Teaching bovine abdominal anatomy: Use of a haptic simulator

Authors

  • Tierney Kinnison,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    • The LIVE Centre, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Neil David Forrest,

    1. Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Stephen Philip Frean,

    1. Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sarah Baillie

    1. Lifelong and Independent Veterinary Education, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Traditional methods of teaching anatomy to undergraduate medical and veterinary students are being challenged and need to adapt to modern concerns and requirements. There is a move away from the use of cadavers to new technologies as a way of complementing the traditional approaches and addressing resource and ethical problems. Haptic (touch) technology, which allows the student to feel a 3D computer-generated virtual environment, provides a novel way to address some of these challenges. To evaluate the practicalities and usefulness of a haptic simulator, first year veterinary students at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, were taught basic bovine abdominal anatomy using a rectal palpation simulator: “The Haptic Cow.” Over two days, 186 students were taught in small groups and 184 provided feedback via a questionnaire. The results were positive; the majority of students considered that the simulator had been useful for appreciating both the feel and location of key internal anatomical structures, had helped with their understanding of bovine abdominal anatomy and 3D visualization, and the tutorial had been enjoyable. The students were mostly in favor of the small group tutorial format, but some requested more time on the simulator. The findings indicate that the haptic simulator is an engaging way of teaching bovine abdominal anatomy to a large number of students in an efficient manner without using cadavers, thereby addressing some of the current challenges in anatomy teaching. Anat Sci Educ 2: 280–285, 2009. © 2009 American Association of Anatomists

Ancillary