Webinar: Blackboard Online Learning Experience —Online Counseling Programs

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A Student Success Coach with the University of North Dakota’s online graduate counseling programs shares a brief program overview and takes a deep dive into what students can expect in the Blackboard online learning software. The webinar includes a preview of several courses, including a snippet of a lecture and a look at a module.


Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 1, Cover: Hello and welcome. I am a student support specialist who works with the University of North Dakota’s online graduate students. My role is to support students from enrollment through graduation to ensure they have everything they need to be successful in our online programs.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 2, Dr. Dejarlais Bio: Today, we’re talking about UND’s Online Master or Arts in Counseling and Post-Graduate Certificate programs, which is led by Program Director Dr. Cerynn Desjarlais, who is also a clinical assistant professor that teaches in the program. She completed both her Master’s in Counseling and PhD in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Dakota. She has also taught a variety of courses in counseling and psychology.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 3, Program Overview: UND’s online Master of Arts in Counseling and Post-Graduate Certificate are both competitive part-time programs that are offered 100% online and feature primarily asynchronous coursework that can be accessed anytime and anywhere through our platform called Blackboard, which we will learn more about today. The programs are designed to be flexible for busy professionals who want to continue working while they earn their degree. Our master’s program features forward in demand emphasis areas, so you can specialize your degree based on your passions. They are addiction counseling, community and mental health counseling, K-12 school counseling, and rehabilitation counseling.

We also offer a Post-Graduate Certificate for those who have already earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling or community agency counseling but wish to re-specialize to K-12 school counseling. Both our master’s certificate and K-12 school counseling are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and approved by the North Dakota Education Standards and practices board for School Counselor Competencies. And we are currently seeking accreditation by the MPCAC, also known as Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation. No matter which option you choose, you will get practical field experience by completing a practicum and an internship in or near your community.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 4, Master’s Curriculum Overview:  Our 60- to 65-credit curriculum prepares students to sit for the licensure exams and is taught by industry experts who are passionate about the success of future counselors and incorporating a focus on multiculturalism and social justice into the curriculum. Each 14 week semester, students take one to three courses that cover topics ranging from diagnostic and prevention strategies to multicultural counseling.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 5, Addiction Emphasis Curriculum Overview: In the addiction counseling emphasis area, you’ll take both core counseling courses and addiction specific courses where you’ll about supporting those navigating addictions and substance abuse concerns. Those courses allow you to build foundational knowledge, skills, and awareness needed to address work with diverse clients of all ages and a variety of mental health concerns. You’ll also gain real-world experience through in-person practicum and internship experiences.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 6, Rehabilitation Emphasis Curriculum Overview: In the rehabilitation counseling emphasis area, students will participate in coursework, practicum, and internship experiences that will teach you how to help people with a wide variety of mental health concerns that commonly co-occur with rehabilitation and disability factors. Coursework covers topics such as vocational counseling, veteran care, school age transition, and more.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 7, Community Mental Health Emphasis Curriculum Overview: In the community mental health emphasis area, through coursework and practicum and internship experiences, students will learn to provide multiculturally competent care and effectively counsel clients as they navigate a wide variety of mental health concerns from relatively common stage of life concerns to severe mental illness and disorders, including personality disorders.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 8, K-12 School Counseling Emphasis Curriculum Overview: Those who chose the CAEP accredited K-12 school counseling master’s emphasis area are trained to be culturally responsive, social justice oriented, and database licensed or credentialed professional school counselors. Using evidence-based practices, students learn how to effectively counsel school aged youth and their families addressing academic, career, and social emotional concerns. You’ll also learn how to collaborate and consult with school and community stakeholders to affect positive systemic change in school communities.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 9, Post-Graduate Certificate  Curriculum Overview: The post-grad certificate in K-12 school counseling is designed for those who have already received a master’s degree in mental health or community agency counseling, but wish to re-specialize in K-12 counseling. The coursework mirrors what’s offered in the school counseling master’s program, but without the core foundational counseling courses. The certificate program is capped off with practicum and internship experiences, so you can put your new knowledge and skills to work.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Slide 10, Blackboard Online Learning Overview: All courses are hosted in Blackboard, which is a user-friendly online software. Students in our online programs use Blackboard daily to access coursework, exams, lectures, assignments, resources, group discussions, and grades. It also has links to vital information such as announcements, orientation materials, a 24/7 help desk, and more.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – In Blackboard Platform: When you visit blackboard.und.edu, you’ll land on this login screen. Once you log in, you can navigate to the courses tab where you will find the student community center, your program courses, and an orientation course. We will start by taking a look at the student community center.

