Online and Blended Social Work Education in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia

Negotiating the Tensions


  • Sophie Goldingay Deakin University
  • David Hodgson Curtin University
  • Jennifer Boddy Griffith University
  • Sharlene Nipperess RMIT University
  • Lynelle Watts Curtin University


Social Work Education, Online learning, Social work skills, Field education, Digital divide


Online and digital learning is rapidly expanding and driving demand for digital innovation in social work education in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Internal and external accreditation standards are grappling with what this means for social work education. In addition, educators are experimenting with innovative online methods with promising results, including online skills education and placement preparation. This has called on social work educators to design and develop online and digital curricula pedagogies and innovations, which are responsive to internal and external drivers that are evidence-based, and which are underpinned by social justice principles of access and equity. Nevertheless, the digital divide may compromise important principles such as access and equity. This paper explores some of the current debates and tensions within social work online education in Australia and New Zealand and makes suggestions for the profession moving forward.

Author Biographies

Sophie Goldingay, Deakin University

School of Health and Social Development

David Hodgson, Curtin University

School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences

Jennifer Boddy, Griffith University

School of Human Services and Social Work

Sharlene Nipperess, RMIT University

School of Global Urban and Social Studies

Lynelle Watts, Curtin University

School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences


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