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Creating an Online Learning Community for Human Service Students


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Techniques and examples for creating an online learning community conducive to teaching human services is discussed. The challenges and benefits of teaching human services through distance learning is also explored.

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Creating an Online Learning Community for Human Service Students

  1. 1. APRIL 27,28 S U N Y E M P I R E S TAT E C O L L E G E 2012 7th Annual Center For Distance Learning Conference An Open Community of Learning,Teaching and Mentoring presents Creating An Online Community For Human Service StudentsBenefits in Teaching and Learning Human Services Online• Students have the ability to curtail learning to their schedule.• Work at ones own pace.• Students have the ability to apply course concepts to areas of the field that they are interested in.• Students have access to immediate information via the web.• Social Learning Theory and Collaborative Learning• Students have the opportunity to learn from peers who are in the field.• Students who work in the field bring diversity of professional perspective to course discussions.• Synchronous activities help students to feel connected to the course and assists with building peer relations.• Instructors have the ability to examine posts and edit information if necessary while also providing immediate and private feedback.• Improve expressed written content through Informative Feedback.• Students have the ability to delay responses until more information is attained.• Through synchronous activities students can utilize techniques with limited performance anxiety.• Follow up asynchronous discussions can assist students in de-briefing.• Students who fear their ability could harm the "consumer".• Instructors can provide Informative feedback on performance, as synchronous activities have the ability to be recorded and reviewed at a later time. YO U NEVER KNOW WHERE THE NEXT GREAT IDE A MAY CO ME FROM GIVEN THE RIGHT LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SET BY THE INSTRUCTOR NEW IDEAS AND CREATIVITY CAN BE FOSTERED. IN GARY LARSON’S “HOPEFUL PARENTS”, HE COULD FORESEE THE JOB MARKET FOR GAMERS. ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS THE AVERAGE SALARY FOR WEB DESIGNERS $70,490
  2. 2. Challenges in Teaching and Learning Human Services Online• Instructors need to establishing appropriate personal boundaries without impacting reflection of ones experiences THE LURKING STUDENT as they pertain to course concepts. OFTEN HAS SOME ANXIETY• Instructors must assist students in understanding that their is ABOUT POSTING THE no confidentiality amongst students and personal information “RIGHT” INFORMATION AND can be shared. OFTEN TIMES SUBMIT• Assisting students in understanding how ones political POSTS THAT ARE “LESS ideology can influence their understanding of the HS system THAN” THEIR OWN and policies. EXPECTATION. STUDENTS• Students must recognize and overcome prejudicial beliefs as CAN FEEL LIKE GARY they pertain to consumers. LARSON’S TARZAN.• Challenging students to examine and understand their emotional reasons for entering the field.• Instructing students to utilize scholarly work to support their beliefs and ideas.• Helping students to see the hard science aspect of the field as it pertains to working in direct care.• Teaching how to incorporate evidence based research in written assignments.• Teaching/Understanding therapeutic techniques and practices without body language.• Providing feedback in Active Listening without being able to see the other person.• What takes 6 hours in an online discussion can take 1 hour in a synchronous live interaction.• Synchronous learning activities require that more than one student be available at the same time, thereby leaving students feeling as if there grade is based on someone elses TYPOS AND GRAMMAR participation. ISSUES CAN ALTER THE• Addressing students needs who like the subject matter but are not interested in the social interaction of the field. MEANING OF POSTS IN• Many online students choose this learning environment ONLINE COUNSELING because they dont want to interact in person. ACTIVITIES.• Addressing appropriate needs of students already working in the field.• Providing feedback to those students who do not think they need it.• Providing feedback for growth to those students who meet very high academic standards due to professional experience.• Some techniques used in the field due to realistic restrictions are not supported by evidence based best practices, ie. Incorrect documentation practices, understaffing, limited financial resources (funding).
  3. 3. T ECH N IQ U E S TO EN HAN C E T E AC H I N G H U M AN SE RV I C E S I N O NL I N E L E A R N I N G• Utilizing IceBreaker discussions to establish course culture.• Instructor can grade Ice breaker discussion to establish participation expectations of the course.• Grading Module discussions while providing Informative Feedback.• Instructors can utilize course polls at the start of the course to meet the academic needs of the learner. This can be done for scheduling live/synchronous activities. This can also enable instructors to learn the academic strengths,weaknesses and learning styles of students through the use of personal inventories.• Adding synchronous activities to human services courses to teach counseling skills or skills that require interaction and to assist the kinesthetic learner.• Utilize Elluminate, Live Chat, Google Plus, Skype as assignments or extra credit.• Utilizing asynchronous team activities to assist in building a sense of community and peer relations.• Group work and partnering diminishes attrition and increases participation.• Scaffolding and utilizing smaller assignments to teach written skills necessary for larger written assignments and APA format.• Students can utilize websites like Youtube to see skills in action. Instructors can post video clips in asynchronous discussion ares that illustrate skills.• Utilizing Second Life in therapeutic practice sessions.ONLINE We must remember thatRESOURCES students new to the online environment often initially1. LEARNING STYLES feel very vulnerable as they do not have immediatebxb11/LSI/LSI.htm access to their instructors.2. WHAT’S YOUR LEARNING Photos, formative STYLE http:// feedback, live synchronous /~bwjames/ activities such as tut/learning-style/ styleres.html Elluminate can help to diminish these feelings and3. WEB TECHNOLOGIES IN allow for student risk HIGHER EDUCATION HTTP:/ WW.IFETS.INFO/ /W taking in learning. JOURNALS/12_4/9.PDF