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ONLINE Summer Electives

Online Summer Electives

These courses are open to all students at MSU and beyond. All of these courses are open to non-social work majors. Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior (SW 290 Section 730) is also offered on a non-credit basis. For more information click HERE.

These are fully online courses offered to provide you the opportunity to expand your horizons, cover new territory, and have some fun while you complete your electives.

Please send general inquiries to swonline@msu.edu. For specific questions about courses, email the instructor directly.

Frequently Asked Questions >>

Summer 2015

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Full Session (A & B): 5/18/2015 - 8/20/2015

Child Welfare

SW471 section 730 • 3 credits
Instructor: Elizabeth Montemayor | email
Social work practice and policy approaches to intervention; needs and problems of children from the prenatal period through infancy, childhood, and adolescence

Course Description

In this course students will examine the history, evolution, and functions of child welfare social work practice. We will explore risk and protective factors related to child abuse and neglect while developing a foundational understanding of issues related to race, age, gender, culture, and socio-economic status. Key legislation and policies will be reviewed with an emphasis on contemporary issues impacting children and families being served in the Michigan child welfare system. Students will identify evidence-based interventions appropriate for children and families and create advocacy projects to address the unique real-world needs of this client population. This course offers a collaborative learning environment that invites students to take an active role in exploring social work policy and practice structures that are carried out within child welfare settings.

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Session A: 5/18/2015 - 7/2/2015

Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse:
Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior

SW290 section 730 • 3 credits

Instructor: Glenn Stutzky | email | website
Selected topics in social work.

Course website >

Course Description | Fiscal Times article | State News article

This course is also offered on a non-credit basis.
For more information click HERE

This course won the 2013 MSU-AT&T Instructional Technology Awards Competition in the "Best Online Class" category.

Imagine having lunch at a restaurant, attending a wedding, being in a classroom, or jogging alone...when suddenly everything changes. This course combines the most current academic research on disaster preparedness and response, with students forming groups to participate in an online simulated catastrophic event. It is highly interactive and requires a serious commitment to working with a small group of people who—like you—want to survive. This is not a self-paced, “go at your own speed,” “I’ll get to it when I can” type of class. Look elsewhere for that. If you want to have an adventure, become part of a story, and learn some important things about this topic and yourself, welcome to the course.

Take the Class... Survive the Event... Save the World!

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Introduction to Social Work

SW200 section 730 • 3 credits
Instructor: Lynn Nee | email | website
Social work practice, ethics, and values, in the context of social welfare policy in the US

Course Description

People who become social workers find that it is more a way of life than a job. Every day social workers improve the lives of others. Using current real world issues, this class will introduce students to what social workers do and the values and ethics that guide their work. We will use various methods to analyze state, national, and international social policy and practice and also identify potential areas for social work influence. Students will come away with a better understanding of the contexts in which social workers are active, and how social work values and the Code of Ethics provide a framework for their work.

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Immigration: Children in Crisis

SW491 section 734 • 3 credits
Instructor: Nicki Moody | email | website
Selected Topics in Social Work

Course Description

This course will inform students of the federal and Michigan policies that impact undocumented immigrant children and US citizen children of undocumented parents. We will also look at circumstances in Central America leading to a mass migration of children, current efforts to support this population in the US, the media’s impact on these efforts, and the possibility of a coordinated response. By the end of this course, students will be able to articulate some of the causes of the child immigration crisis, the US policy/response, Michigan's response efforts, gaps in services, and the social worker’s response.

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Self-care & Stress Management for Helping Professionals

SW491 section 735 • 3 credits
Instructor: Monaca Eaton | email | website
Selected Topics in Social Work

Course Description

Self-care & Stress Management for Helping Professionals The journey to become a helping professional can be stressful and demanding, requiring a balance of internships, coursework, volunteer work, and home and personal responsibilities. This course will introduce you to many hands-on techniques that will help you manage stress and prevent personal burnout. We will look at issues around stress and anxiety, secondary trauma and PTSD, and work/life balance. Each week will be filled with self-care exercises including: guided meditation, mindfulness, breathing, yoga and stretching, art and creative expression, art journaling, and nature work. Our online work together over the session will culminate in a personal self-care plan to promote resilience and prevent burnout. Learn to feel less stressed during your time at MSU and start your professional life off with wellness.

