Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Online Learning Environments: Gaps, Inequities, and Future Opportunities in Online Student Services for Optimal Participation

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

In this session, we review two case studies of student veterans with PTSD, neither of whom received counseling or support services, and their course outcomes.  With the number of veterans returning to school increasing, faculty need to be aware of signs of distress. Attendees will share online supports for veterans.


Jennifer R. Curry, Ph. D., Professor, has taught for 10 years in the counselor education program at Louisiana State University, She has published over 40 peer reviewed articles and four books, 'P-12 Career Counseling' published by Springer, 'African Americans Career and College Readiness: the Journey Unraveled', co-edited with M. Ann Shillingford-Butler, and 'Integrating Play Therapy in Comprehensive School Counseling Programs' co-edited with Laura Fazio-Griffith. Her fourth book was published in spring 2017, 'Career and College Readiness Counseling in P-12 Schools' (2nd ed.). She has presented her work nationally and internationally at over 50 professional conferences. She recently worked with the Colorado Department of Education to develop Mindsets and Behaviors for Career and College Readiness and career conversation starters for school counselors to use with parents, students, and community partners. She is the recipient of the Roger Aubrey Northstar award, the Louisiana Counseling Association’s Advocacy Award, and ASERVIC’s Judith Miranti Lifetime Service Award.

Extended Abstract

Abstract: In this discovery session, we review two case studies involving online student veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their course participation outcomes. In both instances, the instructors reached out to administration for support; however, neither of these students received counseling or student support services through the university as none was available for online students. With online programs growing, and the number of veterans returning to school also increasing (Blumenstyk, 2015), ensuring that the appropriate support is available to retain these students is imperative. Moreover, faculty need to be aware of the signs of acute distress. Attendees at this session will be asked to share how veteran students are supported at their online institutions, and will be invited to participate in a follow up study of best practices for online support for veterans.  All attendees will be given a case study to take back to their institutions and discuss in order to determine how they might solve a similar case.

Session Outcomes: Attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe trends in numbers of veterans entering online learning programs.

  2. Identify what PTSD is.

  3. Accurately identify the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (5th edition) criteria for PTSD.

  4. Describe trends in numbers of veterans with PTSD symptoms.

  5. Explain how PTSD symptoms manifest differently in the classroom.

  6. Articulate the need for gathering information on issues displayed by students and reporting these cases to administration.

  7. Develop a list of online resources for veterans.

This is meant to be a highly interactive session. The criteria for PTSD will be shared along with current statistics about the number of veterans enrolled in college/university programs, particularly online programs and why online programs are ideal for veterans.  We will share our student case studies, frustrations in finding adequate resources to support student veterans and a list of resources we found helpful. We will also ask attendees for any resources they have found. Finally, attendees will be invited to participate in a data gathering session online over the next 6 months to develop a Best Practice model for universities to align veteran face to face and online services.