Case studies


WikiVet.Net is a Web site and Community of Practice developed by MediaWiki--the same software as Wikipedia but focused solely on veterinary medicine and with a more robust quality control system (, 2008).

For example:

  • The content is peer-reviewed by veterinary graduates, residents and subject specialists from vet schools.
  • Access to the majority of articles is restricted to the veterinary community. Only chosen peer-reviewed articles are publicly visible. Non-reviewed articles are visible only to users with accounts and they are marked as: ‘This article has not yet been peer-reviewed.’
  • Only veterinary students, faculty and recognized veterinary graduates may create an account and work on content.
  • It is equipped with numerous interactive WikiQuizzes, Flash Cards, Content Map, interactive Case Studies and interactive radiographs. has very fast and dynamic development as the picture below illustrates.WikiVet Timeline

WikiVet.Net started as a joint initiative among four UK veterinary schools (Cambridge, Edinburgh, the Royal Veterinary College and the Nottingham Veterinary School) with funding from theEA and JISC.

The plan was to develop a wiki community to support undergraduate veterinary education with these features (Brown, Quentin-Baxter, Belshaw, 2010):

  • Comprehensive, activity-rich and quality-assured
  • Easy to edit/repurpose and expandable
  • Student-led, pedagogically sound and self-sustaining (affordable)
  • Potential for international participation: multilingual.
  • Able to prepare students for lifelong learning within diverse veterinary fields and  promote ‘global animal health’

Platform. Mediawiki was chosen as a platform because it could meet those requirements and most students and faculty are familiar with the look and features of Wikipedia.

Goal. The collaborators were interested in more affordable methods of sharing and organizing resources that would enable them to increase knowledge production while benefiting students and improving pedagogy and overall quality of their educational programs.  Wiki is used primarily as  a learning tool (not as a textbook).

Context. Because an enormous amount of information is available (, . . . ), students do not have enough time and skills to fully benefit from that data. Therefore, easy-to-use peer-reviewed content, WikiVet educational activates and a community of practice help lead to desired learning outcomes. At the same time, students are converted into experienced experts able to utilize available data. Furthermore, there is a huge amount of potentially useful data (stored on CDs, hard drives . . . ) that is not easily accessible.  Through WikiVet, a significant part of that data can be reused.

Costs. An initial investment of $36,500 (23,000 GBP) was enough to create more than 2,000 interactive wiki pages. In addition, collaborative wiki development is shown to be an extremely valuable learning experience.  That is an excellent value for the money (Brown, Quentin-Baxter, Belshaw, 2010). During the first half of 2010, the Pfizer Global Alliances provided 3 years funding for WikiVet (WikiVet.Net, 2010). With that support, WikiVet will employ a project coordinator and significantly increase production.  In August 2010 WikiVet had 3,494 articles.

Team. WikiVet has about 45 contributors, 7,000 registered users and about 250 new registrations per week (WikiVet.Net statistic, 2010). Most contributors were very collaborative and productive.  However, it took some time to learn how to work together (student-student, student-reviewer), and how to combine information from various sources.  Wiki as a tool for collaborative work with numerous updates is very helpful in those situations.

Management and Authorship. The editorial board was composed of community of practice members. The board has the duty to regulate content and resolve eventual disputes. Participants learned about the wiki structure, templates and practices through face-to-face workshops. The face-to-face meetings let team members meet each other, which is beneficial for future online collaboration.  Students with leadership abilities have become ‘wikimasters.’ Their task was to motivate and manage work of other students.

Structure & Process. Content is organized in eight major sections:

  • Pathology (WikiPath)
  • Anatomy and physiology (WikiAnt)
  • Blood and immunology (WikiBlood)
  • Bacteriology, virology and parasitology (WikiBugs)
  • Veterinary public health (WikiVPH)
  • Normal hematology, biochemistry and physiological parameters (WikiNormals)
  • Pharmacology and therapeutics (WikiDrugs)
  • Clinical information (WikiClinical).

Initial peer-review is made by students, after which staff specialists do final review.  Content not reviewed is visible to logged-in members, but a stage of development is clearly noted at the top of each page.

Copyright and Intellectual Property Right.  Community of practice has created agreements for collaboration and exploration. According to those agreements, all materials are owned by the contributing institution and licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Future.  WikiVet is a work in progress. WikiVet protocols, network and outcomes are still developing. They are developing quickly, results are impressive and the network includes not just numerous veterinary schools, but Pfizer. 
Proof that WikiVet is on its way to global success is its partnership with Pfizer,  one of world’s leading pharmaceutical companies skilled in using enterprise 2.0 tools (, 2009) such as  Pfizerpedia (internal wiki), discussion forums, blogs, RSS feeds, OneNoteSharePoint, and tags.


. WikiVet.Net Homepage

WikiQuiz - example of a question + feedback

Flash Cards



The Open University UK: creating a win-win situation by sharing code and content

The Open University. Source: Open University (OU) UK, one of world's largest distance-learning universities (200,000-plus students) started implementing Moodle Virtual Learning Environment during 2005. Moodle was chosen as a very powerful, modular software with a huge user base. Simultaneously with migration to Moodle, OU decided to change its policy and to release a significant part of learning materials as open educational resources (OER) through the OpenLearn project.

