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One-Stop Body Shop: New Anatomy Learning Center Now Open at BTC

November 10, 2020

When Tiffany Garrison-Stanley interviewed at Blackhawk Tech three years ago, she wanted to get her hands on the college's Anatomage table. This $80,000 piece of equipment is the crowning jewel of the newly launched Anatomy Learning Center (ALC) located in room 1303 on BTC's Central Campus.

Male student works at the Anatomage table with instructor assistance

This table contains four virtual cadavers; actual people who, upon their death, allowed their entire body to be photographed in thin slices and then computer-animated by the Visible Human Project. The virtual table enables students to see the whole body inside and out, isolate body systems, and highlight and label individual elements. The table can even let students isolate the heart, make it beat, and dissect it while it's beating.

While the Anatomage table is effective as a lecture tool, Tiffany is thrilled that students can learn to use the table in just a few minutes and then use it to explore independently. "They can record while they're working," she says, "or take snapshots and then take those with them to continue studying on their own."

The Anatomage is just one tool that any BTC student can come in and experience at the new ALC. This learning center came out of a vision to collect all of the tools that instructors use to teach human anatomy in one place, such as:

  • plastic models of every body system,
  • a bank of computers loaded with anatomy apps,
  • a virtual reality station where students can manipulate artist renderings of body systems, and
  • two large Wacom stations where students can upload their slides of the bones, for instance, write in the labels for everything and save it. So when they go home to study, they have the blank slides and then a key they've made for themselves.

The lab is also eagerly anticipating the arrival of biotech packs that will allow students to take blood pressure, measure lung capacity, and do an EEG live on themselves.

Currently, Blackhawk offers 18 courses that contain some elements of anatomy. "The lab is a critical tool for students taking General Education Anatomy and Physiology courses," Tiffany says. "Any BTC student, however, is welcome to use the space. Health Occupation students will find the instruction in the ALC to help review the anatomy presented in their program courses. Or, maybe, they are just interested in the human body and how it works; the lab is an exciting place to learn more!" 

Instructors always staff the ALC. Meaning, those available to help students interact with the lab equipment can also answer questions and provide teaching on the material. Local M.D.s, chiropractors, as well as college instructors are available daily. Student Tiffany Wade appreciates all the lab has to offer. "I am currently in General Anatomy and Physiology," she says, "and I attend lab to help me go over any material from the class that I may not understand. The instructors are great; they do a great job simplifying the material, so it's easier to understand."

The center's original vision being "a giant room packed with students touching everything," has had to be curtailed a little bit with our current COVID crisis. However, as a part of Blackhawk's philosophy of allowing students to access their education through multiple avenues, the ALC has always offered virtual lab sessions. "Since I am unable to attend the ALC in person," Tiffany Wade says, "I use videos from Professor Tiffany. The videos are great and easy to follow." Of course, both Tiffanies, like so many of us, are looking forward to being able to have more hands-on experience once the pandemic crisis passes. 

Any student can schedule a zoom session to explore any of the experiences with a lab instructor. And while the center can't pack students in right now, they have plenty of room for smaller groups and individuals to come and explore. To sign up, students can click on the links provided below:

The ALC offers times throughout the day – morning to evening, but if you can't find a time that works for you, or if you're an instructor who would like to schedule some lecture time in the lab, please email Tiffany at tgarrisonstanley@blackhawk.edu, and she'll get you a time that will work with your schedule.

The Anatomy Learning Center is more than just a lab. It is an educational ecosystem where beginning students can interact with advanced students and professionals. These opportunities can help newer students gain first-hand knowledge of both the human body and the human experience as they consider and explore future career options.

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