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FIFSW’s Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) held online for the first time


Each fall, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work students participate in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) adapted for social work. The simulated direct practice interview, which involves an actor playing the role of a client typical of those seen by social workers, was designed to assess generic social work competence in students on completion of the course Social Work Practice Laboratory and prior to beginning their first practicum in January.

This year, for the first time, the OSCEs were held entirely online. Over two days in November, 148 first-year students participated in the remote examination, involving 12 simulated clients and 14 evaluators.

While necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the move to hold the examinations online also reflects current trends in social work practice. A recent study by Factor-Inwentash Faculty members Faye Mishna, Elizabeth Milne, Marion Bogo, and Luanna F. Pereira found that “COVID-19 changed the context for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use globally. With face-to-face practice restricted, almost all communication with clients shifted to ICTs.” The researchers recently published their study in Clinical Social Work Journal.

The OSCE is used across health care disciplines to evaluate the competency of a wide range of professionals in clinical practice. The examination was first adapted for social work by Professors Marion Bogo and Mary Rawlings (of Asuza Pacific University in California), along with Associate Professors Ellen Katz and Carmen Logie.

> Click here to listen to The Social Work Podcast’s interview with Bogo and Rawlings on OSCE’s origins in social work education.

Developing an online version of the OSCEs at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work was no small feat. Special thanks goes out to FIFSW’s Simulation Coordinator Megan Davies, who along with Doctoral Students Rushdia Ahmed and Vivian Leung, staff Jim Moore and Phoebe To, and faculty members Marion Bogo, Andrea Litvack and A. Ka Tat Tsang, worked tirelessly to bring the online OSCEs to fruition.

Virtual Practice Fridays

When the pandemic restricted in-person learning, FIFSW faculty and staff transformed Practice Fridays into Virtual Practice Fridays “to address the disruption and loss of practice opportunities in the field and classroom,.” A teaching note on Virtual Practice Fridays, published online in June 2021 by Assistant Professor Toula Kourgiantakis with PhD students Ran Hu, Susan Ramsundarsingh, Yu Lung and Keri West was published in the Journal of Social Work Education.