Laptop, notebook and pens
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I am just coming to the end of a six-week course run online by the Royal Veterinary College on anaesthesia and analgesia. I needed a brush-up and it’s pretty much fundamental to every practising vet’s skill set.

Integral to the course are the discussion forums where participants discuss cases both from “real life” and the posed cases in the course under the supervision of the course tutors, who are very laid-back and approachable.

Prior to this course I had thought I could study at my own pace. In my head I had this image of studying the materials over a steaming mug of coffee as the sun streams in through the windows, some music playing quietly over the radio. In my mind’s eye I would occasionally scribble something in to a finely bound notebook, and stick a reference tab on to the edge of a page in the course notes before putting them on a well kept bookshelf.

In my head it’s a perfect world. It’s quiet, the coffee is good. Cats and dogs live together in harmony, rabbits and lambs gambol in the fields and days last as long as you need them to.

In reality, it’s been a bit different…

When the course started everything was fine. The first week was a gentle introduction to the system, how things worked, and established a baseline of anaesthetising a normal healthy patient. Unfortunately, I then missed the next week due to working that week (nights) and a particularly heavy workload – plus the computers at work use Linux, not Windows, and it’s easier-said-than-done to persuade them to run the plug-ins needed.

any-daddyNo problem I’ll catch up the following week, I thought to myself. So I watched the lectures, read the notes, but had to leave the assignments, the tests and the discussion forums until the next week. Then ‘flu saw to it that I wouldn’t catch up and, very quickly, I was weeks behind in the interactive aspects of the course with the half term holidays coming up.

Yes, both of my little joys would be home and any daddy sitting still for more than a heartbeat is, by law, required to read a story, fix something, or play. It makes time management and discipline high on the requirements list – higher than the processor speed and broadband connection, actually.

So. Not nearly as easy as merely paying attention to web lectures and reading the notes. But that is actually a very good thing – it’s about time CPD became more than just daydreaming in a warm lecture theatre as you are bombarded by text slides.

I learned a lot of new things (use of dopamine being one) and got to read a lot of the discussions other people were having. I much prefer this to traditional CPD and it has probably replaced “attendance” CPD for me. Plus, there’s a practical day next week, so I get the best of both worlds.

I mentioned a while ago that I’m “multitasking” due to an awkward confluence of courses; I’m doing the law degree, starting the CertAVP, and doing this CPD course. It’s worked out surprisingly well, but I won’t do it again in a hurry – there have been times I’ve had to submit assignments in order of the potential seriousness of failing, and that’s never good for anyone. eCPD is the future and I like it.

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