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Solving Problems in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Safety: Helping Future Agricultural Professionals Learn to Solve Complicated Multi-disciplinary Problems

Investigators
Danielson, Jared A; Bender, Holly S; VanDerZanden, Ann Marie; Young, Karen; DiTerlizzi, Roberta; Shoemaker, Candice A; Dewell, Grant A; Ogilvie, Craig A; Ostojic, Jelena; Boysen, Pete; Schmidt, Allen; Dewell, Renee D
Institutions
University of Iowa
Start date
2010
End date
2014
Objective

The target objectives of the project are the following:

1. Improve agriculture students' ability to solve complex, multi-disciplinary problems by having students work on cases that integrate ideas and information from multiple areas.

2. Implement a proven computer based approach to teaching students how to solve multi-disciplinary problems using Iowa State University's open-source ThinkSpace tool at three veterinary programs and two horticulture programs at four U.S. universities.

3. Build and support a community of educators at the five target academic programs. Provide effective technical support, learning cases and/or case development support, and faculty development.

4. Produce at least 20 multi-disciplinary cases that will work using the open-source, online delivery tool ThinkSpace, and that will be freely available to all who wish to use them.

The direct impact of this project will be to increase the ability of graduates of veterinary and horticulture programs at Iowa State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and Kansas State University to solve multidisciplinary challenges that threaten the safety of America's food supply (priority area e), and/or undermine the country's ability to develop and maintain sustainable crop and animal production (priority area c). The developed cases can be used by any program anywhere, hence the overall impact is likely to extend beyond the participating universities. The first year activities will include the open-source release of ThinkSpace, case authoring, building collaborative relationships, planning for implementation in individual programs, and establishing the on-line support framework. We will also collect baseline data regarding student readiness to solve complex interdisciplinary agricultural problems. The second year will be the pilot implementation of the project. All identified programs will incorporate cases into one or more courses in the program. We will also collect data on student performance. The third year will mark the second full year of implementation of the project in multiple programs, with data again collected during that period. During the third year, we will analyze the student performance and prepare the project for broader dissemination.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
Very frequently, problems involving food safety and sustainable agriculture require the perspectives of multiple disciplines to be solved effectively. Currently, however, graduates of programs in agriculture-related disciplines struggle to integrate information when attempting to address problems that cut across relevant disciplines or sub-areas of one discipline. Thus far, educational programs have not successfully addressed this problem. It is not enough simply to expose students to a variety of disciplines; the National Research Council recommends that students must work on complex, multidisciplinary tasks that give them a chance to develop these skills (2009). This project will provide faculty members with a case delivery tool and relevant multidisciplinary cases to use for addressing this problem in their courses. Experts from a variety of fields related to food safety and sustainable agriculture will come together to create a number of multi-disciplinary cases that will be freely available to anyone, and usable through Iowa State University's free open source "ThinkSpace" software tool. During this project, the participating experts will author cases, make them available, and implement them in three veterinary programs and two horticulture programs at four universities (Iowa State, the University of Pennsylvania, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Kansas State University.) As a result of this project, high quality course materials will become widely available, more faculty will be prepared to use those materials, and more agriculture and veterinary students will graduate who are equipped to effectively handle complex multidisciplinary problems related to food safety and sustainable agriculture.

APPROACH:
For each participating program,both in horticulture and in veterinary medicine, cases incorporating concepts drawn mainly from the primary discipline, but incorporating relevant concepts from other disciplines, will be included in the instruction in each participating course. The following illustrative example provides detail from the proposed method at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Authentic clinical cases integrating information from all relevant disciplines will be covered in the final clinical rotation (VDPAM 477). In some instances, the same cases used in a prior course will be extended for use in other disciplines. For example, students in their second year Clinical Pathology course will learn complex diagnostic reasoning skills using clinical laboratory data in over 100 cases. In the Fall semester of their third year, these same students will again encounter these cases, sometimes with additional data and historical information in their Pharmacology class to learn how to choose appropriate pharmacological interventions. Cases in which poisoning was the central issue will be extended in the Spring semester of the third year to the Toxicology course where they will apply diagnostic rationale and treatment from the perspective of an expert toxicologist. Outcomes will be evaluated as follows: Outcome 1: A minimum 5% increase in ability for students in targeted programs.Success at this outcome will be assessed by first determining the baseline competency of students in target courses in the 5 participating programs. Scores will be compared between the initial (baseline) year and subsequent years to determine if the anticipated changes (5% or 1/2 grade level improvement) have occurred. Outcome 2: Number of U.S. graduates with a measurably improved ability to solve multi-disciplinary problems increased by 4% in horticulture and 14% in veterinary medicine. This will be determined by first determining how many targeted students, on average, in a given academic class (freshman, sophomore, etc.) achieved the results targeted in outcome 1 (for both all horticulture students and all veterinary students participating in target programs). We will then calculate the percentage of all graduates of horticulture and veterinary programs, in a given year, whose abilities to solve these inter-disciplinary problems improved as a result of this program. We will also evaluate learner use of and satisfaction with the learning materials to be developed.

