Today we continue the WCET Frontiers series on the 2017 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Awards. These awards honor member institutions and organizations that develop technology-based solutions to challenging educational needs. The 2017 award winners will be honored this week at the 29th WCET Annual Meeting.
Welcome to Megan Sellers, from Healthcare Innovations, a division of American Sentinel University, to discuss the 2017 WOW Award winning program Sentinel City. Thank you for your work to increase student success!
Enjoy the read and enjoy the day,
~Lindsey Downs, WCET
Motivated by Our Mission
The passion and creativity that runs deep within the Healthcare Learning Innovations team existed long before the organization was born. A subset of our current team started out as members of American Sentinel University (our parent organization) which is an online nursing school focused solely on healthcare education.
Dr. Richard Oliver, American Sentinel’s CEO, encourages adoption of new technologies. These technologies help to create 21st century digital educational tools and solutions that enable a superior experience, convenience, and engagement for nursing students and educators.
Inspired by this, Trevor Rasmusson, the Learning Innovation Manager at Healthcare Learning Innovations, worked with Dr. John Bourne, the University’s Chief Innovation Officer, to create a digital simulation for nursing students that would solve common issues surrounding the basic windshield survey assignment.
As a result, the idea of Sentinel City® was born, and development was soon underway.
What is a Windshield Survey and What are the Problems Facing Students?
What is a windshield survey, you ask? It’s an assignment within a community health or public health nursing course where a student explores the community to determine how social, environmental, and cultural aspects correlate with available data on the population’s health. For nursing students, it is a challenge to find time to complete the survey between work hours and the demands of life outside of work.
Another concern is safety, as students move about the community actively making observations and taking notes. We found that a simulated windshield survey provided convenience and a safer experience for students, while creating a consistent base evaluation for faculty. This saved time for both students and faculty – a win for everyone!
Full of excitement, American Sentinel faculty presented our findings and an early version of Sentinel City® at nurse educator conference. The response was remarkable! We received multiple requests for trials and implementation from educators, administrators, and institutions over the following year. However, Sentinel City® wasn’t fully built or ready to share with other schools.
At this point, we formed Healthcare Learning Innovations to further develop and distribute Sentinel City® and other novel immersive learning solutions that enhance the nursing education experience. This allowed American Sentinel University to maintain its focus on degrees and certificate programs, instead of dividing their resources to support, develop, and sell new simulations and other digital tools.
Ask and you Shall Receive
We’re an inquisitive bunch, to say the least. We followed a pattern that generated an increasingly well-received product:
- Ask educators, administrators and students questions.
- Listen carefully to their answers.
- Incorporate the feedback into product development.
- Rinse. Repeat.
We upgraded Sentinel City® four times in 15 months! Significant upgrades included:
- Building immersive assessments and activities,
- Increasing interactivity with chatbot community members, interactive citizens, and locations,
- Creating a catalogue of assignments with grading rubrics, mapped to AACN BSN Essentials,
- Adding emergency preparedness scenarios,
- Building digital user guides and faculty support materials.
Jeffrey Caplan, President of Healthcare Learning Innovations, describes our methodology:
“We listen. A lot. We engage the healthcare education community often for feedback; from administrators and educators to nursing students. Of course, we want to know what works well and how we can improve Sentinel City® population/community health simulation. But we also ask plenty of questions about additional challenges and education needs so we can create new digital solutions that address pressing education problems.”
The Road Ahead
We recently developed and launched Sentinel Town™, a rural community simulation inspired by Sentinel City®, which meets the expressed needs of the nursing education community.
We continue to advance our products, most recently with ADA accessible versions, additional functionality, and live 24/7/365 support for our client schools and students. We are also actively expanding our product offerings, currently developing new digital assignments and simulations that easily integrate into existing courses (e.g. leadership, management and communication), a virtual hospital, and increasing virtual intelligent agent (chatbot) functionality for school-wide student support.
Nursing education is evolving as digital media advances and new technologies emerge. We are on the front lines, learning and adapting, incorporating new techniques and products that continue serving the needs of the nursing community.
The future is bright, the community is talking, and we are listening.
A Word of Appreciation
We are filled with gratitude to WCET for presenting us with this WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award. We are thrilled to receive such a unique award and are honored to contribute to the advancement of technology-based learning solutions. We will continue developing new innovative products for our industry and community.
Digital Marketing Manager
Healthcare Learning Innovations – A division of American Sentinel University