Background. Human Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) is a one- or two-semester course taught to over 500,000 students annually in two- and four-year undergraduate colleges. The course has the deserved reputation of requiring students to learn large quantities of factual information pertaining to the structure and function of the human body.
Instructional methods used in A & P are highly traditional; instructors are most often in the front of the classroom being the “sage on the stage,” e.g., giving lectures, supplemented with PowerPoint slides, while students sit passively, often in large auditoriums, and record notes. Changes in A & P education have historically related to modifications of the instructors’ use of information delivery (new uses of PowerPoint) and students record information (taking notes on paper has been replaced with taking digital photographs or recording lectures on mp3 files).
The intent of this project is to change more than information delivery or recording systems. The goal of this project is to use Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) to promote change in the way anatomy and physiology is taught and learned. To use an appropriate cliché, we hope to transform the instructor from being the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side” and to transform the students from being passive recipients of facts to active participants in the creation of their own knowledge.
Objectives. The intent of this grant effort is to design and implement inquiry (i.e., POGIL) based lessons for entry-level anatomy and physiology courses. Specific objectives for this two-year grant include: a) design a set of 10 to 20 inquiry based learning activities; b) conduct formative testing in 6 to 8 local colleges and modify the materials as needed; c) widely distribute the revised curriculum through the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS); d) construct a robust web site that will provide support for both teachers and students involved with the program; and e) submit the final products (curriculum modules and web site) for approval by the POGIL office.
Methods. Six to eight local anatomy and physiology instructors will meet at the University of Minnesota to learn the POGIL philosophy and create the curriculum units. The units will be field tested and modified, and a support web site, targeting both A & P students and instructors, will be developed. After revisions, curriculum materials will be distributed to HAPS members during a one-day workshop at the annual meeting. After additional modifications are made, all materials will be submitted to the POGIL office for endorsement and still wider dissemination.
Murray Jensen (University of Minnesota)