Case Study: Connect® Anatomy & Physiology - St. Louis Community College
Digital Product in Use:
McGraw-Hill Connect® Anatomy & Physiology
Biology 207 and Biology 208
Lecture and Labs
Program in Use:
Anatomy & Physiology by Kenneth Saladin, 7e
Neelima Bhavsar, Ph.D.
25 students/section, 600 enrollment
Case Study Term:
Spring 2008; Fall 2008; Spring 2015; Fall 2015; Summer 2015
Instructor’s implementation goals:
Finding an online program that students with varying learning styles could benefit from.
A solution that would help students familiarize themselves with terminology and basic concepts before class.
Issues for instructor before using Connect:
Grading time meant less prep time for active learning in the classroom.
Students were not reading.
Lack of student engagement in the classroom.
Benefits to instructor after using Connect:
Grading time is reduced to one-third of time previously spent.
The rate of A’s and B’s has risen.
Students aren’t withdrawing from the class in the large numbers that they were before Connect.
Student Withdrawals Decrease and More Students Earn A’s and B’s with Connect
Dr. Neelima Bhasvar started investigating digital learning programs to find a solution that would offer versatility to meet the varied needs of her many A&P I and II students. She chose Connect because it provided a wide range of learning tools to address students’ diversity of learning styles, and she felt it would help them not only learn the material but to use their study time effectively.
Bhavsar wanted students in her Anatomy & Physiology courses to come to class with an understanding of the content and terminology of each week’s topics. Before Connect she says students were struggling with the terminology which for many students can feel like a new language to learn. Since she implemented Connect students come to class already engaged in the course material to be covered and understanding terminology. As a result, class time has shifted to discussion that is more active and focuses on interactive activities.
“I have Nursing and Health Information Management students come back to me and tell me ‘thank you for all of the inquiry based activities we did in class’—this has really helped them on their certification exams.”
– Dr. Neelima Bhasvar
Course grade is determined by the following:
50% – Exams administered in Connect
5% – SmartBook assignments
5% – Quizzes administered in Connect
10% – Written Exams
5% – In-class quizzes
25% – Lab Exams
At the beginning of each course, Bhasvar ensures the students understand how to use Connect and walks them through SmartBook. The students find Connect intuitive and easy to learn. Bhasvar says Connect was easy not only for her students, but for her to use. “It’s modified to the course’s needs and pairs easily with Blackboard,” she says.
She covers one chapter over two face-to-face lectures per week. SmartBook assignments are due between the first and second class of each week, and those assignments usually cover all the learning topics and require an average time of 50 minutes. However, Bhasvar was happy to find that many of her students complete the SmartBook assignment each week even before the first lecture.
Bhasvar also assigns a 20-25 minute Connect quiz each week and allows students three attempts to meet their own expectations with each quiz. The quizzes include interactive activities such as video animations and drag and drop exercises which feature classification, sequencing and labeling.
One result, she experienced a changed dynamic in the classroom. “Using SmartBook has made a huge difference in the kind of questions students ask because they are familiar with the terminology and are able to make the deeper connections. Now they don’t ask ‘what does that mean’ but they ask ‘how does that happen or how does that work’.”
Because she now administers exams and quizzes in Connect rather than using lecture time, Bhasvar finds she has more time in the classroom for inquiry-based activities giving students the opportunity to grow their critical thinking skills.
The Insight dashboard, Assignment results, Student Performance, Assignment Statistics and At-risk reports are the Connect reports she finds most useful. “I use the reports to provide feedback to the students, guiding them how to improve their studying habits,” she says.
Since Connect was implemented, says Bhasvar, with he exception of tests, “grading student work and homework is a thing of the past.” With his transition, she reduced her weekly grading time by two-thirds (Figure 1).
Bhasvar has also seen a difference in grades with more students earning A’s and B’s in both her A&P I and II classes. The lower grades also increased, and she believes this is due to a reduced number of students withdrawing from her classes since she is finding that more students stay engaged in and complete the course, even if their grade is low (Figure 2). Bhasvar attributes this to Connect which provides a more dynamic learning environment for them even before they come to class. “Before Connect it was only lecture,” she points out.
Anatomy and Physiology I and II (Biology 207 and 208) investigate the organization of cells into tissues, organs and organ systems with special in-depth study of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous and endocrine system, and the sensory receptors. Biology 208 is a continuation of Biology 207 with consideration given to the integrative functions of the cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, urogenital and reproductive systems.
St. Louis Community College is a two-year institution in Missouri located on four main campuses located throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area. It offers associates degrees as well as certificates of proficiency for completing a one-year course of study, and certificates of specialization for completing a six-month course of study. The school also offers 15 college transfer options and more than 100 career programs.
“Students make significantly more logical connections since using Connect. They come to class understanding the terminology and have a basic understanding for a particular concept or scenario, so they are able to put two and two together and make the connections.”
According to Bhasvar, one of the most significant changes for the class is that students are now reading. In addition to orienting themselves with the material before class, during those classes students have started asking better questions; they gain knowledge and are ready to share it with their peers. Student engagement is up as well. “Students actually participate in class discussion,” she says. Since Connect was implemented A grades have increased from 14 to 17 percent, and B’s from 20 percent to nearly 27 percent.