With that, OU had two projects:


VetEd.Net – What is possible now?

JessicaTeachers’ perspective is described in the Veterinary Education Consortium example, so  in this case study, we will be focused on benefits students can gain from this framework.

Student Jessica. Our role model will be student Jessica M. Jessica’s log-in data to access her school Moodle site are:

  • URL:
  • Username: Jessica
  • Password: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to receive the password

This account is active, so you can check everything described in this case study if you use the Jessica’s log-in data.

PLE. Jessica has a Personal Learning Environment like this one >> check it. Everything she needs - her online courses, Facebook friends, her office documents, photos and all news she is interested in - everything is in one place. She can customize it however she likes, and she can use  it from any computer or mobile phone. [Check it]

Environment.  Eight Moodle sites, one Community Hub and one Mahara site are created as sub-domains of the domain name. In each Moodle site example courses are created. To highlight the  potential we have, a majority of created example courses have the same title and description as real online courses created by: Veterinary School University of Illinois, Glasgow Veterinary Faculty, Centre for Veterinary Education (, VetScholar (NZVA).

Sites. Created sites are:

Community Hub Search Options

When Jessica logs into at her school site,  she  has access to two courses she is attending (Parasitology and Pain Management) and two collaborative groups (International Veterinary Students’ Association Collaborative Space and Veterinary Careers). However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Veterinary Community Hub. Jessica often goes to to check if there are any interesting courses or collaborative groups.  Because Jessica will do a two-month internship at the veterinary school in Glasgow, she recently joined the IVSA UK collaborative space she found through the Community Hub.  Colleagues from IVSA UK, have already arranged accommodations for Jessica.

Roaming. Users can roam between and other sites in the network.  All Jessica has to do to enter any of network servers is to log into and then click a link in the network servers menu (see the picture in the right column).
While she is at, it is noted in the  top right corner:

Guest Access.  Each course and each collaborative group at has different access rules. Some of them are available just for their local students, some for collaborative groups ( such as  IVSA UK, which is  open to all logged-in users), and some courses have available guest access. Guest access means that logged-in users can enter a course (or part of course) without being required to enroll and without being able to post anything.

Network servers menu

Networking and promoting. A few departments at made their courses available to guests. They concluded that it is an affordable and safe way to promote their departments and their school, attract ambitious partners and students while helping a broader population of students.

Support for open educational resources. Last year received a grant for development of open educational resources.  All courses with open guest access received part of that funding.

Guest Jessica. Jessica’s first interaction with was while she was searching for data about tropical parasites. Through the community hub, she found a parasitological course with guest access at

ePortfolio. Jessica started using a guest access to the course and she liked their research and the way the information is taught. She contacted the head professor, Dr. Elizabeth.


Receiving a phone call or e-mail from a student from a foreign country was not as easy for Dr. Elizabeth  to handle during the pre-networked era. Now, it’s different.

As soon as she received Jessica’s e-mail, Dr. Elizabeth made two clicks and in less than 7 seconds Jessica’s ePortofolio was on her screen. Wow, the ePortfolio shows that student Jessica is skilled and ambitious. Her undergraduate work, sports activities, work in the International Veterinary Students’ Association, extracurricular courses, and undergraduate research she made about parasite’s biology  are quite impressive. Dr. Elizabeth concluded that an internship at would be a nice addition to Jessica’s ePortfolio.

Paid-for courses, evaluation and negotiation. Jessica participated in an online paid course about companion animals’ parasites in Australia and one course about tropical parasites in the South African Republic. Because Australia and South Africa are new members of the network, those courses are not accredited by   Illinois.VetEd.Net or Glasgow.VetEd.Net. The credit transfer agreement is still in process.

Power of ePortfolioAll Jessica’s results, the best forum posts she made and her pictures of parasites are available in her portfolio.  Jessica made just a few clicks to export that data to her portfolio, and now she can easily present that data to whomever she wishes.  Before Jessica contacted Dr. Elizabeth, she made her portfolio visible to Dr. Elizabeth.  Dr. Elizabeth appreciated that. She concluded: ‘A few posts from the Parasitology online course Jessica had in South African describes Jessica’s knowledge, skills and attitudes – probably better  than officially recognized grades. Sure, it would be better if we can have both . . .  but that ePortfolio is an amazing thing.

Power of collaborationAnimal welfare is Jessica’s passion.  Last year she attended an online course in animal welfare offered at MSU. She thought that was a great course, but ‘animal welfare deserves much more than one course.’ That is why she was happy when she heard that MSU,,, (four veterinary schools) and and (two nonprofit veterinary organizations) are planning to organize a group of animal welfare courses. Their goal is to provide high-quality, science-based courses developed by international welfare experts and available to veterinary students and practicing veterinarians regardless of geographic location. “Wow,” she said.  It is not just that we will have a group of world-known experts designing multiple animal welfare courses together, but they are also planning to build an ‘animal welfare learning community’. That means that faculty, veterinarians and veterinary students will be able to discuss, learn and teach about different aspects of animal welfare.  And all that knowledge will be converted into  newer, better, more dynamic courses in animal welfare.

Content is here  for the purpose of this presentation/case study. It will be removed as soon as this case study is done.