Here you’ll find important information that you might not access daily, but will definitely find helpful. There are tabs for announcements about the program, information about UND, details about policies, active with calendars, registration, degree plans, and links to tools, articles, and events. Two sections I want to point out here in the community center are the career counseling discovery and multicultural competency resource sections.

In the counseling career discovery section, you’ll find a variety of resources, including video recordings from industry professionals in a variety of counseling specializations, as well as many of your professors. In these recordings, you’ll hear about the person’s background and path into counseling psychology and get a better understanding about the ins and outs and day-to-day highlights and challenges they’ve experienced in their careers. Let me share a brief snippet to give you a better understanding of what these valuable videos include. This video features Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey, who is currently an assistant professor in the program and assistant vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. What advice would you give to people looking into a similar career path?

Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey, Faculty Member – From Video in Career Discovery Section: I would say the thing I’ve learned is that that no two career paths are the same. I think that’s important to think about and to be okay with the ambiguity or the uncertainty of something. When I was in college, I actually started out as a biology major. I just knew. I was like, I’m going to try to apply to medical school and go to med school. I had a friend in my freshman year going into my sophomore year. He was like, “I’m taking psychology.” I was like, “You’re doing what?” “I’m taking psychology.”

He was like, “You need to take this person. If you go take a class, take this person for the intro psych.” And I was like, “Okay, whatever. I’ll take this first. Whatever.” It was a meaningful class. One, it was a major changing class because I was like, “I’m going to be a psychology major now.” But I think the other thing though is that it wasn’t a traditional path. It wasn’t I started out psychology and I then applied for this. There are some things that are traditional.

I did apply to a counseling master’s, but then I did African American studies, another master’s in African-American studies, and then I came back to counseling psychology. I never thought I would be at the University of North Dakota. I think that we just have to be open to the possibilities that may guide and shape our path.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – In Blackboard Platform: This is just one of the many career resource available to our students. Now let’s look at the multicultural competency resources. This features resources related to microaggressions, de-colonizing mental health, and inclusive language. These topics are a major focus in the program, so these multimedia resources are just another avenue for students to supplement their learning and ideally put into practice. Next, let’s check out the new student orientation.

Once you are enrolled in the program, the orientation course is one of the first items you’ll access in Blackboard. It is designed to mirror what a regular program course will look like. So as you navigate through the orientation, you’ll get comfortable with the setup that you’ll be using daily. At the bottom of this menu, an individual course menu, you’ll see links to a 24/7 help desk, tools, libraries, student help resources, and UND tech support.

One thing we suggest is that all students take the time to complete the additional optional trainings, which cover important topics such as APA training, determined clinical competency, research best practices, tips for success as an online student, and technology training. You can even earn digital batches upon completion of some of the modules that you can use on your LinkedIn profile and CV to demonstrate skills to prospective employers. Now let’s jump into a course. This is where you’ll spend the majority of your time in Blackboard.

First, we’ll explore Counseling 530: Theories of Counseling Personality and Develop it. This course is taught by Dr. Klaus Cavalhieri. The menu for this course is laid out nearly identically to the orientation course we just looked at, and you’ll find this consistency throughout each course that you take. At the top of the menu, you’ll access core specific announcements, information about the faculty member who teaches the course, the syllabus and schedule, and required textbooks. Below that are the modules and grades which you’ll access regularly.

If you click into a specific module, you’ll find resources and timelines, as well as lectures, readings, and assignments to complete. Let’s try module eight: person-centered therapy. Each week also features an introduction video from the professor that provides an overview of the topics that you’ll be covering that week. Now let’s jump into a lecture from Dr. Cavalhieri. Professors prerecord lectures to align with the topics that you’ll learn that week, which allows for asynchronous coursework.

Dr. Klaus Cavalhieri, Faculty Member – From Lecture Preview: All right. I know I already introduced it a little bit earlier, but we’re going to be talking about person-centered therapy. We’re going to touch very briefly on interpersonal psychotherapy as a more recent development on humanistic therapies, but the focus is going to be person-centered and Rogers. This is an exciting theory to talk about. It is extremely influential. I hope it’s going to become clear. This is a lot of theories initially no one was talking about, the working alliance between therapists and clients.

