This innovative system tracks student interactivity and therefore monitors attendance
Online education in EMS is not a new thing. What makes the Distance CME online program stand out is that you can take your National 48-Hour Refresher using it.
This has never been done before and there are some good reasons why. The system would have to track attendance and interactivity of the students. There was a concern voiced by the various certifying bodies that a student could just log onto the system and then walk away.
Evan Feuer, Founder and CEO of Distance CME, and his team spent two years working with software and web developers to put together a system that tracks student interactivity and therefore monitors attendance.
Feuer’s team then incorporated a testing system that would be acceptable. They took the entire National 48 Hour Paramedic Refresher Standard Curriculum and broke it down into 24 two-hour modules.
Adults can’t sit in a class for 8 hours straight and be expected to learn anything — their minds start to power down after about 50 minutes. So Distance CME runs two-hour sessions that have a ten minute break built into the middle of the session.
The modules are labeled L-1 thru L-24 (L stands for lecture), and the students have to successfully complete each of the modules. There is a 10-question quiz after each module and students need to get 80 percent correct to pass. Students can take the quiz over and over until you get to 80 percent.
In order to accommodate varying schedules, the modules are offered continually on a rotating schedule. Classes are given early morning through late evening, seven days a week.
Distance CME is priced at less than $8 per credit hour and, since the classes can be taken from home or the office, they no travel expenses. During the year, Distance CME offers about 40 plus hours a week of modules. During July and August they slow down a bit to 30 plus hours a week, but in the months leading up to the National Registry deadline on March 31st they run 60-plus hours a week of modules.
At Distance CME, there is no need to reserve a seat in each module. Students simply log in and take the course. They offer an a la carte course menu.
Once you sign up, you have up to two years to complete the course. You can do a module here and there without the need to rush. For those who need to get the course done quickly, Distance CME offers enough modules for motivated students to complete the course in a week.
Another piece of the puzzle Distance CME needed to address is the lecturers.
In my years as a paramedic, I have suffered through countless boring lectures by marginally qualified educators. Distance CME has been very successful at keeping students involved and interested in the courses by offering dynamic teachers. This is reflected in some outstanding evaluations, many of which are posted on the company website as video testimonials.
Distance CME went live on January 10th, 2011. Their program has CECBEMS certification to offer Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT). The Distance CME refresher course is now accepted by National Registry, not only as a refresher class for recertification of paramedics, but also as a live class for remediation for prospective paramedics who require a refresher class in order to retest for the Registry exam.
In addition to US accreditation, Distance CME recently became accredited in Australia through the Australasian Registry of EMTs. Through that credential, their courses are currently accepted in Thailand, the Philippines, the UK, Argentina, Denmark, and other countries.
By putting together a program that was designed to provide a quality product in the most convenient way possible, Distance CME had some interesting trends develop. As it turns out, there are a large number of paramedics who are members of the US military and are deployed overseas.
One of the first students was a female US Army medic that started the course while she was in Iraq. She logged in from Kuwait while in transit home for vacation. After she made it back to Iraq, she was injured and flown to Germany where she did some more modules. She finally finished the course from Kentucky when she arrived home.
Where else can someone do a paramedic refresher course over time from multiple continents?