UNE Online integrates interactive branching scenarios and video roleplaying

Two new course formats for today’s social work student. 

As a part of our commitment to continuing excellence in online education, the Online Master of Social Work program at the University of New England is happy to announce that we have introduced two new course delivery elements: interactive branching scenarios and live video roleplaying.

Social Work is a singularly demanding field, and as the field evolves, so must the learning process.


Feedback from our course evaluations and student surveys has shown that students excel when presented with interactive elements.

We have taken our student surveys and their anonymous course eval feedback to heart, and we have worked diligently over the past year to bring new elements into our courses that reflect best-practices pedagogy.

NEW: Interactive branching scenarios

What is an interactive branching scenario? It’s similar to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. Over the course of the 8-week term, the narrative unfolds, with each week building off of the previous week.

The video below is an overview of MSWO 510: Social Work Practice I, one course that features interactive branching scenarios.

NEW: Live video roleplaying

The second interactive element we have introduced into our courses is live video roleplaying using videos recorded on students’ webcams.

This webcam-based video response allows students to develop clinical skills in an online learning environment. Body language and other nonverbal cues are studied, and video comments from professors help students refine those skills.

This is an example of a course instructor providing feedback to a student’s video roleplaying session. The video below is a roleplaying assignment between two students, one playing the client (blurred white background) and one playing the therapist (blurred dark background). After the students record their roleplaying session, the instructor (left) records their reactions and provides specific video feedback. The video is recorded with both students in real-time (synchronously) at a time that is mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Since the video below is taken from an actual course assignment, students’ faces are blurred in this video per FERPA regulations.

Evaluating the video roleplaying element

Courses with interactive technology included in their course work have a short survey embedded in the final session so that we can collect information on the student experience and make sure we are meeting both the students’ needs and expectations.

Here are some student quotes from the Instructional Design informational survey:


“Although I was nervous about video role-playing and wasn’t sure how that would work, it actually was helpful and taught me a lot about watching myself on video. I have never been taped before when role-playing or with a client so it gave me insight into some of the facial expressions I use and how I respond to clients’ responses or questions.” – Anonymous student

“ …The assignment cemented ideas and structure I couldn’t have experienced in a written dialog. When I reviewed my video I was able to select moments when I was not externalizing with the client, and identify moments when I was not allowing the client to expand concepts.” – Anonymous student

“I actually wish we had done more video practices. As much as I was uncomfortable with the prospect of video chatting at first, I feel the exercise was very beneficial because it allowed for us to practice the skills we were learning. It also feels innovative and relevant, since now there are more programs like doctor-on-demand where clients can seek professional advice and treatment via video chat.” – Anonymous student

“…The videos give an opportunity to externally make this a more natural experience for the future provider and their work with clients.” – Anonymous student

Committing to excellence: the importance of sharing your opinion

We listen to our students. And as we systematically review our courses each term, each semester, and each school year, we will be inserting more and more of these new methods where we feel it will enhance the coursework.

Online courses will continue to move toward more of an interactive experience while maintaining flexibility and keeping the program 100% online and asynchronous.

If you would like more information, we welcome you to:

Download the Guide to our Online MSW

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2 responses to “UNE Online integrates interactive branching scenarios and video roleplaying”

  1. As a recently accepted student in the UNE MSW Online degree (starting spring term 2020!), I am excited to read about the innovative technologies and approaches being used in the program! I don’t consider myself “tech savvy” at all, so I’m a bit nervous about the learning curve there, but know that I will have the support and encouragement that I need to be successful. Thank you so much to UNE for being so committed to student feedback and participating in a growth loop that benefits us all!

    – Catherine Duclos

  2. evelyn says:

    great forum and feedback system, and online learning too, applause to UNE

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