The Masters of Social Work Degree
Distance Education Option
for Neighbor Island Residents


The MSW program is available through distance education technology to neighbor island residents in their communities (Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui, or Lana‘i). Classes are delivered via interactive television, computer-based delivery, face-to-face onsite and hybrid approaches. Graduates through the Distance Education (DE) option will be awarded the MSW degree after completion of a three year program of classes, including field practicum. All students enrolled in this option participate in the Children and Families concentration.

Program Specifics

The purpose of this option is to extend educational opportunities to those people whose ties to the neighbor island communities preclude them from enrolling in the Manoa campus-based degree program. Students remain on their home islands for the duration of the MSW program. Students are required to travel to O‘ahu once a year to attend an on-site training and to receive advising and other educational content. On each island, students have access to a site coordinator, who is a part-time School of Social Work faculty. The site coordinator offers guidance and assistance throughout the program including academic advising, linkages to educational opportunities such as individual research projects, and in practicum placements. In addition, regular student contact with Manoa-based faculty via email and phone is highly encouraged.

Distance education students follow the same 3-year plan offered to Manoa-based students, which includes the full four semesters of practicum. Although students can usually remain employed while enrolled in the DE option, they are expected to make arrangements with their employment to accommodate their practicum schedules. Classes are held on primarily on weeknights, but also may be held on Saturdays, as classroom and time slots permit. DE cohorts are not admitted every year – they are admitted in three years cycles (two years of admissions followed by one year of no admissions) such that two cohorts are always running simultaneously.

Delivery Modalities

A variety of distance education delivery modalities are utilized. Currently, the primary modes of instruction consist of HITS, Elluminate, and Laulima. Two-way video is facilitated through the Hawai‘i Interactive Television Service (HITS). HITS provides full-duplex "open-mic" communications among all HITS sites, broadcast-quality video, and the ability of each site to see multiple other sites simultaneously. During HITS courses, instructors will also travel to each island site once a semester to conduct face-to-face classes. Elluminate is a web conferencing program that allows instructorstudent collaboration in an interactive virtual classroom. Laulima is an open source course management system developed for the UH System. Content is specific to each course and arranged by the instructor. It may include various web tools from wikis to discussion forums to other online resources. Although these three tools are the mainstays of DE instruction, other technology may also be utilized by individual instructors.

Technology Requirements

It is essential for students enrolled in the DE option to have an up-to-date computer and access to the internet. For Elluminate in particular, students must be given authorization to enter the instructor’s virtual classroom and have an internet connection at their house, installation of Java (Sun Microsystems), updated video and audio drivers, and a microphone or headset. For Laulima access, students must have a UH username and password to log in and an internet connection. For more specific information about software and hardware requirements, please click here.


General Inquiries about Distance Education
(808) 956-9470

School of Social Work Admissions Inquiries
(808) 956-3833 

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