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Type: Conference item
Title: Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? Results from the Chicken & Egg e-Sim 2009
Author: Hazel, S.
Chew, F.
Lawson, T.
Carrington, A.
Baron, J.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010
Publisher: The University of Adelaide
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Department: Centre for Learning and Professional Development
Abstract: Decisions made relating to animal treatment in a society are complex, with science, culture, economics, politics, and ethics all having an impact. This complexity can be difficult for students to appreciate, but in a course teaching animal welfare and animal ethics is important to try to help them to grasp. Use of online roleplays, such as the Mekong e-Sim, can help students actively engage in complex issues (Maier 2007). The Chicken & Egg e-Sim was developed to enable active participation by students in a decision-making process related to animals. A total of 132 first year BSc(An Sci) and BSc(Pre-vet) students enrolled in ‘Principles in Animal Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics’ participated in the e-Sim in 2009. Learning objectives included to: • gain an understanding of the complexity of decision-making involving how animals are treated • improve team work and IT skills The scenario was based on a fictitious new development of battery caged layer sheds in SA. Tax payer dollars are allocated to the project, but when the State Government finds a budget shortfall a Public Inquiry was announced. Students represented stakeholder groups (e.g. Australian Egg Corporation Ltd, RSPCA), media groups, or a decisionmaking group (4 students/group). Stakeholder submissions were posted on a Discussion Board, followed by debate with groups trying to enhance their own position and to discredit other groups. The Decision-Maker group then released their final decision onto a Discussion Board and had to defend it. Students finally stepped outside their role for a Debriefing to reflect on what had happened. Assessment comprised 40% of the total course mark, including group and individual components. Quizzes completed prior to the Public Inquiry ensured students were familiar with methods of egg production, and the organisations represented in the e-Sim. The Research Skill Development (RSD) framework was used to design assessment rubrics. Two e-Sims were run simultaneously due to student numbers. A total of 858 entries on Group Forums in e-Sim A (n=64 students) and 608 entries in e-Sim B (n=57 students) were made. The Public Inquiry Discussion Board resulted in 328 and 186 entries in e-Sim A and B, respectively. Thus high levels of participation were achieved. Questions relating to the Chicken & Egg e-Sim were given in a specific SELT. There was 72% broad agreement in reply to ‘I felt actively involved in the e-Sim’ and ‘The Chicken & Egg e-Sim helped me to understand the complexity of decisionmaking in relation to animal welfare.’ Only 31% broad agreement occurred with the question ‘My IT skills have improved’ which may relate to early teething problems getting students on to the Moodle. An encouraging response was a 59% broad agreement in response to ‘My personal viewpoint has been changed.’ The Chicken & Egg e-Sim achieved high levels of student participation. Over half the students agreed their attitudes had changed following the e-Sim, the strongest endorsement of student engagement and learning. With further refinements the e-Sim can be improved, with the possibility of being taken up by other institutions interested in teaching animal welfare and ethics.
Rights: Copyright © 2010 The University of Adelaide
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Centre for Learning and Professional Development publications

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