LBCC is the first community college in Oregon to have innovative teaching tool
Laid end to end, the adult human body has nearly 100,000 miles of blood vessels and 46 miles of nerves. There are 206 bones, 78 organs, and billions of tiny cells.
To teach students these complex body systems, LBCC Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) instructors are using a new, innovative teaching tool: the Anatomage Anatomy Table, also known as a Virtual Cadaver.
LBCC is the first community college in Oregon to use virtual cadaver technology in A&P classes. Looking like an oversized iPad, the full-length table allows students to rotate, zoom in and out, and navigate 3D human cadaver images to study the human body.
A&P instructor Charlene LaRoux is one of the first teachers to use the new technology in her classroom. “One of the exciting things about the virtual cadaver is students can literally see all the parts at the same time, and they see it all in 3D,” said LaRoux. “The software allows us to remove parts with the touch of a screen, and replace them as we move through the course.”
“We focus on the essentials, knowing that students will get more detailed as they move ahead in their programs. The virtual table really allows us to do that.”
Charlene LaRoux, left, has been teaching biological sciences at LBCC since 2010. She has a bachelor’s degree in Organismal Biology from Portland State University, and a master’s degree and PhD in Human Anatomy and Physiology from the University of Oregon.
The virtual table is pre-loaded with four different human cadavers, created from images of real cadavers. It also comes with a large database of x-ray scans, CT scans, MRI scans, and medical images that cover diseases, abnormalities and injuries. Students can move through the human body layer by layer and honein on specific body systems.
“When we study the digestive system, for example, students are able to perform a virtual dissection and remove body parts that we don’t need right then,” said LaRoux. “They can even roll the image from side to side and back to front to view from different angles.”
With the virtual technology, dissection labs are quicker and more cost-effective. In the virtual world, there is no shelf life. And chemicals normally used for human cadaver dissection are no longer needed, which is an added bonus for students who have allergies or asthma, or who are sensitive to smells like formaldehyde.
“Biology is a large part of our student pathways, and one of the largest transfer programs for students going to Oregon State.”
Approximately 200 students move through LBCC’s three-term anatomy and physiology series each year. Most of those students are majoring in health care fields such as nursing, diagnostic imaging, exercise and sports science, and health administration.
“A&P classes are a big part of our nursing program,” said Kristina Holton, dean of LBCC’s Science, Engineering and Math division. “Biology is also a large part of our student pathways, and one of the largest transfer programs for students going to Oregon State.”