PROGRESS: 2012/09 TO 2013/08
Target Audience: During this reporting period, our efforts reached a total of 360 students, including 324 veterinary students, 32 undergraduate students, and 4 graduate students. Those students were enrolled in the following courses/locations: University of Pennsylvania, College of Veterinary Medicine (Parasitology) : 117; Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine (Parasitology): 123; Iowa State University (Horticulture): 36; University of Wisconsin, Madison (Regulatory Veterinary Medicine): 84. (Please note that in estimating FTE, in the prior window, we estimated the total FTE for those receivign salary on this project at one of the participating institutions. We did not include FTE of those working on matching funds, or of those external to the Universities hired on contract.) Changes/Problems: We did not make major changes in the overall approach. We shifted resources somewhat in two categories to help ensure the successful completion of the project, however. 1. At ISU, the budget contained funds for a local individual to provided technical support to the project through CELT. CELT provided much of this support without charging the project, and the individual who was providing support subsequently left the University. Given the stability challenges with ThinkSpace, we elected to use the remaining funds in this category to continue to provide technical and programming support. Because there was no longer a well-trained individual at ISU, we obtained the services of a company that has developed and supported ThinkSpace in the past. 2. At the University of Pennsylvania, we shifted some travel funds to salary for students in order to have an additional summer of case design/development by veterinary students. This made it possible to complete a number of the cases that were in various stages of completion. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? We have provided numerous small-group and on-on-one consults with faculty who were developing cases. We have found this to be more effective than large-group training. We have also developed and made available 6 instructional videos regarding the use of ThinkSpace. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? We plan an additional year of implementation in each of the participating programs, with additional data collection. We are also close to releasing a new version of ThinkSpace which will provide greater stability, and which we hope to have in place by the coming fall semester.

