Digital Social Work

Competences for providing social support in a digital environment
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (8 ratings)
680 students
56min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

Know about how digital art can be used for social work
Know how to use game-based learning for social work
Know how to use narrative gerontology for social work
Know how to use blackout poetry for social work


  • The MOOC is addressed for learners with a background on Social Work but no specific knowledge is required.
  • The MOOC suggests to use some free software like Sketchpad and Google Docs. However these apps can be replaced by other equivalent ones which you might be more comfortable with.


COVID-19 aggravated social exclusion of ill, older and disabled persons through measures to restrict movement and contacts, such as stay-at-home restrictions, quarantines, and lockdowns. While such measures were crucial for ensuring the safety of all, they just worsened and mainstreamed a condition of isolation that many groups of population suffered even before the pandemic. Millions of younger and older persons with mobility impairment due to illness, age or disability or with immunodeficiency (due for example to transplants, oncological illnesses, HIV or other conditions) are restrained every day, often together with their informal carers, in their opportunities of social interaction and engagement in meaningful activities outside their homes.

Engaging clients in meaningful activities is one of the principles of Person-Centered Care and it has been found fundamental to the health and wellbeing of the individual accessing care and support. It can help to improve physical fitness, improve mood and help to combat depression and anxiety, combat loneliness, improve the quality of sleep and even reduce falls. (Skills for care) However, it can be challenging for housebound clients to access them if not supported in doing so. Moreover, the Healthy Ageing framework promoted by WHO puts the emphasis in “creating the environments and  opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives”.

As clearly showed during the peak of the pandemic, online technologies could be exploited to provide social support and a sense of belonging. In fact, for many, the Internet and other digital technologies have become a window to the world during the lockdown, enabling us to connect with family, friends and the community but also to make educational, cultural or recreational experiences from our homes. However, not only many persons still have limited access to digital technologies and lack necessary skills to fully exploit them, but this is true also for many social care professionals and andragogists, who might not have the necessary competences to conceive and implement social support actions based on ICT.

In fact, a barrier to e-social work (which is broadly understood as activity performed by different kind of social professionals and aimed to support social inclusion and empowerment of vulnerable groups through ICT supported informal socio-educational actions) is not only the lack of basic ICT skills, but rather of more advanced competences, such as the ability to access, adapt and create new social and educational intervention methods using ICTs and to deliver technology-mediated social work and community work practices. Also, the use of ICT raises specific issues in terms of ethics and privacy which must be dealt with.

This MOOC highlights the possibilities offered by ICT to users as well as to professionals of the social sector. This chance should be taken to make steps forward in incorporating e-social work skills in VET curricula by providing trainers and educators with tools and practices to do so. In this framework, the specific goal of the MOOC is to develop digital pedagogical competences of C-VET educators in the social sector, enabling them to teach to their students how to develop and use high quality digital content for social inclusion of clients which are housebound because of disability, illness or COVID-19 related restrictions.

Who this course is for:

  • Social work professionals


Trainer in adult education
Licia Boccaletti
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 8 Reviews
  • 680 Students
  • 1 Course

President of the Italian NGO Anziani e non solo | Project manager, trainer and researcher in the filed of adult education and social work | BA in Educational Sciences and Humanities | MA in Medical Humanities | Field of interest: ageing society, informal caregiving, equal opportunities, social inclusion, digital inclusion, human rights, anti-discrimination.

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Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
  • 4.5 Instructor Rating
  • 96 Reviews
  • 12,722 Students
  • 20 Courses

I'm currently Professor at the Computer Eng. Dep. of the Engineering School of the Porto Polytechnic (ISEP). I'm also Director of Virtual Campus Lda, an SME dedicated to Technology Enhanced Learning and Serious Games.

I have a PhD (2001) in Technologies and Information Systems from the University of Minho, focusing in the use of e-learning in Higher Education.

As professor, I've lectured more than 20 different courses on Algorithms, Programming, Data Structures, E-Learning and Multimedia. Currently I'm lecturing Serious Games Design and Development and Multimedia Application Development. I was responsible for planning and developing the syllabuses and materials for most of these courses.

I started my research career in 1988 at INESC in the Computer Graphics Group. In 1996, I focused in Technology Enhanced Learning while doing my PhD at the University of Minho. From 2005 to 2014, I was Scientific Coordinator of GILT R&D (Games, Interaction and Learning Technologies). I've directed eight PhD and 40 MSc theses and authored over 200 publications and communications, including more than ten books (as author and editor). I coordinated 16 national and European projects and participated in more than 20 other projects. I worked as an expert for the European Commission and associated agencies in the scope of the Socrates-ODL, Minerva, E-Learning, E-Contents Plus, Lifelong Learning and Erasmus+ programmes.

On the management side, I directed the Distance Education Unit of the Porto Polytechnic from 1997 until 2000. From 2001 until 2005 I was E-Learning Director of ISEP and served as Dean of the Computer Eng. Dep. between 2003 and 2005. Between 2011 and 2013 I was President of the Portuguese Chapter of the IEEE Education Society.

Currently, I'm directing a company dedicated to the production of Serious Games and Technology-based Educational contents and applications.

  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 8 Reviews
  • 680 Students
  • 1 Course

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