Saturday, September 26, 2015

I had to "go back" to school....

Guest Blogger:  James Wadley

So for all the years that I have been in school to get my doctorate and postgraduate certificate, it turns out that I have to “go back to school” in order to obtain a credential that will enable a smoother transition for the Master of Science in Counseling program to eventually become accredited here at Lincoln University.  The courses that I am taking online are Theories of Counseling and Human Development.  (The irony of me being a student at this time is that I am teaching Theories of Counseling this semester in the MSC program.) 
I am blogging because I just completed an assignment where I had to offer my opinion about a case and then offer two postings to the students in my cohort who also had to chime in on the same case. 

I am disappointed.  It feels like there is minimal interaction between myself and my cohort, and the responses on my thread are very superficial.  There seems to be a theme around response production that if someone responds to my post, they rarely exceed four sentences.  The readings from the text are okay….but do not contain some of the latest research/clinical findings and assumptions that move the field forward. 
I’ve been spoiled academically and have had nothing but face to face interaction with my peers, professors, and supervisors over the years.  I think what’s missing is the anecdotal accounts that provide depth. Shared face to face, classroom stories are woven with theory and invites critical discussion. This may not happen online since people in my cohort rarely revisit discussions beyond the minimal standard of posts.   I wish that my online experience could be different and possibly mirror face to face instruction.  I’m struggling to stay motivated, and so I decided that I was going to go ahead and knock out all of the assignments for the semester for these two classes between now and next weekend. No, this is not 7-1-7. I’m just bored and disenchanted….

I’m so glad our Lincoln MSC Counseling program is face to face and has 15 weeks of engaging semesters.  I wonder how entry-level therapists who complete this online program could ever develop the skills and competency to be effective and self-sustaining practitioners.  I just don’t see it.  Maybe something will change in my journey for another master’s degree.

If you have had a different online educational experience, please feel free to offer your thoughts and words of wisdom to me….

Searching for support…
James Wadley, Ph.D 
Chair, Graduate Counseling and Human Services Programs
Lincoln University


  1. I am sorry you are disappointed. Unfortunately, I do not have any words of wisdom to share with you on this matter. In fact, I do not have much online educational experience. However, I wonder whether your experience reinforces the general belief or, rather, assumption that, in general, a face-to-face educational experience is better than an online educational experience, even if others have had a different or better online educational experience. (This is not to deny that there can be good reasons for having an online educational experience rather than a face-to-face one.)

    Safro Kwame

  2. James, I sympathize. It is no fun doing work just to do work when you don't feel you're learning much in the process. Here's my question. You seem to imply that this is a weakness caused by the limitations of an online environment. My question is whether you might feel the same way in a classroom setting if your classmates gave such perfunctory responses to questions and didn't seem intent on responding to the instructor or each other in any depth. In other words, are you experiencing a problem because of the quality of students or because of the quality of the questions posed (that don't elicit thoughtful and useful responses) or because online learning is, indeed, less apt to stimulate thoughtful and critical and personal discussion?