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The A&P Professor Podcast
TAPP Radio

Content updates and teaching advice for teachers of human anatomy & physiology (A&P) from professor, author, and mentor Kevin Patton. 

Have a question, comment, or an idea for an episode you'd like to hear—or in which you would like to participate or help plan? Contact host Kevin Patton. Or call the podcast hotline at 1-833-LION-DEN (1-833-546-6336).

For more details on each episode—including transcripts—please visit The A&P Professor website.

Aug 6, 2018

Online courses continue to have a notoriously low retention rate and success rate compared to traditional courses. In this second of three episodes, Kevin continues the conversation with ways to literally make the course more face-to-face, plus using faces, voices, and scheduled announcements to promote connections.

  • Medical mitochondria (4 min)
  • Syllabuses: I need your help (1 min)
  • Review of first two parts of this series (3 min)
  • gFeatured: EVEN MORE Tricks for Retention & Success in Online Courses (18.5 min)


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(0:42) New research proposes using mitochondria isolated from healthy tissue in a patient's body to treat ischemic heart muscle and perhaps other dysfunctional tissues or organs.



(4:44) Syllabuses, syllabi. Whatever. It's almost time to think about tweaking our course documents for the fall semester. I'll cover that in an upcoming episode, so I need you to send your contributions now!

  • Please share your syllabus ideas, questions, or comments at:
    • 1-833-LION-DEN or 1-833-546-6338


(5:55) It's too long for one episode, so it's a series of three episodes: 21, 22 (previous episodes), and 23 (this episode).

If you're not teaching online now, you will be someday! Most of these tips apply to face-to-face courses, anyway.

In  the previous two episodes, Kevin suggested:

  • It's all about connections.
  • Cultivate a friendly, informal, and supportive "online teaching persona"
  • Express empathy, don't just have empathy.
  • Use customer-service skills when communicating with students
  • Use our own pain points and frustrations to tap into how our students might feel
  • How we can literally make our online course a face to face course
  • How to use faces, voices, and scheduled course announcements to enhance the connections necessary to retain students and promote student success.


 (8:47) Online courses are notorious for high dropout rates and high failure rates, compared to traditional face-to-face classes. Kevin continues to share even more strategies he has found to work in creating and nurturing the kinds of connections that help retain students and support their success in the course.

This episode focuses on:

  • Why reaching out to individual students who may be at risk is important--and how to do that.
  • Why feedback to students is important in nurturing connections.
  • Some final thoughts.

communicating online

If you experience a repeated section starting about about timestamp 21:36, it's not your imagination. Probably. A pre-release version had such a hiccup and it may have been downloaded into your app. If so, you can simply re-download in the app. Or enjoy twice the fun by leaving the repeat in there!

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