A particularly exciting update in the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology is the new learning feature in the opening of each unit of the book. Recall that A&P is chunked into more, smaller chapters than other 2-semester A&P textbooks to reduce a ...

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New Unit Pre-Tests Help Jump-Start Student Learning

A particularly exciting update in the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology is the new learning feature in the opening of each unit of the book.

Recall that A&P is chunked into more, smaller chapters than other 2-semester A&P textbooks to reduce a reader's cognitive load while learning. This improves both the reader's engagement with the book, making them more likely to actually read it, and the overall ability to learn from it. These small chapters are grouped into six logical units, mapped out in the color-coded list on the first page of the book (facing the cover) that corresponds to the color tabs visible on the page edges.

In previous editions, the unit-opener page had a listing of the chapters within that unit plus a brief introduction to the "story" of the unit. I have now expanded that into a two-page spread that also includes a brief pre-test to get students engaged in the upcoming topics.

Learning science shows that pre-tests help jump-start student learning. Long used solely to measure students' prior knowledge, pre-tests have demonstrated their own ability to enhance learning outcomes—even if teachers never look at the scores. I have found this to be profoundly true in my own A&P teaching.

The concept and design of our new unit openers was worked out by textbook learning guru Michael Greer, veteran A&P teacher Terry Thompson, and myself. Terry then worked in consultation with me and our editors and book designers to execute the final versions.

Students will see just a few illustrated questions that help students refresh learning from prior chapters that they'll need when reading the new unit, along with questions that preview new concepts they'll encounter. Such pre-testing "primes the pump" by getting them thinking about key concepts ahead of their reading. And it sets the stage for connecting new learning with prior learning.

Readers get immediate feedback on the accuracy of their answers by using the answer key printed sideways along the page edge.  Just like in a magazine quiz, eh? That ensures that they're not accidentally remembering the wrong answer as they read.

Readers also get an embedded hint that tells them why the pre-test is there (to jump-start their learning).

Of course, our students may just skip the unit openers. So we need to tell them about it. Continued and emphatic reminders of the value of these pre-tests in making their reading and learning easier is a key to its role in student success in our course.


New 10th Edition of Patton's A&P textbook is now available!

I'm excited about the official release of the new edition of my textbook for 2-semester courses in human anatomy and physiology!

Although at first glance the cover of Anatomy & Physiology looks similar to that of the previous 9th edition—black background with splashes of bright colors—closer inspection reveals a series of bright human figures.

Those brightly colored human figures may at first appear to be medical images. However, they are artist’s renderings of what the human skeleton looks like as a person plays basketball.

The human skeleton in action represents several important aspects of what readers will learn by studying this textbook. First, the images get us thinking about what is going on inside our bodies as we do ordinary things—as we live our lives. 

The fact that the cover of Anatomy & Physiology shows a sequence of images reminds us that even simple processes are made up of many individual steps. We can also clearly see that form fits function, that the elements of the skeleton fit together and move in a way that allows certain kinds of actions.

That phrase, form fits function, has been standardized into that one formulation—from its many variants—in this edition. I have used it repeatedly, where appropriate, to help students absorb and eventually own that important principle of anatomy and physiology.

And a version of this explanation of the cover art is found just inside inside the book. Curious students who pick up the book for the first time may thus get a head start on learning human science.

Over the next few weeks and months, expect more posts from me that explain the story behind all the great new things you'll find inside the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter!

In the mean time, contact my friends at Elsevier to get a review copy or to schedule a conversation with a consultant who can tell you all about the new edition.

NOTE: The digital versions and binder-ready version of Anatomy & Physiology will be released very soon!


Using Your Textbook to 'Teach Up' in Anatomy and Physiology

One of the concepts that co-author Gary Thibodeau and I have considered to be important in our textbook Anatomy & Physiology is the idea of teaching up.

What is "teaching up?" 

What we mean by teaching up is the strategy used by nearly every A&P professor that we know when they add some concepts or facts that go beyond the typical "baseline" content of an undergraduate A&P book. Facts that are not plainly visible in the typical A&P textbook.

Teaching up is the logical consequence of tailoring learning experiences to individual learners, particular programs, or the unique objectives of a particular course.

