In my opinion, the big mistake that professors commonly make when moving an on-campus course to remote teaching is to make things more complicated than they need to be. That unnecessary complexity stems from the idea that one must take their entire ...

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Pandemic Scramble: Keeping It Simple

In my opinion, the big mistake that professors commonly make when moving an on-campus course to remote teaching is to make things more complicated than they need to be. That unnecessary complexity stems from the idea that one must take their entire course, including every element and detail, and move it more or less "as is" to an online environment. I think we get much better outcomes if we strive to keep it simple.

First, "remote" need not always be "online." There are a lot of learning opportunities to be had with reading and retrieval practice assignments from the Patton Anatomy & Physiology textbook. Students have invested a lot in acquiring this resource and a large team has worked together to make it an effective learning tool. Now's a great time to do better by our students by helping them engage fully in both reading and raiding their textbook. 

Second, now is a great time to revisit our learning outcomes and compare those to our course design. Most of us keep adding more expected outcomes, and therefore more content, to our courses over the years. As we consider various learning activities, we often add them rather than replace existing activities. Our course becomes bloated, complex, and heavier than it needs to be. So my advice is to prune, prune, prune to the main outcomes—the truly essential concepts—of our A&P course. Then, and only then, are we ready to move to remote teaching.

Third, rather than simply digitize our course components—recording lectures, converting tests and quizzes to online formats, etc.—we should rethink our course design. I suggest trimming back on what we are telling and showing showing students and rely more on their own discovery. And resisting the urge to use every last one of the cool toys that our instructional designers are helping us to discover.

What I mean by that is focusing our recorded lectures on the hard-to-understand "pain points" of A&P. And even then, we should consider trimming our narrative down to half or less of that 50-minute time block that we are used to. Then taking those shorter lectures and chunking them into even smaller, bite-sized pieces.

We can also substitute those occasional, mind-bending summative tests with frequent, low-stakes formative tests by using the our learning management system's online quizzing engine. This leverages the learning benefits of retrieval practice by shifting the work of learning to the student—where it belongs. This approach also makes light work of learning, thus avoiding a burdensome load during this time of stress and uncertainty.

To learn more about these suggestions and more, watch my video presentation Simple Ideas for Moving to Remote Learning or listen to an audio version from my podcast.




Pandemic Scramble: Use Netter's 3D Anatomy Included with Your Textbook

A big part of the still-in-progress "pandemic scramble" of trying to get our A&P course from is on-campus venue to a remote or semi-remote format is grappling with finding a good tool to teach the anatomy that we usually teach in a lab.  Many of my colleagues are looking here and there and everywhere for just the right tool. A tool at an affordable price.

Guess what? If you and your students are using the Patton Anatomy & Physiology textbook in your course, you already have a great tool! At no extra cost! Really. No new licenses. No subscriptions. No extra fees. Not only that, there's nothing for you to arrange in order for your students to have it. They already have it!

Netter's 3D Anatomy scratch-off access code
Open the book and on the page facing the inside front cover, you'll see the scratch-off label for Netter's 3D Anatomy. Use the access code and you'll unlock a beautiful set of anatomy tools based on the famous illustrations by Frank H. Netter and his successors. Rendered in three dimensions, these amazing illustrations of the structures of the human body can be moved and rotated around easily to see them from any angle. Structures can also be pulled apart and put back together, thus making this platform a true virtual dissection tool. 

But how does one use Netter's 3D Anatomy in teaching a course—especially when trying to replicate an in-lab learning experience? There are many options, but here are a few to spark your own creative solutions:
  • Use your "lab list" of required structures to identify in a dissection—or develop such a list—and assign students to find them, just as they would in a "wet" dissection.

  • Consider having students take screen shots of their work and compile their own "guide to the body."

  • Take your own screen shots—perhaps even a narrated video screen shot—to guide students through each region you'd like to have them "dissect" on their own.

  • Use captured screen shots to produce a virtual dissection quiz.

