Virtual Anatomy Lab

[Editor’s Note: This post was written by CTL Faculty Development Coordinator, Marla Cartwright (with help from her web saavy 10 year old daughter!)  Thanks Marla

The University of Ottawa’s Virtual Anatomy Lab, aimed at college-level anatomy students, features an appealing real-person avatar who guides visitors through the site. I really liked the clean-cut overall design and layout of the site. Even though I get the impression this is a work-in-progress, the site is fairly intuitive to navigate. I asked my younger daughter, who has a real affinity for all things body-related, to take a look around. She’s 10 and had no trouble finding the cool videos, which she loved.

Which leads me to another great feature of this site — it’s dense with content. The home page includes 3 topic sections (hip and pelvis, knee and leg, ankle and foot). What really shines here are the media-rich sub-sections included for each topic: Virtual Lectures, Virtual Demonstration and Enhanced Visual Learning. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Virtual Lectures: features a traditional audio lecture with detailed slides to illustrate the bone or muscles indicated. Cool features include their slide selection tool, which gives users a pop up thumbnail of a topic, letting you skip around to areas of interest. Users can also pause, forward and replay sections as well.
  • Virtual Demonstrations: also include audio and video, but here a hands-on demonstration is given of muscle and bone locations using cadavers for a true “in the lab” feel.
  • Enhanced Visual Learning: choose from several areas and you’ll see a static page which features a rollover map of, say, the femur with very specific formations that highlight and correlate to a color-coded key (in English and French).

Overall, my only suggestion to improve this site would be to brush up the Quiz tool. There’s really no way to indicate your own answers; instead it’s presented as another video with the correct answer automatically highlighting (and a bell dings!) after several seconds. It would be great to take the quiz at your own pace, save answers, and even see past scores to gauge learning gains.

But even without a nifty quiz functionality, this site provides wonderfully detailed anatomy information delivered in a user-friendly format.



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