The Pandemic's Impact on Education: How Does Learning and Teaching Anatomy Online Compare to Face-To-Face Instruction?
The institutions that train our future medical providers and healthcare specialists consider an anatomy course with cadaver dissection a necessary cornerstone of the educational process. Currently, there are those who are committed to this traditional teaching approach and those who seek to augment or replace the anatomy experience with hi-tech resources. The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the performance of a participant group (i.e., physician assistant students enrolled in a fully online anatomy course) against a nonequivalent comparison group (i.e., physician assistant students that completed a lecture-based class with a cadaver lab). In addition, following the completion of the online-only anatomy course, a Likert-scale survey instrument was used to determine the online students' comprehensive perception of their non-traditional experience within this study's two frameworks: technology acceptance and the multimodal model of online education. Regarding performance, the course delivery method yielded no significant difference on a standardized comprehensive anatomy exam between the participant and the nonequivalent groups. The Likert-scale assessment, within the TAM framework, demonstrated a conclusive connection between the participants and the technology. Additionally, the survey responses regarding instructors/teaching, learning experience, assessments, and overall satisfaction, revealed positive participant perceptions of the course core elements. In summary, the quantitative data – student performance on a comprehensive exam and Likert-scale survey results – reveal that online anatomy is an acceptable surrogate for face-to-face anatomy with a cadaveric component.