Clarifying Renal Clearance: An educational approach using visualisation of virtual volumes via student-developed video resources

Kirsten Bradshaw, Derek A Scott

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There are many aspects of physiology which seem harder to teach and learn than others. One such aspect is renal clearance. Whether this is due to its perceived complexity or whether it is genuinely a more complicated topic to navigate, it appears to be difficult to for some students to conceptualise. Attempts have been made to try and create a less daunting approach which will help students grasp the basic principles and retain information whilst aiding tutors in the teaching process. One such method of helping to clarify renal clearance was adapted from Guevara & Milanick (2017). This simple demonstration was easily replicable using inexpensive resources such as bottles, clear mineral oil and coloured water. Different volumes of coloured fluid were used to represent change in concentrations before and after renal clearance had occurred to aid understanding of virtual volumes. Instructional videos were developed by an undergraduate science student using basic camera and editing resources and placed on the virtual learning environment (VLE) of a second year organ system physiology course. A voluntary quiz was made available to students before and after the video resources were released to determine if the teaching had benefitted the students. The second quiz had additional renal questions, plus some optional questions about the video resources on the VLE. When rating the helpfulness of video resources, students (n=59) rated them positively (8.5±1.5 out of 10 on a Likert scale). In terms of audio-visual quality, they were rated 9.6±0.7, with ease of viewing via the VLE being scored at 9.2±0.8. Most students preferred delivery of the videos and associated quizzes online. 65 students voluntarily took Quiz 1 before the videos became available, and 59 students took Quiz 2 after they could watch the resources. The correct answers were only provided to the students in a feedback session after Quiz 2 had closed. Students rated Quiz 2 as being easier than Quiz 1 (8.5±1.6 vs 7.9±1.9, P = 0.0015, Mann-Whitney test). There were substantial increases in the number of students answering questions correctly in Quiz 2, with some questions that had previously been answered incorrectly ~80% of the time changing to 100% correct. Free text comments indicated that the resources were valued by students with special learning requirements or those for whom English was not their first language. This project shows that relatively simple video resources developed in partnership with students can prove useful in enhancing students’ understanding of renal physiology concepts and in helping them improve their knowledge and understanding. Given the positive response to the video resources this year, we intend to keep these resources permanently on the VLE so that future cohorts of students can use them to enhance their studies. We hope to adapt this idea to other areas of the curriculum so that we can cater for a wider range of learning strategies used by students.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventPhysiology 2019 - Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 201910 Jul 2019


ConferencePhysiology 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • renal
  • video
  • student
  • physiology
  • student-created


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