New Service Offerings for Stepfamilies


We are now offering  the following courses and services using videoconferencing technology:

Are videoconference services right for me?

In most respects, services provided by videoconference are very similar to those provided in a face-to-face setting. The major similarities and differences regarding our new offerings are illustrated below.

When HE Has Kids...and You Don't (WHHK)

At a prearranged time, you would "log into" the password protected meeting where you would be able to see, hear, and talk to all of the women in the class (and your instructor) -- just as if you were in the same room together. The major differences, of course, are that you would see and hear them on your computer -- and that you won't have to commute to attend.

The sessions would follow an agenda, as they normally do; and each class would run the prearranged length of time.

You would download any materials you need for the course, and submit any assignments, or other work you complete for your instructor, by email.

When "break out", small group, or one-on-one sessions were required, you would simply log into a private "meeting room" reserved for this purpose, and return to the main classroom once the task/discussion has been completed.

Women taking WHHK typically linger after each class just to talk, and they also like to do their homework assignments together. Generally, meetings of this nature are held in the main classroom.

Building Stepfamilies That Work

The major difference for Building Stepfamilies That Work (BSTW), is that both members of a couple need to be in front of the same  computer. A web camera that is able to provide a wide angle image is ideal for this situation. Most current computers work very well in this regard.

If you decide to use headsets (instead of a microphone and open speakers), you may need to plug them into "Y" adapters so you'll both be able to speak and hear. (These adapters are very cheap and are available at most electronic supply stores.)

Outside of these differences, the remaining technical aspects are the same as for WHHK.

Individual counselling sessions

Individual counselling sessions are the least complex of the current videoconferencing options. Essentially, you would log into your session at the prearranged time, and have a one-on-one meeting with your counsellor--very much as you would if you were able to meet in his/her office.

Required equipment:

At a minimum, to participate in a videoconference you will need a computer equipped with:

  • a high-speed internet connection,
  • a computer with a web cam, microphone and speakers (or a headset), and
  • videoconference software (e.g., Skype) installed.

(If your computer did not come with this equipment, web cameras can be purchased for as little as $20 but the more expensive models do produce much clearer pictures. Headsets, that combine speakers and a microphone, and tend to perform better in videoconferencing than open speakers, can also be purchased for about $20. Skype videoconferencing software can be downloaded for free here.

All of the computers used in our pilot study employed an Windows XP operating system, had 512 MB of RAM or more, at least a 2.2 GHz processor, and an 80 GB hard drive or better. [For those unfamiliar with these terms, this represents a very basic computer system according to current standards.] However, most of the computers used in the pilot were equipped with higher-end web cams.

What are the advantages of video conferencing?

  • Available no matter where you live

  • No travel required

  • No long distance telephone charges

  • Small class sizes

  • Classmates typically remain connected as a support group.


If you feel that one of our videoconferencing options will meet your needs, contact us

Professional Consultation

Please click here for additional information concerning this offering.


The information contained on this page is for the personal use of stepfamily members visiting this web site. All other use, reproduction, distribution or storage of this work, in whole or in part, by any and all means, without the express written permission of the author, is strictly prohibited.


Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta