Posted by: patsycat | April 20, 2009

Virtual Anatomy Lab

Teaching faculty from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, held their first Second Life class activity on UK Island with student volunteers on April 16.


A virtual anatomy lab was constructed on the island, incorporating interactive stations equipped with supplemental multimedia, while a simulated cadaver “walked” among the student group. Student avatars attended the one hour session wearing “virtual” scrubs and lab coats, and they were asked to interact with fellow classmates and faculty avatars in the study of the anterior compartment of the thigh. During the session, a small group of undergraduates, medical students, and dental students worked through a multimedia approach over the anterior compartment of the thigh (atlas/cadaver images, guided video tours of cadaver anatomy, and videos of cross-sectional anatomy).

Student feedback deemed the in-world session a success. Peer learning and the ability to get positive and instantaneous feedback from the instructors, along with the role of anonymity played through the use of avatars, allowed for free and open exchange of ideas. A subsequent meeting with the group will gather formative feedback that will be used to revise and expand the Second Life experience. Specifically, feedback from this pilot study will be used to complete construction of the virtual anatomy lab for optimal learning, and to incorporate this technology-based novel approach to anatomy into the undergraduate curriculum.

This project highlights an innovative approach to anatomical science education and suggests that the millennial student responds positively to this specific pedagogical style.

Key contributors to the project include April Richardson, Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine Course Director; Dr. Jennifer Brueckner, Anatomy and Neurobiology; Student Affairs, College of Medicine; Matt Hazzard, Teaching & Academic Support Center (TASC); Beth Kramer, UK Libraries; Sandy Challman, College of Dentistry ; Patsy Carruthers, TASC; and Jacqueline Yoon, Dental Student, UK College of Dentistry.


  1. Congratulations to everyone involved – what an exciting project!

  2. This is great! And congratulations to Jennifer Brueckner, just named a recipient of the 2009 Provost’s Outstanding Teachers Awards:

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