• gross anatomy education;
  • discussion boards;
  • chat rooms;
  • online peer assessment;
  • anatomical research;
  • undergraduate education;
  • e-learning


Transferable skills such as team working, communication, information gathering, critical thinking, and peer assessment are essential for graduates seeking employment in the competitive jobs market. Use of online discussion boards have grown to allow students to communicate with each other at a time and location of their choosing. This study aimed to develop transferable skills using specially developed online components supported by discussion boards and chat rooms. Students enrolled in the Human Anatomy and Histology module at the University of Manchester were put into groups of six or seven students (26 groups in total). Two e-learning components were constructed to develop transferable skills. Each group had a discussion board and chat room available to assist communication in completion of the components. Peer marking was also done on this media. Data collected showed the discussion boards were heavily utilized (average number of posts per group was 48). Eighty-three percent of students found the discussion boards useful to complete the tasks. Students felt their team building and critical analysis skills had improved. Peer assessment was well received by students. Using online discussion boards proved an excellent way to develop transferable skills in a large group of science students. Anat Sci Educ. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.