Social Work Online | Alexander Street
Social Work Online

Social Work Online

Social Work Online is a multimedia resource that combines video—compelling documentaries and client demonstrations—with relevant text content to illustrate the complex and challenging realities social work students will face as practitioners. 

Social Work Online provides a lens through which students can see and understand how best to serve their future clients' needs.

The 100 hours of video and 50,000 pages of text in this collection are structured around twelve of the most important topics in the social work curriculum, most of which are applicable worldwide:

  • Children and Families
  • Diversity
  • School Social Work
  • Older Adults
  • Substance Abuse
  • Criminal Justice
  • Mental Health
  • Health Care
  • Poverty
  • Crisis and Trauma
  • Social Welfare
  • History of Social Work

The pedagogical videos in Social Work Online address the essential concepts students will employ in their everyday work as practitioners.  The documentaries offer real, complex, and deeply personal experiences that are best understood through observation—letting students consider how they might address various client issues in the field. In addition to the curated content from various sources, Microtraining Associates, an Alexander Street imprint, has produced a number of original videos to meet the need for social work training videos on essential issues.  

Text content in Social Work Online supports and expands upon the concepts taught across the social work curriculum, selected to add perspectives to topics that are highly relevant but not always well covered in textbooks. 

Teaching Application

Pair relevant videos and texts together to offer a comprehensive look into issues specific to geriatric social work.

The population over eighty-years-old is the fastest growing group in the US.  Thus, geriatric social work is a growing area of the social work curriculum at the bachelors and masters level. When videos are paired with relevant text materials, the combination becomes a powerful teaching tool that enhances student understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary to work successfully with older adults. Examples include:



Ethics and Values in Social Work: Client-Centered Processes for Managing Ethical Concerns (Microtraining Associates, 2018)

Professional ethics are at the core of Social Work practice. Ethics provide accountability and guide decision-making and everyday professional conduct of social workers. This video provides social work students and practitioners with a series of practice-based situations that explore a range of ethical issues. These scenarios will provide viewers with an opportunity to identify, assess, and make decisions about how to manage ethical issues in a range of social work contexts. This video includes nine modules covering a range of ethical issues such as Value Conflicts, Confidentiality, Informed Consent, Self-determination, Safety, and Mental Capacity. The modules begin with explanation of key concepts, followed by practice-based situations, and ending with questions to guide discussion.

Strike Dice! Betting on My Father (Filmakers Library, 2011)

A documentary film about a daughter trying to get her father, who is addicted to gambling, off the street and into permanent housing.

Relevant text to pair with these films:


Person-Centred Thinking with Older People, London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015
Practical and accessible, this book paris person-centred thinking down to six essential practices, and gives real-life examples of how to use them in the care of older people.

A Creative Toolkit for Communication in Dementia Care, London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016

How can careers and relatives support a person's identity, relationships, and emotional wellbeing through changes that occur in the later stages of dementia? This monograph provides a toolkit for developing communication and relationship skills.

Advisory Board

This collection was curated in collaboration with an expert board of social work faculty and librarians, including: 

  • R. Anna Hayward-Everson, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, Stony Brook University
  • Jenny Bowers, Associate Professor, Social Sciences Librarian,  University of Denver
  • Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW, Austin Distinguished Teaching Professor,  University of Texas
  • Rosalyn Denise Campbell, PhD, LMSW Assistant Professor School of Social Work,  University of Georgia
  • Cassandra Chaney, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Louisiana State University
  • Sophie Goldingay, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Deakin University
  • Charles Cobine, Librarian, University of Pennsylvania
  • Linda Kopecky, Head Librarian, Research Services, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Frank R. Baskind, PhD, MSW, M.Th., Dean Emeritus and Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jayshree Jani, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW-C, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Tazuko Shibusawa, Ph.D., LCSW Associate Professor, New York University

Content Highlights

Overcoming Personal Biases in Social Work

This video speaks to the challenges of overcoming personal biases in the helping professions. Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD MSW, Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University School of Social Work examines how preconceived ideas about how race, class, religion, sexual orientation, age, individualism, and consumerism impact us all. (Microtraining Associates, 2016) Learn More

Socio-Racial Roundtable: The Ecology of Negative Imagery, Gender Roles and Racism

Every day brings more media coverage of the multi-layered problems we face surrounding race and gender. This roundtable discussion between three leading experts in the field of education focuses on some of these complex issues. (Microtraining Associates, 2015) Learn More

Affirmative Practice with LGBTQ Clients

In working with LBGTQ clients, Mark Gianino, PhD MSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Clinical Practice at Boston University’s School of Social Work, encourages social workers to move beyond mere tolerance and toward an integration of knowledge, skills assessment, and intervention as well as advocacy within agencies and beyond. (Microtraining Associates, 2016) Learn More

Unequal Education: Revisited

In 1992, Educational Video Center produced Unequal Education for the national PBS series, "Listening to America with Bill Moyers." Their film revealed the stark contrast in resources and opportunities offered to students in two Bronx middle schools. More than twenty years later, the crew reunited to produce Unequal Education: Revisited, bearing witness to the long-term impact that inequities plaguing our society have on those struggling to survive. (Educational Video Center, 2014) Learn More


Wow! I am totally impressed with the videos and related transcripts…I did not imagine the final work would be so relevant for instruction. The videos are powerful and caught my attention. It was simple to navigate the site and I could have spent the entire day reviewing everything available.

Frank Baskind, PhD, MSW, M.Th. Dean Emeritus and Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University