Screenshot of www.wikivet.net home page
Type of site
WikiVet is a wiki of veterinary content based on the MediaWiki platform. The project is a collaborative initiative involving veterinary schools between UK and international veterinary schools. It provides a comprehensive online knowledge base which covers the entire veterinary curriculum, and is a reliable reference source for veterinary students, nurses and graduates anywhere in the world. The WikiVet project is now part of the WikiVet Educational Foundation (registered charity number 1160546) which was established in February 2015.
WikiVet's principle objectives are:
- To provide a comprehensive knowledge base covering all aspects of veterinary science for all domestic species;
- To address the entire veterinary and related curriculum in order to provide a reliable and trusted resource for students anywhere in the world;
- To use the new opportunities offered by e-learning to support professional lifelong learning;
- To foster a new community of veterinary educators, learners and practitioners using social media with a common interest in veterinary education;
- To create a sustainable model which ensures the long term viability and growth of the site.
A feature of WikiVet is the level of cooperation involved between academics at different schools and the direct involvement of students. The project grew out of existing collaborations between veterinary schools, and over 40 student and graduate authors have worked, or are working, together writing most of the content which is then reviewed by recent graduates and/or experts in a specific field.
Although WikiVet is created in a similar way to Wikipedia, there are three distinct differences between the two. Apart from the content relating specifically to the veterinary curriculum, articles are peer reviewed by subject specialists, and access to parts of the site is restricted to the veterinary community. This ensures accuracy of information and reflects the sensitive nature of much of the content.
WikiVet was established in 2007 to provide online access to a comprehensive veterinary curriculum. The consortium was initially formed by three UK veterinary schools (the Royal Veterinary College, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies University of Edinburgh and the Department of Veterinary Medicine University of Cambridge) and was subsequently joined by Nottingham. It has now grown to include over 15 additional associated academic institutions as well as forming a close association with parts of the commercial veterinary sector. WikiVet now has a registered user base of over 45,000 members of whom about 60% are veterinary students from over 100 countries around the world.
The WikiVet site provides an extensive knowledge base supported by interactive learning materials. This pedagogical mix of online resources has been developed based on feedback from veterinary educators and focus groups of learners. This mix has evolved with time from a multi-user generated wiki to a more complex learning package integrating curriculum resources with supplementary text and references provided by an employed team of authors. The site now has one of the largest veterinary collection of educational resources on the web. WikiVet continues to grow and now offers registered users free access to:
- Over 5,000 assets comprising text, diagrams and images covering topics relevant to veterinary basic sciences, clinical medicine, veterinary nursing and the general public
- Flashcards with links to WikiVet pages and commercial textbooks
- A database of over 300 Multiple choice questions and feedback authored by subject experts
- A comprehensive set of drag and drop exercises on a wide range of topics
- A Facebook site and linked Twitter feed with regular updates and links to the site
- Spanish and French sub sites with a subset of translated content
- A video database including over 200 veterinary videos to enhance site content
- Links to key references and full text articles through the CABI database
WikiVet has been dependent on the generosity of a large number of organisations committed to supporting veterinary education. These include Mars Petcare, the Higher Education Academy, RCVS Trust, Pfizer Global Alliances, Ceva, and the Donkey Sanctuary who have all provided funding. Other organisations which have assisted with providing content and support including Elsevier, CRC Publishing, CABI, IVIS and VetPrep. In addition colleagues and students at all the collaborating veterinary schools have been fundamental to the projects success. Finally the site has been dependent on the good will and time of numerous volunteer students and academics around the world.