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Bone Room Named STLCC-Forest Park Innovation of the Year

April 21, 2015

Bone Room  
The Bone Room recently was named the STLCC-Forest Park Innovation of the Year. Pictured are, from left, June Williams, senior manager of library and instructional resources who developed the idea for this resource, and Melissa Ingram, tutor in the Bone Room. 

It started like so many good ideas do, by connecting the dots. June Williams, senior manager, library and instructional resources at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, noticed students searching for anatomy and physiology resources in one spot, then checking out other resources from another area, then returning to examine models or multi-media materials.

Williams saw all this and wondered, “How can we help these students connect the dots?” One solution seemed to be to put all the dots in one place. Williams had inherited a room in need of a use, so she set about gathering and relocating anatomy and physiology models, posters, drawings and resources into a collaborative, one-stop study space for students.

And thus the Bone Room was born.

Named the 2014 Innovation of the Year for the Forest Park campus, the Bone Room has grown by leaps and bounds since it opened in 2013. Visitors have nearly doubled in the last year alone, with students from the Florissant Valley, Meramec and Wildwood campuses also taking advantage of the resources. In fact, the services of the Bone Room are available online for Florissant Valley students via Blackboard Collaborate.

In addition to the anatomical models and posters, students also have access to Anatomy TV, an electronic resource that allows students to view interactive 3D models.

“Now, our students don’t have to check out anything, they have access to everything here in the room,” Williams said.

But what truly makes the Bone Room special isn’t the impressive collection of resources; it is the collaborative environment that has grown around the resources. Students interact with tutors and each other to help get through their coursework.

“I love to see the students working together and supporting each other,” Williams. “They look at this resource as theirs.”

Tutor Melissa Ingram says that students are often more willing to ask questions or seek help from a tutor or another student than a teacher.

“It’s different for a student to approach a peer as opposed to a professor sometimes,” she said.

Faculty members have taken notice of the Bone Room, and point students toward the resource. Historically, anatomy and physiology classes have a high drop/fail rate nationwide, but these courses are an essential foundation for students entering into allied health careers. The Bone Room is helping to create more engaged, prepared students for these important courses at STLCC.

“We are continuing to update our resources and get more resources,” Williams said. “We work with our faculty to make sure we have the resources that are going to help our students succeed in the classroom.”

The League for Innovation in the Community College established the Innovation of the Year Award to recognize individuals or groups from alliance member colleges who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that improve the institution’s ability to serve students and the community. Criteria for the award are quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity and timeliness.