Summary

The course is based on the problem-oriented learning (POL) approach where the special focus is on self-organized learning and social-communicative competencies. It is realized as an inverted classroom. Online media such as videos, blogs and social networks make up a core part of the seminar. With this elective course the following problem in veterinarian studies is addressed: The current German university curriculum does not contain any basic education on business management. This leads to the fact that many self-employed veterinarians have financial and business difficulties due to having no or barely any business acumen. In this course - through the interdisciplinary connection between veterinary and business studies - students receive practical and basic business knowledge so that they can establish their own veterinary surgery.   

Table of contents

Course

Suitable course type

Blended learning (Inverted Classroom)

Lecturers

Department of Veterinary Medicine: Dr. med. vet. Carolin Deiner, MBA

Department of Business Studies: Prof. Dr. Martin Gersch

No. of participants

30 - 80

Phase

Elective course for participants from the 3rd study year on, winter and summer semester

Duration

2 semesters

Tools

External tools can be optionally implemented as a supplement to the central systems of the Freie Universität (wiki, blog, LMS etc.). The description of the external applications (information on tools, implementation scenarios, practical examples) can be found in the IdeasBar for teaching and science 2.0. Please observe the data protection provisions of the Freie Universität Berlin: Using the central IT solutions at Freie Universität Berlin.

Realization

  • The course is made up of 14 modules on 14 topics and lasts two semesters. Included in each module is a short film and a task designed for the topic as well as further learning material.  
  • Working on the module occurs in online groups so that also students of higher semesters who are in the study phase of clinic rotations/curative internships or students from other universities can participate.  
  • The scenario is split up into 4 steps:  Szenario ist in 4 Stufen gegliedert:
    • In step 1 the introduction into a topic takes place with the aid of a 2-minute short film (example).
    • In step 2 the students work on the provided practical and especially designed for veterinary medicine students business study learning materials. Here they can also mutually support each other (e.g. when it comes to questions of understanding). As the course progresses the participants gain a good overview of the relevant core issues for setting up a surgery and running one. In addition, they generate a business studies-oriented toolbox with whose help the problems that often crop up when it comes to becoming self-employed veterinarians can be analyzed and solved.   
    • In step 3 the reinforcement of students' knowledge takes place in that they work on tasks within their online groups. This requires a transfer of the newly acquired knowledge as well as the application of the tools. If needs be, the lecturer intervenes in order to motivate or set something right.  
    • In step 4 at the end of the semester there is a face-to-face session with experts from the fields of business studies, veterinary medicine, tax, legal as well as banking studies. Selected results from the online group work are presented and serve as a basis for discussion for the participants and the experts in order to redress any remaining uncertainties and ambiguities when dealing with the learning content. For students outside of the Freie Universität the transmission of the face-to-face session is undertaken via Adobe Connect.   
  • Online media is implemented in the following manner: The basis of the seminar is a blog. Here the online teaching videos are provided that were developed with the help of various experts coming from everyday praxis. They are integrated into the blog via YouTube. In addition, the scripts provided in the blog give orientation help when it comes to solving problems. Working on the case studies with the respective tasks takes place in small groups. The realization of the group discussion takes place via an online setting that can be chosen by the students. Available are group rooms in the central learning management system as well as a closed seminar group on Facebook. >> more on the usage of Facebook in this scenario

Experiences made by the lecturer

In the first run-through in WiSe 2013/14 30 students took part in te course. The feedback of the participants was, amongst other things, that the workload was too high in comparison to other elective courses. The reaction was that for the course in the following summer semester 2 seminar certificates were awarded. A further point of criticism was that there were barely any intensive debates between the group members within the Blackboard forums. The reaction here was to provide an additional group discussion tool on Facebook already starting with the summer semester of 2014. In the winter semester 2014/15 80 students enrolled in the elective (20 of which were external), and here a high number decided to opt for working within the Facebook group. For the Blackboard users a titanpad was set up in order to facilitate the group discussion.   

Quotes from the student evaluation of the second course, part one (winter semester 2014/15): 

"I am really glad that I chose the course. It was super that one could work on it at home instead of having a face-to-face course format. Thereby all those interested were able to split up the workload and didn't have to travel to university all the time. The tutor was involved to the right degree when it came to the discussions and gave us motivational pointers. The videos were great as they gave a humorous introduction into the topics and increased the motivation. The face-to-face session that took place surpassed my expectations as I had not expected a group of experts to be there. And with such a sympathetic group. Towards the end I had concentration problems but I still found the duration of the meeting fitting for the amount of content being dealt with. I really would like to participate in the second part as well!" 

"I think that working within the realms of an internet course is not really ideal for me personally as I didn't know any of the other participants and thereby I didn't really take part in the discussion. However, as I am currently in my practical year it was only possible for me to take part in the course in this manner. From this point of view the concept is quite good. The face-to-face session did however show me that I haven't understood a few things and the course would have not been as valuable to me without this meeting. The invited guests were really great as they made it clear and explained very well in what sort of future situations we can or may find ourselves as veterinarians. These parts of working life are never a part of the discourse or part of the teaching canon in any of the other university courses!"

Support offered by CeDiS

  • Consulting services for the implementation of digital solutions in teaching: The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) has extensive experience of many years when it comes to the implementation of digital media and systems within the fields of teaching, learning and research. We offer a wide variety of consulting services on the implementation of these tools and systems within the entire academic scope and especially at Freie Universität Berlin. 
  • Training courses and workshops: For lecturers at Freie Universität Berlin (professors, employees, tutors) as well as lecturers of other universities CeDiS offers training courses and workshops on the topic of teaching and learning with digital media. These course enable participants to implement online elements within their own sphere of teaching.
  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität supports e-learning initiatives: With the e-learning funding program financial resources are provided to lecturers that enrich and improve their courses quality-wise by implementing technological and media-related support. All of the academic staff teaching, the lecturers or even the institutions of the Freie Universität - without the Charité-Universitätsmedizin - can be supported within this program.
  • Training courses on web 2.0 and social media at the Freie Universität:

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