Course Outline

SWK172 Introduction to Social Work and Human Services

Course Coordinator:Laura Dodds ( School:School of Law and Society

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

UniSC Caboolture

UniSC Fraser Coast

UniSC Gympie

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course introduces you to the domains of social work and human services and the various concepts and frameworks that practitioners use to understand and support individuals, groups and communities within their social contexts.  The wide variety of practice roles, fields and contexts within social work and human services are examined, unified by an emphasis on appreciating the purpose and core values underpinning practice. The course aims to provide an overview of the breadth of social work and human services practice within contemporary Australian society.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus tutorial - 2 hours 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – 1 hour online learning materials and activities not for timetable 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Zoom tutorial - 2 hours 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – 1 hour online learning materials and activities not for timetable 1hr Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • Purpose and focus of practice
  • Motivations for becoming a practitioner
  • History of social care
  • Core values
  • Levels of practice
  • Core processes for practice       
  • Fields of practice
  • Practitioner roles

What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * Australian Association of Social Workers
1 Describe and analyse the purpose of, practice roles, contexts for, and activities undertaken in the delivery of social work and human services Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4, 4.1, 4.2
2 Identify, and apply relevant core concepts and processes to practice situations. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4.4, 5.4
3 Describe and apply core practice values to social work and human services practice Knowledgeable
1, 3, 4.1, 5.4
4 Demonstrate logical and critical thinking through clear and appropriately written and oral communication Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
5.2, 5.4, 6.3, 6.4
5 Reflect on, and discuss how a sense of self, personal motivations and values are relevant to social work and human service practice. Creative and critical thinker
1.1, 7.1, 8.1, 8.2

* Competencies by Professional Body

Australian Association of Social Workers
1 Values and ethics
1.1 Practise in accordance with the AASW Code of Ethics
3 Culturally responsive and inclusive practice
4 Knowledge for practice
4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to area of practice
4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts
4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice
5.2 Work collaboratively
5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice
6.3 Work with others in a team environment
6.4 Use information technology to communicate and provide services
7.1 Record and manage information appropriately
8.1 Actively participate in professional supervision
8.2 Engage in continuing professional development

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


SCS172 or SCS272

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

The first assessment task and use of small quizzes commencing in week 3 gives students some early feedback on how they are engaging with the course.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Written Piece Individual 30%
1000 words
Week 6 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Quiz/zes Individual 30%
3 quizzes
1 hour
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Test (Quiz)
All 3 Case Study Group 40%
15 minutes - in class presentation.
Refer to Format In Class
All - Assessment Task 1:Individual Reflection
For you to reflect on your motivations and values for undertaking social work/ human services practice. Social work and human services practice is reflexive, requiring practitioners to be aware of their own orientations in a practice context and how these fit with the values and purpose of social work and human services practice. This short reflection is designed to assist you to appreciate how you understand the fit between yourself and social work and human services practice. It also provides an opportunity for you to receive feedback from your tutor about your written skills and capacity to link reflections to relevant literature.
Product: Written Piece
This is an individual written assessment. 
In your reflection, you should draw on the text, course learning resources, and other relevant literature to demonstrate your knowledge and application of the relevant course content and assessment task.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
The content in the response is relevant to the requirements of the task, including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
2 4
Demonstrated ability to identify and critically reflect on own motivations for undertaking a social work or human services practice including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
4 5
Demonstrated understanding of the core purpose, focus, levels of practice and values of social work and human services, including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
1 3 4
Use of appropriate academic writing skills, structures, grammar and spelling.
All - Assessment Task 2:Series of quizzes on key concepts and processes
This task will enable you to understand how various core concepts / processes canvassed in the lectures and course key readings inform practice.
Product: Quiz/zes
Released: Weeks 3, 6 & 12
This is an individual assessment. You will access and respond to the quizzes via Canvas. Quizzes may contain multiple choice and/or short answer questions.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Identification and/or application of core concepts and processes to practice situations
Description and application of core practice values to social work and human services practice
Demonstration of critical thinking in written response
All - Assessment Task 3:Group Case Presentation & Analysis
The goal of this task is for you to demonstrate you can identify and apply relevant social work concepts, values, questions and theories to a given case study, which are supported by relevant contemporary literature.
This task further requires you to demonstrate your oral communication and presentation skills as well as your group work and collaboration skills in accordance with the inherent academic requirements of this degree.
Product: Case Study
In groups of 4 to 5 students, you will select from a list of case scenarios and present an in-class oral and visual analysis of the chosen practice context/issue.
Presented in weeks 12 or 13.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrated capacity to ask and justify practice relevant questions to explore relevant aspects of a case study including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
2 4
Display originality, independence of thought, creativity, professionalism and the ability to engage your audience in your visual presentation
Demonstration of clear, articulate, engaging and professional verbal expressions and communication skills during your in-class verbal presentation.
Understanding of social work and human service concepts, values, processes and theories including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
1 2 3 4
Identification and justification of relevant social work concepts, values and theories to a case including relevant and sufficient use of course and other literature to support and deepen reflection and analysis
1 2 3 4
Critical and context responsive analysis of social work practice in the particular case study, including consideration of how identified concepts, theories, and processes can assist the worker deal with identified complexities; referenced
1 2 3 4

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

Student Charter

UniSC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • UniSC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • UniSC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • UniSC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • UniSC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • UniSC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890