Anatomy Revealed-Sensory

  • Gould, Douglas (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Human anatomy and physiology are complex and difficult subjects for students when typically first encountered in college coursework. The complexity arises from the functional interactions of multiple organ systems; the difficulty from an extensive and unique terminology and intricate spatial relationships, issues that are common to many basic science courses. One limitation to learning stems from the mode of presentation, which consists typically of static images of artists' two-dimensional illustrations or abstract diagrams. Another is the limited, or complete lack of access to human cadavers in college level anatomy and neuroscience classes. Combined with a shrinking supply of qualified faculty (National Research Council, 1998), there is clear a need for alternative teaching and learning experiences. The long-term goal for this project is to design, develop and evaluate interactive, multimedia educational programs that help students efficiently learn and understand human gross anatomy, neuroanatomy and physiology. When fully developed, the educational material will explore the gross anatomy, histology and function of the sensory portion of the nervous system. The specific aims of this proof-of-concept proposal (a collaboration between the Medical College of Ohio, Owens State Community College, Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky and California Institute of Technology) are: • Develop a prototype that focuses on one sensory system, i.e., visual system, using interactive multimedia elements. • Conduct a pilot test to evaluate of the prototype usability and impact on student learning with the intended audience of undergraduate students and instructors. • Report findings of the evaluation and communicate information about prototype to professional community. With Anatomy Revealed - Sensory Systems (and its prototype), students will be able to (1) explore interrelationships between nervous system structures using a dynamic, interactive learning program, (2) appreciate how the material is relevant to their personal life, as well as basic human biology and health, and (3) test their knowledge and progress using both formative and summative feedback. In addition, since college instructors of human anatomy and physiology rarely have human anatomical material available, the software will serve as a "virtual cadaver" to help make these complex systems more easily understandable. While these learning tools will be useful to many students, the highly visual and interactive tutorial approach will meet the needs of a variety of learning styles. The three evaluation sites - Kentucky State University (KSU), University of Kentucky and Owens State Community College - have diverse student populations. KSU, founded originally as a "School for Colored Persons," typically has a student body divided equally between African American and Caucasian students. KSU, while continuing its role as a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), also fulfills a unique mission as a small, liberal arts institution that serves a range of students, including those from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. An effective prototype will provide a complete intellectual framework for understanding a complex organ system. The visual system, as with the other sensory systems, are the means by which humans interact with the environment and, therefore, an understanding of their functional properties is easily appreciated. In a broader sense, the educational material is expected to contribute to increasing the overall science literacy of citizens, especially health education. Regardless of whether individuals pursue a career in science or medicine, in a complex, technological society there is a national need for citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own health care, as well as for decisions affecting national health.
Effective start/end date4/1/053/31/06


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