University of Sussex
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Does longitudinal Twitter use complement all anatomy learning? A comparison between two cohorts

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posted on 2023-06-09, 02:37 authored by Catherine Hennessy, S Border
Background: Students of today’s generation are regularly using social media to access and learn anatomical information. To avoid losing the skill of engaging with students, anatomy educators have been increasing their efforts to use popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to support their student’s learning. At the University of Southampton a Twitter hashtag (#nlm2soton) was successfully used to support Year 2 medical students during the difficult head, neck and neuroanatomy module by enhancing communication, boosting morale and creating a supportive network amongst students and educators. A similar Twitter hashtag was subsequently created for Year 1 medical students completing the prerequisite sister module called nervous & locomotor 1 in an attempt to investigate whether the benefits of using Twitter are transferable across anatomy topics. Methods: The nlm1soton hashtag (#nlm1soton) was created and displayed (via a widget) on the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard) for a cohort of 215 BM5 Year 1 medical students. Participants completed an end of module survey to explore perceptions and attitudes towards its use which was approved by the University’s research ethics committee. Year 1 responses were compared with that of Year 2 students who had used the #nlm2soton hashtag. Results: Year 2 students viewed (P < 0.0001) and contributed (P < 0.0002) to Twitter significantly more frequently than Year 1 students. This was particularly true for students who were <20 years old (P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in how frequently students who were >20 years old made contributions to the hashtags (P = 0.1055). Overall, Year 2 students perceived their #nlm2soton hashtag to be significantly more useful for aspects of learning, compared to the Year 1 cohort. Conclusion: This study found that Year 1 medical students were less receptive to Twitter use in learning anatomy and used the hashtag significantly less often than their Year 2 counterparts. This would suggest that the optimal use of longitudinal Twitter use in anatomy education is most probably dependent on a number of criteria. Preliminary evidence suggests that important variables to consider may include age of students, module length, module difficulty and teacher engagement.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Journal of Anatomy





Event name

Anatomical Society Winter 2015 Meeting

Event location

Cambridge, U.K.

Event type


Event date

14-16 Dec 2015

Department affiliated with

  • Division of Medical Education Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


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