Projects Underway

Creation, Implementation, and Assessment of Anatomy and Physiology Online Laboratory Modules

Adam Rich

Project Team
  • Chris Price, SUNY Brockport
  • Kanchana Mendes, SUNY Brockport
  • Kathleen Reagan, SUNY Brockport
  • Jeremy Browne, Brigham Young University
  • Christopher Loretz, University at Buffalo
  • Marirose Ethington, Genesee Community College
  • Gary Glaser, Genesee Community College

Brockport, State University College at


Tier Two

Project Abstract:

Innovative use of technology may help mitigate increasing pressure on faculty and on campus resources. Class size for Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) at The College at Brockport has grown rapidly and is now limited laboratory space that is used to teach the course. This pilot project will:
1. develop pre-laboratory learning modules.
2. develop assessment tools.
3. identify characteristics that facilitate adoption of learning modules by faculty teaching a wide variety
of Biology courses.

The goal is to create and use recorded material to reduce student time spent in the laboratory for A&P by approximately 33%, while maintaining content and rigor. Reducing the time spent face-to-face during laboratory session will enable an increase in the number of scheduled laboratory sections and an increase to the total number of students in A&P. Student learning and student satisfaction will be assessed to learn the degree to which recorded material can replace face-to-face instruction time in the physical laboratory space while maintaining or improving learning outcomes. Other faculty teaching different A&P courses at Brockport, Kathleen Reagan (Survey of A&P), Kanchana Mendes (summer A&P), Marirose Ethington (Genesee Community College) and Christopher Loretz, (University of Buffalo) will be recruited to help design and test learning modules that will be transferable and are likely to be adopted by faculty at Brockport, other SUNY schools, and elsewhere.

It is important to use the literature to make informed decisions about teaching. I have utilized lecture capture technology for 6 years for students that could not attend lecture in A&P, for pre-exam reviews, and for lectures when I traveled. I completed a study that showed student performance on lecture exams was not different for student accessing recorded lectures compared to students attending face-to-face lectures (CIT 2011 Lecture capture and learning: how it works and does it influence student learning? Adam Rich and Jeremy Browne). This result is consistent with a recently published meta-analysis of online learning reporting superior learning outcomes for hybrid courses, or courses maintaining a portion of face-to-face teaching supplanted with online learning (Means, B et al (2010). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning. Center for Technology in Learning, U.S. Department of Education). These data suggest that recorded material can substitute for some face-to-face teaching while maintaining learning outcomes for lecture courses. This pilot project will develop recorded material to substitute for a portion of laboratory face-to-face time, and will assess effectiveness on student learning and faculty workload.

Learning Module Design: Learning modules will be 10-15 minutes in duration and will be created using ECHO360 software on a Macintosh computer. I have experience with ECHO360 and Brockport has a site license. Learning modules will be packaged for collaborating faculty for easy implementation: a pre- and post-student assessment, a learning module, and an instructor assessment. Every module will begin with a lab introduction, a brief pre-test to assess what students know before lab, the specific learning expectations, and the learning module video. Students will view the module and receive clear instructions and will be guided to their textbook or online resource. The first learning module to be created will be called Get Ready for Success: What you need to know for A&P. This learning module will be reviewed by collaborating faculty before the first meeting to help them to understand the project. One undergraduate (UG) and one Master’s (MS) student will participate with design and review of the module and the assessments. After faculty review the module a face-to-face meeting will identify important considerations and discuss revisions, will select learning module topics for shared use. A brief review will be written.

Characteristics that facilitate adoption of learning modules by faculty: This project is innovative because it examines the effect of technology adoption on faculty workload and faculty satisfaction. Adoption of learning modules by faculty teaching other Biology courses and on other campuses will maximize return on the investment of faculty time and effort of learning module creation. Collaborating faculty will help design recorded modules that are straightforward to use, and are likely to be shared. The perception and time for using recorded modules by faculty will be assessed and evaluated to understand barriers to sharing materials across campuses.

This Pilot project creates learning modules for A&P, a high enrolment course. Modules will be used and the effects on student learning and satisfaction, as well as faculty workload satisfaction will be assessed. Collaborators at Brockport, Buffalo University, and Genesee Community College will participate in design and assessment, and will utilize the learning modules. Students and faculty will provide data on the effects of digital modules. This approach will lead to development of an effective hybrid A&P course that reduces face-to-face time in laboratory. It is anticipated that all A&P labs will be converted to a hybrid format in the future enabling better resource utilization. This pilot project has the potential to develop and promote sustainable shared resources that provide A&P education to SUNY students. In the future popular learning modules could be freely offered to anyone interested to help promote SUNY education. This idea parallels recent online efforts by Harvard and MIT. This pilot project creates resources that increase efficiency allowing enrolment to grow and enhances faculty efficiency.

Project Outcome:

73% of over Anatomy & Physiology students from two courses (n=569) accessed pilot video lab prep content. There was no significant difference in test performance from those who accessed vs. those who did not. See outcomes poster for more details.