AO Davos Courses 2020 success story

AO VET hosts first-ever online-only “Masters Course—Joint-Related Diseases: Old Myths, New Truths”

21 January 2021

Davos courses online

One hundred and twenty-five participants from around the world—Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America—got master veterinary surgeons’ first-person insights on joint-related diseases during the first-ever fully online AO Davos Courses 2020, December 3–6.

The highly interactive AO VET Masters Course—Joint-Related Diseases: Old Myths, New Truths, taught by 14 renowned faculty members, included 18 hours of lectures, panel discussions, and group discussions. During the course, Past Course Chairperson Bruno Peirone and Assistant Course Chairpersons Philipp Schmierer and Julien Cabassu, continued the discussion on myAO and added useful information, such as scientific papers related to the course topic.

AO VET was also the host of the networking session “Trust, identification, values, and team: the fundamentals of a safe and efficient working environment.” This nonclinical, open access session delivered inspiration, ideas, and practical insights from the cockpit and frontline of a trauma hospital in Germany.

In parallel, the AO’s state-of-the-art virtual environment brought the AO Davos Courses 2020 to life for more than 200 visitors to AO VET’s virtual booth.

In addition, 11 interviews were broadcast on AO TV with AO VET representatives. The wide range of topics included research, fellowship experiences, and community development.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback

Feedback from course participants was overwhelmingly positive.

"I was very skeptical as I heard that this year it is only an online course but then I was suprised by how interactive this event was. This strategy to avoid only a normal lecture webinar was brilliant! Not boring or too long at all!” said Diane Meiler, head of surgery at Anicura Tierklinik Haar, Germany. “It was a perfect mixture of lecture and panel as well as participant discussions. The faculty did a great job of integrating everything in the cases."

Course participant Márcio Poletto Ferreira, from Porto Alegre, Brazil, said AO VET exceeded his expectations.

“I liked the course a lot, mostly the range of subjects addressed during those four days. It was very organized, too. I had been expecting some technical issues, but it didn't happen. The spirit was friendly, with a huge effort to encourage participants to interact. I did my first AO VET course in 2006, in Santiago, Chile. Since then, AO VET has been my first choice for learning and refining my orthopedic skills. In summary, AO VET is the one of the best ways to develop skills and advance your career.”

Faculty member Bianca Hettlich also appreciated the level of interaction.

“I loved how interactive people were in the chat and the wealth of information that could be shared this way,” she said.

‘Spirited discussion and interaction’

Faculty member Mike Kowaleski said the fully online format—and the strategies behind it—laid the foundation for a highly engaging educational event.

“The course content was at a very high level as usual, but for me the most significant learning experience involved the very effective new strategies that were employed in the online format including the virtual panel discussions and small group breakout sessions,” he said. “The blending of state-of-the-art lectures, panel discussions, and small group case discussions allowed spirited discussion and interaction to occur to an extent very similar to that of a live event."
Assistant Course Chair Cabassu called the course “an amazing teaching experience allowing pleasant debates and intimate case discussions between participants and faculty.”

“I enjoyed being part of this course and sharing experience with my friends and colleagues,” he said. “My best learning experience was definitively the first day around the shoulder in which we had great discussions and cases about tendons and ligaments disorders with faculty having a broad experience! It was also the first session and I was very excited to be part of this new course format!”

‘The Davos spirit’

The event was both a teaching and learning experience for Assistant Course Chairperson Schmierer.

"It is always a great experience to be involved as a faculty as with all the teaching that you do, you will always learn new things from participants and peers,” he explained. “Being exposed to so many interesting people all following the same goal, improve our patient care, that’s the Davos spirit.”

Overall, the event’s interaction was intense and satisfying, Course Chair Scharvogel added.

"In addition to the small group case discussions, there were continuous questions and answers (Q & A) going on parallel to the state-of-the-art lectures and panel discussions. Unlike on- site events, where some Q & A occurs at the end of the presentation, all faculty could get involved for real-time Q&A in the online format, resulting in rich and interesting interactions,” the Course Chairperson said. “I was positively impressed with the possibilities the online format had. Participants were just as active and contributive as with on-site events. The continuous presence of most faculty was a plus since it allowed sharing of a huge wealth of experience.” 

Course chairs and faculty

Course Chairperson:
Stefan Scharvogel (Germany)

Past Chairperson:
Bruno Peirone (Italy)

Assistant Course Chairpersons:
Julien Cabassu (France)
Philipp Schmierer (Germany)


International faculty included:

Mark Glyde (Australia)
Michael Kowaleski (United States)
Denis Marcellin-Little (United States)
Christopher Tan (Australia)

Regional faculty included:

Matthew Allen (United Kingdom)
Gareth Arthurs (United Kingdom)
Andreas Fischer (Germany)
Toby Gemmill (United Kingdom)

National faculty included:

Daniel Damur (Switzerland)
Bianca Hettlich (Switzerland)



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