Southwest Associate Professor's New A&P Emporium Model Holds Tremendous Potential for Students

At the beginning of the 2013 fall semester, students in Southwest Tennessee Community College's Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) courses walked into a classroom equipped with new Samsung Chromebooks loaded with instructional software that included video lectures, interactive tutorials, practice exercises, pretests and post-tests, etc. The computers are the platform for Intro to A&P's new modular-based format that Associate Professor Ken Carpenter designed in collaboration with the Pearson Publishing Company.

"Southwest is leading the state of Tennessee with their Introduction to A&P students. No one else is using a modular-based format, and in an Emporium Model for their Intro students!" stated Melissa Fischer, publisher's representative for Pearson Higher Education. "The Emporium Model replaces [conventional] lectures with a learning resource center model featuring interactive-computer software and on-demand personalized assistance."

Southwest President Nathan Essex is very optimistic. "I think that this is a wonderful approach for students. This is really cutting-edge technology. Anatomy and physiology are very challenging courses and this will facilitate their success. Based on this program, they can work at their own pace and have persons monitoring to assist where needed. I applaud Ken for his wisdom and vision in promoting this program; in developing this modular-based format," said Essex during a recent classroom visit.

A&P is the keystone for allied health and nursing programs. Admittance into these programs is a competitive process and students must maintain high performance standards to succeed. Carpenter explained, "Students come to our school, some of them right out of high school, some of them have been away for a while. They're asked to take the upper division A&P course and make an A or B. I say an A or B because that is what is required now to get into our nursing and allied health programs. Some don't have the background, and you need a strong biological-science background to get through this course."

"In May of this year, I attended the Human Anatomy and Physiology National Convention. One of the biggest topics discussed in the sessions was how to prepare students to successfully pass A&P courses. The trend all of us see is that students are not as prepared as they have been in the past," Carpenter further stated.

To champion students' chances for success, Carpenter identified topics that were important to passing the upper-level A&P courses in his design of the Intro to A&P modular-based format. Students can now take the modular-based format concurrent with other learning support classes (math, writing, and reading).

Department Head of Natural Sciences Juliann Waits noted, "We have a percentage of students who could do well in the upper-level courses, if they have completed their learning support classes; math, reading and writing. We want to give those students an opportunity to take Introductory A&P classes to help them be successful so that when they get in the upper-level courses, they score well, so they're competitive."

A bonus feature is that once students complete a module, they can advance on to the next level.


Photo caption: Carpenter (standing left) and a lab assistant (standing back right) acclimate students to the new Samsung Chromebooks for use in the new modular-based format.