Investigating the impact of remote neuroanatomy education during the COVID-19 pandemic using online examination performance in a National Undergraduate Neuroanatomy Competition

Calvin D. De Louche*, Charles Taylor, Veronique B. N. Weiss, Damian Amendra, Janet Philp, Rachel Parrott, Samuel Hall, Scott Border

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Neuroanatomy is a notoriously challenging subject for medical students to learn. Due to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, anatomical education transitioned to an online format. We assessed student performance in, and attitudes toward, an online neuroanatomy assessment compared to an in-person equivalent, as a marker of the efficacy of remote neuroanatomy education. Participants in the National Undergraduate Neuroanatomy Competition (NUNC) 2021 undertook two online examinations: a neuroanatomically themed multiple-choice question paper and anatomy spotter. Students completed pre- and post-examination questionnaires to gauge their attitudes toward the online competition and prior experience of online anatomical teaching/assessment. To evaluate performance, we compared scores of students who sat the online (2021) and in-person (2017) examinations, using 12 identical neuroradiology questions present in both years. Forty-six percent of NUNC 2021 participants had taken an online anatomy examination in the previous 12?months, but this did not impact examination performance significantly (p?>?0.05). There was no significant difference in examination scores between in-person and online examinations using the 12 neuroradiology questions (p?=?0.69). Fifty percent of participants found the online format less enjoyable, with 63% citing significantly fewer networking opportunities. The online competition was less stressful for 55% of participants. This study provides some evidence to suggest that student performance is not affected when undertaking online examinations and proposes that online neuroanatomy teaching methods, particularly for neuroradiology, may be equally as effective as in-person approaches within this context. Participants perceived online examinations as less stressful but raised concerns surrounding the networking potential and enjoyment of online events.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
VolumeEarly View
Early online date10 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Medical education
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Online education
  • Student perceptions
  • Student performance

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