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Family Stress & Resiliancy

SW491 section 730 • 3 credits
Instructor: Tina Timm | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

 

Stress is ever present in families. Stress can be a result of normal developmental stages of a family (e.g., aging), unpredictable events (e.g., diagnosis of a mental illness), or effects of the larger systems in which families live (e.g., homophobia). Because families are constantly faced with stress, all are potentially at risk. This course exposes students to theories about families and stress that help make sense of both vulnerability and resiliency. Some families fare better than others in the face of change and stress. The degree of risk for a family hinges on many things, most notably the complex interplay of how individual family members cope, the overall family dynamics, and the systems of support around the family. All these factors have the potential to make things easier or harder for families as they move through time and negotiate change and stress. As part of this class, students are required to reflect on stress and resiliency in their own family. Examples of topics covered in the course include divorce and remarriage, mental illness, aging, violence, immigration, and LGBT families.

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Trauma's Impact Across the Lifespan

SW491 section 731 • 3 credits
Instructor: Nola Carew | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

Trauma permeates our world and technology brings it right to our doorstep, yet its impact and devastation are not largely understood. Turn on the television, pull up a newsfeed, open a newspaper: all offer daily examples of trauma and its effects. This course will look at the impact of traumatic events on individuals across various stages of the lifespan. Students will gain knowledge of various types of traumatic experience as well as an understanding of how to help and interact with people who have experienced trauma. The course will explore biological, psychological, and sociological dimensions of traumatic experiences on individuals and systems. There will be specific emphasis on child abuse and neglect, refugee trauma, terrorism, natural disasters, military/combat trauma, and trauma in older adults.

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You Are What You Eat!
An Exploration of Self, Culture & Society Through Food

SW491 section 732 • 3 credits
Instructor: Kim Steed-Page | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

This course looks at the linkages between the food we eat and who we are, both as individuals and in the larger society, by exploring our eating rituals and the role of food in our lives. Students will consider issues of availability, disease/disorder, taboos, movements, and the meanings of hunger and poverty; they will also research the meaning and role of food in their own lives. The role of media and technology will be explored along with food politics and policies. Global food consumption and food meaning will also be examined.

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Fairy Tales, Fables & Fantasy: Clues to a Child’s Psyche

SW491 section 733 • 3 credits
Instructor: Victoria Fitton | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

This course is designed to offer an understanding of the importance of fairy tales, fables, and fantasy literature across culture and lifespan, although a focus will remain on children in western culture. The central focus of the course will lie with fairy tales because, in a very deep way, fairy tales speak directly to the inner pressures of children’s psychological and emotional sense of self in a way that children unconsciously understand. Fairy tales embrace the serious inner struggles of growing children and offer creative solutions to those difficulties. By understanding the nature of children’s enjoyment and use of fairy tales, fables, and fantasy, we gain an appreciation for the needs and coping strategies of children to negotiate human relationships and find meaning in human life. And, if we understand these for children, we can understand them more clearly for ourselves.

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Adoption in the 21st Century: From Myth to Reality

SW491 section 790 • 1 credit
Instructor: Rosemary Jackson | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

What do Steve Jobs and Superman have in common? How about Angelina Jolie and Katherine Heigl? The answer is that all of them have been touched by adoption. From adopted individuals (both real and fictional) to adoptive parents (both celebrities and everyday folk) adoption remains a practice that is shrouded in myth and mystery. As an institution, it remains ensconced in tradition and secrecy and is a topic that piques peoples’ interest. This class will explore the history of adoption in the United States as well as the mythology that surrounds it. Contemporary trends in adoption practice (including domestic and international adoption) will be explored, as will the federal and local laws and policies that underlie them. Adoption as a permanency planning option for children and youth in current child welfare practice will be discussed and the adoption process will be a focus. Characteristics of the children and families who make up the adoption community will be examined.

