Multiple Technologies and Lessons Learned in an International Online Childhood Sexual Abuse Course
We present the compelling need for an international online course in childhood sexual abuse (CSA), illustrate technologies used (email, audio-lectures, streaming-videos, interactive forums, and power point), and share lessons learned. International studies have found that rates of reported CSA are consistent with those in the U.S and Canada. Under-reporting of CSA is common, as is re-victimization. Thus, there is a compelling need for professionals world-wide to be educated to intervene effectively with CSA victims and their families, and with offenders. There are few venues in the U.S. and internationally where professionals can obtain needed CSA knowledge and skills. Workshops are often inaccessible, taking time away from work and family responsibilities. This online course allows “user friendly” scheduling, permitting students to balance multiple needs. Online technology has major advantages over traditional teaching methods. Students world-wide can access information, transcending geographical boundaries. They can review audio-lectures and video-clips as often as needed, and exchange ideas about issues related to CSA that may be difficult to share in traditional classroom environments. The online course, Treatment of Childhood Sexual Abuse, was designed for professionals responsible for working with victims of CSA world-wide. Online modules focus on different aspects of CSA; readings, audio-lectures, and streaming videos illustrate and integrate CSA theories and practice. To facilitate online discussions, students submit, via email, weekly reflection papers and questions based on assigned readings. Once questions are reviewed; the three that most encourage interactive and meaningful online discussion are chosen. In our paper, we will discuss in detail how we managed to: collaborate with distance education staff who have little information about CSA, provide access to a technology expert, respond non-defensively to students’ frustration and anger, normalize students’ intense feelings about CSA, facilitate cross-cultural discussions, accommodate to time zone differences and broad-band limitations.
Keywords: Educational Technology, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Online Teaching, Professional Practice
Doctoral Candidate, School of Social Work, Columbia University
Dr. Helene Jackson
Associate Professor, College of Urban Affairs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
A native of Boston, MA, Jackson received her B.A. from Simmons College, her M.S.W. from Boston University, and her Ph.D. from Smith College.