This textbook is an amalgamation of three important conversations concerning 1) veterinary student debt, 2) accessible learning materials, and 3) course design of the Comparative Structure and Function of Tissues course (VM6530). Our veterinary students incur a substantial amount of debt in the pursuit of their veterinary medical education. As such, any means by which we can reduce this debt load should be a priority. Further, it was our opinion that available histology textbooks suffered from being either non-veterinary focused, poorly interactive, or poorly adapted to an introductory level histology course. In considering these issues and approaches, it became clear to us that we needed to start from scratch and author a new, interactive and accessible, no-cost textbook.
Veterinary medical education is in a crisis of sorts regarding the student debt of graduates. The Ohio State University’s Office of Distance Education and E-Learning and the Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) program, which “pairs excellence with affordability at Ohio State through grants, research, and faculty outreach”, provided the foundational support for this project. ALX estimates that projects funded by their program will save OSU students approximately $1 million by the end of 2017. Our project proposal was funded by the ALX in Fall 2016. The ALX provided us not only with the funds necessary to produce such an ambitious project, but expertise, experience, organization, creativity and technical support. We would especially like to thank Alexis Duffy (ODEE Educational Technologist), Ashley Miller (ODEE Program Manager, Affordability and Access), and Mike Shiflet (ODEE Educational Technologist) who have given us endless support.
Additionally, we could not have created this book without the support of members of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Melinda Rhodes-DiSalvo was critical to the development of our project proposal and in generating project goals, encouraging us to aim high! Similarly, we are incredibly grateful to Jay Hsiao, Instructional Designer for the OSU CVM Office of Teaching and Learning. Jay was a major driver in the production of this book, and Jay’s technical savvy, enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to creating innovative and valuable learning resources made this possible.
Finally, we would like to thank Dr. Jessica Kendziorski, who not only contributed to the text of this book (The Cell chapter), but took on the time-consuming task of finding representative normal tissues from our extensive archives, photographing representative cells, structures and tissues, and annotating. Her diligence and meticulousness has resulted in many of the beautiful histologic images that adorn this book.