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Community of Practice: Paul Cusick

Director of Technology in the School of Allied Health and Nursing & School of Education, at Minnesota State University, Mankato

Paul Cusick Acadicus Community of Practice

Paul Cusick is the Director of Technology in the School of Allied Health and Nursing, as well as the School of Education, at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Event Summary

The meeting discussed the benefits of using VR simulations in education, particularly in fields like social work and nursing. Realism, safety, and learner-centered approaches were emphasized, as well as the importance of debriefing and incorporating feedback. The meeting also touched on new wearable options and a hub for different programs called Acadicus campus.


Key Points
• Bill and Jon discuss the Grain AI and its features (3:49)


• Jeffrey discusses different wearable options for their SPs, including a new one called Ivy Trainer (8:31)


• Jon praises Paul’s big vision for using Akaticus and mentions they will be touring different content and experiences within the platform (17:53)


• Paul Cusick discusses how VR allows for multiple representations of environments and simultaneous simulations, improving performance in simulation (24:49)


• Simulation allows for low occurring events to be presented in a safe environment, and VR can broaden this to different fields beyond nursing (27:32)


• Paul discusses the importance of realism and safety in the VR experience they created for social work students (33:58)


• The VR experience helps social work students think about how they would react in different situations and prepares them for real-life scenarios (36:32)


• Rick emphasizes the power of using VR to tell stories and problem-solve in various scenarios, and notes that it is not just a checkbox exercise but an interactive experience guided by content experts. (39:49)


• Graphics and assets in VR simulations allow for more robust asynchronous learning, and AI feedback may be possible in the future (48:34)


• William and Paul discuss the importance of explaining life-saving intervention ideas and understanding different perspectives in emergency situations (49:21)


• The use of real-time audio in VR simulations adds to the immersion, but overlapping audio can be an issue that needs to be addressed in debriefs. Debriefs with people from different backgrounds can lead to valuable insights. (50:44)


• Paul explains how VR allows for different perspectives and evaluation on the fly, and shares his enthusiasm for its potential in education (54:30)


• Paul Cusick discusses the benefits of a learner-centered approach and letting students dictate the learning (1:01:16)


• William Ballo shares a story about building a simulation scenario with nursing input and the importance of debriefing and making adjustments based on feedback. (1:04:56)


• William shares an example of how they questioned assumptions and expanded possibilities in their simulations (1:09:39)


• Jon Brouchoud mentions a new product called Acadicus campus, which is a hub for different programs to gather before teleporting to their respective locations (1:14:54)


Next Steps
• Rick Casteel to start recording the Zoom meeting. (5:03)


Presenter Bio

Paul CusickMy name is Paul Cusick and I am the Director of Technology for the College of Allied Health and Nursing and the College of Education here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I have been working here for 15 years, where I started as a Tier 1 analyst, troubleshooting the needs of our campus. Eventually I was tasked with helping our School of Nursing troubleshoot, implement, and innovate our simulators and eventually our Simulation Center. I have degrees in Mathematics and Education, and I am currently getting my master’s degree in Education Technology. My goals have always been to help and improve the education of those around me, whether that is students or instructors, and I can say that teaching teachers has become something that I never knew could be so rewarding. Technology has always been educations best tool in the tool box, but it needs to be used as such. Whether it is the phone in our pocket or a VR simulation, the user has to be in control of the experience, and to actually get something educational out of the experience, it must align with the goals (learning objectives) of that instructor. I am a lifelong learner and believe that mastery is just a snapshot in time rather than an end goal.


Here at MSU my main partners in crime (faculty collaborations) are:

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