Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Degree Program

Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, MS

Committee Chair

Davis, Brian

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Samuelsen, Chad

Committee Member

Samuelsen, Chad

Committee Member

Pani, John

Author's Keywords

neuroanatomy; education; online; 3D; COVID-19; gender


Studying cross-sections is a critical approach to learning and testing knowledge in neuroanatomy and the role of 3D technologies have been gradually increasing in medical education, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. A study was conducted in a quasi-experimental one-group pre-post interventional design in an online setting by creating and evaluating the effectiveness of a virtual lab in neuroanatomy for all neuroscience students enrolled in the Fundamentals of Neuroscience course in our department at the University of Louisville. Study modules were created using the 2D resources used in previous years and 3D web applications of Visible Body and software. A newly developed 13-item Reaction-Relevance-Result survey measured the effectiveness of these resources, along with Confidence in topics surveys and test results. Results of the study confirmed the advantages of using 3D software for neuroanatomy, with mostly large effect sizes for the pre-post effects. The study also sheds some light on the social need and justice regarding the utility of 3D intervention to bring equitable learning among all genders and academic levels without any effects of earlier performances. The study also uncovered some bias in student perception of the advantages of 3D software for students with any previous neuroanatomy experience. 3D software increased understanding of superficial and deep structures but was more beneficial for deeper structures, thus bridging the difficulty gap between superficial and deep structures, male students being more successful in narrowing this difficulty gap.