PROGRESS: 2011/09/01 TO 2012/08/31
OUTPUTS: I. A considerable amount of additional effort has been expended in case design and development during Year 2. The following cases have either been implemented with students, or are scheduled for implementation in Fall Semester of 2012: 1. Spinach Case Study (horticulture), 2. Calves with Scours (Introductory level Cryptosporidium Case), and 3. Hog Roast (Introductory Level Trichinosis case). The following additional cases are either developed or have been largely developed: 4. Salmonella infection in calves, 5. Aflotoxin in dog food, 6. Monensin Toxicosis in Horses, 7. Cryptosporidium Case (Intermediate), 8. Trichinosis Case (Intermediate), 9. Lead Toxicosis in beef cattle, 10. Listeriosis in sheep, 11. Histomonas in turkeys, 12. Tuberculosis in elk and cattle, 13. An 8-part case (5 ThinkSpace cases) regarding a Salmonella Newport outbreak from consumption of strawberries. These additional cases are being designed: 14. Community Garden on a Brownfield, 15. Dioxin in chickens in Europe, 16. Raw milk from a small farm, 17. Salmonella in ice cream, and 18. Anthrax toxicosis after ingestion of beef. II. The following describe assessment activities at each institution. 1. At the University of Pennsylvania, baseline data have been collected in Spring 2011 and 2012 from the 3rd year students in the large animal block rotation. A series of questions with 5 case scenarios have been selected and given to the students at the end of their rotation. 2. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine in the spring semester of 2012, students in the Regulatory Veterinary Medicine course completed the 8-part case using paper handouts, group work, and class discussions. A midterm examination included 4 questions based on the case, and scores were collected. This will serve as a benchmark for implementation in 2013. 3. In the two participating Horticulture programs, a Spinach Case Study was tested in a Sustainable Horticulture course at Iowa State University and an Organic Farming Systems course at Kansas State University, fall semester 2011 with an enrollment of approximately 40 students. Student responses to the case study questions were evaluated using a rubric designed for that purpose. 4. At Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, baseline data regarding students' understanding of Trichinella and Cryptosporidium were collected during Fall of 2011, though cases were not able to be implemented via ThinkSpace due to Software bugs. Cases were implemented in Fall of 2012, and comparison data will be collected (5 items on the final exam.) III. Software Development/Improvement has been ongoing during year two. Numerous minor but important bugs have been addressed. Additionally, two very important accomplishments include 1. Completion of the differential diagnosis functionality , and 2. Completion of drag-and-drop functionality. IV. Large scale training events were not held in year 2. However, numerous small-scale training sessions were held at a distance with case authors at U of Penn (numerous sessions) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1 session). PARTICIPANTS: Jared Danielson - Project Director, oversaw all project activities, and directed case design/development activities at Iowa State University. He also continued in his role of grant oversight with partnering institutions including IRB, training, approving expenditures, and so forth. Holly Bender assisted in oversight of the veterinary related activities at ISU, and helped coordinate with Pennsylvania partners. Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Candice Shoemaker oversaw all activities related to the horticulture programs at ISU and Kansas State. Craig Ogilvie assisted in leading the planning for faculty development and support, and coordinated this project with related projects involving other partners. Karen Young directed all activities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Charles Czuprynski participated in the design of cases and course direction for the course implementing the food safety cases. Roberta Di Terlizzi oversaw all activities at the University of Pennsylvania. Grant Dewell, Renee Dewell, Jelena Ostojic and Julie Ann Jarvinen oversaw case design for several cases in the veterinary program at Iowa State University. Melissa Sanchez and David Galligan oversaw case design for several cases in the veterinary program at the University of Pennsylvania. Pete Boysen oversaw all ThinkSpace software development activities. Steve Giles assisted in case design and conducted case development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Emma Gorenberg, Phil Litwack, Laura O'Sullivan, Allison Newth, Nikki Wright, Melissa Ogg, William Kay, Chris Lapsley, Art Obenrader, and Cathy Dejesus were hired at the University of Pennsylvania to assist with bug identification, case design, and instructional materials creation. James Fiderlick was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to assist Boysen with programming. Eva Tao continued to assist Jared Danielson with overall project management. Allan Schmidt, Tigon Woline, Rex Heer and Lesya Hassall provided support to faculty using ThinkSpace, assisted with training development, and assisted with the ThinkSpace Wiki. Woline also provided assistance with case design in horticulture. Partner Organizations: The partner organizations are the University of Wisconsin - Madison, The University of Pennsylvania, and Kansas State University. Collaborators and contacts: Since the project began, Julie Ann Jarvinen, Paul Plummer, Cheryl Eia, and Steven Ensley continued to assist with case authoring in their areas of expertise. Drs. Doug Jones and Matthew Brewer also contributed to the design of several Parasitology-related cases. Training or professional development: All student employees listed on the project (Emma Gorenberg, Phil Litwack, Laura O'Sullivan, Allison Newth, Nikki Wright, Melissa Ogg, William Kay, Chris Lapsley, Art Obenrader, Cathy Dejesus and Eva Tao) have received training opportunities through their participation in the project. We have provided individual and small group training to case authors as needed. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

