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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Confidentiality and Online Classrooms

Imre Csaszar (Louisiana State University, USA)
Jennifer Curry (Louisiana State University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 11:15am
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Blended Program/Degree
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 2

The online environment creates unique challenges in regard to boundaries of confidentiality. Setting parameters to protect students' disclosures is the focus of this session.

Extended Abstract

In many of the helping professions (i.e., counseling, social work, nursing, psychology, education) discussing client/student cases is pivotal to the growth of graduate students' clinical supervision, critical thinking, feedback, and reflection skills; yet, online instructors are often concerned about online students exposing too much of their own personal information or too much about a client. Group supervision and case consultation are actually part of the educational and accreditation standards of many helping professions. Students in online courses have to be able to discuss serious and difficult topics that will come up in the course of their future work such as: child abuse, substance use or addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. So, it is important to be able to staff and discuss these cases in a safe atmosphere. Sometimes, these issues bring up personal problems graduate students are facing themselves or have dealt with in the past that they may feel the need to share in the classroom. In a face to face class, the instructor leads the discussion and can direct questions or intervene if something appears to be going off topic or if someone is sharing inappropriate information about themselves or a client. This is not the same in an online classroom so online students need more preparation about what is appropriate to share. In this session, the facilitator will cover how to set up an online course from the beginning to minimize potential inappropriate disclosures, how to assist students who are having emotional difficulty with the content of the course, and how to develop a protocol for online case discussion involving client confidentiality.