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Social media aids in veterinary medicine teaching

Social media aids in veterinary medicine teaching


Professors at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine have built a link between themselves and their students using social media, and they expect to use it as a powerful teaching tool.
In the college’s online course for veterinary technicians, professors have posted instructional videos on YouTube that show the right ways and the wrong ways to handle animals. Using social media gives students a convenient way to study outside of the classroom.
“YouTube provides access to videos that have significant teaching value,” said professor C. Chastain. “They are short, to the point, and they are well done.”
Chastain said he initially wanted to bring a guest lecturer to his class instead of using a video, but he decided that videos were more reliable. He added that using YouTube to present the videos has other advantages as well. “Online presentations are more flexible to fit students’ schedules, and the material can be easily previewed by the instructor,” he said. “Also, the videos show people actively engage in the profession, which is more engaging than having someone come into class and give a PowerPoint presentation.”
Some professors use social media to interact with their students. Charles Wiedmeyer, a professor of veterinary physiology, keeps a Facebook page on which his students can send questions to him about coursework. And students taking an online equine nursing course post videos that demonstrate to the instructor and other members of their class the skills they learn throughout the semester.
In the college’s clinical pathology department, a Facebook page was created to post trivia questions about what’s happening in the classroom, and students and faculty can post photographs of cell cultures to share with one another.
Although social media is becoming a more popular way for students and professors to interact, the College of Veterinary Medicine doesn’t yet recognize it as educational tools for its curricula. “Social media is new and used on a limited basis,” said Tracy Berry of the college’s public relations department. “It’s not used formally for instruction but more to enhance communication outside of the classroom.”

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