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VIRTUAL SPACE FOR THE ANATOMICAL AND CLINICAL STUDY OF EXOTIC ANIMALS

Exotic animals are increasingly important in today's society: social, as pets, and economic importance, by quantity, increasing of Zoos that include these animals as a clear point of interest.

The Degree in Veterinary Medicine has not remained unaffected by this fact. Thus, since 1998, in the Veterinary School of the UCM, a subject called Anatomy of Exotic Animals was implemented, which was followed in successive years by other materials for the study of these animals, from a physiological standpoint to a pharmacological or clinical trial. As an example of these animals' interest, it can be said that since 1998, the number of enrolled students in this subject has been always higher than 90.

This fact gives an idea of the interest of exotic animals in veterinary profession.

Today we try to create an interdisciplinary matter, including biologists and zoologists. It should be considered that there are many professionals devoted to these animals in diverse fields: conservation, reproduction, etc.

The reality of the European Higher Education has promoted two basic concepts: the implementation of a transversal concept in the transmission of knowledge and a different view of understanding college education. Because of this, the present contribution has been developed by teachers and professionals of different Schools and Institutions; Complutense University (School of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences), Faunia and University of Las Palmas (School of Veterinary Medicine). It is a real commitment to open approach and exchange of ideas. It gives UCM students the opportunity to know first hand experiences and content teaching in the Faculty of Veterinary de Las Palmas, and, of course, the same in reverse, with respect to students at Las Palmas.

Up to date, the group has developed nine projects on educational innovation. The last one, which corresponds to the present contribution, is the creation of a virtual space dedicated exclusively to the exotic animals. The authors have profited from the own Virtual Space of Complutense University. Although the main axis is around anatomy and clinical cases, the approach is completely open worldwide and dynamic, including links of interest, chats, quizzes, and so on. There is room for courses, with the corresponding self-assessment for students, resolution of clinical cases, exchange of information with experts from around the world and discussion forums. In summary, the main goal is to give impetus to this new learning culture, which started years ago with the Principles of Bologna Treaty, and facilitate both academic performance and students' professional preparation.

The present work is accessible in English-Spanish version. Both languages are among the most widely spoken in the world, which will facilitate the dissemination of our results.