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Recent evidence has demonstrated that inquiry-based physiology laboratories improve students' critical- and analytical-thinking skills. We implemented inquiry-based learning into three physiology courses: Comparative Vertebrate Physiology (majors), Human Physiology (majors), and Human Anatomy and Physiology (nonmajors). The aims of our curricular modifications were to improve the teaching of physiological concepts, teach students the scientific approach, and promote creative and critical thinking. We assessed our modifications using formative (laboratory exams, oral presentations, and laboratory reports) and summative evaluations (surveys, laboratory notebook, and an end of semester project). Students appreciated the freedom offered by the new curriculum and the opportunity to engage in the inquiry process. Results from both forms of evaluation showed a marked improvement due to the curricular revisions. Our analyses indicate an increased confidence in students' ability to formulate questions and hypotheses, design experiments, collect and analyze data, and make conclusions. Thus, we have successfully incorporated inquiry-based laboratories in both major and nonmajor courses.
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