The Viki (Veterinary Information and Knowledge Interface) Wiki Project

N.B. The information below is authored by the mini-project applicants, not by staff of MEDEV. This text represents the views and opinions of the mini-project team only, not those of MEDEV or its affiliates.

Principal investigator

Susan Rhind,

Full list of project partners

Susan Rhind, the University of Edinburgh
Rachel Ellaway, the University of Edinburgh
Tim Scase, the University of Cambridge
Nick Short, Royal Veterinary College, London
Ken Smith, Royal Veterinary College, London
Kim Whittlestone, Royal Veterinary College, London
David Sugden, Association of Veterinary Students

Background

There are currently 7 veterinary schools in the UK with a combined community (of both staff and students) of around 5,000 people. There are clear benefits of collaborative and communal approaches to teaching between these institutions. However, demands on time due to clinical commitments, research imperatives and teaching have meant that these opportunities have often not been fully realised.
The veterinary education community has a strong history in terms of collaborative developments in e-learning exemplified by the success of the CLIVE consortium (www.clive.ed.ac.uk). The plan is to build on the good will of this earlier project to re-energise the inter-institutional collaboration (which was a particular strength of CLIVE) to support an overarching community of practice to coordinate and explore the potential of these powerful technologies in the veterinary education context.
The project group has already initiated the development of project 'Wikivet' which will initially focus on development of a national pathology Wiki building on previous work carried out by TS at Cambridge. It is envisaged that Wikivet will function as a repository for learning materials in a similar way to 'Wikiversity' [http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page].
In parallel with the development of this resource, we wish to support it's development and continuing evolution by establishing a core community of practice (CoP) with broader remit to further develop and discuss the issues surrounding the implementation of this and other web 2.0 technologies in veterinary education. It is anticipated that this CoP will be both a catalyst for and provide impetus for further developments in this area. To ensure sustainability of the project, ultimately it will involve a small financial commitment by each partner institution.

Proposed activities

Develop the CoP using the WikiVet environment with subject specialists, initially the lead 'pathology champions' from each UK veterinary school. These individuals will meet face to face twice yearly in person; one such meeting will be associated with a workshop broadened to the wider community with the remit of sharing good practice and raising awareness both of advances in technologies but more specifically developing models for implementation.
The first phase of the wiki project will enable the CoP to begin to gauge how such technologies might benefit veterinary education. In particular the education and pedagogical experts will be responsible for evaluating the resources from the student's perspective working with the Association of Veterinary Students. The outcomes of this phase will provide the basis on which to champion these innovative approaches with other institutions and academics from different disciplines.

Proposed outcomes

* The establishment of a community of practice linking the UK vetschools with active and committed partners and full institutional support;
* Inter-institutional collaborative education and research projects based on the use of web 2.0 tools in veterinary education;
* Sharing expertise and best pedagogical practice between partner vetschools on the development and use of new e-learning technologies;
* Regular synchronous electronic discussions between project group members as well as email lists and occasional face to face meetings;
* Building of cross institutional discipline specific expertise in the application of web 2.0 technologies in veterinary education;
* Enrichment of existing teaching resources and improved learning opportunities for students through the use of novel and contemporary web technologies.