  • Assign students a set of structures to "teach" the class, and let them share their screens and walk the rest of the class through their assigned structures. 
Netter's 3D Anatomy screen capture of brain dissection

I use Snagit by TechSmith for my screen captures—both still and video—because I've become comfortable with its many features, such as easy markups of screen captures. However, you can use any screen capture tool—including the one probably already installed in your system.

Have any other ideas for using Netter's 3D Anatomy in your course? Just go to the bottom of this post at the Anatomy & Physiology blog and share your idea!


Pandemic Scramble: Use Your Included Online A and P Course

As we scramble this summer—and possibly through the fall—to shift our A&P course from its usual on-campus venue to remote teaching, let's not forget the tools that we already have at hand. Why go out looking for new tools when we already have all or most of what we need right there in our toolbox?

One such tool that we may already have handy is Anatomy & Physiology Online. This product is packaged at no extra cost with many versions of the Anatomy & Physiology textbook. Check which version has been adopted in your course to see if the online course is included. If it's not included, check with your Elsevier education consultant about your options. But mostly likely, you and your students already have it!

woman with tablet computer and dog

Anatomy & Physiology Online is a ready-to-go online experience for your students! Let me say that again. Ready. To. Go.

There's nothing to prepare, organize, plan—nothing. 

Well, okay, there is one thing you have to do. That is to decide whether you want to import the course into your learning management system and operate it there or instead operate it within Elsevier's learning management system (Evolve).

As I recommend in my free eBook Pandemic Teaching: A Survival Guide for College Faculty, a good strategy is to trim back the "extras" and focus on the core concepts that students really need to take with them into their next courses. Anatomy & Physiology Online does that for you! Yep, it's already aimed at those core principles from the textbook in a manner well-suited for most courses.

Yeah, okay, maybe if you'd created an online course, you'd have done this or that a bit differently. Perhaps added a bit here or left that other thing out. But this is a pandemic scramble, right? We don't have time now to do it perfectly. But if you do have extra time—an amusing concept—nothing is stopping you from adding other course elements alongside Anatomy & Physiology Online.

So why invent a wheel you and your students already have? Anatomy & Physiology Online seems custom-made for this pandemic scramble we're in right now!

If you need help, contact your Elsevier education consultant any time.

Pandemic Scramble: Adapting to Remote Learning, Suddenly

Well, friends, I'll bet most of us didn't see this pandemic coming. Not to the extent of impact it's had on the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology. But it's here and we're going to roll with the punches and deliver a positive and productive learning experience for our students, right?

To help us all get ourselves organized and on the right track as we adapt to suddenly having to move our face-to-face course homes to a remote venue out there in the vast expanse of space, I've assembled a few "get started" resources to help you adapt.

Quickly Moving to Remote Delivery—The Musical

This is an "emergency" bonus episode of my podcast (The A&P Professor). The brief audio presentation presents nineteen tips on how to get started. And there are three A&P songs from my friend and fellow A&P teacher, Greg Crowther. For a sing-along! We could all use a light-hearted sing-along about sodium ions right now, am I right?

Go to for an audio player plus a lot of links and other resources. Or subscribe in your favorite podcast player and look for Episode 64b.

There is also an earlier episode called Mid-Winter Winterizing of Our Courses meant to help prepare us before this all flooded in upon us. Many of these prep tips are still useful, even as the metaphorical flood waters continue to rise all around us. Go to

TEACH Instructor Resources for Anatomy & Physiology

This little gem has been there all along! Really. In your Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition.  TEACH has all kinds of tips and strategies that can be used to generate ideas for learning activities that can be adapted for remote teaching.

Included in TEACH are:
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Handouts
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Pretest Questions and Pretest Answers

If you don't have an Evolve account, then just go to and click on Sign In in the upper right, then click on Create Account near the bottom of the form that pops up. Make sure you apply for a faculty account. It will take a day or so to verify your faculty status. In the search box on the home page, or when you click Catalog at the top, type in Evolve Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition, then request access. The TEACH resources will be listed in the Instructor Resources tab.

