Education posters at AVA 2012

The last event on Education Day at AVA 2012 was a poster session. Ten posters were presented and wherever possible an author or someone associated with the project gave a short talk about the work.

Permission was sought from authors before their work was included in this post. Images have been included where available. If you would like further information about any of the posters discussed please leave a comment and I will follow up with you.

The posters are presented in no particular order.

 1.Title: Sustainable outcomes assessment for veterinary education.

Authors: Susan Matthew, John Baguley, Tony Mogg and Rosanne Taylor (University of Sydney)

Outcomes assessment is vital for veterinary faculties to evaluate the quality of education that they offer. It can be made sustainable by using existing systems to gather essential data wherever possible, and supplementing these if required with additional brief surveys. Careful analysis and use of the resulting data can inform ongoing curriculum improvement.

2. Title: VOCE – Veterinary Oral Communication Exercises. Creating a collection of scholarly information that can be shared by a community of learners

Authors: Elizabeth Tudor, Sam Chen, W Lee, Simon Bailey and John Inns (University of Melbourne)

As an exercise to develop communication skills required for the workplace, students prepared, recorded and uploaded a short video in which they explained the clinical context of an anatomical or physiological concept  in language and style appropriate for an intelligent lay person. Students could view and rate each other’s work, which was later assessed by staff. Students were surveyed on their experience of creating the video and on whether they found the uploaded projects useful as a community learning resource.

Survey findings

Students’ ease with use of technology required to the complete the VOCE task varied markedly.

Students are engaging in some, but not a wide range, of web 2.0 technologies:

  • Fifty per cent of student used Youtube ‘often’ or ‘very frequently’ for recreation
  • Seventy nine percent of students used Facebook daily or several times a day.

Fifty four percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that their colleagues’ explanations on VOCE had enhanced their understanding of concepts.


3. Title: Sustainable student-led tutorials in Veterinary Physiology

Authors: Peter White, Roslyn Bathgate and Simon de Graaf (University of Sydney)

A series of student-led group tutorials were designed to promote the benefits of group work to students, improve student learning and provide a more manageable environment for the tutor.

Students were surveyed on their perceptions and past experiences of group work and given a lecture on the benefits of group work as well as the expectations of the student-led tutorials. Students selected their own groups of 4-6 and were assigned a key veterinary physiology concept for their tutorial session. After completion of the tutorial sessions student opinions of group work were reassessed.


Students found the tutorials beneficial in developing understanding and requested further tutorials in this style.

4. Title: Sustainability, diversity and innovation in assessment of final year veterinary students – what is effective?

Authors: Martin Combs, Emma Scholtz and Sharanne Raidal (Charles Sturt University)

Final year students at Charles Sturt University complete a clinical sciences handbook in which they document acquisition of clinical skills in a portfolio which identifies core and advanced clinical skills. Results from a variety of assessments such as oral case presentations, Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS), case logs and objective structured clinical exams (OSCE) are recorded. These records form an assessment ‘triple bottom line’:

–          Assessment of learning,

–          Assessment for learning (supporting personal and professional development) and

–          Assessment for future learning (self-assessment skills, self-reflection and identification of personal learning needs).

CSU poster

5. Title: Using a blended learning platform to support sustainability and student engagement in veterinary anatomy teaching.

Authors: Corinna Klupiec, Gavan Burland, Susan Matthew and Kathy Hughes (University of Sydney)

We set out to create a blended learning environment to facilitate learning in an area of anatomy that is traditionally challenging and clinically relevant: the canine stifle joint. In designing our approach, we wanted to capitalise on our in-house access to CT, MRI and plastination to employ sectional anatomy as a tool for understanding three-dimensional anatomical relationships.  It was envisaged that this would also support vertical integration with clinical subjects such as diagnostic imaging and surgery. Additional motivators were the desire to increase opportunities for tutorial-style interaction in anatomy (to enhance the quality of our available face to face teaching time), and to enhance student access to asynchronous learning opportunities. The resulting learning platform consists of a combination of conceptually integrated laboratory-based, self-directed learning exercises and a tutorial session based on a custom-made interactive online module. The online module incorporates matched sagittal plastinated and MR sections, 3D CT reconstructions and links to related video clips (the plastinated sheets used in the online module also formed one component of the lab-based self-directed exercises). The module is supported by feedback-informed formative assessment. In order to support student learning outside of class time, and throughout the degree program, students are given ongoing access to the online module via the Learning Management System and are provided with a stifle dissection demonstration on DVD.

6. Title: Linking Education and Professional Sustainability
Author: Tim White

The Council of Veterinary Deans raised concerns that decreasing wages are resulting in reduced quality applicants for veterinary science courses. Several options exist which may improve chances of attracting high quality applicants.

