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9th Edition Patton And Thibodeau Case Study

In some of my previous posts, I explained some of the advantages of chunking a large volume of complex content into smaller bits:


Chunking breaks content into smaller bits
Those previous discussions described chunking material into smaller chapters, smaller sections, smaller subsections, smaller paragraphs, and smaller sentences. I also described chunking material in Anatomy & Physiology in the form of summary tables that also help students discover conceptual patterns.

This post builds on these ideas by introducing the value of breaking textbook content into smaller chunks when adapting the textbook content to the specific needs of your A&P course.

In an article I wrote last year at The A&P Professortitled Your Textbook is a Mitten, Not a Glove, I called attention to the fact that each of us tailors the depth and range of topics, the style of presentation, and sometimes the sequence of concepts, to fit the specific objectives of a course—or even a particular section of the A&P course. I believe that a thoughtfully chunked textbook assists both instructors and students in making the textbook "fit" the course.

Flexibility in selecting and organizing content for your course is enhanced by having the Anatomy & Physiology textbook broken down into smaller units. For example, by having the entire course broken down into 48 chapters—instead of the usual 20-something chapters—the instructor can "move around" content into a different sequence from the Anatomy & Physiology textbook's sequence with very little disruption to the students. Reducing disruption by being able to move whole chapters—rather than a half or third of a chapter here and there--can greatly enhance the student experience. It also makes it easier for the instructor, who is thus relieved from unraveling the confusion in syllabi, course schedules, and student inquiries.

Smaller, more discrete chapter topics also makes it easier to skip a topic. For example, in some programs, most topics in immunity are not covered in the A&P course, but are instead covered in microbiology or another course. Most A&P books combine lymphatic and immunity topics into a single chapter, so an A&P professor may find themselves wrestling with the student confusion caused by assigning only a partial chapter.

And "good luck" if your students are using a published workbook or online adaptive learning tool that is organized by chapter.

In Anatomy & Physiology, however, separate chapters on lymphatics, innate immunity, and adaptive immunity make it very easy to reorganize—or even skip—topics to suit the needs of a particular A&P course.

Students benefit from clear organization
Likewise, carefully subdivided sections and subsections assist instructors in skipping or rearranging the sequence of topics within a particular chapter. Even if the instructor does not call attention to a rearrangement of certain elements of the A&P story in class (vs. the sequence in the textbook), the clear labeling of discrete sections and subsections helps the student figure out where the concepts are covered in the textbook.

Chunking has many benefits—and we can now see that enhancing the instructor's flexibility in organizing course content is one of them. And that can result in less student confusion—and greater student success.

Images: Robert Michie (top)

KPatton (middle)

Griszka Niewiadomski (bottom)

UNIT ONE: The Body as a Whole
1.  Organization of the Body
2.  Homeostasis
3.  Chemistry of Life
4.  Biomolecules
5.  Cell Structure
6.  Cell Function
7.  Cell Growth and Development
8.  Introduction to Tissues
9.  Tissue Types

UNIT TWO: Support and Movement
10. Skin
11. Skeletal Tissues
12. Axial Skeleton
13. Appendicular Skeleton
14. Articulations
15. Axial Muscles
16. Appendicular Muscles
17. Muscle Contraction

UNIT THREE: Communication, Control, and Integration
18. Nervous System Cells
19. Nerve Signaling
20. Central Nervous System
21. Peripheral Nervous System
22. Autonomic Nervous System
23. Physiology of Sensation
24. Special Senses
25. Endocrine Regulation
26. Endocrine Glands

UNIT FOUR: Transportation and Defense
27. Blood
28. Heart
29. Blood Vessels
30. Circulation of Blood
31. Lymphatic System
32. Innate Immunity
33. Adaptive Immunity
34. Stress 

UNIT FIVE: Respiration, Nutrition and Excretion
35. Respiratory Tract
36. Ventilation
37. Gas Exchange and Transport
38. Upper Digestive Tract
39. Lower Digestive Tract
40. Digestion and Absorption
41. Nutrition and Metabolism
42. Urinary System
43. Fluid and Electrolyte Balance
44. Acid-Base Balance

UNIT SIX: Reproduction and Development
45. Male Reproductive System
46. Female Reproductive System
47. Growth and Development
48. Genetics and Heredity
Answer Key