Students struggle with the complex terminology and concepts of any course in the sciences. However, for many students, anatomy and physiology is the ultimate nightmare. On many campuses, the failure rate in an introductory A&P course can be over 30% – and many students scramble to find resources to help them survive.
A new Twitter site, Student Help For A&P (@StudentHelp4AP), is reaching out to these students and providing them with assistance 140 characters at a time. Since this is a Twitter site, students can choose how they receive the content. Some students may wish to have the tweets sent directly to their smartphone or tablet, while others may wish to periodically visit the site to check out the latest posts. Since each Twitter account has an associated website, instructors can simply link to the posts through their course management system (Blackboard, Moodle, etc).
The organizers of the site are A&P instructors, and they know where students struggle most. So, several times a day, they provide posts on key terms, recent discoveries in A&P, and links to useful resources for students. Often, the tweets are linked to the same types of images that are found in their textbook. The overall goal is to deliver material to the students in a way keeps them engaged with the content. The students can also ask questions of the organizers by simply posting a tweet to @StudentHelp4AP from their Twitter account.
The site is also linked to a YouTube account (StudentHelp4AP). There, students can find short videos (usually less than 10 minutes) that act as mini-lectures for difficult topics. Recent posts include a review of sliding filament theory and meiosis. These mini-lectures are delivered in a student-friendly format, much like what they would experience in their classroom.
While the site was designed for introductory anatomy and physiology classes, it is useful for almost any introductory biology class that covers human biology.