Case Study: Anatomy & Physiology - Amarillo College

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Anatomy & Physiology

Course Name:

Human Anatomy and Physiology I

Course Type:

Hybrid (3 hours lecture, 3 hours lab, and online)

Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Anatomy and Physiology by Saladin, 5e

Instructor Name:

Michael Kopenits


140/year (instructor total)

1430/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Fall 2010

Connect Anatomy & Physiology has increased classroom performance and interest/motivation by at least ½ to one full letter grade. I am able to customize material to exactly what I teach and what I want my students to know.

-Professor Michael Kopenits

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Engagement

Professor Kopenits, biology department chair at Amarillo College, believes that course content for his anatomy and physiology students should be part of an integrated suite of learning materials, and that ultimately the most beneficial such content is that which is proven most effective. He was initially intrigued by Connect® Anatomy and Physiology, and to test its effectiveness, he offered students an additional 5% on their final grades for completing the exercises. Results from this test demonstrated that students who used Connect® Anatomy and Physiology performed significantly better than those who did not.

Institution Profile

Amarillo College is a public community college located in Amarillo, Texas that enrolls 11,000 students in six campuses located throughout a rural setting. The college offers four associates degrees and various certificates of completion. 


Course Description:

Anatomy and Physiology I is the first semester of a two-semester course. It is a four-credit-hour course that includes lecture and a lab. Class size is small with fewer than 30 students.

Course Grade:

  • 50% of the final grade based on four exams and 4-6 quizzes
  • 25% of the final grade based on four lab practicals and 4-6 lab quizzes
  • 25% of the final grade based on one final, comprehensive exam
  • Additional 5% of the final grade based on assignments in Connect Anatomy and Physiology

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

During the Fall 2010 semester, Professor Kopenits offered students in one of his classes an additional 5 points added to their final course grade for completing assignments in Connect Anatomy and Physiology. He then compared their final GPAs (not including the 5 extra credit points) to the GPAs of students in previous classes who had not used Connect Anatomy and Physiology.

Students using Connect Anatomy and Physiology were assigned two exercises for each chapter or topic that Professor Kopenits covered. By customizing the material in the exercises, he was able to pinpoint the concepts he wanted his students to focus on. Students also had the convenience of accessing the exercises from computers, iPhones, and iPods.

Everything else—labs, lectures, and course requirements—remained the same for the Fall 2010 class.

Results Achieved

Professor Kopenits was pleased to find that the use of Connect Anatomy and Physiology increased student grade point averages by 12.5%. Based on these results, he plans to continue to incorporate additional Connect Anatomy and Physiology modules as they are made available. “I will start using it to assign reading and also to reduce classroom time for quizzes and assessments,” he says.

Student engagement in Professor Kopenits’ course has also increased. Simply labeling line drawings and answering multiple-choice questions have been taken to a new level with the enhanced interactivity within McGraw-Hill LearnSmart™, Connect’s adaptive assessment tool. “Students rave about the product,” Kopenits says. “Those who have not purchased Connect Anatomy & Physiology are encouraged to do so by their fellow students due to improvement in grades.”

Professor Kopenits also finds that students are now more willing to do work outside of the classroom. Because they enjoy Connect Anatomy & Physiology and feel that it better prepares them for class discussions and exams, they often request additional assignments!


Based on increased student academic performance and engagement, Professor Kopenits will begin requiring Connect Anatomy & Physiology in both his Anatomy & Physiology I and II classes. He will also recommend Connect Anatomy & Physiology to other faculty