Data were collected using a cross-sectional survey design. A convenience sample of social work instructors and MSW students was recruited through emails sent to the director of social work programs in the United States (social work instructors N=126, MSW students N=132). Most social work instructors were white (77.8%), female (72.2%), with an average age of 55. Most MSW students were white (70%), female (90%) with an average age of 30.
Two separate surveys were conducted that included Likert scale statements, yes/no questions, and open-ended questions. SPSS was used to analyze quantitative data. Reverse coding ensured that all the numerical scoring scales were in the same direction. The data were descriptively analyzed to demonstrate the shape, central tendency, and variability within the dataset. Bivariate Pearson correlations were used to assess the associations among continuous variables. A p-value of less than .05 was considered statistically significant. Independent samples t-tests, one-way ANOVA, and cross tabs were conducted to assess group differences on binary and continuous variables.
Data analysis revealed the change to remote learning improved both instructor and student work-life balance. Both groups found benefit in remote learning and preferred a combination of asynchronous and synchronous delivery methods. Despite the positive impact of work-life balance, both groups reported increased stress levels. Instructors’ workload increased, and half of the student sample reported only learning as much remotely as they did in person. A majority of students reported having both the technical skills and environment to learn remotely. The majority of instructors felt the guidance they received from their institutions regarding remote teaching was sufficient. The Kubler-Ross change curve demonstrated that social work students were able to move along the pathway from high levels of shock and denial early in the pandemic to higher levels of acceptance by the fall semester.
The findings suggest that both students and instructors adjusted to remote learning due to COVID-19 and prefer multiple delivery methods of social work content moving forward. By providing increased institutional support to instructors, there is an opportunity for a new pedagogy to deliver social work education which can benefit both instructors and students in their work-life balance.