Patti Rudick, M.Ed, BSRT, RT(R), RDMS, is director of State Fair Community College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) program. She describes her experience as an instructor who has been using SIMTICS for more than a year.
State Fair Community College (SFCC) is located in Sedalia, Missouri, in the United States heartland and adjacent to the Missouri State Fairgrounds. It is a public, nonprofit college serving the educational needs of nearly 5,000 students within a 14-county service region.
Because of SFCC’s “Doing Quality Right” culture, the college is always adding new programs, degrees and services to meet student, industry and community needs. In 2012-2013, SFCC used funds received through a grant from the Missouri state government called MoHealthWINs to develop or enhance healthcare education programs. One of these was our innovative DMS program.
Why SFCC chose SIMTICS
“In the early stages of development of the DMS program, it was decided that in order to make sonography education accessible to more students, an online program would be the best option,” said Rudick. “The staff evaluated several simulation programs and e-learning options, but they were either lacking in one area or another or were prohibitively expensive.
“Two of the main challenges in any sonography program are scan time and engaging students in the material. These challenges are compounded in the online education environment due to remote student location(s) and the inherent limitations of physical distance between instructor and student.
“Although no online program can ever replace scan time, SFCC chose SIMTICS because it went above and beyond what typical programs offered. We don’t have the luxury of having our students on campus as frequently as some other Sonography programs. SIMTICS provides effective e-learning opportunities at a reasonable cost.
“Instructors can monitor the students’ learning activity and performance, and can even view errors in the simulations in order to determine what extra support or remedial work might be required for individual students.
“Module packages can be customized to include only the content applicable to your program. We were able to give our entire class access to SIMTICS for less than what most programs charge.”
SIMTICS in Practice
“Students are required to complete SIMTICS modules as part of their weekly coursework, reading assignments and module assessments. Students also can choose to use their SIMTICS modules as study guides and reference resources and for individual review.
“SIMTICS also offers flexibility, in that the instructor can view the material being presented and see how students do on the coursework. Students do not need to be on campus to access the program, and can access their SIMTICS training modules from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection.
“They can also review any module in their program package anytime during the DMS program. This allows students to go back and work on any weak areas they may have. It also allows students to access information about an exam or a pathology that we may not have covered in class yet, but that presents itself in the clinical setting.”
The Benefits of Virtual Simulations
“Simulation time is a productive way to help us to meet the participation/workload requirements for credit hours, especially in our online courses. SIMTICS is a good reference tool, so students can answer many of their own questions by clicking on a link for additional information or 3D diagrams. This frees up crucial time for faculty, which can be spent addressing more complex concepts and subject material.
“Simulation time also helps students become accustomed to looking at sonography images. The more time students spend interacting in the SIMTICS modules, the more comfortable they are with recognizing and identifying anatomy and pathology in the sonograms.
“Nothing can replace scan time, but SIMTICS helps bridge the gap between what students read in the book and how we expect them to apply that information in the clinical setting. Once that connection has been made, students maximize their learning potential for the time they spend in clinicals.
“As an instructor, I would continue to use the SIMTICS program. I think the written material is extremely beneficial and provides great information for students who put in the time and read it thoroughly. I also think the photos, videos and animations are helpful, particularly with anatomy and pathology. The quizzes also provide an added resource. Through using SIMTICS we have identified some improvements we would like to see in a future update and will be providing this information to SIMTICS. They are always open to customer suggestions.
“Overall, I think SIMTICS provides students with a solid overview and a sense of hands-on learning. It is a good fit for an online DMS program.”
Submitted by State Fair Community College
Executive Director of Marketing and Communications