When a young man went to Harvard College in 1640, learning with other students also meant living with other students. This collegiate lifestyle continues to abound for many who live on campus and participate in a myriad of extracurricular activities while earning their higher education. The student who learns and lives on campus not only has extracurricular activities in which to engage, but also has support services, such as career advisement and mental health counseling. But with more and more non-traditional students in the collegial atmosphere, one must wonder what is the collegiate experience for a forty-year-old single mom who works all day and attends school at night via online classes? Is there a need for her university to also provide support to enhance the quality of her learning – or is it merely enough for her to acquire her academic credentials there, while she gains her extracurricular and service support in her other world in which she lives? The University of West Alabama thinks not. As online learning grows, so grows the need for university support to the online learner.
Cyberspace is fast becoming a new normal in which we spend a major portion of our waking hours. The Internet connects computers and the people sitting at the computers around the world. Through the Internet people can learn, shop, and socialize globally 24/7. And higher education, once only available in the brick and mortar confines of a college campus, has followed that trend. As institutions of higher education continue to embrace and maintain the online learning format, online learners have a right to services afforded their on-campus counterparts. One of the most essential services continues to be mental health counseling.
… read the complete story ~ http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs/tiltissue11/15
This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Counseling Services and the Distance Learner article.
Dr Mary Ann Hollingsworth and Dr Debbie Dean are with Counseling Services for the University of West Alabama in Livingston, Alabama. They both are Licensed Professional Counselors in Alabama and Mississippi and both are Distance Certified Counselors. They provide face to face and distance counseling to on-campus and online students for the University. They may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.