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Using multimedia and Web3D to enhance anatomy teaching

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Computers & Education Volume 49, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Anatomy teaching is undergoing significant changes due to time constraints, limited availability of cadavers and technological developments in the areas of three-dimensional modelling and computer-assisted learning. This paper gives an overview of methods used to teach anatomy to undergraduate medical students and discusses the educational advantages and disadvantages of using three-dimensional computer models. A ‘work in progress’ account is then given of a project to develop two Web3D resources to enhance undergraduate tuition of the nervous system. Our approach is to support existing curricula using advanced modelling tools and a variety of delivery mechanisms.The first resource is a three-dimensional model of the adult brachial plexus: a network of nerves extending from the neck down to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. This will be incorporated into existing didactic classroom teaching under the supervision of an anatomy teacher. The second resource is a piece of online courseware which will teach the embryological development of the brachial plexus. The delivery method will be the WebSET framework, a collaborative environment that allows a teacher to manipulate 3D models over the Web in real time whilst providing explanation and help to students. In this way the courseware can be used for both self-directed study and ‘virtual anatomy demonstrations’ within an online peer group.


Brenton, H., Hernandez, J., Bello, F., Strutton, P., Purkayastha, S., Firth, T. & Darzi, A. (2007). Using multimedia and Web3D to enhance anatomy teaching. Computers & Education, 49(1), 32-53. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved February 1, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on February 1, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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