ECD 539: Group Counseling

DELTA staff collaborated with Angela Smith to create an experiential learning environment to teach a Group Counseling course online. The goal of this project is to convert the existing hybrid or blended version of the ECD 539: Group Counselling course to a fully online course. The course utilizes experiential learning, where students experience the group counseling session and take turns co-facilitating the group. The major goal is to translate this experiential learning experience into online course using existing or new technologies. Another aspect of the project goal is to build an online community using group discussions, activities, case studies and online collaboration tools.

Instructional Challenges

  • Timing of the group work, especially the group counseling sessions that are very critical to this course
  • Designing a five and a half week course that will have the same materials and learning objectives as it is offered in the  traditional Fall/Spring semester
  • Confidentiality of content discussed in the group sessions
  • Incorporating experiential activities. Technologies such as Blackboard Collaborate, VoiceThread, reflect and pause Video quiz, Online Journals and Polling tools were used to overcome this challenge. The goal was to immerse students into experiential learning and develop an online community using technology that is pedagogically sound and effective.

Highlights and Solutions

  • Blackboard Collaborate Session: In this project, a lot of research was done to explore an online technology that is best to deliver group counseling sessions online. Blackboard Collaborate was selected because it was secured and password protected, meet the needs of the learning goals and extensive DELTA support when it was needed. The students joined as co-facilitators and group members to lead these collaborate sessions to replicate a real life group counseling session in a professional environment.
  • Video Engagement (MindTap and PlayPosit): This course used tools to insert questions in videos to facilitate video engagement, students can pause the video and reflect their thoughts while watching these videos.
  • VoiceThread: This worked really well with a short five and half week of summer session. Traditional moodle discussion board was replaced by more organic voicethread discussion forum. This gave an opportunity to students use different mode of communication (text. Audio and video) and developed a engaging online learning community.
  • Quizlet: This was mainly used to reinforce concepts and walked students through common terms and definitions used in group counseling.
  • Moodle Block Layout: The navigation was clear, simple and visually pleasing. Banners were used to divide up block into different topics, the images were closely tied to the topic theme. Sub-labels were used to categorize materials such reading materials, group counselling session in collaborate, videos, mindtap, quizlet flashcard and voicethread discussion forum. At the end of each module there was a list of tasks to complete and an “inspirational quote of the day” to motivate students in the subject matters.

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