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Clin Anat. 2003 Jan;16(1):55-71.

Profile of on-line anatomy information resources: design and instructional implications.

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Department of Medical Education and Informatics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


This study is based on a review of 40 on-line anatomy web resources compiled from sites selected from our own searches as well as sites reviewed and published by an external group (Voiglio et al., 1999, Surg. Radiol. Anat. 21:65-68; Frasca et al., 2000, Surg. Radiol. Anat. 22:107-110). The purpose of our survey was to propose criteria by which anatomy educators could judge the characteristics of the currently available web-based resources for incorporation into the courses they teach. Each site was reviewed and scored based on a survey matrix that included four main categories: 1). site background information, 2). content components, 3). interactivity features, and 4). user interface design components. The average score of the reviewed sites was 3.3 of the total possible score of 10, indicating the limited use of computer-based design features by the majority of sites. We found, however, a number of programs in each of the survey categories that could serve as prototypes for designing future on-line anatomy resources. From the survey we conclude that various design features are less important than the comprehensiveness, depth, and logical organization of content. We suggest that the content should be sufficient for supporting explicitly defined educational objectives, which should target specific end-user populations. The majority of anatomy programs currently accessible on-line fall short of these requirements. There is a need for a coordinated and synergistic effort to generate a comprehensive anatomical information resource that is of sufficient quality and depth to support higher levels of learning beyond the memorization of structure names. Such a resource is a prerequisite for meaningful on-line anatomy education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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