Thursday, 15 December 2016

CASE STUDY: Introduction to Human Anatomy

This practical unit introduces Level 2 undergraduate students to the anatomy of the human body on both a cellular and gross level. It will give them an opportunity to dissect and study the systems of the human body in small groups as well as view pre-dissected specimens and models. It is designed to enable students to acquire a solid foundation and understanding of the anatomy of the human body. As part of the module students have to state what is unique about a given organ via the form of business pitch and then create a marketing plan and advertisement in order to encourage donations.

What happens in this module?

This module is a core unit run over two semesters for second year students studying Biomedical Science. Students are introduced to the basic structure and functions of the human body, through a mixture of lectures and practical sessions.

The ‘enterprise’ aspect of this module is currently a relatively small component. At the end of Semester 1, in preparation for assessment, students have revision sessions. Lauren Buck, a lecturer on this module, has introduced a new revision activity; students have to prepare and pitch an organ donation campaign, based on their anatomical knowledge. The first round of pitches is judged by the module tutor, after which a shortlist of the best campaigns (judged on both innovation and accuracy of anatomical knowledge) is constructed. The second round of pitches takes place in front of the whole cohort, plus departmental staff, and clickers are used to vote for the final winners.

How do students develop Enterprise Capabilities?

Authentic Problem Solving

Students are given an ‘authentic’ challenge – to design an organ donation campaign for a target audience. Students have the opportunity to meet and present their ideas to a specialist organ donation nurse from the NHS – making them aware of the audiences that most need to be targeted, and the profile of those audiences. The students are free to construct the campaign ‘for real’ if they want, and previous cohorts on the module have produced Facebook campaigns, apps, and pitched their ideas directly to the NHS.

Innovation & Creativity

Students are challenged to design a unique campaign which utilises their anatomical knowledge. Students are not limited to any particular format, and previous campaigns have ranged from Spotify adverts to apps and even a song!


Because this element of the module does not form part of the final assessment, students are free to try something different and perhaps ‘have a go’ at a new skill – e.g. coding a basic app.

Taking Action 

Students work in self-directed groups. As instructions are minimal, and the component is not assessed, the onus is very much on the students to take action and make a personal decision to engage with the task.

True Collaboration 

Students have to communicate their detailed knowledge of anatomy to a non-specialist audience. They have to work effectively in teams with a tight deadline and pitch their campaigns professionally to a target audience which includes external partners.

What do students think of the module? 

“I’m not sure organ donation was something that our year group had really thought about before being set the enterprise task. Although it was a non-assessed piece of work, everyone seemed to be driven to produce something both sympathetic and effective that did organ donation justice. This task has been particularly useful to refer to in both CVs and personal statements for further employment or study. It addressed many skills that employers look for in candidates such as teamwork, communication skills and leadership. Presenting to a member of the Yorkshire division of the NHS Blood and Transplant service as well as lecturers and peers was also a great way to practice our presentation skills in a professional environment. I liked that we were given little instruction as it didn't limit our creativity and differed from the standard poster task many courses are set. It also combines both marketing skills and science which hasn't been done before in the Biomedical Science course. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do something new and creative in a team environment and hope it is kept for the anatomy module next year.”

The teachers' perspective

Dr Lauren Buck, from the Biomedical Science department at The University of Sheffield, discusses embedding enterprise learning techniques into teaching. Lauren explains the potential for enterprise in science and outsourcing lecturers to help students overcome barriers to knowledge. 

Read more: Sheffield Star article on the students' achievements.


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