Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Robin R. Whitebird


Social Work


This Banded Dissertation explores the use of an alternative paradigm known as liberatory pedagogy in online social work education. Liberatory pedagogy has the potential to enhance the quality of online education because of its strong alignment with social work professional values, ethics, and required educational competencies. This compilation of research includes educator and student perspectives.

The first product of this Banded Dissertation is a Scholarly Personal Narrative that delves into the author’s development as an educator and her understanding of liberatory pedagogical concepts including body, mind, spirit, and voice. The author reflects on pivotal teaching and learning experiences and shares honestly about some of the opportunities, frustrations, and challenges she has encountered while teaching asynchronously in online courses.

The second scholarly product is a qualitative study exploring how online graduate students experienced the liberatory pedagogical concepts of body, mind, spirit, and voice while participating in an asynchronous policy course. Three themes—student focus on specific course content vs. student awareness of holistic learning process, concern for offending others, and lack of voice—have implications for educators who desire to use alternative pedagogies in the online environment.

The final product in the Banded Dissertation is a peer-reviewed oral presentation delivered during the Social Work in Distance Education Conference held in San Antonio, TX in April 2018. The author shared the results of her completed Scholarly Personal Narrative and some preliminary data from the qualitative study which she was conducting concurrent to the conference.

Despite the potential to enrich online social work education using liberatory pedagogy, findings indicate the absence of face-to-face contact presents unique challenges for both teachers and students. This research suggests holistically engaging students in the asynchronous environment requires thoughtful consideration of the relationships between learners as well as strategies and tools which facilitate honest and meaningful dialogue.

Included in

Social Work Commons