Building Effective Human Anatomy Courses Online

February 17, 2021

An understanding of human anatomy and physiology is vital for any student wishing to study health science. Human anatomy courses teach students how the body works structurally, chemically, and hormonally. They are the building block of health science education. If students don’t understand these basics, they won’t understand their other classes. 

Human anatomy students want to be our doctors, pharmacists, and medical researchers. They want to make scientific breakthroughs and help people. Yet, nationwide, anatomy and physiology attrition rates are between 30% and 40%

Facing high attrition rates for your human anatomy online courses can be frustrating. When students drop out, it’s tempting to say that they aren’t cut out for the program. However, the problem isn’t quite that simple. 

If learning course material were solely the job of your students, they wouldn’t need you to teach them. It’s not enough to simply point students towards their textbooks and expect them to do well on tests. Online students need as much support and attention as their in-class counterparts. 

The solution to this problem lies in instructional reform. You can’t change what you’re teaching, so you need to change how you’re teaching. For too long, online education has been limited to guided readings and online tests. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work for many students. Students can only learn the material if they can connect with it. With interactive, multimedia activities, you can give your students that connection.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Courses

Cloud-based courses give your students everything they need to succeed. The benefits of this approach include: 

• Student Convenience: Many students choose online courses for scheduling reasons. Cloud-based courses allow them to learn on their schedule. 

• Multimedia Education: Students learn in different ways. Good cloud-based courses include documents to read, videos to watch, flashcards, and more. This variety makes the courses accessible to many types of students. 

• Educator Convenience: Cloud-based courses allow educators to spend less time preparing materials. This gives them more time to respond to students and help them succeed.

What to Look for in Online College Programs

Sourcing online college programs can take up a lot of time that educators don’t have. Online courses can also be expensive. With ever-decreasing university budgets, there isn’t a lot of room for trial and error. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for in online college programs. Here are some things to look for when investing in an online college program:

Used by Accredited Universities

You may not have the time and resources to decide between multiple online college programs by trial and error. Instead, look to see where these programs are already used. If an accredited university is using a specific program, you can probably trust it. More importantly, you can investigate their attrition rates. This can help you estimate how well the program will work for you.

Self-Paced Curriculum Content

One of the biggest barriers to completing online coursework is the challenge of fitting a rigid class schedule in between life and work. Students have to be able to complete coursework on their own terms. One of the best aspects of a cloud-based curriculum is that it can be self-paced. This gives students the flexibility they need to see the course to its completion. Even online anatomy and physiology courses with lab components can have self-paced curricula that work with students’ schedules. 

Multimedia Lectures

If you want to lower student attrition, you need to be able to reach out to all types of students. Multimedia lectures give students with different learning styles something to connect to. For example, they may allow students to watch videos or use flash cards instead of just reading textbooks. 

You can even pair lab activities with your online anatomy and physiology classes so that students can get hands-on practice. All of these techniques can help students who are making sense of human anatomy and physiology for the first time. 

Self-Test Options

Many online students drop out before they even take their first exam. Here’s why:

Traditional classrooms encourage students to ask questions and discuss content with their peers. This continual engagement with the material gives them the feedback they need to guide how they study. Online students don’t get that same feedback from their peers. They often don’t feel any sense of community with their classmates. This can make it hard for them to reach out to their peers when they have a problem. 

One way to correct this issue and give students the tools they need to thrive is to offer self-tests. Self-tests, or “practice tests,” give your students the feedback they need to go into their exams with confidence in their knowledge and abilities.

Learn from Other Universities

If you want to be successful, you need to learn from successful people. The entire self-help industry is founded on this simple concept. So, if you want to be a successful health science educator, then you need to take a look at top health science educators in the country. 

According to, the top five health science programs in the U.S. are:

• University of Southern California

• Boston University

• University of Florida

• Northeastern University

• Stony Brook University

All of these top accredited health science programs have one thing in common: Their focus is on changing health science education to match a changing modern world. 

The University of Southern California even states that “the field of health care […] has changed so dramatically over the last 25 years that our traditional approach to training undergraduates has become obsolete.” Meanwhile, the University of Florida offers a 100% online program as an alternative to its classroom program. Their online courses are so effective that many students are able to learn the material without ever stepping foot in a classroom. 

To become leaders, these universities reinvented what it means to study health science. Their schools try new techniques to keep their students coming back. So, if you want to stay competitive, you need to do the same.

Help Your Students Thrive

There are two types of health science educators. The first believes that health science education should be a battle. These are the teachers who believe some students aren’t cut out for health science careers. They expect a percentage of their students to fail. Only then do they believe that they’ve done their job. 

A different type of educator expects their students to succeed. They challenge their students to learn the material, but they also empower them. These are the educators who create future innovators in the field. By implementing new educational techniques, you can become one of these educators. You can give the students the tools they need to succeed. Visit our A&P course page to learn more, or contact Caduceus today.

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