Student perceptions of an upper-level, undergraduate human anatomy laboratory course without cadavers


  • Shirley J. Wright

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio
    • Department of Biology, University of Dayton, 300 College Park Avenue, Dayton, OH 45469-2320, USA
    Search for more papers by this author


Several programs in health professional education require or are considering requiring upper-level human anatomy as prerequisite for their applicants. Undergraduate students are confronted with few institutions offering such a course, in part because of the expense and logistical issues associated with a cadaver-based human anatomy course. This study describes the development of and student reactions to an upper-level human anatomy laboratory course for undergraduate students that used a regional approach and contemporary, alternative teaching methods to a cadaver-based course. The alternative pedagogy to deliver the curriculum included use of commercially available, three-dimensional anatomical virtual dissection software, anatomical models coupled with a learning management system to offer Web-based learning, and a new laboratory manual with collaborative exercises designed to develop the student's anatomical skills and collaborative team skills. A Likert-scale survey with open-ended questions was used to ascertain student perceptions of the course and its various aspects. Students perceived that the noncadaver-based, upper-level human anatomy course with an engaging, regional approach is highly valuable in their learning of anatomy. anatomy. Anat Sci Educ. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.