The primary purpose of the New England ATTC Distance Learning Program (DLP) is to provide participants with convenient, easy to access online workshops that address the current needs and trends in public health and addiction treatment, prevention, and recovery. Through the process of technology transfer, the DLP is delivering research based skills, techniques, models, and treatment approaches to those who find it difficult to finance, schedule, and/or to travel to live conferences throughout the United States as well as the World.
This unique, trend setting distance learning initiative has provided training to treatment specialist in numerous remote locations such as Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, Indonesia, Macedonia, and Singapore to name a few. Needless to say, the DLP is affecting change in the way addiction treatment, prevention, and recovery is conducted on a global level. At the core of the program is the unique team of knowledgeable and dedicated trainers that comprise the DLP faculty.
Education and Teaching Experience:
To be an instructor for the DLP, one generally must have at minimum 20 years of experience in the addictions field, at least 10 years of experience in teaching or presenting their subject matter, and have obtained a Masters level of education. They must also be research oriented such that their topics reflect the latest advances relevant to their subject, and their lessons contain the most current WWW links available. It is also asked that instructors present their material from a multicultural perspective whenever appropriate, depending on course content.
The first step in the process of becoming a faculty member for the DLP is to provide the program manager a copy of your Curriculum Vitae, and a brief summary of your topic. This would also include the number of weeks (3-5) required to present the proposed material. When preparing the proposal and the subsequent lessons, it is important that the instructor consider the goal of the program, which is to facilitate the incorporation of current addiction research findings, especially in the areas of Criminal Justice, Cultural Diversity, Consumer Advocacy, and Managed Care, into everyday practice.
Course Outline and Instructor Biographical Sketch:
The first responsibility of the instructor, once a topic, date, and length of course have been agreed upon, is to provide the DLP management staff a brief introduction to the course, her/his biographical sketch, and the course objectives, which will be used in the course announcement. The instructor will be provided with a template that will assist in the development of this material. This material will be due 9 weeks prior to the start date of the course. A timeline, which will include the dates that your material will be due, will be provided once a start date has been agreed upon.
All instructors will be required to develop a pretest/postest relevant to their subject matter. These test are 10 questions in length in multiple choice format. The same test will be used both as a pretest and a posttest. These tests will be used as a means of evaluating class participants general responses.
Feedback has been a very important factor in the development of this program. In order to prove the efficacy of online addiction education, the DLP is constantly evaluating and modifying the distance education procedures and policies to reflect the needs of participants and faculty members. Therefore it is essential that we have the viewpoint of the instructor as to how each class progressed. Instructors are asked to grade the pre and post tests and submit, within 30 days of his/her receipt of all course evaluations and post tests, a one page summary of the course including a comparison of pre/post test results and any feedback the instructor might provide the ATTC of New England, including strengths and weaknesses of the course as well as the online education program.
Each lesson is assigned a minimum of 2 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s), and will be constructed such that the total time commitment for the student each week is congruent with the number of CEU’s assigned. This will include assigned readings, homework responses, and the browsing of WWW links. It is suggested that each lesson contain approximately 3-5 WWW links relevant to the current topic and include a suggested reading list for those interested in further pursuing the subject matter. Relevant pictures, video, charts and graphs should be used whenever possible.It is the responsibility of the instructor to verify that the www links contained within the assignment are active at the time the lesson is submitted to the DLP staff. It is very important that all copyrighted material be cited and referenced.
All material should be submitted to DLP staff four weeks prior to the course start date. Each lesson begins on a Tuesday, with the exception of the first lesson, which starts on a Monday. The lesson will include 3 – 4 questions, which the student will be required to answer. One of these questions will be posted on the weekly forum as a discussion question, and the others will be treated as a homework assignment. The weekly readings, or WWW links to them, will be posted as part of the weekly lesson. A link from the lesson/lecture page will lead participants to the Homework Submission Page, where they will find the assignment questions associated with that week’s lesson. Students will answer the questions in the appropriate boxes and submit these responses electronically.
Homework assignments completed by class participants will be submitted electronically to the DLP via the ‘Homework Submission Page.’ Once submitted, the responses are available for instructor viewing. DLP program staff are responsible for tracking assignments and other required material. DLP staff will credit the homework to the appropriate student and follow-up on any late or incomplete material. Instructors are not required to track or to grade weekly assignments.
Once a week, the instructor will compile a general reply to the student’s homework responses (ideally prior to the posting of the next lesson). This can be achieved by singling out several homework assignments, and commenting on them, by compiling a general response to the assignments, or by expanding on issues raised in the participant’s responses. Instructor feedback is a very important aspect of the online education experience in that it creates a feedback loop between the instructor and course participants. The desired effect is to have participants share in the thoughts of their class members as well as those of the instructor. The instructor is not expected to contact each participant on a weekly basis. However, should it occur, individual email from the participant to the instructor should be answered in a timely manner.
Due to the lack of live, person to person, interaction normally experienced in regular classrooms, it is of significant consequence that the instructor be able to convert a lesson that is generally presented to a live audience to a written format, while keeping it interesting, intellectually stimulating, and personable. It is also encouraged that the instructor utilize the Weekly Forum, and if feasible, attend one chat session during the course. It is the goal of the DLP that presenters, whenever possible, attempt to incorporate information from key areas of focus (Criminal Justice, Cultural Diversity, Consumer Advocacy, and Managed Care) into her/his lesson plan as well as their personal experience and insight.
Shortly after a proposal to teach has been received and accepted by the New England ATTC, the instructor will receive a copy of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Technical Assistance Publication #21 “Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice.” The ATTC faculty member should become familiar with this publication with particular attention given to Appendix C: Addiction Counseling Competencies. The DLP is attempting to transfer this current, up to date information to as many addiction training specialists as possible in order to bring the counselor competency material into practice in treatment setting throughout the United States and the World.
Below you will find a timeline that represents the relative due dates and posting schedule for course material.
|Due Date||Posting date|
|Course Announcement||Nine weeks prior to start date||Eight weeks prior to start date|
|Pretest/Post test||Four weeks prior to start date||one week prior to start/end date|
|First lesson||Four weeks prior to start date||Posted on start date|
|Lesson 2||Four weeks prior to start date||Second Tuesday of course|
|Lesson 3||Four weeks prior to start date||Third Tuesday of course|
|Lesson 4||Four weeks prior to start date||Fourth Tuesday of course|
The New England ATTC DLP is currently accepting proposals for online courses.
The goal of the DLP during the pilot year was to develop a WWW based distance learning initiative that would spark an interest within the addictions field to earn Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) over the internet. As our follow-up study at the end of the second year revealed, we have far exceeded our expectations. To date this program has had over 25,000 participants and awarded nearly 150,000 CEU’s with a completion rate of approximately 70%. The term distance learning implies educating people at a distance, and this program has done that also by reaching out to eager to learn addiction specialists from all 50 US states and territories, and 50 foreign countries on six continents. Current and former participants have come from places as far away as Finland, Singapore, Australia, and Argentina.
As part of the mission of theNew England ATTC DLP, we will continue to strive to be at the forefront in addiction education by aiding others to develop their own on-line education programs, and by disseminating the most current information available by the most efficient means possible.
Please feel free to contact the New England ATTC DLP if you have any questions or concerns.
New England ATTC Distance Learning Program
Providence, RI 02912