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When developing this course, I knew that the course would be offered once per year, and it would be required of all students enrolled in the School Psychology Doctoral Program. The content of the course would directly apply to their future careers in the field of psychology, where it is common for licensed psychologists to supervise the work of master’s level practitioners, interns, and graduate student trainees. The course content would also be immediately relevant to students by creating a better understanding of the nature of supervision they currently receive as graduate students, and the ways in which individual attitudes and behaviors impact supervision outcomes.

Several challenges were identified during the process of course development. First, it was likely that there would be only 5-7 School Psychology students enrolled per year. Of these students, most would have no prior experience as a supervisor and very limited (1-2 years) experience as a supervisee in part-time practicums. As a result of students’ general lack of experience in supervisory relationships, I was concerned there would be little modeling of diverse supervisor perspectives and attitudes, and that the quality of class discussions would be limited. Second, students would need to engage in self reflection and discussion of their positive and negative experiences as supervisees throughout this course. In most cases, students in the course will simultaneously be completing School Psychology Practicum with me as their university supervisor. I was worried that a face-to-face environment might make it difficult or uncomfortable for some students to openly discuss their supervisory experiences from the practicum setting, since I am one of their practicum supervisors.

I thought that by developing the course as an online doctoral seminar, I might be able to address some of these identified challenges. With online delivery, I could potentially offer the course for continuing professional development credit and expand enrollment to include experienced clinical supervisors in the field. Also, it would create a different dynamic for class discussions, where reflection and class discussions would occur using an asynchronous discussion board. My hope was that this format would help students to feel more comfortable participating because they could take their time when writing up personal reflections and they wouldn’t have to “say things to my face.” Since I had no prior experience developing or teaching online courses, I decided to teach the course on a small scale the first year, and then focus on expanding enrollment over the next 2-3 years.

Supporting Documents

Discussion Board Participation Guidelines (PDF logo PDF 61K )
Sample Application Assignment: Creation of a Supervision Evaluation Tool (PDF logo PDF 204K )
Student Work for Application Assignment 2: Creation of a Supervision Evaluation Tool (PDF logo PDF 48K )