Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD

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Slides for panel presentation at the 2009 Sloan ALN Conference. Presents information regarding the definition and symptoms of PTSD and the potential impact on online educators. Also presents data from a 2009 survey of online faculty capturing information about their experiences and their students' experiences in hig-stress situations.

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  • 'Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD'
    This panel presentation explores PTSD from the perspective of the online education who may encounter students with this condition. Includes clinical definition and symptoms of PTSD as well as data from a 2009 survey of online faculty who report their own experiences with high stress environments as well as their encounters with students who work or serve militarily in high stress environments.
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Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD

  1. 1. Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD<br />Preliminary Survey, 2009 <br />Fred Stielow, Ph.D.<br />John D. Moore, Ph.D.<br />Carol Passman, Ph.D.<br />Philip McNair, U.S. Army (ret)<br />
  2. 2. Meet the Panel<br />Introduction: Dr. Fred Stielow<br />Defining & Exploring PTSD: Dr. John Moore<br />AMU Faculty Survey Results: Dr. Carol Passman<br />Thoughts & Discussion: COL Phil McNair<br />
  3. 3. Professors:<br />I wanted to thank you for your assistance during my enrollment at AMU … You really showed me how great a professor you can be during times when education is taking a back seat. I recently completed, what was once a fast-burning run through life… In Dec 08 as I was diagnosed with PTSD. Since returning from my 8 month tour in Iraq in Dec 07…. Without complaint you stepped in and helped me complete my entire academic plan … I greatly appreciate your extreme display of concern and understanding while enrolled in your class. I did not expect the support I received; yet it has gotten me where I am today. <br />Excerpted Student Comment, 09/2009 <br />
  4. 4. Introduction<br />Memoriam: Andrew Baggs, Ph.D., USN (ret)<br />Frequency study of faculty awareness of students in high stress areas and dangerous events<br />Follow-up/Implications for further study- Can study in online universities while in high stress zones ameliorate the subsequent onset of PTSD?- Or facilitate reintegration into society?- Given onset of GI-Bill students in traditional schools, do online instructors have PTSD practices to share?- How do the frameworks of online and land-based universities differ in terms of students with PTSD? <br />
  5. 5. John D. Moore, Ph.D.<br />Defining and Exploring PTSD<br />in an <br />Online Educational Environment<br />
  6. 6. <ul><li>The Syndrome
  7. 7. Diagnostic Criterion
  8. 8. Impact on the Student
  9. 9. Impact on the Educator</li></ul>A. PTSD in Broader Context<br />
  10. 10. <ul><li>PTSD is the acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  11. 11. PTSD is a qualified psychiatric condition that appears in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  12. 12. PTSD is different than a person experiencing normal “Stress”</li></ul>What is PTSD?<br />
  13. 13. Irritable <br />Unable to <br />fall asleep<br />Easily <br />Startled <br />Problems <br />With <br />Focus<br />Hyper<br />Increased<br />Substance<br />Use <br />Angry <br />Outbursts<br />PTSD = Increased Agitation<br />
  14. 14. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder<br />DSM IV Diagnostics<br />Criterion A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present: <br />1.Person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others <br />Person&apos;s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. <br />
  15. 15. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 1<br />Criterion B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following:<br />recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. <br />recurrent distressing dreams of the event. acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations & dissociative flash-back episodes, including those that occur awakening or intoxicated). <br />intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event <br />physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or externalcues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of traumatic event<br />
  16. 16. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 2<br />Criterion C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more):<br />efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma <br />efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma <br />inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma <br />markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities <br />feeling of detachment or estrangement from others <br />restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings) <br />sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)<br />
