MSW Blackboard Orientation: Introduction


This Blackboard orientation is for MSW students (not Online MSW - OMSW students! Your Bb orientation is separate). On this page, you will be given some important information about why using technology as a social worker is important. You will learn the course requirements and the expectations of your time and interaction.


Technology in Social Work

The deployment of technology in social work is driven by a desire for access and equity, greater flexibility, and is affected by economic or geographic restraints (Jones, 2010). The National Association of Social Workers (hereinafter NASW) and the Association of Social Work Boards have developed standards for technology and social work practice (National Association of Social Workers & Boards, 2005). These guidelines were established so that the core values of social work would drive the implementation of technology when technology is used to fulfill the needs of individuals, groups, and communities (National Association of Social Workers & Boards, 2005). As a social worker, you are required to meet the technology standards developed by NASW. By learning how to utilize the Blackboard course management system, you will be adhering to one of the social work and technology standards.

Also keep in mind, in the case of inclement weather, health or natural disaster emergencies, or in the case of campus/school closure, Blackboard and other related technologies may potentially be utilized to help maintain the continuity of instruction, so being proficient with these tools helps prepare you for these circumstances. (See more on preparing for continuity of instruction in case of emergencies.) Indeed, the COVID19 coronavirus has ushered in a new realm in which being prepared for tele-learning, tele-medicine and tele-therapy is of increasing importance. You are now taking steps to ensure that you will be able to do continue your education and work.

SOWK 690 is a free, non-credit, mini-course and is a prerequisite for all courses. This Blackboard orientation module is one of three that you will have to complete. Here are some important components that you need to know:

You have multiple attempts at getting 100% on the exam for the Certificate of Completion. We recommend you hold on to your certificate of completion, email it to yourself, etc. so that you can produce it any time in the future if requested by an instructor.

Click this link to view the Minimum Technology Requirements for participating in this course and all SSW Blackboard courses. (Please note: they also address things like how long you have access to Blackboard after graduation, which is managed by CITS via your UMID and not the IDEA Team. In general, if you want to download/save something from your Blackboard courses, you should do so during the current semester, as there is no guarantee of access to course materials after a course is completed.)

 Zoom and Collaborate 

The vast majority of our classes use Zoom for synchronous video sesssions. As a student at UMB, you have access to your own Zoom account, where you can set up your own sessions, practice, and get to know all the ins and outs of Zoom.  Make sure you also familiarize yourself with Zoom and the new Collaborate Ultra interface in Step 10 and provide feedback in Step 12. It is also possible while you are at UMB that some meetings may use Webex.  It is a good idea to be able to open and use each of these similar technology tools. 


Jones, P. (2010). Collaboration at a Distance: Using a Wiki to Create a Collaborative.

National Association of Social Workers. (1999). Code of Ethics. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from the Social Workers website (


Our version of Blackboard may differ from other institutions, and our IDEA Team can best support you when using Google Chrome browser. In order to prevent issues, we highly recommend you download and install Google Chrome and only use it for Blackboard.

Now take a big breath and click on STEP 1 to begin.