Task force veterinary anatomy : joint efforts of the five German veterinary schools to ensure education during the COVID-19 pandemic
At the start of the COVID-pandemic in March 2020, the Institutes of Veterinary Anatomy of the five German educational institutions were confronted with the challenge of digitalising all lectures for the second and fourth semesters of veterinary students. After an online kick-off event and a preliminary status quo meeting, available digital teaching material was exchanged for students to stream from learning platforms. Lectures were either synchronized or made available as audio recordings and connotated slides on the learning platforms. Fortunately, digital microscopic slides had already been in use, which made it easy for students to access them. Dissection exercises mostly consisted of self-study, using instructive videos and interactive exercises. In the second half of the semester, four of the educational institutions were able to offer a restricted number of in-person gross anatomy classes under reinforced conditions. Success monitoring took place online through different formats, and partially on a voluntary basis, via the learning platforms. Although the past two semesters had to almost exclusively take place online due to the unprecedented circumstances, and joint efforts of the five veterinary institutions, there is a general consensus that the practical education in anatomy, histology and embryology is essential to veterinary students. In fact, it is the only way they can obtain the necessary skills to successfully complete the rest of their degree.