To celebrate instructor creativity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Merck Veterinary Manual and VetMedAcademy sponsored a contest to foster innovative online approaches to encouraging interaction between distant students and faculty. The contest sought entries from instructors who had “turned lemons into lemonade” and was open to any area of veterinary medicine, and any instructor (faculty, resident, intern or other) in veterinary or veterinary technician programs. Student feedback on the courses was included to strengthen the instructors' entries.
The submissions were reviewed on creativity and instructional merit by four judges: a practicing veterinarian, a recent veterinary graduate and past chair of the education committee of the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA), a veterinary specialist and editor, and an educationalist specializing in online education.
A link to the learning module, which consists of 13 examples developed from the winning educational resources, may be accessed (free registration is required) at www.vetmedacademy.org/covid-educational-creations-contest-page.
Submissions consisted of publishable “educational artifacts” of instruction. Thirteen cash prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000 were awarded to faculty from 11 universities.
The contest winners in order of their placement were:
1. Ariana Boltax (Cornell University): Communication Training Scenarios for Small Animal and Exotic Euthanasia
2. Shelly Olin, Jacqueline Whittemore, and Zenithson Ng (University of Tennessee): Pandemic Virtual Clinic
3. Margaret Root Kustritz (University of Minnesota): Communications in Small Animal Practice
4. Stephen Hines (Washington State University): Podcast-style case discussions with recent students to teach basic principles of immunology to first-year DVM students
5. Allison Stewart (University of Queensland): International Equine Clinical Case Repository
6. Kendon Kuo (Auburn University): Emergency and Critical Care Jeopardy
7. Maria Fahie (Western University): Assessment of Critical Thinking Assignment
8. Samira Schlesinger, Wolfgang Heuwieser, Stefan Borchardt, Peter Venjakob, Sebastian Arlt, Franziska Sutter, and Lisa Riege (Free University of Berlin): Reproductive Veterinary Medicine: Cisco Webex Meetings
Five other entries were awarded honorable mention: Stephen Cole, University of Pennsylvania; Philippa Gibbons, Lincoln Memorial University; Roxanne Larsen, Christina Clarkson, Abby Brown, Anna Landherr, and Hannah Gytri, University of Minnesota; Amber McNamara, Lees-McRae College; and Marcy Souza, University of Tennessee.