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Human Anatomy Lesson 0

Updated on January 20, 2017

Course in Human Anatomy

Welcome to this course in Human Anatomy. This is an actual undergraduate course that is taught at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, where I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. At Benedictine, we have two very rigorous majors - Biology and Health Sciences - that prepare students for careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, ultrasonography, and other health science careers. We are very successful at sending students to medical, professional, and graduate schools such as Midwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Loyola University. If you want to read more about Benedictine University, you can visit our website here. I created this lens for two purposes. First, if you are an undergraduate student in my class, this lens serves as the gateway to my lecture notes, which are presented as 27 "lessons" that roughly correspond to lecture periods. You can benefit from this lens and these lessons even if you are not a student in my course. Each of the lessons that you can access from this lens is self-contained in the sense that it covers a different topic or region of the body, and it has its own learning objectives and content. The lessons also build on each other, and anybody who completes all 27 lessons will know quite a lot about human anatomy! Feel free to participate in these lenses in any manner you want - take quizzes, go from start to finish or just sample one or two lessons, leave comments and feel free to ask questions or send me an e-mail. You can find all the information you'll need about how to use these lessons below.

Organization of the Course

Human anatomy in this course is taught from a regional perspective - that is, I go over each region of the body, covering all the muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, lymphatics, and functions of each region in turn. Anatomy is often taught this way in gross anatomy courses where the body is dissected and in undergraduate human anatomy courses such as this one where anatomy is taught separately from physiology. At Benedictine, the human anatomy course is taught in conjunction with a cadaver lab where undergraduate students identify anatomical structures on two cadaver prosections (i.e., previously-dissected cadavers). The other approach to teaching human anatomy is from a systemic perspective, where the body is split into systems - skeletal, integumentary, muscular, cardiovascular or circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital - and all the components associated with each system are traced throughout the body. An undergraduate course in human anatomy can be taught in this fashion, although it will generally cover less detail than is possible in a course taught from a regional perspective (in such a course, for example, the entire muscular system - all the muscles in the body - needs to be taught in two weeks-or-so!). It is more common to follow a systemic approach when teaching Human Anatomy and Physiology, a one- or two-semester course that combines anatomy and physiology.

This course is split into four parts that cover different regions of the body:

  1. Part 1: introductory information (anatomical terminology, body systems, skeleton, medical imaging techniques), spine, characteristics of the nervous system, and back.
  2. Part 2: thorax, abdomen, pelvis and perineum.
  3. Part 3: head and neck.
  4. Part 4: upper and lower limbs.


As noted above, this course is taught from a regional perspective. At Benedictine, I teach this course using Gray's Anatomy for Students 2e or Gray's Basic Anatomy 1e depending on semester, but you could really follow along using any of the regionally-organized textbooks below. You can see my reviews of these textbooks here

Gray's Basic Anatomy with Student Consult
Gray's Basic Anatomy with Student Consult

"Baby Gray's" - required book for spring 2013 to present (currently, fall 2016).

Clinically Oriented Anatomy
Clinically Oriented Anatomy

A more comprehensive treatment of human anatomy than any of the other four books listed here. This is probably the book you will be using if you go on to medical school.

Essential Clinical Anatomy, 4e, NA and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Atlas of Anatomy Package
Essential Clinical Anatomy, 4e, NA and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Atlas of Anatomy Package

"Baby Moore" - a very good book, especially the tables of muscles, nerves, and arteries.


Lab Workbook

The other component of my Human Anatomy course is the cadaver lab, where students identify anatomical structures on cadavers, models, charts, skeletons, and using computer software like A.D.A.M. Interactive Anatomy or Visible Body. It is really difficult to replicate this very important component of the course online. In the future, I will be uploading anatomical structure lists and teaching materials for a virtual anatomy lab experience, perhaps on Hubpages. In the meantime, the following workbooks and atlases have proven useful in lab and provide a good complement to the course:

Regional Human Anatomy:  A Laboratory Workbook for Use With Models and Prosections
Regional Human Anatomy: A Laboratory Workbook for Use With Models and Prosections

This is the lab workbook that I used in my fall 2012 Human Anatomy course, and I think that the students found it to be very useful. It presents muscles in each region one-by-one and has very good descriptions of muscle origins and attachments.

The Anatomy Coloring Book
The Anatomy Coloring Book

This method of learning anatomy works surprisingly well, and appeals to the hidden artists in students.

Netter's Anatomy Coloring Book: with Student Consult Access, 1e (Netter Basic Science)
Netter's Anatomy Coloring Book: with Student Consult Access, 1e (Netter Basic Science)

The content in this coloring book is excellent, but the drawings are not as useful as in the Anatomy Coloring Book listed above.


Other Resources

Here are a few other resources that my students find useful. Thieme's Atlas of Anatomy is a recommended book for my spring 2017 course at Benedictine University.

Core Concepts in Anatomy
Core Concepts in Anatomy

This was a recommended book for my spring 2013 class. The section on nerves is unparalleled and worth the price of the book. A PDF version of the newer 3rd edition of this book can be purchased for $9.95 on Scribd.



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      Anonymous 17 months ago

      I find your lessons extremely helpful. My siblings are in medical school and they find your lectures very useful as well. Can you post practice quizzes?