Drexel University College of Nursing

& Health Professions

Case Study: Healthcare

Practice is not only my favorite evaluation tool in my courses, but also the easiest, and most enlightening assignment to grade. Practice is a window into the student’s authentic self. It gives me, the instructor, insight into student learning. I have changed my approach to the students based on their feedback about the Practice assignment, and have improved as an educator.

Carol Okupniak

Professor, Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions

Drexel Nursing scales simulation and increases engagement

The Challenge

Drexel’s simulation lab accommodates 6-7 students at a time. With over 5,000 students, instructors struggled to give each student adequate time in the lab and found student work in the simulation lab challenging to assess. While one of the benefits of the simulation lab is the opportunity for a student nurse team to quickly triage a situation and respond to different needs and events, each student had been engaged in a different activity. Instructors found that it was difficult to adequately compare student responses, which in turn, made simulations hard to grade. Debriefs with multiple small groups of students often took days to complete. Drexel needed a solution to this challenge and found one in Practice.


Duration: 7:01

Play video

The Need

Drexel’s nurse educators wanted to reach more students with simulation, but scale alone wasn’t enough. They wanted a solution that would engage students, particularly those in Drexel’s nationally recognized online and blended programs. Like many online programs, Drexel was limited by the tools available to its instructional designers: text, video, and drag and drop or multiple choice-style activities. “Most online programs are read, quiz, read, quiz. It gets repetitive,” noted Daine DePew, PhD, RN-BC, a professor in Drexel’s online RN to BSN and Master’s Degree programs. Communication and teamwork are essential to success in nursing. Perhaps the biggest criticism of the existing instructional tools was that none facilitated the level of interactivity with classmates and future colleagues that would strengthen these skills.

The Solution

In 2012, Fran Cornelius, Chair of Drexel’s MSN Advanced Practice Role Department and Complementary and Integrative Health Programs, learned about Practice through her Dean, Gloria Donnelly, and through a faculty presentation on the platform given by Practice's co-founder, Drexel Law Professor Karl Okamoto. With Practice’s lightweight, highly scalable platform for video simulation, Drexel could include multiple simulations in a course and put all of its students through the exercises. Over 1,500 students completed 4,014 simulation exercises in 2014.


Drexel quickly discovered other benefits to Practice’s approach. The platform’s core pedagogy of response to a standardized video prompt, peer review and viewing of expert video accomplished several goals that Drexel had for their program.

  • Peer review raised the quality of student responses.

    Motivated by the fact that their peers would review their work, students put a lot of effort into their practice videos. Further, by thinking critically about what made their peers’ responses to the prompt good or bad, students reflected on their own performance.