Virtual Cadaver Lab
Grace Cavanaugh ~ Copy Editor
Along with the renovations to Hobbs-Sigler, the School of Sciences obtained an Anatomage Table. The Table is a virtual cadaver lab with access to multiple virtual cadavers.
“About three years ago, I got an alumni association mailing from Shenandoah University, which is where I got my Masters and Doctorate in physical therapy, and they had acquired an Anatomage Table,” said Dr. Wendy Williamson, a professor of Anatomy and Physiology. “The article was showing their Table and how they were incorporating it into their anatomy and physiology classes and I thought it looked like a great piece of equipment and I thought it would be great if we had one here. So, I brought it up to Dean Lokar, and said that this would be a great thing for our students, and a great pull for Lynchburg College, at the time.”
She continued, “I wrote grant proposals and worked with Carol Harden in the grant office and did not have any luck with that, but we were able to get funding through the provost office, the academic equipment budget. So, that is how we acquired [the Table].”
Professor Leah Stevens, another professor of Anatomy and Physiology, said, “I was excited. I think it is a great learning and teaching tool and I think students of the millennial generation are so used to the technology that I think it is meeting the changing needs of our students.”
The Anatomage Table is currently being used in Anatomy and Physiology classes. “I think it will be a tremendous help. So, it is basically another way to look at structures in the body. The nice thing about it is you cannot mess it up like you can with real cadavers, you know, with dissection,” said Dr. Williamson. “If you cut something, there is no getting it back. So with this, there is always an undo button, so if you get rid of the wrong structure, you can always get it back.”
Professor Stevens said, “Right now we are using it as a supplement. When we are doing powerpoints, we are able to show you 3D images using a body versus using Playdoh. I taught the planes of the body using the Table last week instead of using Playdoh and models like that. I think we will use it more when we get into muscles.”
“It helps us to see structures that maybe are not easily visible on human cadavers. I think it is also much more hands on for the students,” said Dr. Williamson. “It is basically a touch screen. You can manipulate the images, you can rotate them, you can dissect away layers, you can dissect through planes.”
“The fact that if students are turned off by cadavers, they can get the anatomy content on the Anatomage Table without being grossed out by the cadaver,” said professor Stevens. Dr. Williamson echoed her sentiment, saying, “especially for students who maybe are a little wary of the human cadavers, even though that is a great experience, and we will continue to use that with our students. This is just another…it just opens up more opportunities for our students to get to see structures.”
There are some downsides, though, that come with the Table. Along with any technological issues that could happen, Professor Stevens said, “I will say that I spent more time with technology last week and it affected [learning] my students’ names. Normally I know students’ names by the end of the first week and because there was so much technology, so much newness, I did not know my students’ names, and that kind of bothered me.”
Even still, she followed by saying, “Besides that, I love it. It is great. Always learning new technology is a challenge, but I definitely see the benefit of it, so I am really trying to embrace the newness and the challenge of using it as much as I can.”
Along with use in lab classes, “[the] Table also will be used in the Peer-Assisted Supplemental Study program, a widely used resource at Lynchburg,” according to an article posted by the University of Lynchburg on June 26, 2019.
“We put door access only for instructors and for student assistants,” said professor Stevens. “We have open lab times where our student assistants allow students in at night from 7 to 9 [p.m.]. We have some instructors, like right now I am in here during open lab to give you time to come work on the Table.”
“The Anatomage Table will be housed in a newly renovated space at Hobbs-Sigler Hall,” read the U of L article. “When work is completed later this summer, the lab also will be an active learning classroom with furniture that can be easily rearranged, flat screen monitors, and dry-erase boards.”
“We would love for everyone to come see it because it really is fantastic,” said Dr. Williamson. “So they can contact any anatomy and physiology faculty member and we would be happy to work out a time with them to come in and see it.”
She finished, saying, “I just think this is just an exciting acquisition for us. Our students are excited about it over the last couple of weeks since we started the semester. I really want my students to be expert users, so I encourage them to go and play around with it because that’s how they are going to learn how to use it. I am hoping that it sparks their curiosity. I love anatomy and physiology, I want my students to enjoy it too and I think this is another way for them to see how amazing the human body is and to be able to interact with it.”
The University’s article can be read at: https://www.lynchburg.edu/news/2019/06/virtual-dissection-table-highlight-of-hobbs-sigler-renovations/.