Emerging from emergency pandemic pedagogy: A survey of anatomical educators in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Clin Anat. 2021 May 17. doi: 10.1002/ca.23758. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

It is critical that academic opinion of pandemic pedagogy is comprehensively quantified in order to inform future practices. Thus, this study examines how anatomists in the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI) perceive the teaching adaptations made in response to COVID-19, and how these adaptations have impacted their experiences teaching, their online work environment and community. Data was collected via a questionnaire from 24 anatomists across 15 universities in the UK (11) and ROI (4). With regards to teaching, 95.6% of academics have upskilled in new technologies to meet the demands of distance teaching. Academics (95.8%) preferred face-to-face delivery of practical sessions. Most universities (80.0%) reported that practical sessions will continue in a new form that ensures social distancing. However, 50.0% of academics are uncertain if these adaptations will improve student learning. Many anatomists believe that the new adaptations may hinder student-student (66.7%) and student-tutor (45.8%) interactions. Regarding assessment, 52.6% of academics preferred traditional methods to online. Remote online assessment was difficult to protect against collusion, but provided time saving opportunities for academics. Finally, in terms of working environment, 83.3% of academics stated that their workload increased; 54.2% preferred working on site rather than remotely and 79.2% think that staff interactions are better when working on site. These results demonstrate a widespread concern amongst anatomists regarding the pandemic-induced adaptations to teaching, assessment and working environment. However, important opportunities were also identified that could ultimately serve to benefit students and educators alike.

Keywords: COVID-19; assessment; distance teaching; gross anatomy; medical education; remote working.