CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Abstract

Modes of instruction in the college course called Human Anatomy/Physiology are changing. Due to ethical concerns and the ever-increasing source of new physiological data, there is a need for enhancements to assist the instructor and student. The computer science of virtual reality (VR) provides a method to electronically educate, train, prototype, and test and evaluate new enhancements to the college curricula. This study detailed the modeling and simulation of a skeletal human hand with degrees of freedom of movement, which provided the students with a physiological representation of some of the movements of the hand. The primary objectives of the study were to assess the use of the VR simulation by college students and to assess the potential learning outcomes of students in their use of the VR simulation. The simulation was implemented into classes of Human Anatomy/Physiology are as an adjunct enhancement for the students' use. The expectation centered on the constructivist theory that students develop an analytic outlook to the various articulations of the human skeleton. Positive results were shown based on the answers to the questionnaire, summary and post -test taken by the students, after their use of the VR simulation. The results supported the constructivist theory that critical thinking took place. The results showed that the virtual reality simulation enhanced the learning ability of the students. The recommendations of the study include future experimentation to be done on increasing the number of VR simulations, incorporating the VR simulations into undergraduate courses, testing the outcomes, and following the progression of students into graduate programs that are using VR simulations. Faculty and administration are advised to consider implementing the paradigm of VR simulations in undergraduate courses of Human Anatomy/Physiology are.

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