With the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), students, faculty, and staff at Illinois State University were forced to transition their work and learning to online platforms. One platform, Simucase, allowed graduate students in Communication Sciences and Disorders to continue earning clinical clock hours even though the university clinic and some off-campus sites have closed their doors.

Simucase is an online learning platform that “allows users to observe, assess, diagnose, and provide intervention for virtual patients.” After completing a Simucase simulation, students debrief with their assigned clinical educator, reflecting on the case, what was learned, and what they might have done differently.

“While it’s not ideal to use Simucase the rest of this semester, it is great technology graduate clinicians can use to continue earning hours,” said Gianna Delia, a first-year graduate student in speech-language pathology.

Students can earn up to 75 clock hours through Simucase. “I have received over 12 hours in just the first two weeks of online courses,” Delia said.

Anna Yates, a second-year graduate student in speech-language pathology, was in the process of completing an internship at a dual-language school in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Since she can no longer attend her internship, Simucase has allowed her to finish the required clock hours for graduation this spring.

“Luckily, I only needed 20 minutes of additional clinical experience,” said Yates. “It would have been incredibly frustrating and disheartening to come within 20 minutes of my clinical clock hour requirement without any alternatives for supplementation.”

With the increase in students’ Simucase use due to COVID-19, Illinois State University recently received the top score for the variety of Simucase simulations completed in a week. “I am thankful we already had Simucase in place prior to the move to online learning. This put us at a huge advantage as the students were already familiar with how to navigate the platform,” Director of Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology Cara Boester said. “Our team of clinical educators provided a great framework for this situation. I’m very happy with the transition and response to the increased use of Simucase during this unprecedented time.”