Opportunities and Challenges of Teaching Laboratory Content of a Swine Discipline-focused Course with Limited Swine Access Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract In spring semester, 2020, ANSC 412: Swine Production and Management (4 credits, lecture and laboratory) was offered in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University following a period of nonappearance in the curriculum. Simultaneously, planned renovation of the campus swine teaching farm required depopulation of the existing herd. Hence, animal access for course laboratories was restricted for the 2020 spring and fall semesters. The objective is to present strategies to achieve effective laboratory learning objectives with limited livestock access. Average course enrollment in 2020 spring and fall semesters was 11 students of junior and senior standing. The course laboratory was held for two hours weekly for fifteen weeks. COVID-19 interruption of the spring semester, and arrival of pigs to the campus swine teaching farm in the fall semester, necessitated creation of ten equivalent laboratory sessions per semester. Example laboratory sessions include: panels with swine industry professionals, Pork Quality Assurance version 4.0 certification, virtual farm tours, evaluating genetic merit with National Swine Registry Swine Testing and Genetic Evaluation System EPD data and indexes, understanding least-cost diet formulation with diet formulation software, creating and implementing a Secure Pork Supply enhanced biosecurity plan for the campus swine farm, and multiple case study models of troubleshooting reproductive deficiencies with the US Pork Center of Excellence National Swine Reproduction Guide. Laboratory session execution facilitated achievement of TAMU Department of Animal Science programmatic learning outcomes, specifically: understanding animal breeding programs, animal husbandry, reproductive management, and nutrient conversion, and assessing business models and application of animal management strategies. In future semesters with unrestricted swine access for teaching, live-animal handling will be emphasized in the syllabus, yet preservation of effective classroom-based laboratories will persist. These methods have value for instructors operating without campus swine resources and those whose laboratory content has been impacted by COVID-19 disruption.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Austin, A. G., & Wiegert, J. G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Austin, Adrian G||Wiegert, Jeff G

publication date

  • January 2021