Examples include adding a few additional bone markings to the course when you know that your students are likely to encounter them in their unique clinical courses at your school. Or there may be a particular theme or concept that you want to emphasize, and you need a few more details of anatomy to set the stage for your explanation.

In a nutshell, teaching up is taking an introductory textbook (such as Anatomy & Physiology) and adding your own additional content for your unique course.

How we enable teaching up

Gary and I have always done our best to make sure that the construction of the text narrative--and especially the illustrations and tables--are suitable for such teaching up.

When commissioning new anatomic art, we ask the medical illustrator to make sure that certain features are drawn in, even if they are not called out in the text narrative or labeled in that illustration. We do the same when designing diagrams and organizing summary tables for each chapter.

One of our jobs as textbook authors is to maintain an awareness of what is "usual" in A&P courses--and what is expected. Not as easy as it sounds, but I think we manage okay. However, we also know that each course is different and we want to make our book usable for those that like to add a little bit here and a little bit there in their courses. By make our book teach-up friendly, we attempt to help all of our users

How to teach up

Here's the method I've used (and tweaked over the years) to teach up in my A&P courses.

First, when I introduce that extra bone feature (for example), I make it clear that it's not emphasized (or perhaps even mentioned) in the book. One can do this during a live or video lecture, a course outline or syllabus, a handout, announcement in the learning management system (LMS) or course website/blog/twitter, or any number of ways.

It's important to take care in emphasizing your deviation from the textbook, because if it is presented in your course in an off-handed way, most students won't realize it's not that way in the textbook, and may fail to make proper note of it.

Expanding on that first point about emphasizing moments when I teach up, I want to add that I nearly always specifically tell them to make note of it. Not just mention that it's added content, but to also take a moment NOW and write it down. Really. I often say that out loud: "Really! Write it down now!"

Often, it's merely a matter of adding an additional label to an existing illustration, so I may tell them the specific Figure number and show them where to put the new label. Then give them a moment to do so. I even do this in the video lectures I use in my course.

Second, when emphasizing the addition of extra content, I often explain the rationale for why I'm adding things. A&P students often feel very overwhelmed by just the baseline content of the course--they want to know why you insist on adding more to their overflowing brains.

For example, mentioning that, "I know many of your will be in our nursing clinicals, and I know that this fact is something that will help you there if you learn it now." Or "those who are going into our rad tech program are really going to need to know this fact."

Besides letting students know that there is a method to your madness, this strategy also helps them realize the connection between isolated facts and real-world applications. That's not always so easy to see in the basic science courses--before they've encountered their clinical courses. By giving those occasional "why you need to know this" explanations, we are actually shifting the mindsets of our students in a way that helps them learn more deeply.

If any of you have some of those "teaching up" concepts that you'd like see reflected in the details of our illustrations, pass your ideas along to me. Please include your rationale for including them in your course. We'll see what we can do make sure we set the stage properly for your teach-up moments!

Top photo: Stefan Krilla


Where Are the Learning Objectives?!

From the very first edition, there have never been chapter objectives in Anatomy & Physiology. Why is that?

Let me start by asking the question How likely is it that every single course using a particular textbook would have the SAME objectives? Not likely. The makeup of the student population in a course matters. The context of the institution matters. All kinds of factors are involved in setting a proper set of learning objectives for any particular course.

We feel that it's much better for the objectives to appear in the course syllabus (or similar course-based location). That way, they exactly reflect what the student should achieve. This results in far less confusion for students trying to reconcile all the many concepts and facts in the book vs. what they will actually be held accountable for learning. Students will have a much better idea of how to prepare for tests.

But the instructors are not left to fend for themselves completely. In the TEACH lesson plans—available online in the Evolve Instructor Resources that accompany Anatomy & Physiology—there are sets of objectives already laid out for you. These include chapter objectives AND section objectives—all aligned with the HAPS Learning Outcomes.

The idea is that each instructor (or department) can copy over to their syllabus only the objectives that actually apply to their course. Perhaps adding, changing, deleting bits here and there. We feel that this works much better for student learning. But it does take some thought and effort on the part of the instructor.