Proposed expertise

Susan Rhind: Director of Veterinary Teaching and Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the R(D)SVS. Responsible for the BVM&S curriculum and established the Veterinary Teaching Organisation at Edinburgh as a focus for veterinary medical education research. Involved in a number of e-learning projects.
Rachel Ellaway: e-Learning Manager for the Learning Technology Section in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and is a MEDEV e-Learning Subject Specialist Advisor. She currently runs the Computer Learning In Veterinary Education (CLIVE) project and she is a member of the MedBiquitous Executive and is the MedBiquitous representative in Europe.
Tim Scase: Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Has developed a pilot wiki-based tool to collate and organise information related to veterinary pathology. This tool aims to integrate undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of veterinary pathology from the underlying principles of molecular pathogenesis through to the basis of clinical signs and therapy. Attempts are being made to integrate electronic concept maps and mind maps with the wiki to achieve a synthesis of pathological concepts with the factual content.
Nick Short: Head of the Electronic Media Unit at the Royal Veterinary College. Responsible for the development and implementation of e-learning resources for teaching and learning at the College. Also an academic and coordinator of a module on Professional Studies for final year veterinary students.
Ken Smith: Professor of Companion Animal Pathology at the Royal Veterinary College. Involved in pathology education at the undergraduate and postgraduate (intercalated BSc and residency) levels.
Kim Whittlestone : Senior Lecturer in Independent Learning at the LIVE Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education). 17 years experience in the effective use of e-learning for veterinary and medical education. Now, as part of the CETL, involved in researching independent learning in veterinary education with a particular interest in the role of e-Learning.

Expertise of grant holder and project team

Susan Rhind: Director of Veterinary Teaching and Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the R(D)SVS. Responsible for the BVM&S curriculum and established the Veterinary Teaching Organisation at Edinburgh as a focus for veterinary medical education research. Involved in a number of e-learning projects.
Rachel Ellaway: e-Learning Manager for the Learning Technology Section in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and is a MEDEV e-Learning Subject Specialist Advisor. She currently runs the Computer Learning In Veterinary Education (CLIVE) project and she is a member of the MedBiquitous Executive and is the MedBiquitous representative in Europe.
Tim Scase: Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Has developed a pilot wiki-based tool to collate and organise information related to veterinary pathology. This tool aims to integrate undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of veterinary pathology from the underlying principles of molecular pathogenesis through to the basis of clinical signs and therapy. Attempts are being made to integrate electronic concept maps and mind maps with the wiki to achieve a synthesis of pathological concepts with the factual content.
Nick Short: Head of the Electronic Media Unit at the Royal Veterinary College. Responsible for the development and implementation of e-learning resources for teaching and learning at the College. Also an academic and coordinator of a module on Professional Studies for final year veterinary students.
Ken Smith: Professor of Companion Animal Pathology at the Royal Veterinary College. Involved in pathology education at the undergraduate and postgraduate (intercalated BSc and residency) levels.
Kim Whittlestone : Senior Lecturer in Independent Learning at the LIVE Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education). 17 years experience in the effective use of e-learning for veterinary and medical education. Now, as part of the CETL, involved in researching independent learning in veterinary education with a particular interest in the role of e-Learning.

Similar work

The Computer Learning In Veterinary Education (CLIVE) consortium was originally created as part of a TLTP programme in the 1990s and was based around the creation of multimedia teaching materials. Although CLIVE still provides a service to share existing learning resources (largely centred in Edinburgh) it has been a number of years since the consortium has been active in developing new materials.
More recently, the HEFCE funded Veterinary Business Liaison Unit established the vetschools.ac.uk shared web site. This was developed to bring veterinary schools around a joint web environment. Whilst the site had at one time over 4,000 registered users, it has been largely dormant since 2005 when the project finished.
The Association of Veterinary Teaching and Research Workers (AVTRW) is a UK organisation for academics engaged in veterinary teaching and research. The association runs an annual meeting and divisional meetings but does not currently extend its remit in terms of educational development beyond these activities.
The project team is also aware of a proposal to the HEA for the 'Development of a framework for the teaching of Veterinary Public Health in UK Universities' involving all UK veterinary schools and a separate subject community. Should both projects go ahead, we are committed to working very closely with this project to share experiences, findings and also technologies were possible.

Contact details

Amount awarded: £1,260

MEDEV project contact: Gillian Brown

Reports and resources

  • 514_WIKIVET_Community_of_Practice_Final_Report_April_2008.doc
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    MEDEV, School of Medical Sciences Education Development,
    Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, NE2 4HH

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