Case Study: Anatomy & Physiology - Front Range Community College

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Anatomy & Physiology

Course Name:

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Course Type:

Lecture and Lab

Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function by Saladin, 5e

Instructor Name:

Anita Miller


48/year (instructor total)

350/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Spring 2011

Grading has been significantly reduced as a result of using Connect. Moreover, the experience of the recitations makes the students know their strengths and weaknesses better so they become better judges of their abilities and they less frequently seek direct feedback from me; and, if they do, the previous work leads to higher quality interactions.

-Professor Anita Miller

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Instructor Efficiency

Professor Miller felt that her students were not spending enough time practicing or reviewing anatomical concepts outside of class. She was looking for a solution that would provide them with opportunities to practice on their own and motivate them to do more. With Connect Anatomy & Physiology, she was able to post required assignments and additional practice opportunities for her students, all with instant feedback and automated grading. As a result of the learning opportunities provided, more students are earning A’s and B’s and fewer students are earning C’s and F’s. Pass rates for her course have also increased 11%, from 75% to 86%.

Institution Profile

Front Range is the largest community college in Colorado, serving more than 25,000 students each year. Founded in 1968, FRCC offers associate degrees and more than 100 certificates. It is the number one transfer institution for the area colleges and universities, including the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University.


Course Description:

This course focuses on the integrated study of the human body and the histology, anatomy, and physiology of the following systems and topics: endocrine, cardiovascular, hematology, lymphatic and immune, urinary, fluid and electrolyte control, digestive, nutrition, respiratory, reproductive and development. This course includes a mandatory hands-on laboratory experience involving experimentation, microscopy, observation, and dissection. This is the second semester of a two-semester sequence.

Course Grade:

  • 40% of the final grade based on four exams
  • 16% of the final grade based on lab practicals
  • 12% of the final grade is based on quizzes
  • 8% of the final grade is based on in-class exercises
  • 8% of the final grade is based on labeling exercises in Connect Anatomy & Physiology
  • 6% of the final grade is based on animation quizzes in Connect Anatomy & Physiology
  • 7% of the final grade is based on the final exam
  • 2% of the final grade is based on peer assessment
  • 1% of the final grade is based on one lab notebook assessment

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Miller requires her students to use Connect Anatomy & Physiology, giving three or more required assignments per week on average. Typically, she assigns one labeling assignment with a variety of figures that come directly from the textbook and two animation assignments per chapter where students are required to immediately apply what they learned in the accompanying animation by answering a series of related questions. 14% of the final grade is based on the assignments in Connect.

Professor Miller appreciates the ability to assign more work for her students and give them additional learning opportunities outside of the required homework without adding to her grading time. Connect automatically grades each assignment and gives students built-in feedback, and Miller no longer has to spend valuable class time reviewing homework. She has also found the Student Performance report in Connect particularly helpful in identifying students who are struggling and having detailed information available to address their individual needs.

Results Achieved

Professor Miller found that with Connect Anatomy & Physiology, her students were actually going beyond the required assignments and spending time on the extra practices activities, particularly with the visual labeling exercises. She also saw a significant increase in pass rates for her course (see Figure 1). In Spring 2010, the pass rate for the course was 75%. In Spring 2011, with the use of Connect, her students had an 86% passing rate, the highest passing rate for the course that she had ever seen.

Exam score averages also show improvement thanks to the interactive and applied learning opportunities that Professor Miller’s students receive with Connect (see Figure 2). The biggest improvements came later in the term, in exams three and four, which speak to the cumulative effect of building conceptual knowledge.

Her final grade distribution shows more A’s and B’s and fewer C’s and F’s after the implementation of Connect (see Figure 3). Professor Miller reports, “With exams, the overall increase in grades is obvious for the class using Connect. With the practical assessments, improvement is also visible. The high level of performance for students with an A shows that the good students know what to study for exams, whereas the lower achievers need more help, which Connect provides them.”


Professor Miller is very happy with Connect Anatomy & Physiology. The improved student outcomes have proven to her that Connect motivates her students to do the additional work necessary to truly learn and understand the course content. She will continue to use Connect in her Anatomy and Physiology courses and looks forward to further integrating more of the exercises and animations into her curriculum.