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VETS1021 - Functional Anatomy of Locomotion and the Integument (Practical)

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Food Science and Technology Building 8106, Room 135, Gatton Campus

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Dr John (Dick) Wright has had four teaching careers at the UQ School of Veterinary Science (SVS). Firstly, as a clinical instructor (1988-1997), then as Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery (1998-1999), from 2008-2010 as tutor and casual lecturer while undertaking his PhD, and then from 2010 as Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy. He completed the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in 2014. He has designed, implemented, coordinated and taught into many courses and all years within the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) programme. Dick has also taught into the Bachelor of Applied Science (Veterinary Technology) and BSc (Animal & Veterinary Bioscience) programmes and currently coordinates VETS1003 (Digestion, Metabolism & Nutrition) and VETS1021 (Functional Anatomy of Locomotion & the Integument). His talents as an educator have been rewarded with the UQ Award for Teaching Excellence – Commendation (2014), the Faculty of Science Teaching Excellence Award (2013), and multiple student awards for SVS Best Lecturer (year-based) (1989-2015). He has also been the recipient of a 2012 Faculty of Science Strategic Teaching and Learning Grant and a 2015 Technology-Enhanced Learning Grant.

Dr Wright aims to teach students the fundamental elements of the anatomy of the musculo-skeletal systems of model domestic animals in this course. It is delivered to first year veterinary science students, many of whom have, interestingly, had prior tertiary learning. 80% of the student cohort are female, 25% are international students and another 25% are recent school leavers. The course is designed to provide a clear understanding of the anatomical structures involved in locomotion for these animals. Essentially, the course provides an in-depth study of the muscles, bones and joints of the limbs, trunk and neck, using the dog and horse as model species. The course also covers the vascular and nervous supply to the muscles, and the gross and histological structures and function, of the bovine and equine hoof.

Focus group discussions in his first year of teaching anatomy revealed that many students found anatomy boring and approached learning in a surface manner that was effectively based on “memorise temporarily, regurgitate and forget”, despite that many of them who take this course wish to become clinicians. Therefore, he set about completely redeveloping and rejuvenating the curriculum of the courses that he coordinated and the content of those lectures that he delivered in the other courses. Students are now engaged through innovative and relevant curricula designed with strong clinical integration, a focus on self-assessment, reflection and personalised experiential learning activities. The course consists of six hours of practical classes and three didactic lectures per week. The information is presented in a stimulating way by relating structure to function, which establishes clinical relevance. The lectures deliver information content but it is in the practical classes where students have the chance to assimilate the information and achieve deep learning through the progressive dissection of dogs and horses.

Dr Wright has found it very rewarding to be able to incorporate his 43 years of clinical experience into teaching which helps to establish legitimacy. He shares not only his positive experiences but “owns up” to the mistakes and poor outcomes that have been an integral part of his professional development; such insights are powerful learning tools and greatly enhance the interaction between teacher and students. Student and staff responses to the inclusion of clinically relevant material have been overwhelmingly supportive.

N.B. The practical classes will mainly comprise dissections of dogs, horses and components of the integument. Visitors should wear shoes that completely enclose the foot.


Food Science and Technology Building 8106, Room 135, Gatton Campus

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