Semin Speech Lang 2023; 44(05): 287-302
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1776354
Research Article Adult

Students' Perception of a Virtual Dissection Laboratory in Undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing: A Focus Group Study

1   School of Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Erika Jones
2   Division of Communication Disorders, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
Richelle Dietz
2   Division of Communication Disorders, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
Katelyn J. Kotlarek
2   Division of Communication Disorders, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
› Author Affiliations
Funding K.J.K. received funding for this work through an ASHA Advancing Academic Careers (AARC) Award as well as grant funds for the creation of an open lab manual for her course through the University of Wyoming Libraries; Alt-Textbook Grant Proposal.
The University of Wyoming, College of Health Sciences, Division of Communication Disorders purchased the Anatomage virtual dissection table and accompanying materials.


Hands-on laboratory experience that allows for manipulation of realistic and relevant materials in course curricula has been shown to improve students' learning, understanding, and critical thinking skills. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the experiences of students who engaged in laboratory coursework using a virtual dissection (VD) table as part of an undergraduate course in anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing. Undergraduate students enrolled in an anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing course at a single university for the fall 2021 semester consented to participate. Nine students, divided into two focus groups, were encouraged to describe their experiences and perspectives about the VD table and corresponding laboratory assignments. Following verbatim transcription of the data, the authors conducted a thematic analysis. Five themes emerged from the body of data: (1) using the VD table, (2) completing the VD lab assignments, (3) preparation for laboratory sessions, (4) suggested modifications, and (5) enriched learning. Students believed using the VD table aided in a better understanding of course material than traditional methods. Moreover, they surmised that this method of learning, particularly for speech-language pathologists, may be superior to learning through models and cadavers.

Data Availability Statement

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to privacy and confidentiality issues related to qualitative data. They are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Publication History

Article published online:
08 November 2023

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