Academic E-Learning Helps Anatomy & Biology Students Make the Grade

Written by Jeanette — Posted in Case Studies, Customers

This guest blog post is by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.

You know you’re doing something right when you have folks lined up and waiting, eager to tap into your e-learning superpowers.

That’s what has happened to Tracy Newman, a Senior Educational Technology Analyst at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, Kansas.

Tracy helps faculty and staff with their computing & instructional technology needs. Earlier this year, she used Articulate software for the first time to rapidly create a series of study tools for the college’s anatomy class. Now several other instructors want to leverage the same approach for their own courses.

Here’s what Tracy told us about her first Articulate project:

“It was spring semester, and some of the anatomy students were having a really tough time with tests. The class requires them to learn a lot of material, and the exams involve identifying key parts on anatomical models. Students only have access to the models during class and open lab hours, which sometimes makes studying a challenge.

“I thought about using Flash to build interactive content that would help students explore images of the models, but then I realized using Articulate software would cut my development time drastically.

“I asked my director about getting a license. Articulate’s educational discounts are so great that we were able to buy two licenses! Within an hour of downloading the software, I was creating online study aids. The community forums answered my questions and gave me lots of great ideas.”

What kind of content did you build?

“In each module, learners explore images of the anatomical models and then take a quiz. I used Articulate Engage to create the interactive labeled graphics. As students view an image of an anatomical system, they hover over markers to see the name of each structure. When they click a marker, they learn more about that structure and they hear how to pronounce its name.

“For the Quizmaker quizzes, students view anatomical structures and enter the names of each.

“I used Articulate Presenter as a ‘wrapper’ to package related Engage interactions and Quizmaker quizzes. Then I published each module and uploaded it to ANGEL, the college’s learning management system. There are 20 modules in all, and anatomy students can access them anytime, from anywhere that has an Internet connection.”

“It Would’ve Taken at Least 10 Times as Long to Do This in Flash”

Why’d you choose Articulate software for this project?

Students see an improvement in grades“The rapid development time, and the fact that it’s so easy to use. I enjoy Flash programming, but it would’ve taken at least 10 times as long to do this in Flash! With the Articulate tools, it only took me a couple days to create a module — and that was while balancing other work commitments, too. Each module included between four and 10 Engage interactions and between one and four quizzes, depending on the unit.”

How have the modules helped students?

“I’ve received lots of thank yous from instructors and students. I know of at least one student whose grade went from a D to A’s and B’s on the practical portions of the exams. When I was building the modules, every day students would ask me when I’d be putting the next one online!”

View the Skeletal System module

Have you used Articulate software to create other e-learning, too?

“Yes, I recently created some resources for a biology course. I built a series of Engage interactions to help students familiarize themselves with equipment they’ll use in the laboratory. I made 14 interactions covering nine different pieces of equipment. The whole project took just a week, start to finish.”

Rapid E-Learning Development is Key

Any words of advice for others who work in higher education?

“I think rapid e-learning development is key. Instructors are more likely to try e-learning if they know you can build it quickly and they can use it during the current semester. And as developers, we need to keep in mind that while our modules should look professional and engaging, students are more interested in accurate content and ease of use than having all the latest bells and whistles.

“Also, having a variety of learning modalities makes the e-learning so much more useful for a variety of students with different learning styles. Strategic use of images, audio, and video is a great way to make the course effective and inviting.”

What’s next on your e-learning agenda?

“I have instructors lined up and waiting for me to build resources for their classes! Also, a colleague is considering using Articulate software to create a course on operating equipment at our campus coffee shop. I’d love the chance to build a complete course like that, and to branch out and work with more of the interaction types available in Engage. We’re also exploring using Articulate tools to create an interactive campus map.

“I’m really looking forward to what I can do with Articulate tools in the future! I hope to attend one of the Articulate open enrollment classes this year to get more ideas and learn advanced features that I haven’t explored yet.

“I’m excited to be part of a community creating great e-learning with Articulate!”

Great job, Tracy and JCCC, for giving students the tools they need to succeed!

5 responses to “Academic E-Learning Helps Anatomy & Biology Students Make the Grade”


Nice article/interview.
It would be cool if you did this more often. I like hearing people’s stories and how they use the tools to develop course.

onEnterFrame // Posted at 12:58 pm on September 7th, 2010

Thanks James! We like doing these too. We’ll keep’em coming. 🙂

jeanette // Posted at 4:29 am on September 8th, 2010

I agree with James. This type of post will be a great, regular feature on the WOM blog.

Thanks, Jeanette!


Jenise Cook // Posted at 11:15 am on September 8th, 2010

James & Jenise- be sure to check out the customer spotlight archives for more like this, too!

gabe // Posted at 1:41 pm on September 8th, 2010

[…] E-Learning Helps Anatomy & Biology Students Make the Grade […]

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