Putting the Pieces Together of an Online Classroom with the Help of Jigsaw




Bradley, Libby
Handler, Emma


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Purpose: Anatomy has been deemed a cornerstone course within the health sciences. Recently, there has been an increase in online courses taught at university-level, including anatomy courses. Although there has been an increase in online teaching and learning in anatomy, there is still uncertainty regarding whether academic performance, satisfaction, and perceptions are equivalent between online and in-person anatomy courses. Additionally, throughout graduate courses, traditional learning (i.e., solely lecture-focused) has begun to transition with the implementation of active learning (i.e., an approach in which students are asked to engage in the learning process (not solely lecture-focused)). Previous research studies have established the effects of different active learning techniques implemented within in-person graduate anatomy courses, but little research has investigated the effects of active learning techniques implemented within online graduate anatomy courses. Therefore, a pilot study was conducted within an online Medical Science master's anatomy course measuring the perceived effects that jigsaw had on students' perception and satisfaction. Methods: Jigsaw was incorporated into 5 units of an online anatomy course. Students were randomly assigned into three expert groups, which were assigned objectives to review from lecture material. Then, two students from each expert group were assigned to teaching groups. In their teaching groups, each student created a short video to teach their designated objectives to their peers. At the end of the semester, students were asked to participate in the research study by completing a post-course survey that asked questions pertaining to course perceptions and satisfaction and their experiences regarding the active learning technique. Data was collected through Qualtrics and analyzed in NCSS using Spearman's correlation coefficient and Chi-squared tests. Results: Results from the post-course survey indicated that 77.3% of students (n=21) were satisfied with jigsaw. Moreover, students that used the teaching materials that their peers created during the teaching groups portion of jigsaw were 10% more satisfied than the students that did not (p< 0.05). Additionally, a significant, positive correlation was found when asked how effective jigsaw was when learning the course material compared to the helpfulness of jigsaw (p< 0.05). Conclusion: These findings suggest that the students that actively participated in jigsaw perceived more effectiveness and satisfaction than the students that did not. Researchers are expanding on this study with the implementation of several other active learning techniques to examine the effects when comparing academic performance, perceptions, and satisfaction. While the benefits of active learning are widely known within in-person courses, there is little research on the effects of active learning within online courses. Furthermore, there is no research investigating the effects of jigsaw implementation within an online graduate anatomy course. With the help of this study and future research, a greater understanding can be found concerning how students can best learn in an online learning environment, with the implementation of active learning.