilizing self-care strategies to facilitate personal and professional growth. Coaches are regionally based throughout the state of California and provide opportunities for students to connect throughout their time in the program through both face-to-face and virtual meeting opportunities.
- HSU SOCIAL WORK COMMUNITY WEBSITE
This membership-based website brings campus and DL students together into one space with faculty, staff, Professional & Academic Coaches, Alumni and Community Partners. It includes access to a faculty blog and publications, discussion boards and practice-focused community groups, calls to action, job boards, event announcements, and much more. The site is also host to a monthly SW Community conversation that happens on the first Thursday of each month from 6:00-8:00 pm (PST) and includes all students. Students are invited to join this virtual community once they are accepted into the program and the are welcome to stay connected for as long as they would like.
If you are an active student, community partner, field supervisor or Alum of our program and would like to join this community, please request membership HERE.