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MedUni Vienna revolutionises anatomy studies: Interactive dissection on the whiteboard

(Vienna, 14th April 2011) Students are now able to convey their morphological knowledge directly into clinical abilities and skills on the whiteboard in the dissecting room. Deputy Rector Mallinger: “MedUni Vienna has become the pioneer”.

The virtual classroom in morphology is already a reality at MedUni Vienna: It has started to use IT systems, which enable the students to integrate morphology and topography with clinical diagnostic imaging, surgical methods and clinical skills. This has made MedUni Vienna a global pioneer, as Rudolf Mallinger, Deputy Rector for Studies and Science underlines: "The interactive whiteboards and iMacs in the dissecting room are unique. We are applying a totally new concept in Vienna."

It is a concept that is based on the initiative of the students. Mallinger: "The students asked the rectorate to implement media-technological improvements and together with the curriculum coordinator Johannes Streicher the new concept was developed and implemented."

Efficient, individual knowledge transfer
The syllabus of different subjects (e.g. anatomy, radiology, surgery and emergency medicine) can now be integrated without any loss of time. The use of new technologies and media also enabled a flexible and individualised transfer of knowledge, where anatomical preparations form a perfect symbiosis with clinical diagnostic imaging.

And this is what the praxis looks like: The 720 students of one study year are being looked after in small groups with two lecturers specialising in anatomy and radiology and study in turn in the dissecting room and the computer room, where they undertake preparation and case-based clinical diagnostic imaging for the same organ system. Ceiling installed iMacs and a large-format, interactive whiteboard in the dissecting room support preparation and diagnostic imaging. The iMacs and whiteboards display, among others, 3D visualisations, sectional images, CT and MR scans, preparation and surgery videos as well as embryology animations.

The diagnostic imaging is introduced in the computer room accompanied by a brief technical and methodical lecture. After that and for about 2 weeks the students will be able to use case presentations on a Moodle platform (the e-learning platform of MedUni Vienna) for self-study purposes. An internet forum is created for each case, which is moderate by a radiologist. The positive results for the students are higher flexibility and significant increase of time efficiency due to individual time management. The study progress control is exclusively achieved by x-ray images, CT and MR scans of the clinic and is consistently fulfilled via wireless MC response devices for all students.

Johannes Streicher, who was the leading developer of the learning concept at the Centre for Anatomy and Cell Biology, is convinced that the Vienna model will soon find other international followers: "We have already introduced our iMorphology concept at international meetings and received a very interested feedback."

The iMorphology concept is practised at MedUni Vienna parallel to the organ-system based study modules of the 4th to 6th semester (Line Elements Organ Morphology I-III).

» iMorphology video