During these last 3 weeks, the Toxicology students have had the fourth course already: Laboratory Animal Science for Researchers – Rodents and Lagomorphs. As a tradition, this blog will let you –future student – get the chance to know how the courses at KI work before actually getting here. This course was a bit different from the traditional ones. It was a mixed course with the Biomedicine and Toxicology students. This meant a bigger class and new faces.
The course was organized with different activities:
- An online self-study course. It was based on online modules -this means no teachers for almost 3 weeks – that dealt with several topics from Swedish legislation and ethics to anesthesia or genetically modified animals. You had to go through 15 modules including pictures and videos and then complete several online assessment tests. However, these last tests are optional but they are worth 20% of the final grade.
- Group task designing an animal experiment. In groups of 4-5 people mixed from Toxicology and Biomedicine we had to design a study plan that included laboratory animals. Diverse topics, including depression models to cancer, were analyzed. The main focus was on the need of using laboratory animals, alternative methods and guarantying the animal´s welfare.
- Laboratory skills. For most of the students, the most exciting part of the course. Many of us did not have previous experience with laboratory animals so this was something completely new. The Toxicology students worked with rats and Biomedicine students with mice. Luckily for us, the rats ended up being incredibly loving animals that were amazing to work with, and we learned how to appreciate them. Several handling and restraining techniques were practiced to understand basic procedures that will allow us to work with these animals in the near future.
- Final exam. Based on all the information learned from the lectures and focused on logical thinking.
In general, it was an interesting and different type of course to which I was not used to. The work load was acceptable and the fact that most of the course is based on online learning gives you the chance to organize your time as you please. In fact, many of the students used this valuable time to travel and visit new places. However, it really depends on how well you organize your time at home, which in the end can be a bit dangerous if you love to procrastinate and you leave everything for the last moment!
Also, by completing this course you get the new EU Directive certificate to work with laboratory animals (equivalent to a FELASA B certificate). This will be of great use if you are planning to work with laboratory animals in your master thesis or future studies!