SW0419 - Community and Social Work

What will I learn on this module?

This first year module will introduce you to the topic of community and social work. You will learn about what we (and others) mean when we talk about ‘community’. During the module you will learn about key concepts such as participation, empowerment and citizenship. You will explore the way professionals, volunteers and others work in and with communities to inspire social change. You will learn about the methods and community approaches they employ. The module will introduce you to the role of voluntary and community sector organisations and you will learn about concepts such as civil society and the third sector. You will learn about the policy context for these organisations and the contemporary issues they face. You will also have the opportunity to see how these organisations work in practice (and apply your knowledge) through a short placement.

As a social work student this module will develop your knowledge about the range of organisations social workers work with and in and the range of approaches employed to support and empower people in communities.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn in a variety of ways in this module. You will learn through a programme of lectures delivered to a large group of students and seminars with small and large group discussions. Attendance at lectures and seminars will help you meet the learning outcomes for the module. Lectures will provide you with a range of perspectives relating to the topics outlined above and including community, community development, the third sector, volunteering, citizenship, participation, empowerment. Taught sessions will give you the opportunity to discuss ideas with peers and tutor in a supportive environment. A range of electronic resources will be available via the electronic learning portal, including lecture materials, tutor's audio and video explanations as well as the use of discussions boards, wikis and links to external websites.

You will participate in a short placement based in a third sector organisation, for example a local community organisation or a national charity - to help you learn about community and social work in practice. When possible external agencies, practitioners and service users will be invited into taught sessions to provide further opportunity to link theory to practice.

There are opportunities for formative learning and assessment throughout the module to support your learning and to help you work towards the summative assessment. As part of the learning approach students will be involved in peer and self-assessment which will develop your critical evaluation skills and capacity for autonomous learning. Your self-directed reading and engagement with the module materials also form an important part of your learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutors will support your learning in a variety of ways. They will provide a programme of lectures which relate to the learning outcomes for the module. Lectures will introduce you to key issues, concepts, perspective and theories in relation to community and social work. Seminars and workshops will provide a supportive environment in which you can discuss and share your ideas as well as develop your formative and summative assessments. The Placement Office will support you and allocate placements and there will be opportunities to reflect on placement experiences during the module. The module leader will also endeavour to invite external guests from a range of relevant organisations to develop your understanding of practice and theory. The module leader will provide reading materials, examples and activities for seminars to support the development of your understanding about community and social work. You will be provided with an electronic reading list which will include essential and recommended reading for the module and its assessment. You will also be supported to explore and engage in your own search for literature to support your curiosity and enquiry into particular organisations and service user groups.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Identify, define and justify approaches, models and theories relating to the concept of community and community work
• Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of voluntary and community organisations.
• Gather and present robust evidence relating to communities and organisations

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Demonstrate effective communication and presentation skills

Personal Values
Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Critically reflect on practice in voluntary and community organisations.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
You will be expected to submit a written report of 2,000 words related to module topics. You will be expected to meet the module learning outcomes 1-5. Guidance will be given during the module and in the module handbook regarding the structure of the report.

Feedback: Tutors will formally assess your summative assessment providing written feedback and marks based on the assessment criteria contained in the module handbook.

Formative assessment
You will be expected to make a presentation critically reflecting on module topics. This will meet learning outcomes 1-5.

Feedback: Presentation feedback will be given during seminars to help you develop your learning and prepare for your summative assessment. Verbal feedback will be provided by your module tutor and peers during the seminar sessions.


Not applicable


SW0417, SW0418, SW0420, SW0421, SW0422

Module abstract

This module introduces you to community and social work. It explores the way professionals, volunteers and others work in and with communities to inspire social change locally, nationally and globally. You will learn about the methods and community approaches they employ. This module provides an insight into alternative and complementary contexts for social work practice. Social workers do not just work in local authorities they also work in charities, voluntary-based organisations, community organisations and social enterprises. Likewise professionals in these types of organisations often undertake work which can be compared with social work. Through teaching and learning on campus this module will help you to understand the main characteristics of these organisations and their roles in society and social work. It will also help you understand the complexity of working with and in communities, introduce you to the theories, models and approaches relating to working with communities and develop the skills required for social work practice.

Course info

UCAS Code L502

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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