January 6, 2020
Victoria Turgeon, PhD, has been sharing her passion of neurobiology and anatomy with students of Furman University for 21 years now. Similar to most universities, the anatomy students at Furman did not have access to a cadaver lab. Even though they had a number of anatomical resources compiled over the years, getting students to truly appreciate the 3-dimensional aspects of human anatomy with respect to spatial relationships was proving difficult.
"We chose BodyViz for several reasons. One of which was the access to so many virtual bodies. This has enabled me to show that typical anatomy is what is taught in textbooks, but there are many variations in what can still be considered normal, functional anatomy."
The other aspect of our 3D anatomy solutions that appealed to Dr. Turgeon was the interaction with anatomy while performing a virtual dissection. Multiple students can dissect the same body to locate a specific anatomical structure and each student will find the structure in a different, unique way. This hands-on approach enables students to truly make the connections between how the body is built and the relationships that structures have to one another.
Anatomy students at all levels are utilizing BodyViz in various ways. One application of BodyViz is in review – both at the start of class to teach basic anatomy and by students in their own time. Additionally, undergraduate students will work in small groups using BodyViz to identify structures on pre-selected bodies. They undergo group projects related to a particular condition, find the anomaly, save screenshots and build a presentation for class. They then present this information to their classmates and discuss how the anomaly would affect function and symptoms.
Certain graduate students have a bit more time and can explore the BodyViz features further. For example, Bodyviz is used to supplement the anatomy portion of primary literature papers by showcasing structures that aren’t normally available to the students. Additionally, each student will build a case study around a particular anatomy topic to present and virtually dissect for the class using BodyViz.
BodyViz has allowed Furman to surmount their previous limitations in two major ways.
- Student attitude and self-study
The students love BodyViz and they are excited to use it. As we know, attitude is of critical importance in education, and the ability to increase morale about learning is extremely valuable. Something else we found really cool is that students have now been found in the lab at all hours of the day and night engaged in self-study because of the BodyViz solutions. So, not only are the students more excited to learn, but they are also more likely to take responsibility and study on their own.
Increased student engagement from BodyViz is something Furman faculty have also observed. BodyViz is instinctively an engaging resource. However, Dr. Turgeon has truly maximized the impact in her classes by incorporating the group / class dissection activities. BodyViz is also accessible to students at all hours of the day, providing additional learning opportunities.
Both of these limitations are major hurdles that professors struggle with every day in every field. As such, any progress made to consistently improve those categories is a massive step forward.
Furman, like so many other universities, wanted better access to real human anatomy resources. After implementing BodyViz they were able to achieve just that. BodyViz allowed for a hands-on approach to teach real human anatomy, improve student engagement, and assist in projects to best help student apply education to clinical practice.