This life-science course is organized around the core principles of human physiology, such as homeostasis, information flow, causal mechanisms, structure and function relationships, and the levels of organization. Students first learn the concept of hierarchical organization of the body and the basic mechanism for homeostasis, which provides a foundation for all subsequent course topics related to health (e.g., cardiovascular fitness) and disease (e.g., atherosclerosis and Type 2 diabetes). In every class period, students will learn about technologies and/or medical devices associated with the science. For example, during units on the cardiovascular system students will engage in assignments focusing on pacemakers and stents, and how these technologies have affected both medical culture and the health of our wider society.
Through the use of anatomical and mechanical models, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, some of the methods used by physiologists are presented: hypothesis testing, computer simulations, dissections, etc. In many lab activities, medical technologies will be integrated into the lessons. For example, students will learn the basic science behind medical imaging (e.g., the physics of x-rays, MRIs, etc.) and then use medical images to learn human anatomy and physiology. Students will also learn how modern imaging technology has transformed medical culture by allowing healthcare professionals to “see inside the box” and thus better comprehend health and disease.
In the lecture portion of the course students will engage in Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) activities that promote a conceptual understanding of human physiology. POGIL activities use highly structured guiding questions and cooperative group learning strategies to promote academic discussions. POGIL activities mirror the scientific method in that students are placed in a position of skepticism that is resolved through the construction of arguments that utilize scientific evidence. Implementing the scientific method promotes doubt, the catalyst for scientific inquiry, which allows students to achieve a healthy skepticism and provides the tools for evaluating issues facing current medical culture, e.g., the potential overuse of medical imaging thus contributing to increased health care costs. Through participating in the class activities, Biol 1015 students will better understand how technology has advanced our understanding of human physiology and has also transformed modern medical culture.