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Comparison of gross anatomy test scores using traditional specimens vs. QuickTime Virtual Reality animated specimens

, Syracuse University, United States

Syracuse University . Awarded


In recent years, technological advances such as computers have been employed in teaching gross anatomy at all levels of education, even in professional schools such as medical and veterinary medical colleges. Benefits of computer based instructional tools for gross anatomy include the convenience of not having to physically view or dissect a cadaver. Anatomy educators debate over the advantages versus the disadvantages of computer based resources for gross anatomy instruction. Many studies, case reports, and editorials argue for the increased use of computer based anatomy educational tools, while others discuss the necessity of dissection for various reasons important in learning anatomy, such as a three-dimensional physical view of the specimen, physical handling of tissues, interactions with fellow students during dissection, and differences between specific specimens. While many articles deal with gross anatomy education using computers, there seems to be a lack of studies investigating the use of computer based resources as an assessment tool for gross anatomy, specifically using the Apple application QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR). This study investigated the use of QTVR movie modules to assess if using computer based QTVR movie module assessments were equal in quality to actual physical specimen examinations. A gross anatomy course in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University was used as a source of anatomy students and gross anatomy examinations. Two groups were compared, one group taking gross anatomy examinations in a traditional manner, by viewing actual physical specimens and answering questions based on those specimens. The other group took the same examinations using the same specimens, but the specimens were viewed as simulated three-dimensional objects in a QTVR movie module. Sample group means for the assessments were compared. A survey was also administered asking students’ perceptions of quality and user-friendliness of the QTVR movie modules. The comparison of the two sample group means of the examinations show that there was no difference in results between using QTVR movie modules to test gross anatomy knowledge versus using physical specimens. The results of this study are discussed to explain the benefits of using such computer based anatomy resources in gross anatomy assessments.


Maza, P.S. Comparison of gross anatomy test scores using traditional specimens vs. QuickTime Virtual Reality animated specimens. Ph.D. thesis, Syracuse University. Retrieved June 10, 2023 from .

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