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Design to Dissemination: Development of Materials and Repository for Integrative Veterinary Food Safety Education

Investigators
McDonald, Jeannette
Institutions
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Start date
2006
End date
2009
Objective
  1. Provide institutions, faculty, and students with high quality, clinically relevant, interactive educational materials: We will work with experts to design 'learning objects' that integrate all aspects of food-borne diseases from the agent of disease and the animal, through food production, to epidemiology and public health.
  2. Provide easy access to the materials: We will create a Repository for Integrative Veterinary Food Safety Education where faculty can easily search, locate, and access the teaching materials.
  3. Help faculty effectively use learning objects to build or enhance a course: We will create a virtual guide for faculty about how to incorporate these creative new objects and examples of ways to effectively use them.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Food safety is a societal issue that needs a coalescence of specialties to address it. Veterinarians play an important role but there is a lack of faculty expertise in food safety as well as a shortage of veterinary microbiologists leading to courses that offer good basic training but lack clinical relevance for veterinary students. Our goal is to give students a better appreciation of the field of food safety and a broader perspective and understanding of its challenges and solutions by integrating animal health, food safety, and public health.

APPROACH: With the input and expertise of faculty collaborators from various fields and perspectives related to food safety, we will create learner-centered, interactive teaching materials that incorporate clinical images and cases. We propose to capitalize on an emerging electronic learning model based on a learning object architecture paradigm. There are many definitions of learning objects (LOs). The main idea is to break educational content down into small chunks that can be mixed, matched, or glued together to form a variety of instructional lessons or courses. Learning objects can be small or large resources, from tiny bits of information, like images, to even whole lessons. For our purposes we will adapt the schema used by one of our partners, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and group LOs into 4 categories: Level 1 includes images and illustrations, such as a picture of a Gram stain of a bacteria; Level 2 is video or animation, i.e., virtual field trip to poultry production farm; Level 3 includes interactive activities surrounding a single learning objective; and Level 4 would be a case-based problem-solving activity. We will work with experts to design LOs that integrate all aspects of foodborne diseases from the agent of disease and the animal, through food production, to epidemiology and public health. To develop these reusable, digital 'ingredients,' we will create new, and re-purpose existing, content. LOs can then be reused in a variety of settings minimizing development time and maximizing learning effectiveness. In order to provide easy access to the materials we will organize, catalogue and publish the learning objects in a digital library. The public access to the database will be the Repository for Integrative Veterinary Food Safety Education where faculty can search, locate, view and evaluate, and then use the learning objects for their teaching purposes. To encourage use of the repository and its materials, we will design, develop, and pilot a virtual guide for faculty about how to incorporate LOs into their own lesson format to support their individual instructional goals. We will include a 'Tips and Tricks' section that will highlight lessons learned from faculty who piloted the learning objects and provide examples of ways to effectively use LOs, such as incorporating them into lectures, provide them as resources to their students, or use them as the basis for an assignment or discussion.

PROGRESS: 2006/08 TO 2007/08
Objective 1. : Provide institutions, faculty, and students with high quality, clinically relevant, interactive educational materials. Towards this end, we conducted a needs assessment of food safety education materials via a survey to all the US and Canadian veterinary schools. The results showed the need for learning objects that cover the basics of the disease agents and pathophysiology of the diseases in animals, introduce and review HACCP (Health Analysis and Critical Control Point) concepts, virtual tours of relevant food production operations, and problem-based, epidemiological cases for students to work through. The project team, consisting of the project coordinators from each of the three partner institutions, identified the most important organisms for food-borne illnesses to cover. These include Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, E. Coli O157:H7, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum, Yersina enterocolitica, Baciluus cereus and anthracis, Clostridium botulinum and perfringens, Brucella, and Tuberculosis. We are collecting bacteriologic, histologic, and pathologic photographs for each of the organisms. To date we have over 275 photos or/and animations (Level 1 and 2 Learning Objects Objective 2: Provide easy access to the materials. We have created a digital library to disseminate the learning objects: the Food Safety Education Learning Object Repository (http://webcls.utmb.edu/d2d/). Here learning objects are catalogued, stored, and accessible, providing a site where faculty can search, evaluate, and download teaching materials to use in their courses. Every person who decides to download a LO will be asked to fill out a Users' Survey. Participants must first register on the website (an automated process), and fill out the survey before they can download any LO. The survey captures data on the user's profile (position, employer, computer skills, experience with Los) as well as the intended use and application of the LO in question. An automated follow up e-mail is generated by the database two weeks after the LO was to be used and the user is reminded to evaluate the LO on the manner in which the LO was used, the user's assessment of the LO's qualities and effect on any instructional time, and any student achievement resulting from the use of the LO, etc. We are currently adding a utility to the database for peer review of LOs as part of the development process. Reviewers will be given a URL for the learning object and another for the evaluation form to fill out. Reviewers will be automatically reminded to review the LO every two weeks until they have completed the review or a minimum of 3 peer reviewers have completed the evaluation. Objective 3: Help faculty effectively use learning objects to build or enhance a course. To encourage use of the repository and its materials, we are designing a virtual guide for faculty about how to incorporate LOs into their own lesson format to support their individual instructional goals. The virtual guide will be found at our project website that we will make public in the coming months (www.D2Dproject.org).
PRODUCTS: Over 275 Level One and Two learning objects have been generated. They populate the Food Safety Education Learning Objects Repository that we developed. The learning objects can be found on the repository site at http://webcls.utmb.edu/d2d/.
OUTCOMES: These products will result in veterinary and related institutions and faculty having access to high quality, broad-based, comprehensive materials with which to train current students, both veterinary and Master's level in food safety programs, as well as veterinarians in the field about food safety.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The project director presented a report on the project at a joint meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Veterinary Public Health Association. She has also submitted a paper the American Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: The design of this project helps to ensure adoption of the LOs and other learning tools by faculty in other institutions. Placing the LOs in a central repository will facilitate adoption by other faculty. But the most useful technique to enhance adoption of the products will be in demonstrating their high practical value and their ease of use as part of the dissemination efforts. The evaluation of use and value of the learning materials will provide data as to the usefulness and acceptance of the learning materials to address shortcomings in food safety education.

IMPACT: 2006/08 TO 2007/08
The overall impact anticipated is an increase in needed educational materials related to food safety readily available for use by faculty in schools of veterinary medicine. As a result of the availability of these instructional materials, the exposure of veterinary students to this critical content will be enhanced, increasing their understanding of food safety and their role in the food safety chain as well as possibly increasing students' interest in a career path that includes food safety.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
WIS01046
Accession number
207081
Categories
Education and Training