Study Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
In February 2006 a new, primarily Web-based, part-time MSc degree programme (Veterinary Tropical Diseases) was introduced by the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD), Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa. The programme comprises various modules that can also be taken for non-degree purposes in support of the Continuing Professional Development of a candidate. The programme is presented by the DVTD in collaboration with the Department of Animal Health of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, and with the support of the Department of Production Animal Studies (UP) and the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
The degree programme and the certificated modules are aimed at providing candidates with an awareness of the continuous threat many infectious and parasitic diseases pose to the developed countries, because of increased international travel by humans and trade in animals and animal products. It will also provide a foundation for further study, thus increasing a candidate's marketability and employability particularly in those sectors dealing with animal health and production.
The degree programme has been structured to accommodate candidates who would like to follow a more laboratory-orientated career in microbiology or parasitology or are keen to further their knowledge in infectious and parasitic diseases to support careers in private veterinary practice or veterinary field services.
The programme comprises various modules that can also be taken for non-degree purposes in support of the continuing professional development of a candidate.
Candidates with a Veterinary, Animal Science (e.g. Agriculture, Zoology, Entomology), or Microbiology degree may enrol for degree purposes. Apart from graduates, candidates with a diploma or suitable experience in animal health or microbiology/parasitology will also be eligible to enrol for some of the modules.
The theory component of this course will be completed via the Internet - thus access to the Internet is a pre-requisite. Candidates who successfully complete a module will be awarded a certificate from the University of Pretoria. Credits for a module can be used towards obtaining a postgraduate degree.
New curricula often provide the impetus for innovative practices in teaching and learning. Traditionally Veterinary Tropical Medicine is taught in a classroom or laboratory in a face to face situation. The decision to present this MSc in Veterinary Tropical Diseases as an online distance education programme necessitated that all role players, including faculty and learner, think innovatively with regard to teaching and learning.
The learner is the central focus of most of the learning and skills development opportunities. Participation in problem-solving and in the development of technical skills instead of the traditional mastering of subject content is a hallmark of our educational approach. The primary education mode is web-based supplemented by contact/practical sessions. WebCT is used for curriculum presentation and scheduling, as well as for presentation of assignments, group discussions, quizzes, provision of additional educational information (e.g. reference articles), submission of tasks, assessment, problem-solving and candidate administration. E-testing allows regular testing and access to the results by the candidate soon after the assessment.
By linking learner and trainers from all over the world a training network is created that promotes an interchange of ideas. Experts from within and outside South Africa take part in the group discussions.
Practical sessions (skills training) is a particular feature of the modules of the Laboratory Diagnostic theme and field work forms part of the practical sessions of the tick and tsetse modules. The Department and its partners have a range of audiovisual and other resources to complement the learning experience. Because band-width may not be sufficient for candidates in some geographical areas, high quality multimedia products (e.g. CD-Roms, videos) will be provided to each candidate in instances where the course content includes many images, sound and video.