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How to Transition to EMS Distance Learning, According to This Education Coordinator

Posted by Public Safety Group on 5/5/21 4:28 PM

Montgomery Spotlight 2 (1)

What happens when a global pandemic forces your EMS classes online?

That's exactly what happened to Lee Gillum, Education Coordinator at Montgomery County Hospital District in Texas. For years, Gillum used EMS textbooks from the Public Safety Group in his courses and never found a need to explore the EMS online training resources available on the Navigate platform. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and Gillum was forced to find a way to run his courses remotely to ensure his students were safe and staying on track with their training.

Montgomery County Hospital District (MCHD) is one of the fastest growing counties in Texas and offers emergency medicine and healthcare system services to the nearby population. Lee Gillum is the Education Coordinator at MCHD, overseeing all initial and continuing education, as well as acting as the liaison for external education programs that send students to Montgomery County. He has over 34 years of experience in EMS and over 27 years teaching and coordinating EMS courses. Under Lee, the district hosts a variety of EMS training classes for both internal and external students, with around 10-20 students per class for their EMT courses.

Lee spoke with the Jones & Bartlett Learning Public Safety Group (PSG) about his experience with PSG products and why he chose to start using Navigate in his program:

What led you to choosing Public Safety Group as a provider?

Years ago, we decided to “resurrect” our EMT Basic program. I’m a fan of the Nancy Caroline series and AAOS in general, so I decided to adopt the EMT book from PSG. I felt the textbook was easy to read and filled with useful information rather than bogging you down with too much “filler” terminology like some of the other options in the market.

What sets Public Safety Group books apart from the competition?

The material is very practice-over-theory oriented; as others might say, the book is focused on “evidence-based medicine.” We started with the Eighth Edition of the book and have never looked back.

Also, the additional resources and customer support that come with the book are great. It’s easy to reach one of your reps, and they always call me back promptly. One of your tech support guys, Ramon, has been great at getting back to me quickly, often in the same day, when I reach out with an issue.

What do you like about the Navigate platform?

The way the book ties in with the Navigate platform and Fisdap is excellent. We didn’t use Navigate at all when we started using your books. However, with COVID forcing our classes online, we started using Navigate for assignments, quizzes, and exams, and we’ve been very pleased. I decided to have instructors let the students take the quizzes open book and online. Some of my instructional staff had concerns with quizzes being done online. I explained that we should rethink the idea of quizzes as a learning tool, allow students to use their text and notes, and give them a specific time limit. We observed the process and we discovered that pre-COVID and during COVID, those students who did well on quizzes continued to do well; those that did not do well on the quizzes, continued not to do well. As a result, we set parameters on our quizzes, including time limits, passwords, and open/close time frames, and this has been very successful. Additionally, for major exams, we require that students be on camera. Shifting the quizzes out of the classroom has saved about 45 minutes to 1 hour of actual instruction time. We continue to monitor this process.

As a Program Director, the platform also makes it easy for me to look into an instructor’s class, see how their students are doing, and ask about why certain students are struggling. Based on our experience with Navigate in the spring, we created a template course that we use for every EMT class. All the handouts, quizzes, exams, and additional material are in the same place, and it’s very easy to copy over from course to course. Like any online tool, there’s a slight learning curve, but once you take the time to learn the various functions within Navigate, you realize how robust the platform is for both instructors and students alike.

What do your students like about Navigate?

TestPrep is a popular study tool for the students. We encourage students to use the questions in TestPrep to help them prepare for their quizzes and exams. I feel like TestPrep’s test bank is one of the only test banks that I’ve been involved with that is designed to help reinforce students’ thought processes if they know the answer and change them if they don’t know the answer. The feedback we’ve received from students on it has been very positive.

Additionally, the students like being able to see their grade reports instead of having to ask their instructor for their grade reports; it’s easy for the students to log in and view it whenever they’d like. Students can also review previous quizzes or exams based upon the settings we select.

Also, while the PowerPoints in Navigate are useful for student studying, the instructor lecture notes are a big asset to students that I feel might get overlooked by others. The instructor lecture notes tell instructors what to focus on when delivering a lesson, so by looking at these, students can ensure they’re focusing on the right topics while studying.

Are there any closing comments you’d like to share with people considering using Public Safety Group products?

From a Program Director standpoint, it’s become clear to me that not taking advantage of Navigate until just this year was a mistake. The Navigate platform is very robust and its usability in building quizzes and exams is something all instructors should utilize. If you haven’t explored Navigate and seen how it works, I encourage you to talk with a rep to get a course code and start tinkering with it. You can really make the platform into your own.

As mentioned earlier, the customer service, from the sales reps to the technical support team, is excellent. They’re very receptive to questions and do a great job responding as soon as possible. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll help you find the answer.

Over the years, I’ve used EMT books from Brady, Mosby, and Jones & Bartlett Learning. Bar none, Jones & Bartlett Learning is above the rest of the competition.

For more information about the products highlighted in this Customer Spotlight or to learn more about how the Public Safety Group can help you reach your unique training goals, please contact your dedicated representative today.

Topics: EMS

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