Anatomy and Embryology Goettingen - 2013 Seminar

From Embryology

Online Embryology for Medicine and Science

Dr Mark Hill
School of Medical Sciences, The University of NSW, Australia.

6 December 2013      Dept. of Anatomy and Embryology, University of Goettingen     Translate page - German

Human Carnegie stage 1-23.jpg


This presentation will describe my experiences in developing online embryology teaching for medical (large group) and science (small group) student groups.

Medicine large computer lab.jpg Medicine computer lab.jpg
Medicine (large computer lab) Science (small computer lab)

<html5media height="450" width="500">File:Human_blastocyst_day_3-6.mp4</html5media>

About this Movie  
Blastocyst Day 3-6 Movie shows in vitro development of a human morula to blastocyst stage occurring between day 3 and day 6 post-fertilisation.[1] (More? Movies)

  1. <pubmed>20890283</pubmed>

Embryology Online

Embryology Offline - web material released also as CD (1997) and then DVD (2007) format.
Technology Timeline  
Mark Hill.jpg

The changing technology environment we have experienced in the last 50 years, and more recently in the last 20 "internet years".

  • 1961 - Microfiche - miniaturise data, images and text.
  • 1962 - Slide carousel projector - transport and display content easily.
  • 1960s - Overhead projectors - prepared and flexible in-class.
  • 1977 - Apple computers.
  • 1981 - IBM computers.
  • 1982 - Microsoft MS-DOS.
  • 1990 - Powerpoint - electronic slides.
  • 1991 - Quicktime - multimedia platform for images and animations.
  • 1993 - Mosaic first web browser.
  • 1994 - Netscape Navigator web browser.
  • 1995 - Internet Explorer web browser.
  • 1996 - Flash - multimedia platform for images and animations.
  • 1997 - Embryology site first online.
  • 1998 - Google internet search.
  • 1998 - Blackboard course management system.
  • 2001 - Wikipedia online encyclopaedia running on Mediawiki.
  • 2002 - Moodle course management system.
  • 2004 - Facebook social networking service.
  • 2004 - Embryology website reformatted as 3 column webpages.
  • 2006 - Twitter microblogging service.
  • 2009 - Embryology site transferred to new wiki format.
  • 2010 - iBooks e-book application for iPads.
  • 2012 - ??

New Wiki Format 2009

  • familiar structure and layout. (the Wiki format)
  • easy to print and search. (print this current page)
  • resolved student navigation issues. (every page has the same navigation and access to student pages)
  • contributions by researchers staff and students. (Researcher Contributions)
  • current research easily added and used by students. (Blastocyst Day 3-6 Movie)

Php-most used browsers May-Oct 2013.jpg Php-most used operating systems May-Oct 2013.jpg
Browser used Browser operating systems

Teaching Contact Hours

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Trends in anatomy disciplines contact teaching hours based on data from USA survey.[1]

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 ‎‎Human Development
Page | Play

Medicine Large Class

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  • Both lectures and laboratories in Medicine and Science can be prepared and presented online. (Lecture, Practical)
  • Online textbooks are directly linked within the classes. (UNSW links)
  • Additional general notes are available for students to use as topic background. (2012)
  • An extensive glossary of terms is provided to aid understanding of terminology. (Glossary, mesoderm)
    • In development everything changes, even the names of structures!
  • Current related clinical and research data, movies and findings can be provided to show relevance of topics. (Research movies)
  • Quizzes available to test student knowledge. (Foundations Quiz)
  • Content can also be modified and used for external education purposes. (Postgraduate Medicine - Maternal-Fetal Medicine Trainees - Renal, K12 - Brain Awareness Week 2012)
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Medicine practicals computer use (2012) Online textbook access (2011)

Medicine - Independent Learning Projects

The Independent Learning Project (ILP) is intended to provide UNSW medical students with a period of in-depth study that engenders an approach to medicine that is constantly questioning and self-critical. (About ILP)

2006 ILP Movies
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Shown below are the animations generated from the serial sections of a Human embryo (week 8, Carnegie stage 22). Click the quicktime or Flash lingo to see the rotating animations. Note Flash animations do not play on iPads.

