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University Increases Course Enrollment Using Primal Picture's Online Anatomy Learning Tools


Students in online biology course using 3D anatomy images had the same learning outcomes as students in classroom-based courses.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 29, 2012

Using 3D anatomy images from Primal Pictures, Dr. R. S. Pozos, Ph.D., professor of biology at San Diego State University, developed an online biology class that helped the school quadruple course enrollment. Dr. Pozos also documented that students in his online classes had the same learning outcomes as students in traditional classroom-based courses.

“By embedding digital content and 3D images directly into the biology curricula, I can educate and engage many more students in the real-time experience of human anatomy,” said Pozos. “This course includes anatomy and physiology components that are critical foundation knowledge for all students pursuing a medical or allied health degree, and even for non-science majors. We have greatly expanded access to the course with our online offering.”

Dr. Pozos started teaching in San Diego State University's biology department 10 years ago to traditional classes totaling 250 students each semester. Today, more than 1000 students participate in his courses each semester – online, and in a blended online/classroom course. In the past few years, many universities have rapidly expanded their online course offerings, to both reduce cost and increase student capacity. The 2011 Sloane Survey of Online Learning found that one-third of all higher education students are taking at least one online course.

“As schools grapple with decreases in funding and increases in student demand for health science education, innovators like Dr. Pozos have developed unique ways to reach students with online, 3D content and images,” said Peter Allan, CEO of Primal Pictures. “Dr. Pozos has a keen recognition that digital formats really engage today's students, and went the extra mile to prove the value of online learning. He chose our 3D images and supporting content as the cornerstone of his online course, and it is exciting to partner an educator who is willing to completely rewrite their curriculum to meet the needs of a new generation.”

Using images and supporting content from Primal Pictures's Anatomy.TV and Anatomy & Physiology Online integrated with Dr. Pozos' custom content, allied health, nursing and pre-med students at SDSU can view and study the entire human body online, using three-dimensional, medically accurate, rotatable images. Students can rotate the 3D models in any direction using a mouse, and control which structures are visible, added, removed, made x-ray or opaque either in groups – muscles, vessel systems and organ systems – or individually, structure by structure. All views can be peeled away, rotated and labeled, and annotated and exported. These products also include narrated animations of physiology, learning objectives, self-testing, and pronunciation guides.

Research Shows Outcomes are the Same
In 2010, Dr. Pozos and research partners at Westminster College, Pennsylvania, compared students' retention of key biological concepts in introductory biology courses taught in three different educational settings: a traditional classroom, an online/classroom hybrid, and a solely online course. By evaluating scores on the pre- and post-tests given to all students, the researchers found that student retention of core concepts was the same in all three models.

“The data from this study suggested that the learning environment had no impact on the pre-defined student outcomes,” said Pozos. “While I approached this study with the hypothesis that the small classroom with a single teacher would be a better learning environment, the data did not support that view.”

In an additional study, Dr. Pozos repeated the experiment in which a classroom of 50 students with one major instructor and 4 supporting staff taught the course. Their pre and post data was compared to the performance of the students in the large blended course or the online course. Again the data supported the view that all three approaches resulted in no statistical differences.

“Our research showed us that students are very comfortable learning online, which makes it imperative that great content be made available to students,” said Pozos.

Primal Pictures offers the most complete, detailed and medically-accurate 3D model of human anatomy for students, educators and health care practitioners. Primal Pictures' 3D anatomy software is widely adopted in education and it is used for patient, practitioner and student education in over 20 countries. In 2012, over half a million students will learn anatomy using Primal software. In the past 12 months, Primal won the British Medical Association's annual prize for the best digital resource, and the Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2012, the highest official award that a British business can achieve.

San Diego State University (SDSU) is one of the nation's premier urban research universities actively engaged in preparing graduates who will make an impact on the world. Founded in 1897, it is the largest and oldest higher education facility in San Diego County. SDSU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation in the top tier of research universities, placing it among the top 200 higher education research institutions in the country. SDSU has a student body of approximately 31,300, and awards 180 types of bachelor's and 71 different master's degrees. SDSU offers the most doctoral degrees of any campus of the California State University system, in 16 academic and research disciplines.

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