This isn't one of the reasons we don't include chapter objectives in Anatomy & Physiology, but this about this—how many times have we all realized of how "stinking big" all the two-semester A&P books are? So I'm loathe to add (how many?) pages to the book by adding 48 sets of objectives!

Easter Eggs in A&P

In my introductory post for this blog, I promised some behind-the-scenes trivia from the Anatomy & Physiology textbook—and I realize I have yet to deliver on that promise. So, with actual Easter eggs still fresh on our minds, I thought I'd reveal a few bits of the "hidden information" that gamers like to call easter eggs.

This round (yes, I'm implying more in the future) features a few visual easter eggs.

First up is that illustration in the Big Picture section that introduces the Anatomy & Physiology textbook, It's on page 2, facing the opening page of Chapter 1. The woman in the central photo of that illustration is my wife, Jenny. 

Early editions of Anatomy & Physiology used a different model, but we needed to update the photo for a planned rearrangement of its elements. So Jenny and I went out to our college's Lake Patton (that's what I call it, anyway), and Jenny posed on a boulder in the same position as the original model (who was sitting on stairs). She wore clothing of similar color and style to the drawn art components, and held a book the same way.

Although we have reconfigured that Big Picture illustration a few times since then, we're still using Jenny's picture. For each edition, our production team replaces the cover within the photo with a cover to match that edition.

The ninth edition of Anatomy & Physiology features a whole new set of photos that depict different types of body movements, such flexion, extension, circumduction, etc. Most of them appear in Chapter 14 (Articulations).

Before I tell the story of the new photos, I'd like to mention that I had some hesitation in replacing some of the older photos. I had some ideas for a new approach, so I finally made the leap to a new set of photos with a consistent presentation. But a few of the older images were from a way-back photo with my co-author Gary Thibodeau, featuring his two kids, Doug and Beth, who were teens at the time. Although I hated to lose that "family connection," I think the new images work really well for teaching, too.

The new series was shot at a huge photo studio in St. Louis, just down the street from my old high school. I live near St. Louis and my editors are all based at the St. Louis offices of Elsevier Publishing. It was an amazing experience. The advanced equipment, advanced facilities, and skilled photographers and professional models, all made the several days of shooting seem more like fun than work. Before that day, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "foot model," so it was a great learning experience, too!

All those photos were shot in front of a gigantic green backdrop that curved forward to cover the floor. After choosing our final selections of each photo, the photographer digitally replaced the green background with a transparent background. By doing so, each model appears to have the page itself as a background—and the text can be easily wrapped around some of the images without being distracting. I also like the "clean" look of photos with no apparent background.

A pair of illustrations on page 196, in Chapter 10 (Skin) are two more more illustrations with a bit of a story.

Figure 10-19 is another photo from the multi-day photo shoot I just mentioned. We wanted a new shot of male pattern baldness and we hadn't hired a model for just for that shot.

In fact, this shot wasn't even on our planned list of new photos. But when it came up, a photographer said, "just a minute!" and picked up his camera as he ran off to a suite of offices down the hall. He came back with a smile and great photo of a colleague from an office down the hall.

On the same page (196), that photo of the mix of black and white hairs that make up a typical head of gray hair is a shot of my head. When I was working on revising this chapter in a previous edition, I grabbed a digital camera and handed it to my wife, Jenny, and asked her to take a close up of hairs on my temple. I'm thinking of using this on the "about the author" page in the next edition.

Getting back to that amazing photo shoot in St. Louis, there is one more photo I want to mention. It's a shot of a slice of pizza used in a Case Study on page 961, near the end of Chapter 41 (Nutrition and Metabolism). It was nearing lunch time on the first shooting day, and an astute photographer brought up the "pizza shot" we had on our planning list. He suggested ordering a pizza from a nearby pizzeria that had very photogenic pizza that also happened to taste amazing.

Although it wasn't the thin-crust St. Louis style pizza that had originated in that very neighborhood, I have to say it really was amazing. And photogenic. And it really was that loaded with toppings (no trickery, truly!).

Wow, here I am at the end of a too-long blog post and I haven't even covered the tip of the iceberg. So I'll have to make this a recurring series of behind-the-scenes trivia, gossip, and St. Louis food recommendations. Be sure to subscribe, so you don't miss it!


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