An E-Supervision Model: Videoconferencing as a Clinical Training Tool

By Dudding, Carol C.; Justice, Laura M. | Communication Disorders Quarterly, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

An E-Supervision Model: Videoconferencing as a Clinical Training Tool


Dudding, Carol C., Justice, Laura M., Communication Disorders Quarterly


In this article, the authors describe the implementation and use of two-way interactive videoconferencing for supervising student clinicians. They provide a rationale for and describe the e-supervision model as it has been implemented within a public school setting. A description of the technical and equipment needs is included for individuals interested in implementing a similar program. The authors also discuss the identified strengths and weakness of the model and implications for clinical training. This information may be of interest to professionals engaged in supervision and members of graduate training programs, especially persons who are developing a distance learning component.

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The field of speech-language pathology has been critically influenced by the advent of communication technologies. Professionals are using pagers, cellular phones, and e-mail to communicate with colleagues and are turning to technologies such as the Internet and videoconferencing for clinical information and service delivery. Technological innovations will continue to affect clinical practices (Hallett, 2001). In this article, we describe a unique application of telecommunications technology in the area of graduate training and supervision, namely, the use of two-way videoconferencing for clinical supervision.

The Communication Disorders Program at the University of Virginia, which is using two-way interactive videoconferencing to supervise graduate students in a public school setting, offers an example of how graduate training programs can employ technology to enhance training opportunities. We refer to this application as e-supervision. Although videoconferencing is gaining popularity as a delivery method for courses and services, few programs have reported using interactive two-way videoconferencing as a method of supervision within graduate training programs (Gammon, Sorlie, Bervik, & Sorensen, 1998; Merkel, 2001).

E-supervision offers a way clinical instructors on a college campus to supervise students at geographically distant sites. It has been our experience that videoconferencing for supervision offers many benefits, including cost-effectiveness and productivity in clinical instruction. In addition, integrating technology into clinical training programs has a significant potential for increasing students' knowledge of and appreciation for technology. As recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), graduate training programs "need to improve their use of Web-based and advanced technology to enhance the provision of personnel preparation, provision of clinical services including telepractices ... and advanced electronic communication capability'(2000, p. 11). Indeed, a major challenge facing all of our graduate programs is ensuring that speech-language pathology graduates are effectively prepared to enter work settings that are infused with technology.

In this article, we give an overview of key issues surrounding the use of e-supervision for speech-language pathology students in a public school setting. We provide a rationale for and description of the model, and we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. Included are an overview of the technological components and a description of a current application of this model. The information contained within this article may be of interest to both professionals engaged in supervision and members of graduate training programs.

BUILDING A CASE FOR E-SUPERVISION

Clinical experiences, both on- and off-campus, represent a critical component of the graduate training experience. ASHA has reported that "many graduate programs are concerned about students meeting the practicum requirements for ASHA certification" (ASHA, 2001, p. 3). One of the challenges facing graduate programs is ensuring adequate supervision in offsite settings, which may be especially problematic in rural areas.

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