Case Study: Connect® Medical Terminology - Rowan College at Burlington County

Published June 9, 2016

Rowan College at Burlington County Logo

Digital Product in Use:

McGraw-Hill Connect® Medical Terminology

LMS Integration:


Course Name:

Medical Terminology

Course Type:

Online and Hybrid

Credit Hours:


Program in Use:

Medical Language for Modern Health Care by Allan & Lockyer, 3e

Instructor Name:

Lisa Watlington, MSN-Ed, RN


5 section, 30 students/section, 180 students/year (college total)

Case Study Term:

Spring 2015 and Fall 2015

Instructor’s implementation goals:

  • Encourage student interaction

  • Make the course more fun

  • Reduce grading time

  • Reduce the amount of test taking in class

Issues for instructor before using Connect and SmartBook:

  • Students often bored with the material

  • Class time spent reviewing material

  • Considerable class time also spent testing

Benefits to instructor after using Connect and SmartBook:

  • Grading time slashed from five to six hours per week to less than one hour

  • Students more engaged with the material

  • Connect program easy for students to access and use through Blackboard

Using Connect and SmartBook Have Made Medical Terminology More Interesting and Engaging while Decreasing Grading Time

The Medical Terminology course is offered in two versions; online and a blended lecture/online model known as hybrid. For both course types, Instructor Lisa Watlington was looking for a program that would make the class more interactive and engaging for students. Since Watlington implemented Connect and SmartBook in the fall semester of 2015, Watlington says students have been more engaged with the material than their predecessors in earlier classes and are well prepared for lectures. At the same time, because students are no longer taking quizzes and exams during class time, that period is freed up to explore the week’s material through classroom discussion and activities. “Previous classes were very static,” she says, “and I wanted to increase students’ interest in the material.” She found a solution with Connect. “Connect provides a way for students to become engaged with the material and excited about learning.”

Lisa Watlington

“Student engagement has increased dramatically since using Connect and SmartBook”

– Lisa Watlington


Online course grade is determined by the following:
20% – Connect homework
10% – SmartBook assignments
70% – Exams

Hybrid course grade is determined by the following:
15% – Connect homework
5% – SmartBook assignments
10% – In class assignments and participation
70% – Exams

Connect is deployed in Watlington’s Medical Terminology classes through the college’s Blackboard learning management system. For both types of class—online and hybrid—quizzes are required each week, but are not counted as part of the overall course grade. The online class is set up in weekly modules. Each module folder in Blackboard contains a link to Connect for the SmartBook assignment and reading, as well as a PowerPoint presentation (which is not graded), practice quiz, homework and unit exam. Each week, students have unlimited time, as well as unlimited attempts, to complete the practice quizzes for which they must score at least 80 percent. These practice quizzes are not counted in the overall course grade but are prerequisites for the unit exams (so that students show competency to progress through the course). All due dates are Sundays at 11:59 pm each week.

For the hybrid sections, the students meet in class once per week, and have access to Blackboard in the same way the online students do. The content requirements are the same, Watlington says, “except the material (in the hybrid sections) is presented by me, live in the classroom using PowerPoints, activities and games.” The SmartBook assignments for the hybrid sections are due before each lecture, ensuring that students are better prepared for the class. And because they have already completed the practice quizzes and unit exams online, class time is freed up for in depth discussions.

Students have one week to complete each module and accomplish the work, including taking quizzes and exams, at their own pace. In the hybrid classes, Watlington says, students like being able to take the quizzes and exams online and have the assessments available for several days, rather than taking tests at one set time in the classroom.

Since Connect has freed up the time dedicated to testing in the class room, Watlington benefits as well as her students, she says. “As the instructor, I appreciate not having to give up my lecture time for testing.” But there are other benefits as well. Since assignments and homework are done online and graded automatically, “there is little to no time spent by me reviewing homework unless there is a question or an issue.” She adds that “If several students have the same question about a topic I will review it in class, or send out an announcement (or) email to students.”

The Connect reports she finds most useful include Student Performance, Assignment Statistics and the At-Risk report. “I use the Student Performance report most often, usually when a student has a question about a specific assignment,” she said. “I also look at the Assignment Statistics to get a feel of how the class did with a specific assignment to see if I need to change anything for future classes.”

Results Achieved

Using Connect has slashed the time Watlington previously spent preparing for lectures. She says she uses the Connect Instructor Manual to generate ideas for face-to-face classes including games, activities, worksheets, reviews, all of which she says helps to keep students engaged and to cut down on the boring rote lecture. “Students appreciate being involved with the material rather than passively listening to it,” Watlington says. Because Connect exams are graded automatically, Watlington’s own grading time has dropped from five to six hours weekly to less than one hour.

Figure 1 Grading Time

Course Description:

This course covers medical terminology, including the language of medicine, focusing on prefixes, suffixes, word roots and their combining forms by review of each body system and specialty area. It also emphasizes word construction, spelling, usage, comprehension, and pronunciation. In addition, students gain information regarding anatomy and physiology, symptomatology, pathology, diagnostic/surgical procedures, pharmacology, and abbreviations.

Institution Profile:

Rowan College at Burlington County (formerly known as Burlington County College) rebranded itself as part of an innovative partnership with Rowan University that provides graduates automatic acceptance to the university and a pathway to a bachelor’s degree that will cost about $25,000 for all four years combined. RCBC is a fully-accredited, co-educational two-year public community college that offers associate degrees in arts, science and applied science, and certificate programs.

The college is transforming its Mount Laurel facility into a full-service campus in order to transition out of its Pemberton campus by 2018. The college also has centers in Mount Holly, Willingboro and the Joint Base McGuire- Dix-Lakehurst. The school enrolls more than 8,000 students each year.

“Connect has cut down the amount of time I spend grading tremendously. I wish I had found this product sooner.”


Bottom line for Watlington is that Connect keeps her students interested, and that improves their performance and learning. Previously, students were given PowerPoint slides, a discussion board, and weekly quizzes. “The discussion board topics were dated and frankly, boring. Connect offers students a way to engage with the content using SmartBook and interactive homework,” she says. “It allows them to interact with words and terms in different formats so that they don’t realize they are reinforcing learning while they are completing assignments.” With Connect, Watlington has reduced the time spent testing students in the classroom and has made the class a more interactive and engaging experience for students.