Teaching Human Anatomy Classes Online

Claudia Diaz, Matthew Gill, Emily Flint

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Although there is a growing interest in online teaching in higher education, this has been more difficult in the area of human anatomy that depends primarily on the use of human cadaveric tissues for learning through face-to-face practical laboratory sessions. Online laboratories using computer models have been reported (Attardi and Rogers, 2015; Attardi et al., 2018), however, greater results and feedback were obtained using wet laboratory sessions (Mathiowetz et al., 2016; Langfield et al., 2018). Although students consider online anatomy resources valuable (Green et al., 2018), their value in replacing face-to-face campus teaching is not supported (Swinnerton et al., 2017).

Anatomy is a complex three dimensional subject with a variety of learning challenges and it is clear that students engage with and learn effectively through a combination of teaching and learning methodologies. Innovative combinatorial approaches to learning anatomy that improve student engagement and learning outcomes have been reported previously (Diaz, 2013, 2015). In light of the current situation with a worldwide pandemic, the use of online teaching has become more important. At Charles Sturt University (CSU), we ran exclusive online anatomy practical classes for the Residential School that is usually run on campus. We pre-recorded thirteen videos in the anatomy laboratory. Videos were then discussed in special live tutorials during the Residential week. We then recorded an extra seven videos to cover the last four weeks of classes for session two. These were uploaded week-by-week. This has been a novel experience that will add valuable experiences for improved practice in anatomy teaching. We propose that online anatomy videos are an efficient and engaging approach to replace face-to-face anatomy teaching under the current circumstances. This work will provide experimentation with new online teaching techniques and reshape learning and teaching spaces to build new experiences for students and staff.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCharles Sturt University EdEx Conference
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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