Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Help Students Integrate Concepts with CONNECT IT!

New to The Human Body in Health & Disease is a supplemental feature called Connect It!. First introduced in our larger textbook Anatomy & Physiology as A&P Connect, it was a logical evolution of sidebars and boxed essays as we progress through a new age of digital learning tools.

We've always heard from students how much they like boxed essays in the print version of our textbooks. The more our users explored, the more interested in—and enthused about—anatomy and physiology they become.

Putting additional topics of interest on a digital platform seemed to be a great way to better satisfy the natural curiosity of students—and let students get a deeper understanding of concepts by exploring clinical applications and current research trends.

What we soon found out was that branching out into brief sidebars that reside on the digital Evolve platform, we had the freedom to add diagrams, anatomical art, medical images, and micrographs that we simply didn't have room to add to the textbook proper.  Because most concepts of human structure, function, and pathophysiology, benefit by such visual representations, students have welcomed this evolution of the traditional sidebar.

Because Connect It! articles are not located in a particular spot in a print book, they can be easily referenced in any part of the book.  We leveraged this strategy to help student better integrate the concepts they are learning.

For example, the new Connect It! article on the human microbiome not only explains an emerging central concept of human biology—it also allows us to apply the concept to almost every system of the body. The article itself integrates many organ systems in its approach, so when it is reviewed in different chapters of the book, new and deeper understanding of how the functions of the body are integrated emerges.

Repeated mention of an integrating topic also reinforces the understanding of the connectedness of human structure and function. Such integration also helps deepen the understanding of general principles of pathophysiology by applying them to several different disorders.

Another example is our Connect It! article Protective Strategies of the Respiratory Tract, which helps integrate concepts across discussions of respiratory structure and function, as well as immunity. Likewise, the article Medical Imaging of the Body links concepts that appear in several different chapters.

The fact that the Connect It! articles reside outside the textbook proper also gives the instructor some flexibility. For example, you might pick a few of the topics for special emphasis in your course and provide one or other of the Connect It! articles as a lecture/discussion handout—perhaps as a resource when solving a case study or as part of a set of class notes/study guide. Simply copy and paste from the article to your course materials! Another option is to mention an article by name in your syllabus or course outline.

You may also consider using some of the diagrams or other images from the Connect It!  in your teaching slides or other teaching materials.

I'm very excited about this intentional use of our Connect It! articles in helping students integrate concepts of structure, function, and pathophysiology to achieve a deeper understanding of human biology for the health professions. And professors will appreciate the role of this new feature in elevating student enthusiasm and motivation!

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