Marcela Gutierrez

Transformative Learning in Social Justice Education: Integration of Photovoice Methods into a Diverse Populations Course


Marcela N. Gutierrez, LMSW
Assistant Professor in Practice
School of Social Work

This project built upon previous efforts to apply transformative learning methods in an asynchronous online social work course. I previously adapted the techniques of Photovoice research into a journal assignment, resulting in duplication with existing weekly discussion boards while students fell short of expected levels of engagement and critical reflection. I modified the course in the following ways: (1) Moved all discussion boards and journals out of the institution’s learning management system, creating two distinct virtual workspaces that better aligned with the goals of each assignment; (2) Added an interactive training module that reviewed the principles, guidelines, ethics and instructions for the Photovoice journals, (3) Added a concept map assignment to synthesize course content, (4) Staggered assignment deadlines within each content module in alignment with Bloom’s taxonomy, and (5) Integrated a midterm experiential learning assignment into the final project as an alternative to a portfolio project. At the end of the semester, course effectiveness will be assessed through a student survey measuring authentic learning, critical thinking, engagement and interaction. The course design will be modified based on the results and future efforts will compare the effectiveness of the course to other sections of the same course.