Case Study: Anatomy & Physiology - University of Southern Indiana

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Anatomy & Physiology

Course Name:

Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Hole's Human Anatomy and Physiology by Shier, 12e

Instructor Name:

Julie C. Pilcher


100/year (instructor total)

750/year (university total)

Case Study Term:

Fall 2009 and Spring 2010

I was surprised with the students’ response to the review assignments. They appreciate having the chance to review structures (figures, photos, etc.) as they prepare for practicals. Connect Anatomy & Physiology engages students!

-Professor Julie Pilcher

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Retention

Professor Julie Pilcher and her colleagues needed a way to better prepare students for labs in their courses. They considered using pre-lab assignments and review exercises to introduce students to upcoming lab topics and structures, but did not have the time available for grading them while teaching multiple sections. They turned to Connect Anatomy and Physiology for help, designing homework assignments specifically focused on what would be covered in lab classes. Students reacted very favorably, and Professor Pilcher saw a dramatic spike in the retention rate, from 66% to 85%.

Institution Profile

The University of Southern Indiana, located in Evansville, is a Carnegie Foundation Engaged University with an annual enrollment of 11,000 students. The University offers 66 baccalaureate degrees, 5 associates degrees, 10 master’s degrees, 16 pre-professional programs and 2 certification programs.


Course Description:

The Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II courses serve as an introduction to biological and chemical principles as they apply to the human body. The courses comprise three-hour lecture components and one hour lab assignments.

Course Grade:

Human Anatomy & Physiology I

  • 51% of the final grade based on four exams
  • 31.5% of the final grade based on three lab practicals
  • 12.5% of the final grade based on assignment within Connect Anatomy & Physiology
  • 5% of the final grade based on lab quizzes

Human Anatomy & Physiology II

  • 53% of the final grade based on four exams
  • 26.5% of the final grade based on two lab practicals
  • 7.5% of the final grade based on an essay and lab quizzes
  • 13% of the final grade based on assignments within Connect Anatomy & Physiology

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor Pilcher and her colleagues assigned pre-lab assignments within Connect Anatomy & Physiology each week. These assignments comprised 8-15 mostly interactive questions on upcoming labs. Students were allowed to take each pre-lab three times, with the highest score recorded as the final grade. Students had access to the assignment until the time that lab began. They were also assigned review assignments within Connect to prepare for their lab practical. These assignments included 15-25 interactive questions from the Connect question bank and specialized items that Professor Pilcher wrote using text figures, APR images, and photos of lab models.

Results Achieved

Professor Pilcher was surprised at how well her students responded to the assignments in Connect Anatomy & Physiology. “They appreciate having the chance to review structures (figures, photos, etc.) as they prepare for practicals,” she says. “I receive a flood of emails if the assignments aren’t posted soon enough or if there is an issue with a particular question, so I know they’re using it and find benefit in it.”

Professor Pilcher also reports that her students are more likely to complete the Connect assignments than pen-and-paper assignments. Because the assignments are graded electronically, they provide immediate feedback to students and to Pilcher as well, allowing her to monitor student progress quickly and easily while virtually eliminating the amount of time she spends grading.

An added feature in Connect Anatomy & Physiology that Professor Pilcher appreciates is Tegrity™, an automated lecture capture service which makes it possible for students who miss class to review lectures online. Pilcher’s Fall 2009 syllabus included a notice from the county health department advising students to stay home if they experienced flu symptoms. Absences during this peak time of H1N1 infection could have devastated students’ grades, but Tegrity allowed students who were ill to make up what they missed in class.

By far the greatest benefit that Professor Pilcher reports is a dramatic increase in student retention, especially in Anatomy and Physiology I, where the rate increased by 19% (see Figure 1)! In addition, her students experienced greater levels of success in both Anatomy & Physiology I and II with the use of Connect (see Figures 2 and 3).


Professor Pilcher is pleased with the results she has seen since implementing Connect Anatomy & Physiology in her courses. “Our goal was to provide an opportunity for more lab assignments and review opportunities,” she says. “Connect Anatomy & Physiology allows us to do that without increasing our grading workload. It also provides me with lecture capture ability through Tegrity.”