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Development and Evaluation of an Online Computer-Aided Learning (CAL) Package to Promote Small-Animal Welfare

Denwood, Matthew, Dale, Vicki H.M., Yam, Philippa
Journal of veterinary medical education 2008 v.35 no.2 pp. 318-324
Internet, education, ethics, guidelines, laws and regulations, learning, questionnaires, students
– The aims of the study, conducted as a student research project in the 2004–5 session, were to develop an interactive, online computer-aided learning (CAL) package on the topic of small-animal husbandry; to validate the resource as a suitable lecture replacement for first-year veterinary students; and to raise awareness of current guidelines and legislation relating to small-animal housing among local catteries and kennels and in the wider community. – Quantitative feedback was collected from student and teaching staff using paper-based questionnaires. Qualitative feedback was gathered from open questionnaire responses and through focus-group discussions with students. Student examination marks were compared for 2004 and 2005, allowing a comparison of student performance before and after the replacement of the traditional lecture with the CAL package. Ethical approval for the study was granted by the faculty's Ethics Committee. – The CAL package on small-animal housing was well received by teaching staff and students; student performance in examinations improved after the introduction of the CAL program, suggesting that it provides a suitable alternative to didactic teaching. The creation and distribution of the CAL package on CD-ROM and its availability via the Internet are intended to contribute to small-animal welfare education in local catteries and kennels and further afield. The package sets a precedent for the development of more Internet-based, student-authored CAL packages in the future, providing additional resources for independent learning.