A new online undergraduate course focusing on everything horse—from common health issues and anatomy to history of the species and an understanding of equine-related business and research—launched this fall at the University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Because it’s online, we are able to offer this course to students at universities where they might not have a strong equine sciences department,” said Patrick Larkin, PhD, an adjunct lecturer in the college’s department of large animal clinical sciences who serves as course coordinator. Larkin also codirects an online course about the dog, which began at UF in 2012.
“It’s also good exposure for students to decide whether or not they want to go into this field,” Larkin said.
Team-taught by UF faculty members from several different disciplines, the course is aimed at sophomore or higher-level students and features pre-recorded lectures. Students must log in to the course website to watch lectures and complete assignments and can post questions in a discussion forum, Larkin said.
The course starts with an introduction to the evolution and domestication of horses and continues with lectures on breeds, preventive health care, genetics, nutrition, and the musculoskeletal system. Students also are exposed to the role of scientific inquiry and methods through specific case studies and a module focusing on scientific articles in the equine field.
“We’re really getting the cream of the crop in terms of our students,” Larkin said. “These students really want to learn and are interested in the topi