But wait! There's more...

Teaching Tips

Also found in your  Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition, a separate sheet of advice—simply called Teaching Tips—supplements the TEACH resources to spark ideas for your transition to remote teaching.  

Besides the TEACH resources and Teaching Tips, there are all kinds of other resources in your  Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition:

  • Audience Response Questions—meant for "clicker" systems in a classroom, they can be easily adapted for online presentations to spark student thinking during an online "lecture" or demonstration.
  • Image Collection—contains (labeled and unlabeled) jpeg and PowerPoint versions of each image from the textbook.
  • Test Bank—can be a great resource for quickly constructing online quizzes and reviews. Consider using them for Testing-as-Teaching, a type of retrieval practice mentioned later in this post.

The A&P Professor

I already mentioned The A&P Professor podcast, but there is lot more there for you than those "emergency" bonus episodes. It's worth exploring the whole list for practical tips and advice as you move to remote teaching. The great thing about podcast episodes is that you can listen to them while you are wiping down the surfaces in your home, making your family's meals, and rearranging your stacks of toilet paper. Here are a few selected topics to start with:

Besides the podcast, The A&P Professor website includes other resources, such as online seminars for teaching anatomy and physiology. Here are a couple that may be helpful as this time:

Free eText

VitalSource and Elsevier have partnered to provide eText access to students. To assist students at disrupted semester-calendar schools who are losing access to course materials due to COVID-19 campus closures, VitalSource has been joined by Elsevier to offer free access to etexts to students whose classes have moved online from March 16 through May 25, 2020. Students will be able to access the expansive catalog of eTexts from participating publishers through the VitalSource Bookshelf app effective immediately.

Besides this being useful to students who are "stuck without" their textbooks, it can offer additional opportunities to connect with students in a remote environment. 

For example, something that I do in an online course I teach is let my students "subscribe" to the highlights and notes in my own copy of the eText version of the textbook. 

I can mark areas of particular importance, add commentary on what they should be looking at in a section or illustration, and clarify concepts that commonly challenge student learning. This could be particularly useful in "holding the hand" of a confused and dazed student who is trying to adapt to a new learning environment.

Coloring Book

I've been seeing a lot of advice to folks in general, telling them to sit around as a family and color in their coloring books. That makes a lot of sense in terms of diffusing stress and connecting in a positive way with those with whom we are house-bound. 

Why not suggest to students to do that, but use Mosby's Anatomy & Physiology Coloring Book as one of their coloring books? 

In a post from my blog The A&P Student, I recommend coloring as a way to study anatomy and physiology in a new and fun way—that also calms the nerves. So their nerves will become calm as they study their nerves! Check out Coloring Books Are Powerful Study Tools (And They Help Manage Stress).

Okay, whew! That's enough for now, eh? Don't hesitate to reach out if I can be of help to you. 


The New Adaptive Quizzing Tool Is Available!

Did you know that there's a new version of  Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) now available for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition?

I've mentioned the value of EAQ in the past, but this version has been updated and enhanced to be an even more valuable learning and teaching tool! 
  • Have you ever wished that you could tell where your students are struggling with content by just glancing at a dashboard?

  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if your students were being quizzed on material they’re struggling with versus material they’ve already mastered?

How would you like to create a quiz or a test that adapts to your student’s needs, in just 3 easy steps?

Check out this 1 minute video below to show you how!

My friend Ashley Nagel over at Elsevier Publishing is hosting a 30-minute live demo on EAQ for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition on Thursday, October 4th at 1:00 PM CST.

If you would like to attend, simply register by clicking or copying/pasting this link: 

If you attend, Ashley will send you a fantastic gift that’s fit for an A&P Instructor!

If you’re unable to make it to this demo, but would like to set up a private demo at a time that better works for your schedule, still register for this meeting and then shoot Ashley an email at . She’ll be happy to set up a time with you!


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