Gross Anatomy Education in China during the Covid-19 Pandemic: A National Survey

Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Nov 20. doi: 10.1002/ase.2036. Online ahead of print.


The Covid-19 pandemic launched the use of online courses in Chinese medical schools during February 2020. To evaluate the state of gross anatomy education in China during the pandemic, a nationwide survey was conducted through convenience sampling by email or respondent invitations on social media. A total of 359 questionnaires were received from the respondents. The first response from a given school was included in the study to represent that school, thus, 77 questionnaires were used for analyses. Schools represented were from all provinces in mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macao. The survey found that before the pandemic, 74.0% and 33.8% of the 77 schools conducted online theoretical and practical sessions, respectively, on gross anatomy, and 36 (46.8% of 77) had temporarily suspended practical sessions at the time the survey. Body donation programs were also affected with 26.0% and 27.3% of the 77 schools having suspended donation programs or saw a decreased number of donations. During the pandemic, 40.3% of the 77 schools kept or initiated the implementation of active learning, and online assessment was continued in 49.4% of the 77 medical schools. Another 26 (33.8%) schools initiated online assessment during the pandemic. A total of 359 answers were included for the analysis of the "teachers' perception of the online teaching experience". Nearly half (46.2%) of the 359 responded teachers were satisfied with the effectiveness of online teaching during the pandemic. A total of 36.2% of these respondents preferred to implement online teaching of theoretical sessions after the pandemic, and 89 (24.8%) teachers were keen to return to traditional face-to-face anatomy education.

Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic; active learning; body donation; gross anatomy education; medical education; online assessment; online teaching; practical sessions; theoretical sessions.