Friday, June 10, 2005
Technology enhances counselor education
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Counseling graduate students in the School of Education and Human Services are using state-of-the-art technology and a one-of-a-kind digital video recording system to enhance their education.
Oyster, a digital video recording and retrieval system, uses a digital video camera to record the sessions between student counselors and clients, allowing a student and their supervisor to review the sessions so the supervisor can critique the counselor’s session, pointing out areas of excellence and others needing improvement.
“The students are able to review their work after the fact and can queue the recording to specific points in their counseling session where they need feedback and suggestions from their supervisor,” said Luellen Ramey, chair of the Counseling Department.
The Oyster system is a one-of-a-kind, designed to specifications OU required. Previously, students recorded sessions on VHS tapes. With Oyster, students can review the video and make notations in areas where they need particular feedback and the supervisor can be sure to address the concern.
There are many security measures in place to protect the confidentiality of the clients. Using their SpiritCards, the counseling students swipe their cards to start and stop the recording process. The recorded video can only be accessed from one of the secure viewing rooms by using a SpiritCard or user-specific login. The video is not available outside of the secure viewing rooms. Digital offers an even more secure system with the use of passwords then the previous system of moving videotapes from cabinets to VCRs.
All rooms in the SEHS Counseling Center on the second floor of Pawley Hall are equipped with the Oyster technology. The recorded video resides on a server with 2.5 terabits of storage, more than enough to accommodate all of the counseling students in their Practicum who had to accumulate at least 40, 50-minute counseling sessions by the end of the winter semester.
Pawley Hall was wired for this technology when it was built, but the Counseling Center began using the technology in the fall 2004 semester when the software programming was completed.
“The concept during the design of Pawley Hall was to provide students with state-of-the-art technology for learning to counsel, and state-of-the-art was digital video rather than VHS,” Ramey said.
Counseling Center clients are individuals or couples from in and outside the university community in all age groups. The counseling services available, which are free, help clients deal with life issues such as loss, time management, assertiveness training, relationship issues, life transitions, situational depression, separation and career counseling.
For more information on Counseling Center services or Oyster, visit the School of Education and Human Services Counseling Center Web site or call (248) 370-2633.