8 Ways CourseKey Creates A Modern Externship Experience

Externships are the critical capstone in healthcare programs, during which students practice and develop the skills they learned in theory in a real-world setting, without an instructor over their shoulder.


While externship hours are extremely important, they’re often difficult to manage due to a lack of oversight and inefficiencies stemming from paper-based processes.


As part of our mission to support trade schools in a world-class way and facilitate high-quality education, CourseKey’s externship management software creates a modern externship experience that benefits both staff and students. Read on to learn eight ways CourseKey modernizes the externship experience.

1. Students check in and out of sites instantly

CourseKey’s patented GPS attendance technology allows students to check in and out of an externship site instantly using their mobile device. This creates a more efficient system compared to signing in on a paper sheet or waiting for a site supervisor to mark a student as present. At the end of the day, students can check out and leave the site without having to wait for supervisors to document their departure.

2. Externship coordinators are spared manual data entry

When students complete externship hours offsite, they can sign off on their hours through CourseKey, which automatically sends a record of hours completed to the externship coordinator and site supervisor for review. Once approved, hours are automatically uploaded to students’ profiles in CourseKey and the institution’s SIS, saving externship coordinators hours of manual data entry per week.

3. No back and forth communication with site supervisors

Having access to externship attendance data in real-time enables schools to minimize the tedious, time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating process of communicating back and forth with site staff. This allows both parties to focus on their other responsibilities while knowing that students’ time is being recorded accurately.

4. Instant oversight of where students are

Through real-time attendance dashboards, externship coordinators can confirm if a student has shown up to their site. If a coordinator notices that a student isn’t at their externship site, they can call the student to get them to go to their shift so they don’t fall behind on their hours.

5. Improved data accuracy

CourseKey removes the headache of misplaced time sheets, illegible markings, and academic dishonesty by digitally collecting attendance data and having records stored immediately in the cloud. Human intervention with the data is largely bypassed, which eliminates the chance of data manipulation (on purpose or by mistake) and improves data accuracy.

6. Provide admins and students with real-time visibility into progress

Paper-based processes result in delayed data visibility, keeping admins and students in the dark when it comes to student progression. By automating externship attendance, CourseKey lets school staff see in real-time which students are on track to meet their hours requirements and which students are potentially going to miss them. This timely knowledge of student progression gives schools a clearer picture when calculating financial aid and can help schools intervene with students who are falling behind on their hours. Since the externship is the final step for healthcare students, finding out at the end of the module that you missed too many hours to earn your certificate is devastating and real-time progress data can prevent that from happening.

7. Easily manage multiple sites

For schools with students completing hours at multiple locations, school staff can access an overview of all partner sites and see where students are working and how long they’ve been there. In addition, CourseKey makes it easy for administrators to add a site and corresponding attendance geofence to their programs. 

8. Ensuring safety for staff and students

Externship sites need to be sure students arriving to complete hours are not potentially carrying COVID-19. Through CourseKey’s mobile attendance solution, students can complete a daily health check survey where they report their symptoms each time they go to an externship site.


Students who trigger a red flag as a potential risk for carrying COVID-19 are not allowed on site. Students who aren’t at risk can show the front desk receptionist and supervisors that they’re safe to come on site. Additionally, institutions collect reports that document students’ reported symptoms, which they can easily export and share as appropriate.


CourseKey also limits the spread of germs by having students check in on their device rather than a communal sign in sheet or biometric scanner. Methods that use shared surfaces put staff and students at greater risk.

Taking advantage of technology

By leveraging students’ mobile devices to digitize externship attendance collection and provide administrators with real-time data, CourseKey creates a seamless, modern externship experience. Students can focus on their skill development while trusting that their time is being accurately recorded and administrators can know exactly where students are located and monitor their progress to make sure they stay on track to graduate. 


CourseKey’s externship management software is built specifically for trade schools and is part of CourseKey’s mission to bring innovative technology to career education. Want to learn more about how CourseKey’s externship software could benefit your institution? Request a demo below!

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