Evaluation of Electronic Discussion Forums in Social Work Diversity Education: A Comparison of Anonymous and Identified Participation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Technology in Human Services

Publication Date


Date Added



Two Web-based forums for discussing diversity issues were evaluated as part of graduate social work education. Data included surveys from 91 students as well as aggregate Web use information. Outcomes included perceived learning benefits related to cultural competency, improved relationships and benefits of anonymous vs. identified participation in the forums. We found that (1) 75% of the students reported benefits related to learning cultural competency; (2) just over 60% experienced positive impacts on relationships with classmates; (3) 54% believed anonymity improved honesty during forum dialogues; however, students who participated in the author-identified forums perceived significantly more perceived learning benefits related to cultural competency than those who participated in the anonymous forums; and (4) over one-third of students improved their perceived technological competence as a result of participating in the forums. We conclude that online forums can serve as a useful adjunct to achieving cultural competency among social work students.




Social Work