Novel and innovative approaches to teaching human anatomy classes in an online environment during a pandemic

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the current situation with a worldwide pandemic, the use of online teaching has become critical. This is difficult in the context of human anatomy, a subject contingent primarily on the use of human cadaveric tissues for learning through face-to-face practical laboratory sessions. Although anatomy has been taught using online resources including 3D models and anatomy applications, feedback from students and academic staff does not support the replacement of face-to-face teaching. At Charles Sturt University, we were obligated to cancel all classes on-campus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We ran exclusive online anatomy practical classes replacing classes usually run on campus. We designed an alternative program that consisted of twenty pre-recorded videos that were prepared in the anatomy laboratory using cadaveric tissues, and then discussed in live (and interactive) tutorials. Furthermore, innovative approaches to learning were shown and encouraged by the lecturer. Student survey responses indicated a positive response to both the anatomical videos and the innovative learning approaches. The results obtained by students showed a statistically significant increase in high distinctions and marked decrease in the amount of fail grades, compared with the previous three years (not online). The use of these videos and the encouragement of innovative learning approaches was a novel experience that will add valuable experiences for improved practice in online anatomy teaching. We propose that online anatomy videos of cadavers combined with innovative approaches are an efficient and engaging approach to replace face-to-face anatomy teaching under the current contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703–1713
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Science Educator
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021


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