European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 19 - Number 1
Eur J Anat, 19 (1): 87-104 (2015)

Designing courses in anatomy

Isabel Stabile

Department of Anatomy, University of Malta, Tal Qroqq, Msida, Malta

ABSTRACT Medical school has changed. Curricula have become more integrated, more systems based and the teaching of anatomy more clinically relevant. Notwithstanding the efforts by the Anatomical Society to define the “core curriculum”, the difficulty lies in ensuring that what is being taught in the anatomy class is not only relevant to clinical training but is vertically integrated with it across the whole academic programme of studies. Deciding what to leave out, while maintaining standards has become very difficult indeed.Yet the purpose of teaching anatomy must surely lie in its clinical application. As teachers, our goal is to light the fire under our students, in such a way as to stimulate them to look for the answers to common clinical problems for which a knowledge of anatomy is essential. This increasing emphasis on learning within context is particularly important for adult learners, which one would expect most of our students to be. Cadaver dissection and/or examination of prosected material remains at the core of anatomy learning, because the learning, and perhaps more importantly, the recall of anatomy, is based on the twin principles of observation and visualization. Deeper learning of key principles and clinically-relevant anatomy requires students to assess themselves regularly. At a time when increasing numbers of atlases and textbooks are being published, those that stand out include study and review questions and answers as opportunities for self- assessment. The visible and palpable anatomy that forms the basis of clinical examination can only be learned through practice on normal subjects, usually fellow students and oneself. The design of an anatomy course must include opportunities for students to do this under supervision. Correlating these features with imaging studies further enhances deeper learning.

Keywords: Anatomy, Teaching, Instructional Design, Curriculum

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)