Use of interactive sessions and e-learning in teaching anatomy to first-year optometry students



Students enrolled in the Optometry program at the University of Manchester are required to take a functional anatomy course during the first year of their studies. Low mean scores in the written examination of this unit for the past two academic years energized staff to rethink the teaching format. Interactive sessions lasting 20 minutes each were introduced during the two hour lecture sessions. In these sessions students reinforced their anatomical knowledge learned in lectures, through playing games such as anatomy bingo and solving anatomical anagrams. In addition, five e-learning modules were also introduced for students to complete in their own time. A pre- and postcourse questionnaire were distributed to obtain student views on their expectations of the course and interactive sessions. Comparisons were made between written examination results from 2008 to 2009 to written examination results from the previous five academic years to see if the interactive sessions and e-learning modules had any impact on student knowledge. In addition, comparisons were made between student performances on the functional anatomy course with their performance in all of the other assessments taken by the students during their first year of study. Analysis of the questionnaires showed that student's expectations of the course were fulfilled and the interactive sessions were well received by the majority. There was a significant increase (P ≤ 0.01) in the mean examination score in 2008–2009 after introduction of the interactive sessions and e-learning modules compared with scores in previous years. The introduction of interactive sessions has increased student enjoyment of the module and along with the e-learning modules have had a positive impact on student examination results. Anat Sci Educ 3:39–45, 2010. © 2009 American Association of Anatomists.