Tracking: Students would select an area of interest in the latter years of the course such as mixed animal practice, companion animal practice or research/government. Amalgamation of university faculties could allow students to move to campuses which provide education in their specific career focus.

University incentives: Rank universities by their success in finding jobs for graduates in areas of societal need, as is done for Master of Business Administration courses.

Improve degree efficiency:  decrease the length of the degree and implement a paid internship year. A shorter degree may reduce profession entrapment by student debt and allow them to retrain in other areas of benefit to society

7. Title: A sustainable, vertically integrated and blended model of small animal surgical skills teaching

Authors: Deepa Gopinath, Paul McGreevy, Max Zuber, Corinna Klupiec, John Baguley and Vanessa Barrs (University of Sydney)

Ovariohysterectomy (OHE) is a day 1 competency and is used for teaching basic surgical skills.

Years 1 and 2 – Anatomy practical classes reinforce surgical handling skills. The female reproduction class is taught as a mock OHE.

Year 3 – Students prepare for live animal surgery through lectures, DVDs and practical classes using an OHE simulation model, Dog Abdominal Surrogate for Instructional Exercises (DASIE) and abdominal wall simulation sheets.

Year 4 – Extramural spay clinics in partnership with the RSPCA provide weekly opportunities to develop surgical skills through desexing procedures. Performance in spay clinics is tracked through an ePortfolio tool.

Year 5 – Intramural spay clinics and extramural placements provide opportunities for practical experience. Performance is tracked through Virtual Veterinary Campus and Veterinary Student Asset Database.

This work has been published recently:

Gopinath D, McGreevy P et al (2012). Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, Vol 39, No 1, pp.21-29

8. Title: An online database for sustainable tracking of clinical skill development

Authors: John Baguley, Vanessa Barrs, Julia Beatty, Christina Dart, Allison Gunn, Damien McMonigal and Susan Matthew (University of Sydney)

The database, built in 2011 using mySQL, enables the tracking of development of clinical skills. Clinical skills are subdivided to ensure that all component skills are assessed and recorded eg clinical skills for different species are broken down into physical examination, diagnostic, anaesthesia, surgery and therapeutic and student’s level of involvement, ranging from ‘observed’ to ‘undertook procedure with minimal assistance’. The number of cases managed is also recorded, as are the supervisor assessments. The database tracks not only individual students but also allows analysis of a cohort of students, particularly valuable when examining supervisor feedback to assess whether the group’s skills are up to expectation.

9. Title: The 4D virtual farm– applications and implications

Authors: Stuart Barber, Jo Dalvean, David Shallcross (University of Melbourne)

Teaching production animal systems, medicine and surgery to veterinary students is becoming more challenging at most Australasian universities. The four dimensional (4D) virtual farm model is being developed as a teaching, learning and assessment tool to facilitate this process.

To produce a 4D farm model, a detailed farm map is drawn in consultation with the farm manager and reviewed to choose where 3D photos should be taken, including areas of particular importance such as water points and high traffic animal handling areas. 3D images are obtained and added to the farm map so a user can locate where on the farm they are viewing the image. At each future visit another 3D image is added and a timeline on the image lets the viewer skip forward or backward, as well as around the farm.

At this early stage a single property visit to a dairy farm (Caldermeade Farm in Victoria, Australia) has been converted to a 3D farm overview. The property visit and 3D photo collection points were achieved in a single day with prior planning using a high quality farm plan. A Camtasia preview of the 3D overview from the first visit is available from Stuart Barber. This 3D view will be added to with future farm visits to achieve a 4D overview.

This program will allow students to visualize what happens on farms at different times of the year and, with collaboration across Australasian schools, will demonstrate differences in geographic regions. Videos, self-paced tutorials and other teaching methods can also be added to the program to enhance student engagement, learning and assessment.

4D farm project poster

10. Title: ‘Towards sustainability in veterinary education – a phenomenographic investigation.’

Authors: Ingrid van Gelderen, Rosanne Taylor, Graham Hendry and Susan Matthew (University of Sydney)

The poster presented a snapshot of a research project investigating the experiences of veterinary intern placement supervisors. Work based placements are an essential component of professional education curricula and the delivery of high quality veterinary internship programmes requires the involvement of a diverse group of educational partners. It would be expected that the experiences of these partners will vary. Phenomenographic studies have been widely used to identify variation in student learning and teaching, and this approach has now been used to explore the variation in the experience of the veterinary placement supervisor.

Sustainable veterinary education is a dynamic process which realises graduates with the capacity to successfully transition to the workplace and thrive. To make the most of placement supervisors’ valuable contributions to veterinary education, it is vital to identify this variation and use it to inform more sustainable ways of teaching in work based placements.


About rebekahmcbrown

I am a veterinarian with a special interest in instructional design and developing eLearning in the veterinary and medical areas. I write teaching materials for both face-to-face and online learning as well as writing and editing articles.
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