Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Assessment Outcomes: Computerized Instruction in a Human Gross Anatomy Course

Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Assessment Outcomes: Computerized Instruction in a Human Gross Anatomy Course

Article excerpt

New and traditional educational media were used to study alternative methods of instruction in a human gross anatomy course. Three consecutive entry-level physical therapy (PT) classes (55 students total) participated in this study. No other anatomy course was available to these students during this time. During the first year, all entering PT students (n = 18) completed a traditional cadaver anatomy course. This traditional group attended weekly lectures and dissection laboratories for 15 weeks. During the second year, the next entering class of PT students (n = 17) completed a self-study, computerized noncadaver anatomy course. This self-study group attended an introductory session to receive course objectives and instruction in using the computer package chosen for the study. After the introductory session, this group worked independently for the remainder of their 15-week course. During the third year, the entering class of PT students (n = 20) attended weekly lectures and completed a self-study, computerized non-- cadaver laboratory course. This lecture and self-study group attended an introductory session to review course objectives and receive instruction in using the computer package. For the remainder of their 15-week course, this group attended a weekly lecture and worked independently on the computer for the laboratory portion of their course. All groups kept time logs, recording class and study time for each day of the course. The time logs were collected on the last day of each course. Each group's performance in anatomy-based system courses was followed through the remainder of their PT curricula, including clinical rotations, and through the completion of the state board licensure examination. Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance and a Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance. There was no significant difference in anatomy course class means, class study times, performance throughout the remainder of the PT curricula, and performance on the state board licensure examination. The results of this study suggest that computerized self-study techniques may be a viable alternative to traditional cadaver laboratory and instruction in human gross anatomy courses. Plans for future study include the continued use of lecture and com

puterized study and the use of a supplemental bone and radiology laboratory. J Allied Health. 2002; 31: 153-158.

HUMAN GROSS ANATOMY has been a traditional course of study within physical therapy (PT) curricula. Typically, gross anatomy for PT students has been taught through a lecture and laboratory format, wherein the lecture component presented the didactic material and the laboratory component provided dissection of a human cadaver. PT students used multiple senses in their study of the human body. Students heard about, viewed, smelled, and felt the human cadaver as they studied the bones, muscles, neurovascular structures, and organs that comprise the human body. Student study and understanding were enhanced further by the use of skeletons, disarticulated bones, anatomic models, and radiographs of the human body, enabling the students to study the human body from the superficial skin surface inward to the bones.

Today, as a result of various factors, gross anatomy courses for PT students are changing. These factors include increasing numbers of students, rising costs of offering such courses, difficulty in procuring cadavers, location and availability of off-site cadaver laboratories, lack of laboratory and storage space, concerns about known and unknown diseases carried by cadavers, and the rigidity of cadaver tissue versus the flexibility of living tissue when pulled on and moved. In 1993, Mattingly and Barnes' surveyed 103 PT programs in the United States. PT programs reported a 64.8% increase in cost for cadaver procurement for the previous 3 years. In an attempt to control costs, these programs used cadavers for more than one anatomy course or used cadavers for more than 1 year. …

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