Building interactive medical images to enhance anatomical learning
In 2013, with a 4-VA grant called Digital Anatomy Repository and support from JMU’s Innovation Services, Dr. Erika Kancler developed special radiology images for teaching anatomy to undergraduates at JMU. Using Neatline, a tool originally intended to enhance geographical maps and timelines, Dr. Kancler created interactive and informative maps and timelines of the human body. Each detailed X-ray image is tagged with “hot spots” with annotations to identify complex and minute anatomical structures and pathologies. The images are stored in Innovation Services’ Omeka system, which is a web-publishing platform for curating digital collections of research.
In the spring of 2017, 4-VA awarded Dr. Erika Kancler a grant called Radiology for anatomists: Building interactive medical images to enhance anatomical learning to collaborate with Carolyn Schubert and Kevin Hegg from JMU, along with Dr. Kitt Shaffer at the Boston University School of Medicine. The funding is helping the team improve the user interface and provides software for photo editing, usability testing and software development.
Undergraduate students have played a key role in the project by curating content for the system. They have spent several semesters outlining structures on x-ray images using Affinity Photo, uploading x-ray images and “layers” of anatomical structures into Neatline and Omeka, and tagging and linking the structures to make the images searchable. They presented a poster at JMU’s Teaching and Learning with Technology conference in 2016.