Course Syllabus


The course introduces you to the profession of social work as well as to the baccalaureate (undergraduate) social work program. Together we will examine the history of social work and the broader field of social welfare. One overarching goal of this course is to assist you in understanding the following:

  • What social work is.
  • Whether you wish to pursue a career in social work and whether it is a good fit for you. 

To do that, we will be examining multiple issues that confront social work clients and the challenges of using social work knowledge and skills to address those issues. While we know some of you will not be going into the social work field, this course is designed to help you learn to think and respond as a social worker might. We will ask you to respond from a social worker's perspective to various case studies and reflections using the information you have learned. Learning by doing is the goal. 

Program Message 

The introduction to this social work course is intended to help you as you explore the helping professions and discover if and where you best fit. Further, introduction to social work is a requirement to apply for the social work program as well as most other graduate-level social work programs. As such, it provides an introduction to the values and underlying assumptions of the field by exploring the history of social work and how it has evolved into present-day social work practice. Finally, you learn a little about many of the areas in which social workers practice and what you need to do to become a social worker. 



There are no prerequisites to enroll in this course. 

Required Resources 

Required Resources
Resource Title/Description
(books, software, etc.)
Author/Provider Ed./Vol. 13-Digit ISBN (if applicable)

An Introduction to the Profession of Social Work – Becoming A Change Agent,

(comes with course; charged the first day of class; $47.00)
Elizabeth A. Segal, Karen E. Gerdes, Sue Steiner 6th Ed. Cengage


(ISBN-10: 9781337567046)

This text is available as a low-cost, auto-access, digital textbook. To learn how to access your textbook, read the information in the Textbook Information module (link is also on the menu to the left). There you can also learn how to opt-out of this automatic purchase if desired. 

If you do not want to use the digital textbook (perhaps you already purchased the print version of the textbook), you must opt-out or you will be charged for the digital textbook. To opt-out, visit the BYU-Idaho Bookstore website. 

If you want to use an alternative method of obtaining your textbook, you can compare prices through the University Store Price Comparison site. They will show you all of the options from the University Store plus several online options to help you find the best price. Hardcopy ISBN-13: 978-0205793839

Proctored Exams and Assessments

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to the help article titled Student Help: Proctorio in Canvas

If there is a reason you are unable to use Proctorio, work with the Disability Services Office at 208.496.9210. They will work with you to see what accommodations can be offered. Your instructor cannot make any accommodations without prior authorization from Disability Services.  


Course Learning Outcomes (CLO)

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Acquaint the student with the profession of social work.
  2. Develop an appreciation for the historical underpinnings of the social work profession.
  3. Introduce the social forces and dynamics that created the need for social welfare - history of social welfare.
  4. Examine some of the current philosophies and problems relating to social welfare services and delivery of social services.
  5. Begin to develop social work knowledge, historically grounded purposes, fundamental skills, and professional values and ethics, as well as to introduce the generalist practice model.
  6. Examine the various fields of professional social work practice.

Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes (CO).

Major Assignments


Description Course Outcome Assessed

Weekly Reflection Responses

You will answer questions about implications related to the reading. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Weekly Discussion/Zoom meeting

You will meet to discuss together ideas related to the weekly topic. Odd weeks = Discussion Boards; Even weeks = Zoom Meetings.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

SW Disciple/Change Agent Reports

Every week without an exam, you will be asked to focus attention on connections between the field of Social Work and your own personal commitments as a disciple of Christ through these assignments. 3, 4, 5

Exams (3)

Exams assess understanding on an equal amount of information. 2, 3, 4, 5

Food Insecurity/ Homelessness Research Paper

(Your instructor may need to adjust this assignment due to the pandemic or other emergency.) 

You will conduct a food drive and research food insecurity in your area or conduct research into housing needs in your area. 1, 3, 4, 5

Weekly Patterns

This course has two main due dates. The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions.

