Leveraging expertise in animal welfare to create educational equity
Globally, veterinarians and professionals in animal-related industries are faced with growing public concern for the welfare of animals, particularly those in production. To prepare professionals, courses in animal welfare should be created to provide consistent education on a global scale in an efficient and cost-effective manner. However, a creative approach to welfare education is needed to reduce the disparity between supply and demand for instruction in animal welfare. Michigan State University (MSU) is piloting a graduate-level, online interactive course in animal welfare assessment to provide students with high-quality science-based education from renowned international animal welfare experts at numerous institutions. Innovative use of technology enables students to interact with material, each other and instructors. Students actively apply their accumulated skills to hypothetical scenarios, enhancing learning effectiveness. Student performance and opinion were examined to determine whether the course meets the stated objectives. Twenty-three students from four institutions enrolled in the pilot course. In the first month, the majority of students found the online course easy to use and material appropriate for a graduate-level course. The students agreed that scenarios helped them integrate lecture material. The MSU course will serve as a model for collaboration in content assembly and course delivery, using technology to leverage global expertise to create educational equity.
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