Embryology - 22 Apr 2024    Facebook link Pinterest link Twitter link  Expand to Translate  
Google Translate - select your language from the list shown below (this will open a new external page)

العربية | català | 中文 | 中國傳統的 | français | Deutsche | עִברִית | हिंदी | bahasa Indonesia | italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | မြန်မာ | Pilipino | Polskie | português | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੇ | Română | русский | Español | Swahili | Svensk | ไทย | Türkçe | اردو | ייִדיש | Tiếng Việt    These external translations are automated and may not be accurate. (More? About Translations)

Stage22 ALL3d.jpg
Page | Play
 ‎‎GIT Stage 22
Page | Play
Page | Play
 ‎‎Stage 22 Neural
Page | Play
Page | Play
Page | Play

These 3d movies were part of the UNSW Medical degree Independent Learning Project (ILP) prepared by Aashish Kumar (2006).

2009 ILP Tutorial  
Mark Hill.jpg Self-directed Learning.

This project was designed to allow students to work through heart development online using modules designed to teach at 3 levels of understanding, using the "traffic light" approach, (green is easiest, red is hardest). Each module through the same timeline and firstly identifies the learning objectives, then how long it will take to complete the module.

Cardiac Embryology     Begin Basic     Begin Intermediate     Begin Advanced  

This website is an educational resource designed to teach human cardiac embryology and is a Medicine ILP project carried out by Phoebe Norville. Heart development represents an important area of both embryological and clinical studies, predominantly due to the high incidence of congenital heart disease in the community. Therefore this website aims to teach cardiac embryology to students of all ages with varying degrees of knowledge in the area. The module contains three different levels:

  • Basic - begin here if you are new to heart embryology (high school level)
  • Intermediate - begin here if you have some background in heart embryology (university level)
  • Advanced - begin here after you have completed the earlier levels and have a good background in heart embryology (university level)

Basic Heart Development Timeline (weeks of development are shown w3 to w7)

Basic Heart Development Timeline.jpg

Science Small Class

Medicine computer lab.jpg
  • Science lectures and laboratories in Science can be prepared and presented online. (Lecture, Practical)
  • Online textbooks are directly linked within the classes. (UNSW links)
  • Additional general notes are available for students to use as topic background. (2012)
  • Glossary
  • Individual Assessments
    • Each week online based upon the practical class they have just completed.
  • Group Projects
    • Earlier group projects in the Science courses had been preparing a poster and a final presentation to the class.
    • The online projects also require presentations during their preparation and include a peer assessment process.
Project Pedagogy  
Mark Hill.jpg

These projects extend far beyond the original "research poster concept". It requires ongoing participation from both the teacher and the student, if you are not prepared to have an ongoing contribution, do not even consider setting this type of assessment.


  • Groups work independently throughout the semester on a specific topic the group has selected within the general topic set by the teacher.
  • Groups are assigned randomly by the teacher, do not want "friends" and "non-friends" groups.
  • Online work consists of the "project page" and the "discussion page" where student online interaction occurs.
  • Face-to-face time is allowed each week in the last 10 minutes of practical classes.
  • Projects are also presented to the class at a "work in progress" phase.
  • Each student carries out a "online written assessment" of all other projects late in the semester, when groups are near completion.
  • Groups then collate and use these "online written assessments" to edit their own project.


  • Designs specific assessment criteria.
  • Designs the general topic and allocates groups.
  • Provides handouts and brief tutorials each week in practical class time on: basic editing, copyright/plagiarism , reference sources and referencing and uploading images.
  • Provides regular in-class advice, online comments and email support to queries and feedback.
  • Analyses project "edit history" and "discussion" comments to identify individual students not contributing to the project.
  • Analyses the final submitted project providing specific online feedback.

Science Group Projects

Project Topics  
Mark Hill.jpg How do you select a topic?

