Provider: The University of Edinburgh @Coursera [course page]
Subject: Science / Veterinary Science
Delivery: Intake-based asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 3-4 hrs/week for 5 weeks
Completion Date: 06/30/2014 (extended for access of materials after end of quiz submissions)
Description: A host of different lectures from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh teach us about the history, procedures, some species-specific anatomy and veterinary treatment.
Strengths: As with my previous experience with University of Edinburgh, there was a varied approach taken as a means to give students an idea of what to expect from more advanced study, and in this case there is also the focus on professional practice. It begins by discussing some basic details of specific animals, then moves on some anatomy. The next two weeks deal with dealing with animals on behalf of human beings. The final week covers the history of the treatment of animals before and after the establishment of veterinary training. This gives students a solid idea of the origins of veterinary science and what is expected of them in the field.
Weaknesses: I would have liked to have seen more on the treatment and physiology of animals beyond those covered in the first week. That being said, I also realise the course is there to allow folks to make more informed decision on whether to pursue a career as a veterinarian or veterinary assistant.
Conclusion: This course brings together the idea that veterinarians have to deal with animals on behalf of humans. We also have a clearer picture of how techniques have changed over time, often in response to the gathering of information from individuals such as farriers. It is an ongoing process of development and in discovery, but it can also mean making tough decisions, such as in the case of having to cull a large group of animals in response to outbreaks of disease.
My study of this course has led to an expanded interest in anatomy and disease. It also helps knowing how to care for some commonly kept animals. I highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in veterinary practice and in animals in general.