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Objectives

  • Students will develop fundamental skills (e.g., acquiring information, writing collaboratively, interpreting primary literature) and be able to recognize the use and value of the scientific method for problem solving.
  • Students will understand the relationship of varying disciplines to the problem they are investigating and will be able to interpret and represent information from their discipline and the community.
  • Students will develop effective working group skills.
  • Students will be able to create an interdisciplinary framework.
  • Students will be able to synthesize information from contributing disciplines and community sources and formulate integrated solutions.
  • Students will be able to communicate their final product and process to diverse audiences.

Course organization

The course will begin with an Opening Forum focusing on current perspectives of One Health from the various human, animal, and environmental health communities. This will be followed by a discussion highlighting current challenges to integrating these disciplines. Students and faculty will then be divided into thematic groups and begin to work their particular topic.  Placement into the topical working groups will be made based partially on student preference, but the main objective is to form interdisciplinary groups with as much diversity as possible to explore each subject.

The class will meet weekly in a virtual 3-campus format to discuss overarching interdisciplinary issues, and then break into their respective thematic groups to work on their projects.  Mini lectures, video presentations, and exercises will be employed to facilitate active collaborative learning.  Seminar faculty will serve as research mentors and facilitators, and will also participate in the evaluation of student performance.

In  Part I of the Seminar, which focuses on leveling disciplinary understanding, students in each group will be asked to examine the assigned problem from their chosen discipline's perspective and to determine the fundamental principles and challenges needed for them to make their points understood to the rest of their group. They will be required to organize appropriate background knowledge and identify open questions that are not addressed adequately by their discipline. Students will present their findings to their group and will be assessed on their ability to effectively communicate with and teach their fellow group members.  
 
In Part II of the Seminar, which focuses on what it means to do interdisciplinary work, each group will work together in an integrative process to re-examine their problem, identify gaps or barriers to understanding and develop novel ideas that evolve from their deliberations.  

At the joint Midterm Assessment Forum, each group will present their integrated findings and a self assessment of their work, highlighting unique conclusions that were produced by the interdisciplinary process, and identifying challenges that were unable to be met. This joint session will encourage discussion and critical analysis between groups to determine integrative methods that were most effective during their small group work. The forum will also begin the process of developing ways to direct and communicate their findings to a non-academic setting such as a classroom, a village community, or a political forum.   

In Part III of the Seminar, which focuses on expanding interdisciplinary work to the community, interaction with a site-specific community will be encouraged during the investigation and development of proposed solutions to each seminar topic/question. Students will also be asked to consider community-level stakeholders and the extent to which those stakeholders can and should be encouraged to participate in informing the process, and in proposing and implementing solutions.  

Each will then work to complete a final integrative product and presentation.   

A Concluding Forum will be held to share the seminar's findings with the University community.  As part of this forum, we will also discuss how best to facilitate improved collaborative relationships across the University based on the seminar experience.  The final product(s) of this seminar will also be published on the web and may be considered for further publication or stand as the basis for grant submission.

Expectations for Students

Students will be expected to attend every class and actively participate in the discussions.  In the event that a student will be late to class, or will miss a class altogether, they must notify their primary instructor before class so that arrangements can be made to cover their absence. Modest assignments will be made (see next section), and some outside research will be expected from each student.  Students will be expected to use the technology tools described below, but support will be provided to assist in learning how to use these tools.  

Student Evaluation and Assessment (Grading)

Students will be assessed based on individual efforts demonstrated in the small group work, collaborative efforts within their group, and on preparation and delivery of presentations and reports.

Instructors will conduct a weekly evaluation of each student's participation (10%); a 250 word written journal assignment on a topic assigned in class (10%); and their research (10%). Assignments and an annotated bibliography will be entered on the One Health Course Wiki in a private site where instructors will also record their comments.

Students will be evaluated by their peers at their disciplinary presentation (10%) and at the midterm (10%). Instructors will also evaluate each student at the midterm presentation (25%) and at the final presentation (25%). Student learning will be assessed against the learning objectives defined for this course.

Preparatory Reading for Class 1

Virchow, RC:  Excerpts from Report on the Typhus Epidemic in Upper Silesia

Starr, P:  The Social Origins of Professional Sovereignty, in The Social Transformation of American Medicine

(pages 1-29)

Gittleman, S:  Entrepreneurial University:  The Transformation of Tufts, 1976-2002, A New View of Health, pages 107-112.