ANATOMICAL SCIENCES EDUCATION
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An online section of a face-to-face (F2F) undergraduate (bachelor's level) anatomy course with a prosection laboratory was offered in 2013-2014. Lectures for F2F students (353) were broadcast to online students (138) using Blackboard Collaborate (BBC) virtual classroom. Online laboratories were offered using BBC and three-dimensional (3D) anatomical computer models. This iteration of the course was modified from the previous year to improve online student-teacher and student-student interactions. Students were divided into laboratory groups that rotated through virtual breakout rooms, giving them the opportunity to interact with three instructors. The objectives were to assess student performance outcomes, perceptions of student-teacher and student-student interactions, methods of peer interaction, and helpfulness of the 3D computer models. Final grades were statistically identical between the online and F2F groups. There were strong, positive correlations between incoming grade average and final anatomy grade in both groups, suggesting prior academic performance, and not delivery format, predicts anatomy grades. Quantitative student perception surveys (273 F2F; 101 online) revealed that both groups agreed they were engaged by teachers, could interact socially with teachers and peers, and ask them questions in both the lecture and laboratory sessions, though agreement was significantly greater for the F2F students in most comparisons. The most common methods of peer communication were texting, Facebook, and meeting F2F. The perceived helpfulness of the 3D computer models improved from the previous year. While virtual breakout rooms can be used to adequately replace traditional prosection laboratories and improve interactions, they are not equivalent to F2F laboratories.
Available for download on Friday, November 01, 2019