The preeminent source for online veterinary education
Established in 2017 through a $1 million grant from the Investment for Growth Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the College of Veterinary Medicine i–Learning Center develops and delivers world-class educational opportunities designed to meet the individual needs of a diverse global audience.
The College of Veterinary Medicine i-Learning Center:
- Delivers content that addresses vital societal needs worldwide, such as sustainability of food production, wildlife and environmental health, and emerging infectious disease;
- Builds synergies within the college and across the campus by cultivating, guiding, and hosting a collaborative of content experts;
- Employs best-in-class technology, materials, and pedagogies to create impactful educational programs that are scalable, flexible, and efficient.
- Develops new graduate degree programs, educational materials, and elective courses; novel certificate programs; and online/blended continuing education offerings.
The i–Learning Center is developing the Illinois Integrated Program in Livestock System Health, a program taught by a team of food animal production medicine experts to deliver the knowledge and competencies required to address the problem of the food security worldwide. Future programs will address other educational needs, such as veterinary imaging and ecosystem and wildlife health.
From Free, Non-credit Offerings to Online Master’s Degree Programs
The learning materials developed for each program can be used flexibly to deliver a spectrum of educational products:
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that are freely accessible
- A blended online/residential version of the college’s prestigious Executive Veterinary Program, which has been delivering meaningful, life-changing educational experiences since 1991; this new certificate program is envisioned as a series of 18, 6-week online courses with additional online discussion periods and a capstone project
- Elective for-credit courses within Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree programs, both at Illinois and at other accredited veterinary colleges; the courses can be delivered entirely online or as material for a “flipped classroom” where students view online materials outside class to prepare for in-class activities facilitated by local faculty
- Brief (5- to 15-minutes) online lessons, coordinated into 1-hour courses, addressing core competencies needed by veterinarians; this format appeals to busy practitioners with limited time away from the clinic and with immediate “just in time” information needs
- A professional master’s degree that combines online courses with residential course sessions, online discussion periods, and a capstone project
Online learning platforms provide flexibility, efficiency, and scalability, enabling a common set of materials to be used with increasing sophistication with different levels of learners. For example, the learning objectives and activities surrounding a video that deals with respiratory disease might focus on “remembering and understanding” the information when used with veterinary students, while challenging learners in postgraduate training to “analyze and evaluate” the information.
Building on Success
The College of Veterinary Medicine i–Learning Center builds on a proven record of accomplishment for delivering world-class postgraduate and online education.
In the 1980s Illinois launched the Integrated Food Animal Management Systems, which trained a cohort of veterinarians who went on to hold senior leadership and technical positions in multinational firms. The college’s Executive Veterinary Program, the premier postgraduate credential for food supply veterinarians, was established in 1991.
In 2015, college faculty debuted a MOOC entitled “Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock Health Management,” which has reached over 11,000 learners from six continents and 142 countries. Analytics from this MOOC demonstrate that large numbers of highly educated people from emerging markets are using online training to build competencies required for leadership positions. Simultaneously, these same MOOC materials have been leveraged in core and elective courses in the veterinary curriculum to facilitate problem-based learning and team-based learning.
The leveraging of a common set of materials for multiple uses is one of the core strengths of online learning platforms. Faculty of the college have the experience and skills to make these blended approaches successful across a wide range of learners.
About the College of Veterinary Medicine i-Learning Center
The College of Veterinary Medicine i–Learning Center addresses several of the goals outlined in the college’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. In particular are the initiatives cited below within the following two goals:
Provide Transformative Learning Experiences
- Establish pre-eminence as a source for online veterinary education, including delivering postgraduate certificates … and open online courses, targeting veterinary and non-veterinary audiences …
- Foster student engagement and promote creativity in learners by nurturing efficiency, innovation, collaboration, and scholarship in educational practices…
Make a Significant and Visible Societal Impact
- Position the college as a premier source for veterinary medical education opportunities for veterinarians, animal owners, and the public
- Explore establishing a center of excellence to facilitate integrative and innovative cross-discipline programing in wildlife medicine, ecosystem health, public health, livestock-based food production, and food safety
The college received FY18 funding from the Investment for Growth initiative, sponsored by the Office of the Provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for the Illinois Integrated Program in Livestock System Health. The College of Veterinary Medicine i–Learning Center was established to develop that program as well as to become a venue to deliver ongoing world-class veterinary education to a global audience using an online, cross-functional educational platform.
The College of Veterinary Medicine i–Learning Center is a service unit within the college and reports to the college dean. Faculty members, both within and outside the College of Veterinary Medicine, teach and provide subject matter expertise through the i-Learning Center while retaining appointments within their home department.