I was hired, in part, to teach Anatomy and Physiology. These courses presented difficulty as I had never had a single anatomy course prior to my hiring. However, Dean Tom Nelson assured me that a good instructor could teach anything. For me, learning the material went hand in hand with learning how to teach it. I stumbled upon the Visible Body apps which opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me. I adopted their apps as a cheaper alternative to my textbook for the 2017 semester and saw improvement in the students performance. I quickly became involved with the development of lab activities, the testing of their courseware program (where we were the original beta test site), and the assessing the utility of their materials in my classroom. In 2018, I added health communications to the assignments to help the students relate the course material to their lives.
To make anatomy more active, student groups are often asked to draw and label organs or flow charts of physiological phenomena on the whiteboard. When finished or stuck, students collaborate with surrounding groups to correct their drawings.
Sample lecture and associated materials
Circulatory lecture 3
Circulatory system-- general vessel information and blood pressure
The course syllabus clearly lays out policies, procedures, and assignments
The course outline includes learning outcomes for each unit enabling students to understand what is expected of them
The lab schedule indicates which labs will be held when and the learning outcomes for those labs
Sample student work 1
Sample student work 2
The student health communications were instituted in Fall 2018. Above are examples of student work. In these communications students are asked to discuss the underlying anatomy and physiology of a disease related to a system covered on the exam. They can write a pamphlet or a letter to a loved one. These are then shared with the class as review.
Below these course reviews, I detail what I have done to improve the course.
Overall instructor rating
End of semester results from 2018
This course has undergone several changes to address what I saw in student performance and evaluations. Many of these techniques are based on evidence based high-impact teaching practices.
1) We switched from the textbook to the much better (and cheaper) visible body apps.
2) Labs were re-worked to make the relationship between the labs and course material more explicit.
3) Learning objectives were added to each lecture and lab unit
4) I use online quizzing. Originally this was through McGraw Hill connect but the questions were not good and I saw no relationship between student performance on the quizzes and in the class. I switched to visible body quizzes many of which I wrote. This has been better, however, now some students see a lack of relationship between the online quizzes and my exams. This coming semester online quizzes will be practice (mostly digital dissection questions like 'find the cephalic vein') and some in class group questions which are the same format as exam questions will be done.
5) Students started doing health communications where they pick a disease (not discussed in class) which relates to the course material. They then discuss the anatomy and physiology of that disease in one of several formats (powerpoint, informational pamphlet, letter to a loved one).
6) In fall 2018 all of the lectures were recorded and posted online to enable students to revisit the material. I also did several mini-lectures for tough concepts. The students stated that this was incredibly helpful and use statistics showed that they did use the videos.
7) I am continuing to try to make students have a more active role in the class. I am not always successful at this but I make it a conscious effort.
8) I started using guided notes which many students have identified as being helpful.