Weekly Patterns
Midweek  Prepare Overview Lists all the week's activities, the average time to complete, and a quick learning tip to help you succeed with all your assignments. Use this guide to see what you will be learning and plan your week so you can give ample time to your assignments. 
Midweek Prepare Chapter reading and Quiz  Read the week's textbook chapter and take a quiz showing you understood the information. 
Midweek Prepare Case Study and Quiz Read a short case study and show your understanding in a short quiz.
Midweek Teach One Another Discussion Board 1st post (on odd-numbered weeks) Engage with classmates about something related to the weekly topic. Help your classmates learn together and take advantage of other's insight and knowledge. You can further the conversation someone else has started or start one of your own.
End-of-week Ponder Reflection Show that you understand what you are learning this week by submitting a short reflection addressing a related topic. 
End-of-week Prove Activity These assignments allow you to complete small SW activities, and then report on your experiences.
End-of-week Teach One Another Discussion Board (odd-numbered weeks) Return to the Discussion Board several times throughout the week to see what your classmates and instructor are saying. Participate in conversations that interest you by sharing your knowledge and insight in response posts. 
End-of-Week Teach One Another  Zoom Meeting (even-numbered weeks) Attend and participate in your group's Zoom meeting. Learn and teach together. (Your meetings will be recorded and sent to your instructor.) 
End-of-Week Prove Participation Report (short report) Take a "quiz" to report on your efforts to help others in either the discussion board or Zoom meeting (depending on the week).
End-of-Week Prove Exam You will take three exams throughout the semester (in W05, W10, and W14), each covering approximately a third of the material you will learn in this course. The third exam (the final) is comprehensive.

*Set your time zone within user "preferences" on your computer so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

Learning Model

This course uses the Five Sacred Learning Principles that give the BYU-Idaho Learning Model its unique power: 

  • Exercise Faith
  • Teach by the Spirit
  • Lay Hold on the Word of God
  • Take Action
  • Love, serve and teach one another 

You will be reminded each week of some of the things on which you might focus. Seek to find ways to employ them in your learning throughout the semester and see how different your learning experience can become. 

During the semester you will do the following: 

Prepare by reading and completing a short quiz to demonstrate understanding.

Teach One Another by discussing in small groups topics relevant to the weekly are of study; odd weeks = discussion board (asynchronous); even weeks = Zoom meetings (synchronous).

Ponder and Prove by completing several different assessments:

  • Response Worksheets - questions to help you think about the implications of what you are learning;
  • SW Disciple/Change Agent Report  - reflections that connect your learning to SW projects;
  • Three exams  - these cover the topics you will study this semester;
  • Food Insecurity and Homelessness Research activity - an experience allowing you to learn in a more intimate way the issues surrounding these incredibly difficult social problems.


Group Work

Each week you will have the opportunity to teach and learn together with others in your class and elsewhere. You will be asked to join with a group of 5–8 others in the first weeks of the course that you will be interacting with for the rest of the semester. Get to know each other so you will feel comfortable sharing honestly. Odd-numbered weeks will have a discussion board. In even-numbered weeks, you will be asked to meet synchronously on Zoom. See below for more detailed information. 

Discussion Boards

Discussion boards are a big part of this course and your grade. You will start with an introduction board to get to know your classmates. After that, we will discuss course content and learn from each other as we share our experiences and knowledge on the subject matter. Reminder: Discussion Boards occur on the odd-numbered weeks

The board requirements are as follows.

Midweek: Your initial post for the week is due—this should take some effort and provide enough material to start a discussion. If your post does not meet the requirements, points may be deducted from your participation report grade.

End-of-week: You will respond to at least two other group members’ posts and respond to those who ask you questions on your post. You will also need to write a summary post on what you learned from the board.

So, each week you will have four posts to meet the minimum requirements. You will then take a participation report quiz.

If you are late posting or do not meet the requirements, you must mark that in your report. Responses will be checked. If your participation is not meeting your self-reported score, you will lose points for the entire week of assignments. If it happens over multiple weeks or more than once, it will become an Honor Code issue.

