Visible Body Office Hours Session 3: Ellen Lutz

Office hours aren’t just for students anymore. That’s right—now you can ask questions and hear from fellow instructors with Visible Body’s Office Hours series!

This is the third part of the VB Blog series on our new Office Hours sessions for instructors! You can check out the first part here, and the second part here.


In this post, we’re going to summarize the highlights of the third Office Hours, featuring Ellen Lutz, Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Massachusetts. We'll also let you know how you (yes, you!) can get involved with Office Hours! 


Office Hours #3: Ellen Lutz, Health Sciences Librarian - University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ellen Lutz is the Health Science Librarian and Liaison to the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts. She first became aware of VB in 2018, when a member of our Education Team did a quick demo during a campus visit. It turned out that one of the kinesiology faculty had used Visible Body before, and in spring 2019, the kinesiology department used a site license trial. 

There were a few key things Ellen liked about Visible Body that motivated the library to purchase a site license of Human Anatomy Atlas after the trial. First, using Visible Body reduces the cost burden on students in a world of very expensive textbooks. Second, Visible Body had a lower price at the institutional level when compared to similar products.

"The lab manual that the students usually purchased is $80, and they have around 600 students that come through the A&P class each year, so the math means [students were paying] $48,000—and I can tell you that we do not pay anywhere near $48,000 a year for our site license. As a librarian, that was really what attracted me to it. Our libraries, and our campus in general, are really aware of the rising costs of textbooks and materials that students have to buy. Finding ways that libraries can help support and reduce that burden on students is an important piece of our mission," she said. 

Another advantage of a VB site license is that students get mobile access, so they can use the app when they’re not in the lab. Nursing students can quickly review anatomy concepts, for example. Ellen also mentioned that the usefulness of Atlas as a reference guide goes beyond kinesiology, public health, and nursing students. Students in art, archaeology and anthropology, and biomedical engineering programs can also benefit from being able to explore the body’s structures. 

After Ellen’s presentation, Emily from Visible Body gave a quick demo of Human Anatomy Atlas. (Later, during the Q&A, she also gave a demo of one of our newest apps, Physiology & Pathology.) She explained that site licenses of Visible Body products come with both web access and mobile downloads for all users.


Q&A: Online lecturing, off-campus access,  Physiology & Pathology, and using Courseware alongside another LMS

The Q&A session starts at around 23:15—here are some highlights. 

How do you use Visible Body for online lecturing?

Ellen and Emily explained that many instructors use visuals from Visible Body apps while they lecture via Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate. Instructors with iPads can mirror their iPad through Zoom, and instructors can open the web version of an app in their browser and then share their screen in Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate.

How can students who are off campus access Visible Body and download mobile versions of the apps? How does the software work on low quality internet?

Site licenses of Visible Body apps (Human Anatomy Atlas, Anatomy & Physiology, Muscle Premium, and Physiology & Pathology) come with both web access and mobile downloads. When students are on campus, accessing a site license app is rarely an issue, since students are likely already signed into the campus’ network. When students are off campus, they can still access and download the app(s), but they will likely need to go through their institution’s website to do so. In many cases, this happens via the institution’s library.

Ellen explained (starting at around 55:30 on the video) how students can access Human Anatomy Atlas from the UMass library’s website. When on campus, students get to the app by going to the library website’s databases and collections page. After clicking the link to Human Anatomy Atlas, they are redirected to a page where they can launch the app in their browser or download it on a mobile device. The only added step if students are off campus is that when they launch the VB link from the library website, they need to login with their campus ID and password. After that, it’s the same as the on-campus experience. Once the app is downloaded onto a student’s device, they can open it without logging in through the library.

Depending on the way different universities’ proxy servers are set up, university IT might be able to help instructors and librarians streamline the off campus login for students.

Another instructor asked how the apps would work for students who have low quality internet at home. If those students were to download one of the mobile apps to a device such as their phone, the download itself might take longer, but the internet speed wouldn’t affect the functioning of the app once installed on the device.

What is Physiology & Pathology?

Emily gave a quick overview of one of Visible Body’s newer apps, Physiology & Pathology, which is now available as a site license. Physiology & Pathology covers key physiological processes and common pathologies of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, GI, and musculoskeletal systems. It also features a beating heart model, where users can change the BPM, view an EKG, and visualize blood flow and electrical activity. In addition, the 3D views in Physiology & Pathology have guided tours users can scroll through using arrows in the info box.

Is material from Atlas embeddable in Courseware?

Yes! When you create assignments in Courseware, you can choose the source of the content. One of the sources is Human Anatomy Atlas, so you can create an assignment that opens up a specific 3D view. We also have a lot of pre-built courses that are correlated to popular A&P textbooks. This means they already have assignments incorporating views from Atlas, as well as assets from Anatomy & Physiology, Muscle Premium, and Physiology Animations. 

If you’re using Blackboard, Canvas, or another LMS, you can link to Courseware assignments or use Atlas share links (which open up specific views within Atlas) to integrate content from Visible Body into your courses. 


How to attend Office Hours

So, how do you attend a Visible Body Office Hours session? Make sure to sign up for our email list. We’ll notify you about upcoming Office Hours sessions a few days in advance and provide a Zoom registration link. And if you don’t have time to attend, don’t worry—all the Office Hours videos get posted to our YouTube playlist so you can stay up to date! 

Be sure to subscribe to the Visible Body Blog for more anatomy awesomeness! 

Are you an instructor? We have award-winning 3D products and resources for your anatomy and physiology course! Learn more here.