Masters and doctoral students enrolled in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs [CACREP] accredited programs must meet certain standards regardless of the environment in which they learn. In our case, we are doctoral students enrolled in an online counselor education and supervision (CES) program delivered through the Blackboard.comSM e-learning system. Members of our cohort live in various parts of the United States and beyond its borders. The standards by which our program seeks to offer quality education are the standards established by CACREP (2001).
CACREP (2001) standards address group counseling and practicums. Doctoral-level students must engage in expanded learning experiences in group work (DS II.C.1) and participate in a characteristically unique, supervised advanced practicum which helps to further refine students’ counseling skills (DS III.A). The doctoral program in which we participate chose to meet these two standards through a core course entitled Advanced Practicum in Group Counseling. An experiential assessment component of this course requires students to complete a 10-week, qualitatively different, supervised group practicum. Various Ph.D. CES programs may address these CACREP standards in a similar fashion. Due to our own experiences and an increased awareness of the ongoing, rapid expansion of distance education (Lee & Nguyen, 2007), we realized the necessity to begin identifying and addressing challenges faced by online learners. Our purposes in writing this article are to acknowledge some of the erstwhile and contemporary challenges of practica requirements faced by online students and to provide tips and guidance to other online (and perhaps, on-campus) students, faculty, and institutional placement personnel as they approach these challenges.