Social Work VirCamp

[Translate to Englisch:] Vircamp Logo

Since 2018, the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences is a member of the Social Work VirCamp. Further Information can be retrieved via the SW VirCamp Webite or via this Flyer.

Please note: The virtual courses are offered simultaneously at the participating universities. Hence, lecture times and periods may differ from those of FHWS.

Students at FHWS (including exchange students) are eligible to participate in VirCamp courses and may earn ECTS-Credits for succesful participation. If you're interested, please get in touch with Prof. Dr. Dagmar Unz.

Current Courses

Course Period: 20.09.2021 - 12.11. 2021
Deadline for Application: 13.09.2021
Credits: 5 ETCS

Introduction: 
Social Work from an international perspective is an online course that allows social work students in various countries to learn from each other and to share information and knowledge about social work. 

Rapid changes in contemporary societies, increasing mobility and local differences in social and economic factors influence the living conditions and thereby the social problems in various parts of the world. This has serious implications for the field of social work and for the framework and the role of social workers, which emphasises the importance for intercultural exchange. An international perspective on Social Work is significant for social workers directly involved with clients from different countries and for bachelor and postgraduate students who are considering an international perspective in their future career. 

Content:
In this course, the students will learn about commonalities and differences between countries in the field of social work and how these contextualise and influence living conditions. The students will explore social organisations, welfare systems and methods within social work. 

Throughout the course, students will cooperate on cases that illustrate the phenomenon of social exclusion . Students are assigned to work with challenges related to social work with elderly people, adults or children and to compare the living conditions with two other countries than their own.

During the course, the students take part in various activities in a virtual classroom together with students from different countries. These activities aim to enhance the students’ communication skills and give a unique experience of working with students from different countries.

Course Period: 08.11.2021 - 04.02.2022
Deadline for Application: 11.10.2021
Credits: 10 ETCS

Introduction:
In the last decades there have been worldwide rapid changes in societies. Increasing mobility and global differences in political, social and economic factors influence the living conditions and thereby the social challenges in various parts of the world. Migration and refugees are, for example, a result of these differences Europe as continent has experienced in the last decades. The situation between specific groups, religions, age generations, sexual orientations, etc. leads to marginalization or discrimination of people and makes life in our societies tensed and complex. This development has implications for the field of social work and for the framework and the role of professionals. For social workers it is important to be able to understand what is going on in our societies in order to support people who are marginalized.

In this course the concept of ‘intersectionality’ will be used as a critical analytic tool to help to understand social exclusion and discrimination and to address anti-oppressive social work. The intersectional approach focuses on the complexity of gender, sexuality, class, age, ethnicity and race.

For social workers it is important to understand those concepts to be able to support potential clients or groups of clients in an anti oppressive way. The methodical approach to do this in a constructive way will be another important element in this course.

Within an online learning environment, social workers living and working in very different situations will have the opportunity to learn from each other and to share information and knowledge important for their work with their clients. A global perspective on Social Work is important for professional social workers directly involved with clients from different parts of the world and with different identities. It is also important for bachelor and postgraduate students who will need an international perspective on social work for their future career.

Content:
The aim of social workers is to support and empower people and in that way contribute to an inclusive society. But in practice social workers can be oppressive and therefore exclude people/groups. In this course students learn to look critically to the way they put methods and theories in practice. This module will allow the student to understand commonalities and differences in terms of how societies exclude certain (groups of) people and the way social work theories and methods are suitable to deal with questions concerning discrimination;

Part of the course is a video case that allows students to put theory into practice. Because this course is open to an international student group, it offers the participants the possibility to compare practice in social work in different countries.

The understanding and discussion of ethical dilemmas will be part of the contents of the course.

Course Period: 17.01.2022 - 23.05.2022
Deadline for Application: 13.12.2021
Credits: 15 ETCS

Introduction:
Community work from an international perspective is an online course, that offer social work students, living and working in very different situations the opportunity to learn from each other and to share information and knowledge important for their work. 

