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Learning to teach – teaching to learn
  1. Faye Davies


A Masters in Veterinary Education and other courses offered by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) aim to develop individuals as professional veterinary and paraveterinary educators. RVC course administrator Faye Davies explains how the programmes can be followed via distance learning or face-to-face

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THE RVC offers a postgraduate certificate and a diploma as well as the Masters in Veterinary Education. Following the launch of the Masters course in September 2009, the programme team developed the postgraduate certificate course in August 2010, and launched a distance learning programme a year later.

The MSc in Veterinary Education is a programme that has been designed to address a growing need in the veterinary and paraveterinary sectors for educator training. The programme encompasses a wide range of topics that are relevant to educators, to enhance their knowledge, skills and practice in a rapidly changing environment in education.

Since its inception, 20 students have completed the certificate, and are accredited as Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA); seven of these graduates have chosen to continue on to this year's diploma course. A number of MSc research projects have also been completed in the past year.

A group of students learning in a small group teaching environment at the RVC

The certificate programme uses the RVC's ‘Learn’ platform (previously known as Moodle). The new distance learning students are studying in various parts of the world, including Canada, the USA and Australia, and we were lucky enough to welcome some of them to the RVC on the launch day.

These global students work alongside the on-site students, all using the online learning platform and various online conferencing software to encourage participation and discussion between students and course tutors; so far, this method of delivery has proved to be a big success.

Associate level

Additionally, the RVC is set to launch a brand new level, the ‘associate’ level, in September 2012. The associate level is ideal for early career researchers with some teaching responsibilities, PhD students, staff new to teaching with part-time academic responsibilities, and staff who support academic provision such as learning technologists, learning developers, library staff, demonstrators and laboratory technicians.

It seems that word has spread, and we already have a list of potential new students who are keen to start the programme. The aim is to continue running the certificate online, and to launch the diploma and associate levels as distance learning options in September this year.

Who the programme is aimed at

The MSc in Veterinary Education is designed for professionals who are involved in the delivery of veterinary or paraveterinary education and training at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Practising veterinary surgeons and paraveterinary professionals involved in workplace training may also benefit from the course, as the programme aims to develop individuals as reflective practitioners, enabling them to offer an enhanced learning experience to anyone they teach or train.

All courses can be studied through a variety of delivery methods:

▪ Distance learning – the programme is delivered entirely online and makes the most effective use of virtual learning tools, including online conferencing software to encourage participation and discussion between students and course tutors. Candidates are not required to attend the campus for any workshops.

▪ Blended mode – the delivery mode is mixed; participants can come to the RVC in Hawkshead to participate in some of the monthly workshops, combined with studying using distance learning materials.

▪ Face-to-face – students attend and participate in monthly workshops at the RVC's Hawkshead campus.

Stephen May discussing clinical reasoning and practical skills

More information on the courses is available at or by contacting the administrators directly: or

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