Zoom Meetings

On even-numbered weeks, your group will meet synchronously on Zoom. Make sure you have set Zoom up correctly on your machine now so you do not miss a meeting because of technical issues. Use the following links to install Zoom on your computer if you have not already done so: 

Getting started: Setting up your Zoom profile

Technical Issues Help: Zoom Support

Zoom meetings will be recorded and the link to your meeting will submitted for everyone in your group by a weekly student lead. The recording submitted by the student lead is worth 3 points. If you don't attend, those point will be taken away. Only the student lead will need to submit the Zoom recording link. Everyone will submit an individual Participation Report worth 9 points

You won't receive a grade for your Zoom meeting until your instructor has verified your attendance. 


See the course schedule (below) for a listing of the course assignments. 

Use the calendar to verify their specific due dates and times.

Feedback is available in many ways including rubrics and scores. Your instructor will also give you written feedback throughout the semester on some assignments.  

Completing Assignments


You will need to document any and all work that is not your own. Failure to do so is plagiarism ( Links to an external site.) and will result in a complete loss of credit for the assignment. Additionally, the incident will be reported to the student honor office for review. If in doubt, check online resources or with your instructor before submitting the assignment.


This course uses a consistent weekly schedule and provides ample time to complete each activity. Plan your weekly schedule (using the Week-at-a-Glance page can help) and take the time necessary to learn all you can from each activity. This is, after all, why you have paid for this class.

Late Work

As a sign of professionalism and respect, you should complete your work on time. However, your instructor has some discretion to accept late work or extend due dates as appropriate. Contacting your instructor early as things come up may allow for more flexibility to work with you in your particular circumstances. Instructors, however, have final authority on what, if any, late work accommodations can be made.


You will be able to take each reading quiz a maximum of two times. You will receive an average of the two scores. You do not have to use both attempts. 

You can take exams only once. Be sure you are prepared before beginning the exams.

Extra Credit

There is no extra credit in this course. Bonus points may occasionally be given at the instructor's discretion. This is rare.


Your grade will be determined by your work on the following assignments:

13 Quizzes 15 points each (20% of final grade)
3 Exams 100 points each (30% of final grade)
Discussion Boards/Zoom Meetings (25% of final grade)
Other Assignments (25% of final grade)


Grading Scale

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Percent
A 100% – 93%
A- 92% – 90%
B+ 89% – 87%
B 86% – 83%
B- 82% – 80%
C+ 79% – 77%
C 76% – 73%
C- 72% – 70%
D+ 69% – 67%
D 66% – 63%
D- 62% – 60%
F 59% and lower

University Policies

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

BYU-Idaho prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. Prohibited sex discrimination includes incidents of sexual harassment (including sexual violence), dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (collectively “sexual misconduct”).

Disability Services

BYU-Idaho does not discriminate against persons with disabilities in providing its educational and administrative services and programs and follows applicable federal and state law. This policy extends to the University’s electronic and information technologies (EIT).

Students with qualifying disabilities should contact the Disability Services Office at or 208-496-9210. Additional information about Disability Services resources can be found at

Academic Honesty 

“When you are honest in every way, you are able to enjoy peace of mind and maintain self-respect. You build strength of character, which allows you to be of service to God and others. You are trustworthy in the eyes of God and those around you. If you are dishonest in your words or actions, you hurt yourself and often hurt others as well. If you lie, steal, cheat, or neglect to give the full amount of work for your pay, you lose your self-respect. You lose the guidance of the Holy Ghost” (“Honesty,” True to the Faith (2004), 84).

Academic Honesty means students do their own work. This also means their instructors will evaluate that work. Students should not be dishonest—this includes all types of work in their courses. The complete Academic Honesty Policy can be found at

Academic Grievances

Students are encouraged to contact their instructors regarding course-related concerns. If concerns cannot be resolved in this way, students may contact the BYU-Idaho Support Center to formally register a concern or grievance. The Student Online Grievance Policy can be found at

Other University Policies

Go to the Student Resources module to review the university policies regarding honesty, online etiquette, communication, expectations, etc. 

Contacting Your Instructor

Instructors will inform you of the way they wish to be contacted (text, email, call between these hours, etc.). They are people with lives outside of your class; be courteous and respectful of their time. Any abuse will negatively impact your grade and may result in dismissal from the course and/or University.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due