  17. 17. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 3<br />Criterion D: “Hyperarousal responses&quot; (two or more of the following)<br />difficulty falling or staying asleep <br />irritability or outbursts of anger <br />difficulty concentrating <br />Hypervigilance<br />exaggerated startle response<br />Criterion E: Duration of more than one month <br />Criterion F: Distress or impairment to functioning<br />
  18. 18. B. Psychological Pathways<br />1<br />Impact of PTSD<br />2<br />Impact of PTSD on E-Educators<br />3<br />Vicarious Trauma <br />
  19. 19. IMPACT OF <br />PTSD ON LEARNERS<br />Loved Ones<br /><ul><li>Anxiety
  20. 20. Fear
  21. 21. Uncertainty
  22. 22. Anger
  23. 23. Helplessness
  24. 24. Depression
  25. 25. Fidelity Concerns
  26. 26. Financial Worry</li></ul>The PTSD Learner <br /><ul><li>Anxiety
  27. 27. Fear
  28. 28. Guilt
  29. 29. Anger
  30. 30. Helplessness
  31. 31. Depression
  32. 32. Fidelity Concerns
  33. 33. Financial Worry</li></li></ul><li>PTSD WHEEL OF STRESS<br />Worried about Future<br />Feeling Helpless<br />ExtraResponsibilities<br />Lack of Contact<br />Family <br />Experience<br />Title<br />Routines Disrupted<br />New Family Roles<br />
  34. 34. PTSD = FAMILY IN CRISIS<br />PTSD<br />Student<br />Loved<br />Ones<br />Children<br />CRISIS<br />CRISIS<br />CRISIS<br />
  35. 35. How does PTSD Impact E-educators?<br />E-Educators<br />Student Outbursts<br />Confusion/Distraction<br />Vicarious Trauma<br />Online Institution <br />
  36. 36. Student Outbursts<br />Students who may be living with PTSD can sometimes present as irritable, uncooperative or disengaged in the classroom. <br />Using the psychological concept of displacement, students will sometimes “rage” against a faculty member or other student in moments of high stress, anxiety or depression. <br />
  37. 37. Confusion for E-faculty <br />When a students discloses that he or she has been through a traumatic event or perhaps previously diagnosed with PTSD, this can sometimes cause confusion for the e-educator. <br />In brick and mortar institutions, there is often an ability to refer the student to a student counseling center. This is generally not the case for online institutions, leaving the e-educator asking the question:<br />What can I do to help?<br />
  38. 38. Vicarious Trauma <br />Vicarious Trauma (aka: secondary trauma) occurs whenever a person is exposed to a first hand account of a traumatic event by another person. An example of this might be a faculty member being told by a student that he or she was involved in a life threatening incident. Over the course of time, these kinds of repeated exposures to secondary trauma can have a negative impact on the individual. <br />EACH TIME A FACULTY MEMBER IS EXPOSED TO PAINFUL MATERIAL THAT FACULTY MEMBER EXPERIENCES VICARIOUS TRAUMA<br />
  39. 39. Vicarious Trauma<br />Irritable <br />Sleep <br />Problems<br />Fatigue<br />Problems <br />With <br />Focus<br />Burnout<br />Increased<br />Substance<br />Use <br />Feeling<br />Drained<br />Vicarious Trauma<br />
  40. 40. Faculty Awareness of Students in High Stress Situations & Events <br />Survey Overview<br />Carol Passman, Ph.D. <br />
  41. 41. Survey Background<br />Run Dates: Aug 18th – Sep 8th, 2009 <br />Subjects: APUS (American Military University & American Public University) Faculty<br />Response Rate: 465 of 845 = 55% response rate <br />
  42. 42. A. Faculty Demographics<br />Online Teaching Experience<br />
  43. 43. Other Experience/Areas Served*<br />* Multiple responses allowed<br />** Other category included CIA, Civilian Military Employee, DEA, Government Contractor, Homeland Security, Defense Analyst, Military Spouse, TSA…<br />
  44. 44. Involvement in Dangerous Situations<br />
  45. 45. B. Awareness of Students in High Stress Settings <br />
  46. 46. Timing of Awareness<br />
  47. 47. How Did Faculty Become Aware of High Stress Occupational Settings<br />
  48. 48. C. Awareness of Students in Dangerous Encounters<br />
  49. 49. Timing of Awareness of Dangerous Encounters<br />
  50. 50. D. Faculty/Student Interactions<br />Student in-class discussions on such situations<br />Student comment to faculty on dangerous situations<br />
  51. 51. Summary- Phil McNair<br />But first – 2 brief anecdotes<br />What we know:- Some percentage of students have PTSD- PTSD can affect student behavior<br />What we don’t:- Who those students are- What online faculty are supposed to do- The impact of online learning on students with PTSD<br />
  52. 52. Thoughts? Comments?<br />We welcome your input as we think about the implications of this for further study and research. Want to join us?<br />Fred Stielow: fstielow@apus.edu<br />Phil McNair: pmcnair@apus.edu<br />

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