PROGRESS: 2010/09/01 TO 2011/08/31
OUTPUTS: I. Year one was primarily intended to be dedicated to case design and development. Fifteen food safety related cases have been developed and/or are under development, including 2 horticulture cases and 13 veterinary cases. Those cases include: 1. Spinach Case Study, 2. Community Garden on a Brownfield, 3. Dioxin in chickens in Europe, 4. Raw milk from a small farm, 5. Aflatoxin in dog food, 6. Salmonella in ice cream, 7. Anthrax toxicosis after ingestion of beef, 8. Outbreak of Crytosporidium, 9. Lead Toxicosis in beef cattle, 10. Outbreak of Trichinella, 11. Salmonella Infection in a dairy cow/herd, and four additional cases with some duplication of prior topics, but different scenarios/contexts. II. The project plan called for collection of baseline data in Year 1. Baseline data has been collected at all but one participating institution, with more baseline data collection scheduled for Fall of 2011. The following describe assessment activities at each institution. 1. At the University of Pennsylvania, baseline data have been collected in the Spring 2011 from the 3rd year students in the large animal block rotation. A series of questions with 5 cases scenario have been selected and given to the students at the end of their rotation. 2. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison's College of Veterinary Medicine in the spring semester of 2011, several food-safety presentations were delivered to year 3 veterinary medical students in the Regulatory Veterinary Medicine course. The topics included use of antibiotics in food animals and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) guidelines. Assessment items (5 items) designed to address these topics and collect baseline data were administered to the students. 3. In the two participating Horticulture programs, the following assessment activities have occurred. A Spinach Case Study is being tested in a Sustainable Horticulture course at Iowa State University and an Organic Farming Systems course at Kansas State University, fall semester 2011. Data from ISU show that students who completed the spinach case via ThinkSpace scored an average of 20 out of 25 (n=15). Student responses to the case study questions were evaluated using the rubric designed for that purpose. 4. At Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, 10 items related to the Cryptosporidium and Trichinella Cases have been designed and scheduled for implementation in the Parasitology course in Fall of 2011 III. Software Development/Improvement has been ongoing during year one of the project including 1. On-going identification/fixes of ThinkSpace bugs, and 2. Drag-and-drop functionality (required for some veterinary cases) with bugs addressed scheduled for Dec 2011. IV. Training materials and activities are underway, including 1. four short introductory training videos that show how to use ThinkSpace, and 2. two multidisciplinary training conferences held at ISU to show prospective faculty how to use ThinkSpace. -- These are being used to plan for additional future training to a broader audience. PARTICIPANTS: Jared Danielson - Project Director, oversaw all project activities, and directed case design/development activities at Iowa State University. He also coordinated grant oversight with partnering institutions including IRB, funding, and so forth. Holly Bender assisted in oversight of the veterinary related activities at ISU, and helped coordinate with Pennsylvania partners. Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Candice Shoemaker oversaw all activities related to the horticulture programs at ISU and Kansas State. Craig Ogilvie assisted in leading the planning for faculty development and support. Karen Young directed all activities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Charles Czuprynski participated in the design of cases and course direction for the course implementing the food safety cases. Roberta Di Terlizzi oversaw all activities at the University of Pennsylvania. Grant Dewell, Renee Dewell, Jelena Ostojic and Julie Ann Jarvinen oversaw case design for several cases in the veterinary program at Iowa State University. Melissa Sanchez and David Galligan oversaw case design for several cases in the veterinary program at the University of Pennsylvania. Pete Boysen oversaw all ThinkSpace software development activities. Steve Giles was hired as an associate research assistant at The University of Wisconsin/Madison to assist in case design and development. Candice Lorandeau, Jamie Skebeck, Samantha Kuhles, and Karen Antczak were hired at the University of Pennsylvania to assist with bug identification, case design, and instructional video development. Jonathan Lustgarten at the University of Pennsylvania, and Poorvi Joebert at ISU were hired to assist Boysen with programming. Eva Tao was hired at ISU to assist Jared Danielson with overall project management. Allan Schmidt, Tigon Woline, Rex Heer and Lesya Hassall provided support to faculty using ThinkSpace, assisted with training development, and assisted with the ThinkSpace Wiki. Woline also provided assistance with case design in horticulture. Partner Organizations: The partner organizations are the University of Wisconsin - Madison, The University of Pennsylvania, and Kansas State University. Collaborators and contacts: Since the project began, Julie Ann Jarvinen, Paul Plummer, Cheryl Eia, and Steven Ensley have all become involved in assisting with case authoring in their areas of expertise. Training or professional development: All student employees listed on the project (Joebert, Tao, Lustgarten, Lorandeau, Skebeck, Kuhles and Antczack) have received training opportunities through their participation in the project. We have not provided formal training other than the faculty workshops listed in the first section. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: We have been somewhat delayed, and will need to continue case development into year two. However, in the end I do not believe this will require any major changes. Also note, in the first section I wrote that we had hosted two conferences at ISU. That should have read "workshops."

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
IOWE-2010-01846
Accession number
222787
Categories
Food Safety Modernization Act
Commodities
Dairy
Produce
Meat, Poultry, Game