CREATING A MODEL MODULE FOR THE NOVEL RESOURCE DMU E-PARASITOLOGY

A. Peña-Fernández1, M.D. Ollero2, S. Fenoy2, A. Magnet2, F. Izquierdo2, M.A. Peña3, F. Bornay4, L. Acosta4, L.A. Parker4, T. Sgamma1, C. Del Águila2

1School of Allied Health Sciences, De Montfort University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad San Pablo CEU (SPAIN)
3Universidad de Alcalá, Departamento de Ciencias Biomédicas (SPAIN)
4Universidad Miguel Hernández (SPAIN)
The study of parasitology has become essential to build future health care professionals with skills to respond to public health threats such as the recent outbreaks due to Cryptosporidium spp. or Giardia in the United Kingdom (UK). To facilitate the teaching of parasitology, which negligible across the different undergraduate and taught masters degrees at De Montfort University (DMU, Leicester, UK), a group from different EU Universities [DMU and the Spanish universities: University of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU) and University Miguel Hernández], clinicians and practising Biomedical Scientists from the UK National Health Service are developing an on-line package for teaching and learning parasitology named DMU e-Parasitology. This package will have three sections or modules: a theoretical module with mini e-learning units to study major human parasites such as Leishmania spp. or malaria; a virtual laboratory module with units to enhance the learning and study of parasitic diseases such as culture of parasites, staining and use of light microscope to identify these organisms or molecular techniques for the identification of parasites to species level; and a virtual microscope with a real slide collection of clinical samples of parasites. The e-Parasitology resource is being created for undergraduate/postgraduate human health science students, with corresponding degrees of difficulty. Units will include a tool to assess the learning process of the students, in form of a quiz, activity and/or exam, and several formative activities throughout each mini-module. The development of this teaching resource will cover a gap in the traditional teaching and learning methods that are currently used and provided in the participating Universities. The DMU e-Parasitology will aid to our undergraduate students to gain a significant knowledge in parasitology by promoting self-learning. A unit related with Toxocara, a helmintiasis with prevalence rates that can reach as high as 40% or more in different parts of the world, was firstly developed to use as a model for the development of the DMU e-Parasitology. Three undergraduate students that studied parasitology during the first term in 2016/17 [n=27; 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits (ECTS); 3rd year module] from the bilingual Pharmacy and Biotechnology degree at USP-CEU were voluntarily recruited to provide comprehensive feedback for this model unit at the beginning of the second term. This unit was tested with these students because of their comprehensive knowledge of parasitology. Students described it as interactive and presenting the appropriate content and resources to study the parasitic disease addressed (toxocariasis). Limitations were the poor navigability in the formative exercise section and the excessive information provided in some slides that could hinder their understanding. The team has addressed these limitations and is using this unit as a model to build the DMU e-Parasitology, which will be accessible through the DMU website (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk) in 2018. We consider that this teaching and learning resource will overcome barriers of time, space, equipment and resources; and may help students and scientists around the world in the diagnostic of different parasitic diseases that impact human health.