Online course focusing on the horse now underway at UF

The Horse online course launches in fall 2015.

The Horse, a new online course offered by the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, launched in fall 2015. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Patrick Larkin)

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 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, Ph.D., an adjunct lecturer in the college’s department of large animal clinical sciences who serves as course coordinator. Larkin also co-directs another online course, The Dog, which began at UF in 2012.

“It’s also good exposure for students to decide whether they want to go into this field, or not,” Larkin said.

Team-taught by UF faculty members from several different disciplines, the course — aptly titled The Horse —  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 may post questions in a discussion forum site, Larkin said.

The course starts with an introduction of the evolution and domestication of horses and continues with lectures on breeds, preventative 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 topic.”

About 30 students from all over the country and the world are enrolled in the new course this semester, he added. Enrollees from Tennessee, New York and Minnesota and even Turkey are participating, in addition to the majority of students from UF.

“This class offers students who are interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine or veterinary technology the opportunity to take a class in their area of interest and to network with experts in the equine field,” Larkin said. “Because it’s online, this class allows us to reach out to those students in that the class actually goes to them and they do not have to come here to UF to take it.”

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