Online Social Work Writing Skills Course Being Piloted

A new online course developed to hone the writing skills of prospective and current child welfare social workers is being piloted this fall at five schools of social work around the state.

About 100 students are enrolled in the pilot Writing Skills for Child Welfare Social Work course being offered by California State University campuses at FresnoHumboldt, San BernardinoSan Jose, and Stanislaus. The students represent a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, part-time and full-time students, Title IV-E and non-title IV-E students, and current child welfare workers.  

The course consists of:

  1. Academic English writing, which covers:
    1. English language fundamentals (i.e., grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and diction) and
    2. academic writing skills (i.e., citation and referencing, essay and thesis statement structure, drafting, editing, and proofreading)
  2. Writing for professional child welfare practice, which covers the skills needed for professional writing tasks, such as case notes, investigation narratives, case plans, and court reports.

The online course is being provided in two formats:  

  1. Instructor-led, which is designed to be taught by a subject matter expert, allows for peer-to-peer discussions, and provides for individual and group assignments
  2. Self-guided, which contains less content, can be completed by a student independent of an instructor, and was developed solely for student-to-content interaction

Following completion of the pilot course and receipt of feedback from instructors and students, the course will be reviewed and revised. The course will then be made available to all CalSWEC university and agency partners to use in part or in full. Technical assistance will be provided to universities and agencies that use the course.


CalSWEC, faculty at schools of social work, and staff at public child welfare agencies throughout California worked together to develop Writing Skills for Child Welfare Social Work:

  1. to further knowledge and skills in writing and conducting research as an undergraduate or graduate student of a social work degree program; and
  2. to facilitate effective writing practice during MSW placements and professional child welfare careers.  

For information, please contact