Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 10, 2003

OVC receives $1 million to connect vets, students, faculty

The University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College has received more than $1 million from CANARIE, Canada's advanced internet development organization, for a Virtual Veterinary Medicine Learning Community Project.

The V2MLC project, which connects veterinary practitioners to students, faculty and resources, is a joint venture between Canada's veterinary colleges and industry sponsors Lifelearn Inc. and the Canadian Institute for Food Inspection and Regulation (CIFIR). It's funded through CANARIE's E-learning program with the support of the Government of Canada. The objective of the program is to foster the development and use of advanced Internet technologies to address structural barriers to online learning.

"Learning is the key to remaining competitive in a knowledge-based economy," said Industry Minister Allan Rock. "Through CANARIE, we will continue to support new and innovative learning initiatives like the V2MLC project so that Canada continues to develop, use and benefit from this new technology." Andrew Bjerring, president and CEO of CANARIE, added that access to effective education and training is central to a learning society. "We believe that the work being done by the Ontario Veterinary College is important to that community of interest, but we also believe that what they learn can be shared with other members of the community to advance knowledge in Canada."

The online project allows students and veterinarians to have immediate access to current animal case studies, allowing diagnosis and treatment to be shared among members of the veterinary community, said Gary Smith, OVC's learning technology services co-ordinator and project manager. For example, a pilot project in dermatology headed by clinical studies professor Jan Hall will enable veterinary clinics to electronically submit case studies of animals with skin conditions. The cases will be assigned to fourth-year students at OVC, who will work on the cases under Hall's supervision. The final case reports will be reviewed and discussed by Hall, the student and the veterinarian by phone or through video conferencing.

"What we've done is show students more about what veterinary practice is really about," Hall said. "I can see them growing as individuals when they interact with the vets." The module will also include a database of case studies, searchable by species, breed, diagnosis and presenting complaint. It's scheduled to be made available to all veterinarians this fall. Kerry Lissemore, a faculty member on the V2MLC team, added that the project will directly benefit students, who "learn much better if the material is delivered in the context of a real case. Access to these advanced electronic learning technologies facilitates the interaction between clinicians in practice and student veterinarians. It's a positive experience for both parties."

Other projects that are part of this initiative include:

Online lectures streamed to students at multiple veterinary colleges.

A virtual mentoring module that pairs veterinarians with DVM students for monthly sessions via video conferencing.

A virtual surgery Web site, including highly detailed three-dimensional models.

A database of case studies of farm service visits, including video clips.

A "visual sound" project that allows users to view three-dimensional visualizations of sound.

In 1999, CANARIE provided $1 million for the first phase of the V2MLC project a portal that gave students and faculty at Canada's veterinary colleges access to video-rich learning content and the opportunity to share educational resources. Headquartered in Ottawa, CANARIE is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the research and implementation of advanced networks and applications that will stimulate economic growth and increase Canada's international competitiveness. It's supported by its members, project partners and the Government of Canada.

Martin Sampson
Manager, Communications
(613) 943-5377

Gary Smith
OVC Learning Technology Services
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 54659

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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