Applied social work practice
This is a compulsory module in the OU degree in social work in England and Scotland. You must have met the formal entry requirements and be studying towards the degree, have passed Foundations for social work practice (K113), be working in a practice context and be sponsored by your employing agency. The module helps you to understand the application of social work knowledge to practice, addressing key roles and standards for social workers and relevant knowledge, values and skills for social work. The module includes a practice learning opportunity: 70-days in England and 100-days in Scotland. The practice learning opportunity will be under the supervision of a practice assessor appointed by your sponsoring agency.
What you will study
This is a compulsory module of the degrees in social work (England and Scotland). It is one of two compulsory modules that, together with an optional module, make up the second stage of the three-stage degree in England. It is also one of the two compulsory modules for the degree in social work in Scotland that make up the third stage of the four-stage degree. The degree programmes have been approved by the nation-specific regulatory bodies for the profession. See Applied social work practice KZW216 for information about the version of the module to be studied for the degree in social work in Wales.
The study materials provide you with case examples and illustrations of social work practice (using audio and video); original discussion of key social work concepts and theoretical debates; and reprinted articles introducing important theoretical and ethical issues. Activities in the learning materials help you to apply your learning to your current social work practice. The module is structured in three blocks of study:
- Working with needs and risk
- Working with groups and networks
- Working with communities and diversity.
Each block consists of four units, with an introduction and conclusion to the module forming two additional units, so that there are 14 in all.
The module follows on from your study and successful completion of Foundations for social work practice K113.
This module will enable you to:
- make relevant application of the UK nation-specific standards in social work laid down by the regulatory bodies for the profession
- apply underpinning knowledge — including theories and methods for practice — relevant to social work
- apply the four components of good practice: knowledge; values and ethics; skills; and social work process
- learn from the expectations and needs of individuals, families, carers, groups, and communities who use services
- learn from other resource materials in the social work degree programme, so that you can meet the learning requirements appropriate to this stage of the degree.
The module also helps you to build on your skills in information and digital literacy, based upon the requirements of the regulatory bodies for the profession.
This is one of a set of modules that together constitute an approved programme leading to a degree in social work approved by the regulatory body for the profession in your nation.
This module is not available for standalone study. To study this module you must:
- be registered for the relevant degree in social work for your nation
- be registered as a social work student with the regulatory body, if you are in Scotland
- be sponsored by your employing agency
- be working in a practice context
- have passed all your modules, including K113, for Stage 1 of the BA (Hons) Social Work (England) or Stage 2 for the BA (Hons) Social Work (Scotland).
The sponsoring agency will provide you with appropriate practice learning opportunities and undertake to allow you one day a week study time for 120 credits study each year while you are on the programme. (There will be a pro-rata reduction in the entitlement of study time allowed if you are studying less than 120 credits per year.) Further information for sponsoring agencies is available – speak to an adviser.
You will need to spend between seven and ten hours a week studying, in addition to the hours spent on the practice learning opportunity.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
You will need to have access to a practice learning opportunity organised by your sponsoring agency: 70-days in England and 100-days in Scotland.
You will receive guidance of how to get started online in your first module mailing. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the module starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.
You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- course specific study material
- audio and video content
- assessment details
- access to online tutorials and study forums
- access to teaching and library resources
You’ll also be provided with three module workbooks and other printed materials.
You will need
Social work settings almost always require the use of Windows-based computers and Microsoft Office applications. Many digital literacy activities within the Social Work Programme are therefore based on the Windows operating system and on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You should ensure that you have access to Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for the duration of the programme, and we strongly recommend that they are run on a Microsoft Windows-based computer.
For more details refer to Digital literacy and use of computing on the Social Work degree.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11). Any macOS is unsuitable with this module.
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.
Materials to buy
- Davies, M. (ed) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work (4th edn) Wiley-Blackwell £30.25 - ISBN 9781118451724