Community work is a planned process to mobilize communities to use their own social structures and resources to address their own problems and achieve their own objectives. Community work focuses on participation and fosters empowerment, emancipation and change through collective action. Community work is closely related to work for human rights. The community work process is about people in communities creating opportunities for growth and change. Community can be understood in different ways, as geographical areas, interest groups, organizations or institutions. Community work rests on a basic democratic ideal, anti-oppressive practice, equality and solidarity with the affected individuals. It aims to generate and communicate new insights with a view to effecting change. As community work is an ideological, theoretical and practical approach to social life and the risk of social exclusion, it is ideologically sustained by a basic trust in people’s ability to improve their life chances. Society is the outcome of collective action and is perpetuated and/or changed by action.

Content:
This course focuses on theories, methods and approaches in community work from an international perspective. The course consists of several parts. One part focuses on concepts, community work theories. In the next part students are introduced to a virtual community work case and learn methods of mapping, different approaches, mobilization and participation. In the last part, students collaborate and develop a project plan based on their virtual research. 

The students will learn about community work and its historic background and come to understand the risk of manipulation when community work is worked out from a top-down level. Students will learn about the advantages and power in approaches carried out from a bottom-up perspective. 

Course Period: 31.01.2022 - 29.04.2022
Deadline of Application: 10.01.2022
Credits: 10 ETCS

Introduction:
Social & Impact entrepreneurship is an online course that allows students from social sciences and entrepreneurship in various countries to learn from each other and to share information, knowledge, skills and values about social innovation. The course brings together diverse professional and cultural backgrounds of students, who will cooperate and learn from each other and together.

Social entrepreneurship is defined by doing business for a social purpose. Social entrepreneurs combine social and economic actions in a way that improves the lives of people connected to the cause. They don’t measure their success in terms of profit alone or dominantly. They measure their economic performance just on a slightly positive breakeven. Whereas, success to social entrepreneurs is measured outside the social start-up whether they have improved the world and have had a positive impact on society based on the common good.

Impact entrepreneurship focuses on developing new types of purpose-driven businesses and organizations, which measurably create sustainable impact in various ways. When social and impact entrepreneurship go together, they create potential to scale up for the sake of improving lives of as many people as possible. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, is pointing out a broad perspective for social innovation and global human centered development.

Social workers as well as academics of other future oriented fields of work are well prepared professionals to respond to the emerging complex social and ecological problems in any country and could contribute to solutions for all of the seventeen UN goals. Social work professionals can explore and engage in social and impact entrepreneurship (SIE). Social entrepreneurs balance organizational economic and social goals and find solutions in an entrepreneurial and innovative way, that work on its own in the long run – without grants after the starting phase.

VirCamp is an excellent platform to offer an academic program with an entrepreneurial approach and from the beginning with a global perspective. In this study program, we offer a practical orientated curriculum where students work in teams to create ideas for social innovations and develop them in the course of one semester until they are ready to be worked out finally in detail for implementation. The students gain a deeper understanding of the potential of SIE to deal with social problems and beyond. Lecturers support the students as mentors and coaches during the program. At the end of the seminar, students pitch their ideas at the final exam.

Content:
In this course, VirCamp supports students as potential innovative social and impact entrepreneurs by inviting them to an intensive one-semester workshop. Students in social science faculties often have a high intrinsic motivation and ask questions like: How can we change the world? How can we tackle the severe global problems on social exclusion we are confronted with? In this module VirCamp provides Social entrepreneurs with competences for developing new business models to find entrepreneurial answers to these questions. As an option there is another one-semester workshop planned as follow up course (“Founders for future: Start the change.”), to work out promising solutions in detail for real-world implementation.

The participants will be introduced to new methods of innovation education that are based on two key components: Ikigai (searching for individual answers on the meaning of life) and functioning business models with impact on social cohesion and beyond. “Ikigai” is Japanese and means “meaning of life” where students ask themselves and share with other students ‘Who am I?’ ‘What is really important to me?’ ‘What do I really like to do?’ The second component has the focus on a process that every social start-up has to deliver. ‘What kind of social innovation does the world need?’ The course is using here tools like ‘design thinking’, ‘business model generation’ and other inspiring methods.

Throughout the course, students will cooperate on cases that illustrate the phenomenon of social innovation and social and impact entrepreneurship. Students are assigned to work with challenges related to social cohesion and to compare the living conditions with other countries than their own to find starting points for social innovation. During the course, the students explore various activities in a virtual classroom together with students from different countries. These activities aim to enhance the students’ communication skills and give a unique experience of working with students from all over the world.