Baillie S, Mellor DJ, Brewster SA & Reid SWJ. Integrating a bovine rectal palpation simulator into an undergraduate veterinary curriculum. J Vet Med Educ 2005; 32(1): 79-85.
Download (1.8 mb).
There are problems associated with teaching bovine rectal palpation to undergraduate veterinary students. The students need opportunities to examine enough cows to develop the required skills, but increasing student numbers and limitations on access to cows have made this more and more difficult to achieve. A virtual reality–based teaching tool, the Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator, has been developed as a supplement to existing training methods. The student palpates computer generated virtual models of the bovine reproductive tract while interacting with a haptic (touch feedback) device. During training sessions, the instructor follows the student’s actions inside the virtual cow on the computer screen and gives instruction. A trial integration of the simulator into the fourth-year bovine reproduction course was undertaken at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School during the 2003/2004 academic year. Students were offered two training sessions, and feedback was gathered using questionnaires. In the first session, all students were taught a range of basic skills using a standardized teaching protocol. The second training session was customized to each student’s learning needs and included practice in dealing with a range of on-farm scenarios. Student feedback indicated that the training had been useful for learning various aspects of bovine rectal palpation and provided information that helped in the further development of the simulator as a teaching tool.