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Secondary Trauma & the Social Worker:
Occupational Hazards of the Helping Professions

SW491 section 736 • 1 credit
Instructor: Nola Carew| email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

Much time and effort is spent in training social workers to become competent helping professionals; less attention is paid to the personal impacts of working in the midst of traumatic situations. This course will focus on “help for the helper” by exploring and developing a deeper understanding of the types of stressors associated with the helper role such as burnout, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma. Comprehensive assessment and intervention techniques to address the hazards associated with the helper role on micro, mezzo, and macro levels will be discussed. Students will develop comprehensive prevention and intervention strategies to prepare for their work in the field.

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Adolescent Addiction: Components, Treatment & the Justice System

SW491 section 737 • 1 credit
Instructor: Kelly Fornwalt | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

This course is designed to cover the concepts of adolescent addiction, specifically related to definition/diagnosis, treatment approaches/modalities, co-occurring issues with adolescents, impact of trauma, and the intersection with the juvenile justice system. Through the use of a variety of resources in an on-line format, it is intended to add to a student’s knowledge base and understanding of the adolescent population. In addition, the course content will address the specialized needs associated with those who may one day seek this type of treatment.

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Grant Writing for Social Workers

SW491 section 738 • 1 credit
Instructor: Erica Shifflet | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

This course will provide social work students with the background and skills to become beginning grant writers. Social work students recognize grant writing skills as marketable skills in the workforce. The course will focus on identifying funding sources (including public funders, private foundations and corporate giving programs), creating a brand and a sales pitch for social work agencies and programs and developing grant proposals. Students will gain experience in using grant search websites, describing social work programs to potential funders, and writing complete grant proposals. The course will include online readings and media sources and a grant proposal assignment for students. Peer review will also be used to maximize learning and sharing of ideas.

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Technology, Social Media & the Social Work Profession

SW491 section 739 • 1 credit
Instructor: Erica Shifflet | email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

This course is designed to offer an understanding of the importance of fairy tales, fables, and fantasy literature across culture and lifespan, although a focus will remain on children in western culture. The central focus of the course will lie with fairy tales because, in a very deep way, fairy tales speak directly to the inner pressures of children’s psychological and emotional sense of self in a way that children unconsciously understand. Fairy tales embrace the serious inner struggles of growing children and offer creative solutions to those difficulties. By understanding the nature of children’s enjoyment and use of fairy tales, fables, and fantasy, we gain an appreciation for the needs and coping strategies of children to negotiate human relationships and find meaning in human life. And, if we understand these for children, we can understand them more clearly for ourselves.

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Session B: 7/6/2015 - 8/20/2015

 

Substance Abuse & the Human Services

SW474 section 730 • 3 credits
Instructor: Al Platt | email | website
Instructor: Karen Newman | email | website
Theories, assessment, intervention, and service delivery models

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction and broad overview of substance use/abuse as it affects individuals, families, communities, social policies, and practice. Included in this course will be attention to: substance abuse (epidemiology) from a global perspective; the process and nature of substance abuse/chemical dependency; harm reduction as a philosophical framework; an overview of contemporary treatment models; historical perspectives on chemical dependency and social responses; and the role and need for advocacy within this area of human service help provision.

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Adoption Sensitive Practice with Families & Children

SW491 section 791 • 1 credit
Instructor: Rosemary Jackson| email | website
Selected topics in social work

Course Description

What are the characteristics and needs of adopted children and their families? What constitutes good adoption practice? How do we provide good adoption services when adoption practices vary from country to country and state to state? These and other questions will be answered when this class explores the process of adoption from both social work and legal perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and meeting the needs of children and families before, during, and after adoption. The adoption home study process will be explored and the impact of disrupted attachments and trauma on children and their adoptive families will be investigated. This class will also look at special issues in adoption such as kinship adoption, transracial adoption, and open adoption, as well as adoption disruption/dissolution and search and reunion issues.

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