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Virtual peer teaching in the anatomy lab

Cite this dataset

Hielscher, Abigail (2022). Virtual peer teaching in the anatomy lab [Dataset]. Dryad.


Peer teaching is a powerful educational tool utilized in medical school curricula. Previously, first-year medical students taught their peers about the gross anatomical structures they had dissected in the anatomy lab. While this strategy provided an opportunity for students to learn from one another, there were unintended outcomes including difficulty engaging all students in the exercise. In light of these observations, along with the need to limit student numbers in the lab as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a strategy was developed in which students could conduct their anatomy peer teaching in a virtual environment. The goal was to establish an effective and efficient means for students to teach and learn from one another in a virtual setting. Here, students, working in groups of 4 members, were tasked with the following: 1) Find and label 4-5 assigned structures on cadaver-based images; 2) Provide a rationale for labeling; 3) Discuss something relevant about the structure; 4) Prepare a 5-minute video presentation of steps 1-3; and 5) Review and provide meaningful feedback on another group’s video presentation. While students performed well on these assignments, feedback from students indicated several drawbacks such as excess time editing their videos, concerns about the validity of the information provided by their peers, and the timing of peer teaching to be non-conducive to learning. Although the students viewed the virtual peer teaching negatively, we were successful in developing a platform in which students participated more equally in peer teaching. Recommendations to those considering this platform include careful consideration of the timing of peer teaching activities and faculty feedback as well as the technology used.


This excel data is based on medical student grades for virtual peer teaching activities that occurred in the anatomy lab. Grades are shown for several activities related to blocks in the curriculum. The blocks in turn correspond to regions of the body and are indicated in the dataset. Grades are shown by group numbers. Names of individuals are not included in the dataset.

One word document in the dataset is based on focus questions used in a student small group interview. 

Two additional word documents pertain to student feedback on virtual anatomy peer teaching as well as the Likert scale used to assess student perceptions on anatomical resources. Both documents are from the course evaluation.

Usage notes

Excel, Microsoft Word.