Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Rebekka L. Darner


In the past 50 years several convergent factors have spurred unprecedented change in anatomy and physiology (A&P) instruction. An explosion of biomedical knowledge, an increased demand for students well-versed in A&P, and decreased resources for the course has provoked a vast array of research. However, most studies employ one of three strategies to enact change: testing the effectiveness of new pedagogies, exploring the utility of new technologies, or documenting learning in new contexts. By comparison, a much smaller body of research focuses on changing the A&P curriculum to improve student learning. To address this gap, the musculoskeletal curriculum for an undergraduate A&P course was revised to align with evidenced-based pedagogical practices, ground it in learning theories, and promote learning in context. Students perceptions and values related to the course were measured via the Anatomy Learning Experiences Questionnaire (ALEQ) and interviews, while student learning was measured via concept maps. Students reported the value of understanding how structures work together as opposed to memorizing what structures are because they see it as relevant to their future careers. Introducing students to the concept of “functionally bound structures” in conjunction with the curricular changes outlined may prove to be a fruitful way of fostering students’ understanding of the how of A&P, while still arriving at the same knowledge of vocabulary. Future research should assess the curricular changes utilized across different institutional contexts, student populations, and content to validate their viability.


Imported from ProQuest Walsh_ilstu_0092N_11653.pdf


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