Opportunities for learning in an introductory undergraduate human anatomy and physiology course
AuthorMontplaisir, Lisa Marie
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore the course conditions that support the development of meaningful student learning in an introductory undergraduate human anatomy and physiology course. The study was conducted during an 8-week summer-session at a small mid-western university. Classroom observations and taped recordings of class sessions were used to determine content episodes within the instructional unit, opportunities for learning created by the instructor, demonstrations of information processing by the students, and the ways in which the instructor used the Personal Response System (PRS). Student interviews were used to determine students' level of understanding of pre-test and post-test items. Student interviews and a questionnaire were used to determine students' perceptions of the PRS as a learning tool. Findings reveal that the instructor had different expectations of students when posing verbal questions in-class than he had when posing PRS questions. The use of verbal questions did not permit demonstrations of student understanding; however, the use of the PRS did result in demonstrations of student understanding. Questions posed via the use of the PRS were categorized according to cognitive level. The cognitive level of the questions increased with time over the instructional unit and within the content episodes. Students demonstrated deeper understanding of the topics after instruction than they did before instruction. Students reported more in-class thinking about the content, more discussion of the content with their neighbors, more regular class attendance, more opportunities for deeper learning, and a general preference for the PRS over traditional lectures. Findings of the study indicate that the instructional decisions about the use of questions influences the opportunities for students to process information and demonstrate their understanding of the content and that students valued these opportunities. A better understanding of the conditions that promote meaningful student learning may help us make decisions that result in improved student learning in our own classes.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Molecular and Cellular Biology