One of the advantages of organizing anatomy and physiology concepts into short, modular chapters is that it gives us more flexibility in teaching. It also permits us to focus on important topics that are often buried within a large chapter that covers ...
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Patton Anatomy & Physiology

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Stress Deserves Its Own Chapter

One of the advantages of organizing anatomy and physiology concepts into short, modular chapters is that it gives us more flexibility in teaching. It also permits us to focus on important topics that are often buried within a large chapter that covers many subtopics.  Taking this advantage, Anatomy & Physiology puts the clinically important concepts of stress into a single, independent chapter.

The concepts of stress interconnect with concepts of neuroscience, endocrinology, immunology, and many others—covered in diverse chapters of a textbook and diverse modules of an A&P course. Putting the core concepts of stress into its own independent chapter means that the instructor has more flexibility in where they place in their own course structure—into their own unique telling of the story of the human body.

Our book was the first A&P textbook to have an independent stress chapter. Since its introduction, we've been keeping the content up to date and relevant to student learning—and to the clinical applications of stress they'll be making in their professional courses and careers. 

More recently, we enlisted the advice of the late Dr. Bruce McEwen, an icon of the modern concepts of human stress and it's real-life implications. Contributing author Dr. Peggie Williamson and I used Bruce's advice and his generous stack of resources to give our stress chapter a major refresh and update. You will find that the engaging story-of-stress approach remains, but with the more recent parts of that story reflected with greater clarity and relevance.

We need not let the concepts of stress be stressors themselves in our teaching and learning. Using the stress chapter in Anatomy & Physiologya reader favorite—can help us all better understand the pivotal role stress can have in wellness and disease.


Your Modular Anatomy & Physiology Textbook

Ever dreamed of rearranging the order of topics in your course. That is, have you ever wanted to shift the order of topics as they are presented in your textbook to fit the way you tell your story of the human body? Without the obstacles of assigning a half-chapter here and the other half-chapter there—and possibly causing some students to get a bit lost?

Yeah, me too. That's why I've worked hard to move away from the gigantic-chapter model we see in most A&P textbooks to the modular model in our Anatomy & Physiology textbook. Instead of the usual 20-something large chapters commonly seen, our textbook has 48 chapters—but about the same number of pages as all the others. That is, those gigantic chapters have been broken down into smaller bits.

Besides the advantage of making our reading assignments less intimidating for students, the arrangement of concepts in smaller chapters also means that it is far easier for any instructor to move things around a bit to better suit their particular telling of the A&P story. 

For example, because the introduction to homeostasis is its own short chapter, faculty have the choice to move it's place in the course to the very beginning—before all those directional terms and cavities, and so forth Or one could move it a bit later in the course, after the foundational chemistry, cell, and tissue coverage to just prior to beginning covering the first body system. 

The short stress chapter could be moved earlier or later in the course, without having to separate it out of another larger chapter that covers other topics as well. 

One could even decide to have students learn the appendicular skeleton first, before getting to that intimidating skull and vertebral column. 

If you've not looked at the Patton Anatomy & Physiology text in a while, this might be a good time to check it out and think about it's modular structure may be a better fit for your A&P course.

You may want to learn more about the story of our smaller chapters by reading these brief posts:


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.

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