These project topics supplement content covered in lectures and practicals. Student can apply their understanding of concepts in development to topics that show relevance of embryology research to both basic sciences and clinical medicine.

  • Animal Models - Have been use historically to understand human development. More recently they have been used to understand human disease mechanisms and the potential application of stem cells. The students learn to identify the common features of development in different species as well as the differences between species.
  • Diagnostic Techniques - Applies an understanding of the tools available to understand abnormal development. Focussing on how the tools work, what they measure and what they show. The students learn to firstly identify features of normal development, before they can understand how (and why) abnormal development can be detected.
  • Abnormalities - These are a range of (human) developmental abnormalities with a range of developmental origins and affecting different systems. An understanding of normal development, from the course, is required to interpret specific abnormalities. The students learn to identify the main origins of abnormalities (genetic, environmental and unknown), the history of our understanding and how research has progressed in the topic area.
  • Sensory Development - Complex developmental systems with different embryonic origins and system interactions. Not enough time in lectures or practicals to cover all systems in detail.

Online Project support

At the beginning of the course students are led through simple tutorial exercises to become familiar with the process.

Student Contributions  
Mark Hill.jpg The assessment criteria requires "an ongoing contribution", how do you identify this?

All pages track all edits made. Using this "edit history" log student contributions can be logged and quantified. A quick audit of this log (simply pasted into a spreadsheet to sort, count and graph) does not identify directly what has been edited, though this can also be done both by see and comparison of content added/removed. It does identify the "low contributors" to both the project and discussion pages. An intergroup comparison can also identify whether some groups are having problems with the work.

An edit audit carried out early enough in the project process, allows both teacher and student to identify this issue.

An equal edit contribution would be shown by an even distribution of slices in the pie diagrams.

2011 Embryology Projects Student Edits

Peer Assessment  
Mark Hill.jpg How do you engage the students in the assessment process?

Students present their project in the class and have a set "soft deadline" for completing the project and at this deadline students stop the work on their own project. An individual assessment item is set where each student looks, using the assessment criteria, at all the other projects. This assessment is pasted on the project discussion page and the students own page. The following week, groups then collate these assessments and have the opportunity to improve their own project based upon these comments.

Note the process also makes the students look at the other projects and see what is "good" and "bad" and use this when they return to work on their own project.

Histology Practical Class Support

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  • Students in both Science and Medicine classes now learn histology and pathology through the use of "virtual slides".
  • Slides are projected onto screens and monitors and students own computers to view the slides.
  • In these classes students work through a series of unlabelled slides guided by an academic coordinator and supported by tutors.
  • Students can access the slides outside of the class hours and now can also access self-directed learning support from specifically designed online resources.

Virtual Slides

  • Developed by colleagues in Medicine supported by ALTC grant. The repository includes virtual slide collections for Anatomy, Pathology, Botany/Ecology and Zoology (total ~600 slides). (Virtual Slides)
  • Requires zpass login. Unlabelled slides the students work through in practical classes.
  • Software is similar to that on UIOWA - Virtual Slidebox

Histology Slide Support

  • Background and self-directed learning for students working with virtual slides.
  • [[Histology Glossary}}, additional information, cartoon images, animations, links and labelled histology slides.
  • Labelled histology slides used are from a different set of images, so students still need to identify structures themselves in the virtual slide set.



Medicine Foundations: Histology Introduction | Skin Histology
Medicine Health Maintenance: Pancreas Histology | Liver Histology | Gall Bladder Histology | Renal System Histology | Blood Vessel Histology
Medicine Ageing and Endings: Bone Histology | Colon Histology


  • ePublishing or digital publishing. (pdf, eBook, iBooks)
  • A potential explosion in this sector, everyone is a publisher.
    • how do you assess good (re)sources?
  • free software and can be freely published. (iBook Author, connect)
  • Downloadable and independent of internet connection, remote locations.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 22) Embryology Anatomy and Embryology Goettingen - 2013 Seminar. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G