No one was even talking about researching whether psychotherapy worked. And then this person came along, Carl Rogers, and decided, “You know what? This is what makes people feel better.” If we think about therapy, what makes people feel better? And it is just this relationship. Of course, some people disagree. Some people push one way. Some people push the other. But overall, I think it provided a very good frame of reference for folks. You’ll see hopefully that it’s becoming extremely influential, person-centered therapy.

A lot of every theory today practically kind of incorporate some aspect of Roger’s theories. Hopefully this is what we’re going to be talking about today. All right. Let’s start on Rogers, on person-centered therapy, forgive me. We start person-centered therapy talking about Rogers, Carl Rogers. Rogers is today considered one of the most influential psychotherapists in psychology. Truly changed how we approach psychotherapy and how to approach clinical science in general. Everyone uses some of his concepts and his approach to therapy in a lot of ways to this day.

I think he continues to be extremely prevalent, extremely influential, which is great. I think he got a lot of contributions to our current practice, and I think that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. Because he really was. He took charge leading therapy in a very different way. By the time Rogers came into seeing the two prevalent schools of thought were psychoanalysis and behaviorism, right? The two very behaviorally oriented [inaudible 00:15:31] radical behaviorism and psychoanalytic therapies.

Even though there’s a lot of difference between those two approaches, both of them work with a psychotherapist that comes in the room, a therapist comes in the room, diagnosis the client with something, and provides interpretations of that treatment. The psychoanalyst provides interpretations of dreams, interpretations of behavior. A behaviorist is going to come in interpret and kind of provide like, “This is what’s going on. These are the contingencies. These are things that are reinforced. These are the things that has to be changed.” It’s a therapist that comes in, diagnose this, and tells what’s wrong.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – In Blackboard Platform:  I hope you all enjoy this little snippet from Dr. Cavalhieri. He’s a great professor and his students rave about his courses. Now let me give you a sneak peek at another of Dr. Cavalhieri’s courses, Counseling Methods. There’s a grade assignment I’d like to showcase called the personal qualities self-assessment. This assignment instructs you to conduct and write an honest assessment, comparing your current personal qualities and those frequently proposed to make an effective counselor or therapist.

This assignment requires that you take some time to think, reflect, and do some soul searching to help you become more aware of things like, who you are right now, why you want to become a counselor or a therapist, how others perceive you and how that translates to how clients might perceive you, how you can make the most of your time and efforts in a counseling training environment, and personal qualities you might need to work on and goals to set. I find that even students find self-reflections like this challenging.

They’ve really enjoy the outcome. Now I want to switch gears to give you a glimpse into a course with Dr. Andjela Kaur called multicultural counseling. Multicultural competency and social justice are major pillars of focus in our program, so I’m going to play a snippet from one of Dr. Kaur’s lectures focused on social justice.

Dr. Andjela Kaur, Faculty Member – From Lecture Preview: 

In this video, I want to introduce you to the social justice counseling model that is called NESS Model. This is the model that I developed over the years as I was working with persons who were experiencing discrimination. The NESS Model has five important steps. First, when we’re working with a person, we’ll name discrimination. Then we explain it together with our client. We, the professionals, do the research and share the research with our clients about this particular discrimination. We support the client’s autonomy.

We always ask the client, what do you want to do about this? And it always starts with the client choices. And lastly, to support the client choices, the professionals, again, do the research and support of client’s choices and we share those resources with clients. Let’s practice for a moment how this might work with an elderly client. Step number one, name discrimination. Take a look at this video and think about words that come to mind as you’re looking at it.

Think about how would it feel if you were the person in this video. Think about where these prejudices that here we can see are [inaudible 00:20:04] What comes to mind as you view the clip?

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – In Blackboard Platform: Wasn’t that great? I know I’ve only given you a brief look to a couple of courses, but you may have noticed that our professors use a variety of tools like prerecorded lectures, supported readings, podcasts, and other media to enhance the online learning experience and create an engaging environment even from a distance. I’d also like to remind you that just because you can’t ask questions in a live lecture doesn’t mean that you don’t have access to support from your professors and myself when you need it.

Felicia, Student Support Specialist – Closing Slide: Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions about what you’re learning or get clarification on a topic at any time. Well, that’s going to wrap it up for this overview of the online Blackboard learning portal. I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about our online counseling programs, please contact our enrollment team. They are a wealth of information and would love to help you get started on your journey towards earning your master’s. Thank you for watching and have a wonderful day.