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The impact of a new interactive anatomy curriculum for nursing students

A presentation from the STEM Annual Conference 2014.

Scientific knowledge and problem solving are critical in nursing practice but nursing students find life sciences difficult and often struggle to see the. The aim of this study was to improve student grades responsibility and satisfaction by incorporating more interactive career-relevant and student-led teaching in the anatomy nursing curriculum. This was achieved by the introduction of the student-led peer assessment tools Peerwise and Aropa. Two laboratory sessions and three enquiry-based tutorial sessions were also introduced. Student feedback on the new curriculum was gained using anonymous questionnaires and student grades were analysed. Ethical approval was gained from the University of Glasgow (200120035).

Students engaged well with these new initiatives. Students indicated a preference towards tutor-led methods such as lectures and problem-based tutorials with the degree of student participation paralleling student perception of usefulness. Students rated peer-reviewing essays through Aropa and writing questions on Peerwise as among the least useful. Students claimed answering questions on Peerwise was more useful than writing them however interestingly the number of questions written was predictive of their grade in their May exam (p=0.002; R-Sq 24%) while the number of questions answered was not (p=0.07 R-Sq 9%). Students performed significantly better in anatomy following the introduction of this new curriculum compared to last year but this improvement was not different from that seen in the other life science subjects. This study suggests that the new interactive curriculum improved student satisfaction but had a questionable impact on student performance through interactive teaching. However this requires further investigation.

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