Selected omissions and capstone presentations: A new approach to studentcentered integrative physiology education

Kathleen S. Curtis, Bruce Benjamin, J. Thomas Curtis, Warren Finn, Alexander J. Rouch

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Curtis KS, Benjamin B, Curtis JT, Finn W, Rouch AJ. Selected omissions and capstone presentations: a new approach to studentcentered integrative physiology education. Adv Physiol Educ 44: 448-452, 2020; doi:10.1152/advan.00080.2020.-Here, we describe a pedagogical approach that combines didactics with active learning to facilitate integration across physiological systems in a team-taught, graduate-level physiology course. We covered the major physiological systems, with each system preceded by an overview of its evolution/ontogeny to provide a broader perspective. Lectures provided a framework for integration by giving examples of how each system interacted with systems that preceded and followed. In lieu of a final exam, the course culminated in capstone presentations by small groups to promote student-centered learning of integrative physiology. At the beginning of the semester, students were assigned to groups; each group chose from predetermined topics. This allowed them to accumulate information throughout the semester and required them to attend to lecture content to assess how the material applied to their topic, thereby facilitating learning and retention. Faculty were deliberate in choosing material that was presented in each system, and material that was strategically omitted, establishing "gaps" that students filled in their capstone presentations. The final week was dedicated to student preparation for their presentations, which promoted peer-to-peer teaching and problem solving by the group, assisted by faculty as necessary. Capstone presentations demonstrated students' mastery of basic physiological principles and their ability to integrate among physiological systems, and they rated capstone presentations highly in helping with integration and critical thinking. Thus students showed a better understanding of systems physiology and the importance of integration across systems in normal function and in responding to homeostatic challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-452
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Capstone
  • Integration
  • Selected omissions


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