Technology considerations in a rural and remote setting

In outer regional or remote areas, technological resources can be an effective tool to support student placements.  This can occur directly, by supporting students to deliver virtual healthcare to clients or to meet with key stakeholders.  It can occur indirectly through the delivery of virtual supervision, attendance at university tutorials or professional development sessions.   

When planning and implementing student placements, supervisors should review the following technological resources to determine the role they will play during the placement.

Tele and/or video conferencing platforms

Tele or videoconferencing allows people located in different geographical areas to link, , and can  support students undertaking a rural or remote placement by enhancing communication between students, supervisors, clinical educators and University staff members.

Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health (Charles Sturt University) have an open access student professional development learning module that supervisors may find useful when planning placements and/or preparing students for their placement:  Telehealth - embracing technology in healthcare


Supervisors may need to consider the availability of internet access for students during the placement.  This may be required to support student learning for both traditional placement models and placements that are project based.

Email and social media

If it is likely that the student will need to send correspondence relating to client care and/or liaise with key stakeholders as part of their placement program, then supervisors should consider how email might be used to support these activities and whether a organisation-specific student email will be required.

Social media platforms, groups, chat rooms, may also need to be considered if they can:


  • Bowen, C. Webwords 44: Life Online. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology,14(3), 149-152.
  • Bowen, C. Webwords 46: Social Media in Clinical Education and Continuing Professional Development, Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology,15(2), 104-106.
  • Jones, L., McKenzie, M. & Wong, M. (2010). The Use of Videoconference Technology . Creating Innovative and Interactive Fieldwork Education Experiences. In L. McAllister et al., (eds.). Innovations in Allied Health Fieldwork Education: A Critical Appraisal, 167-175.
  • Mather, C & Marlow, A (2012). Audio teleconferencing: Creative use of a forgotten innovation. Contemporary Nurse,  41(2): 177-183
  • McLeod, S & Barbara, A. (2005). Online technology in rural health: Supporting students to overcome the tyranny of distance. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 13, 276-281.


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