The Role of Residencies in Promoting Student Engagement in Online Pedagogy


  • Michael Campbell Saint Leo University
  • Robert Lucio
  • Khalilah Louis-Caines
  • Courtney Wiest Saint Leo University



Social Work, Grounded Residency, Student Engagement, Social Connection, online education


The COVID-19 pandemic has fractured social connections across all industries, including higher education. Some social work departments were forced to shift from traditional on-ground learning to adopt virtual delivery methods, while others voluntarily made this shift to join the emerging online education trends. When the pandemic restrictions abate, online programs may seek to promote social connections through targeted activities such as adopting a grounded residency. Online programs in social work and other fields have varied application in using residencies to bridge the online and on-ground modalities for learning. Students often report asynchronous online platforms foster a reduced sense of engagement in learning and low levels of connected engagement with faculty and peers. In social work programs, these residencies build on explicit and implicit curricular aims and have an argued externality of building engagement. This paper explores data collected from students (n=131) in a master's in social work program before the initiation of pandemic social distancing protocols and their perceptions of engagement related to their grounded residency experience in one online social work program in the southeastern United States. Results of survey data (quantitative and qualitative) are presented and analyzed with a discussion of the relative impact residency efforts may have on students' reported levels of engagement and opportunities to increase social connection in a post-pandemic environment.


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