2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the invention of the world wide web. The internet has changed the way we communicate, perceive, and navigate the world of information. Originally designed to share information amongst scientists at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), the internet has expanded into a myriad of possibilities. More recently, the internet has also changed the way we learn; courses and information on very specific topics can be shared with motivated learners around the globe. In this article, we will shed light on how mastitis experts from around the world have come together to develop and offer a comprehensive course on mastitis, the most costly disease on dairies.
Bovine mastitis is a complex, multi-factorial health problem and, all around the world, a large number of scientists, and their graduate students, are conducting research on this disease. The Mastitis Network (a network of scientists from 9 Canadian universities) has a leadership role in Canada and globally for mastitis research since 2005 and strives to provide science-based tools and resources for the dairy industry to decrease the incidence of mastitis, reduce its economic impact, improve animal welfare and continue providing quality milk to consumers.
Through collaboration and teamwork, the Mastitis Network has led the creation of three Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, each focusing on various topics related to bovine mastitis. Experts from over 20 countries share their knowledge and insight, as well as their latest research, on this always timely topic.
What are MOOCs?
Online education has come a long way. Some may still remember taking correspondence courses, where you received your course material via mail (the paper kind…) and had a certain amount of time to complete the course and mail your dissertation or quiz back for evaluation. Which gave you time to forget all about it before you even got the results back. Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are, as the name clearly indicates, open access courses available online, designed to be accessible to an unlimited number of participants. They are free and offer immediate feedback through quizzes, discussion forums, or other interactive platforms. Think of them as open classrooms with unlimited seating and 24/7 access to learning material and teachers. An interesting option for time-crunched professionals and students!
Who are they for?
The Bovine Mastitis MOOC series were designed for graduate students in order to give them the knowledge they need to initiate their research program. However, given the wealth of knowledge included in these courses, the entire content is also suitable for dairy practitioners, teachers, or any other person who is interested in learning more about bovine mastitis.
What is in these courses?
The first course in the series, The Udder and its Response to Infection, covers foundational knowledge of the bovine udder. A thorough review of the anatomy of the mammary gland and teat, udder physiology, host genetics and pathophysiology are presented by leading experts in the field.
The second course, Mastitis Epidemiology and Diagnostic, presents a complete mastitis glossary, covers mastitis epidemiology for the most common pathogens, and reviews both conventional and molecular diagnostic methods.
The third and final course addresses mastitis control and prevention through best practices, as well as milk quality and its importance for the entire dairy industry. This last course will be available in June 2019.
The courses are free and accessible throughout the year except for a short period of time during the months of June and July in order to update the content.
Each module within a course contains an introductory video introducing the trainer and the objectives of the module. Combining theoretical concepts with real-life examples, each expert shares up-to-date information through a video presentation. Short quizzes are used throughout the course to strengthen the participants understanding of the concepts presented. After completing the course, the participants are invited to complete a final exam. The participants can request an official certification, if desired, for a fee (CAD50). If no certification is needed, then the course can simply be attended for free.
Who are the teachers?
Each contributor brings forth his/hers expertise and passion for research. Participants can rely on up-to-date information, delivered to them at their own pace. Over 100 combined years of experience in bovine mastitis research are wrapped up in compelling video presentations!
Simon Dufour, DMV, Ph.D Université de Montréal
Jean-Philippe Roy, DMV, MSc, Dipl. ECBHM Université de Montréal
Kasey Moyes, Ph.D. University of Maryland
Gina Pighetti, Ph.D. University of Tennessee
Dr. Chris Luby, VetMB, MSc, PhD, Dipl ACVIM University of Saskatchewan
Anneleen De Visscher, DVM, PhD Ghent University, Belgium
Sofie Piepers, DVM, PhD Ghent University, Belgium
Lawrence K. Fox, DVM, PhD Washington State University
Heidi Hiitiö, DVM, PhD University of Helsinki
John Middleton, BS, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM University of Missouri
Trevor DeVries, BS, PhD, University of Guelph
Paivi Rajala-Shultz, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM University of Helsinki
John Penry, DVM, PhD Dairy Australia
Why should I register for these courses?
Whether you are about to begin a graduate program in dairy science, or simply need to brush up on your bovine mastitis knowledge for your own professional development, the Mastitis Network’s MOOC series on Bovine Mastitis will answer all your questions about this costly disease.
How can I register?
The following options are available to you:
- Visit mastitisnetwork.org and follow the link under the introductory videos to register;
- Scan the following QR code
Text and pictures: Simon Dufour