Virtual international experiences in veterinary medicine: an evaluation of students' attitudes toward computer-based learning
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
US Air Force; Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, United States; Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of General Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California-Davis Medical Center, PSSB 2400, 4150 V Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, United States; Computer Assisted Learning Facility, Office of the Dean, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, United States; Department of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, NL 3508 Utrecht, Netherlands; Department of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University; Department of Tropical Veterinary Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa; Institute of Comparative Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, 464 Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, United Kingdom; Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, 1971 Commonwealth Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, United States; Population Medicine Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314, United States; Field Disease Investigation Unit, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, P.O. Box 647010, Pullman, WA 99164-7010, United States; Center for Food Security and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50013, United States; Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, United States
While many studies have evaluated whether or not factual information can be effectively communicated using computer-aided tools, none has focused on establishing and changing students' attitudes toward international animal-health issues. The study reported here was designed to assess whether educational modules on an interactive computer CD elicited a change in veterinary students' interest in and attitudes toward international animal-health issues. Volunteer veterinary students at seven universities (first-year students at three universities, second-year at one, third-year at one, and fourth-year at two) were given by random assignment either an International Animal Health (IAH) CD or a control CD, ParasitoLog (PL). Participants completed a pre-CD survey to establish baseline information on interest and attitudes toward both computers and international animal-health issues. Four weeks later, a post-CD questionnaire was distributed. On the initial survey, most students expressed an interest in working in the field of veterinary medicine in another country. Responses to the three pre-CD questions relating to attitudes toward the globalization of veterinary medicine, interest in foreign animal disease, and inclusion of a core course on international health issues in the veterinary curriculum were all positive, with average values above 3 (on a five-point scale where 5 represented strong agreement or interest). Almost all students considered it beneficial to learn about animal-health issues in other countries. After students reviewed the IAH CD, we found a decrease at four universities, an increase at one university, and no change at the remaining two universities in students' interest in working in some area of international veterinary medicine. However, none of the differences was statistically significant. © 2007 AAVMC.
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