Vector-borne Disease Control

Common Course ID: Vector-borne Disease Control (HSCI 4503)
CSUSB Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

Abstract: This open textbook is being utilized in a course for Health Science majors, senior students students by Mahmood Nikbakhtzadeh at California State University San Bernardino.  

About the Textbook

Textbook Title: Biology of Disease Vectors

Description: Biology of Disease Vectors presents a comprehensive and advanced discussion of disease vectors and what the future may hold for their control. This edition examines the control of disease vectors through topics such as general biological requirements of vectors, epidemiology, physiology and molecular biology, genetics, principles of control and insecticide resistance. Methods of maintaining vectors in the laboratory are also described in detail.

Authors: Marquardt W.C. (Ed.). 2004. Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, MA. 785 pp.

Cost savings:  First the textbook cost is really considerable ($458.00 for hardcover and $133.00 for E-book) and I knew most of my students were not in the position to spend hundreds of Dollars to obtain this textbook. Most of my students work with the minimum wage at the same time as studying and paying this much was really hard for them. We are in the COVID time and I assumed some might have even lost their jobs. 

Hardcover copy saving: $ 3,664.00
E-book copy saving: $ 1,064.00

On the other hand, however the textbook was a good one, it was very detailed and some chapters of the textbook was not that much fit to my syllabus and also the needs of my students. I also wanted to emphasize on a couple of issues, like control of vertebrate pests which was not covered that well in the textbook. Therefore, I decided to prepare my own materials using "Open Educational Resources". 

Accessibility and diversity statement: I have composed my whole course using open resources (OERs). All are easily available to students. I have even designed my course in a way that other than link to further study, no student need to look for other sources to learn the subjects of the course. I have brought plenty of examples and have added from my own experience and research. Wherever possible, I brought tangible examples, something from our own community, County, state or country so students can easily connect with the subject. 


About the Course

Course Number: HSCI 4503 

Description:  The course is concentrated over the control of vertebrate and invertebrate vectors of human diseases and those pests who make nuisance to human.
My HSCI 4503 course in fall 2020 was not based on any textbook, but I collected the content from variety of OERs, especially the open-source book "Arthropods of Public Health Significance in California". This is a book published by California Department of Public Health in 201 pages (2002 edition).

Prerequisites: HSCI 3052 (Principles of Environmental Health) is a major course and the college-level coursework in chemistry or consent of instructor

GE credit: 4 units
Syllabus available here:
Topics discussed in this course include:
1. Introductory terminology
2. Pathogens: viruses, bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoans, nematodes and other worms
3. Fundamentals of entomology
4. Insect systematics|
5. Insect internal and external morphology
6. Insect physiology
7. Vector structure, function and development
8. Vector bionomics, behavior and competence 9. Control methods: chemical, non-chemical & IPM/IVM
10. Pesticides: History, classification, toxicology and vector resistance
11. Pesticide application: methods and equipment
12. Mosquitoes: (Diptera: Culicidae)
13. Simuliidae, Psychodidae, Ceratopogonidae and Chironomidae 

14. Biting and non-biting flies and myiasis
15. Anoplura, Siphonaptera, Blattaria, Hemiptera and others
16. Medical Acarina: Ticks and mites
17. Miscellaneous stinging and biting arthropods, e.g., scorpions, spiders, centipedes, etc.
18. Vertebrate vectors: Wild rodents, rats, mice
19. Bats, birds and snakes

Learning outcomes:
Students will be able to:
1. Understand the biology and ecology of major vectors of disease, including host-parasite-vector interactions. 

2. Understand the principles of integrated vector management.
3. Discuss the human health implications of chemicals used in vector control.
4. Know the efficacy, selectivity and environmental compatibility of pesticides.
5. Describe biological and other non-chemical methods of vector control.
6. Gain hands-on experience in vector identification, sampling techniques and tools used in the surveillance and control of disease vectors. 

Curricular changes:
I changed the syllabus to achieve this adoption. As indicated above, I removed the need for a specific textbook and replaced that with materials gathered from many OERs. The sequence of course topics were rearranged and added to the syllabus. Wherever possible, I brought the chapter number of the previous textbook in front of topic of each session to link my provided OER with the old content. Learning activities include class discussion, group assignments, student class presentations and integrating examples from my own research and prior experience into the course and for further explanation/discussion. I lowered the weight of conventional exams (midterm and final) in the course and increased the weight of assignments like paper composition, class discussion, class presentation and engagement in discussions to better fit with the OER usage. 

Teaching and learning impacts:

Collaborate more with other faculty : Yes definitely. Now, I use a wider array of internet-based resources. I have also discussed teaching materials with my colleagues who also use OER texts.
Use wider range of teaching materials: Yes
Student learning improved : Yes. I believe my students' performance is really better. This time, the lowest grade in my class was B+, while majority of students graded as A or A-
Student retention improved : Yes, of course. Nobody dropped the course and nobody was at risk throughout the semester. 
Any unexpected results: No. I think overall I could manage a smooth transition, however, it was very time consuming and very labor-intensive. 

Textbook Adoption

OER Adoption Process

I browsed OER resources until I found ones which were fit to my class. Once I identified an OER resource, I evaluated the content to see how this might contribute to my course. These resources include a few books, published by professional organizations or state government, and are available to the public. I chose part of my course materials from these books. One example is: "Arthropods of Public Health Significance in California". This is a book published by California Department of Public Health in 201 pages (2002 edition). 

Another resource of mine were open source journal articles. I prepared a summary of such papers, cited them in my presentations and integrated them into my teaching materials. 

The third type of resources that was extensively used for preparation of my course materials was "Technical Publications", is often published by the extension departments of various universities and are open to public. One good example of such publications are those prepared by IFAS University of Florida Extension. They contain up-to-date materials on various groups of vectors and pests and transfer information in an straight forward, easy to learn language.   

Challenges experienced: The main challenge I faced with was the vast topics of the course. Therefore, I had to spend too much time to find a suitable resource for my class. None of the OER resources could completely cover a topic, so I had to use multiple resources to successfully cover one single topic. 

The other challenge was lack of good pictures or videos. The course had a lab too, and in the absence of a real lab session, because of the COVID-19 shut down, I had to find other educational means to compensate the lack of laboratory training. I searched many resources, including the videos at CSUSB library, and finally was able to put together required audio-visuals and pictures to cover most of the lab topics. 

Student Population:  Most of my students had an "Environmental Health Science" major and one was from the "Public Health Education" major. Some of them are going to graduate in Fall 2020 and some will be graduated in 2021. Since they are in the last year of their undergraduate education, they have already passed a wide range of courses in Environmental and Public Health Sciences. This course, Vector-borne Disease Control, though was a rather new one to them and they never had another course on Entomology, Medical Entomology, Insect Systematics, Insect Morphology & Physiology and Pest Control. Because of no background in these fields, I had to first discuss all those fields in brief and integrate their required concepts in my course materials. Without that I was not able to focus on the core of the course, "Control of Various Groups of Vectors & Pests". 

Student access: All materials were placed on Blackboard and were easily accessible to students. Further materials to study, in form of PDF, were also added to Blackboard. In some cases link to the materials were provided and posted on Blackboard.

Student feedback or participation:
Share any feedback from students regarding usage of the open textbook. If students participate in open textbook development or formal review, describe here.

Link or upload to student survey results or other student outcome reports here.

Instructor Name Mahmood Nikbakhtzadeh, California State University, San Bernardino

My class included only senior students. This is one of the terminal courses and students need to first pass several prerequisites courses. The vast majority of students were Health Science majors. The students came from a wide range of socio-economic demographics.