How Much Does the Distance in Distance Education Matter? Our Students Speak

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Distance learning programs in social work education have been growing exponentially throughout the United States. This study interviewed Master of Social Work (MSW) students enrolled in two synchronous distance-learning courses that employed a blended pedagogy, and evaluates their insights about the learning experience. For these two courses, material was presented via video conferencing and supplemented with online media at two campuses at a large school of social work. In order to give students a voice about their experiences, data were collected using semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Common themes included: autonomy, emotional connectedness, technological challenges, and knowledge acquisition. Both the strengths and challenges related to distance learning are discussed.