Pearson and Mastering A&P supports student learning over OER

Pearson | August 20, 2021 in Meaningful Outcomes

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How Mastering A&P supports student learning

In Summer 2021, Professor Ty Bryan at a community college in Southern United States met with Pearson to discuss how he uses and experiences Human Anatomy & Physiology, 2nd Edition by Amerman and Mastering A&P™ in his Anatomy & Physiology I and II courses.

Ty Bryan finds many benefits utilizing the Pearson textbook and Mastering A&P in his courses including:

  • High quality artwork, diagrams, and animations help students solidify knowledge that will translate to success in clinicals.
  • Better textbook that delivers concepts in a concise way thus encouraging students to read without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Dynamic Study Modules prepare students for discussion in class and help develop a deeper understanding of concepts.
  • Students are better set up for success in A&P II.
  • Top-notch customer support that facilitates a smooth course delivery.

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Why did Professor Ty Bryan adopt Mastering?

In schoolyear 2016/2017, his department switched from McGraw Hill to an OER resource called OpenStax in an effort to reduce the cost of textbooks. Once adopted, faculty further reviewed the OER textbook and found it lacking in artwork and diagrams, as well being heavily bogged down with unnecessary content.

In early 2020, faculty compared a variety of textbooks and publishers and decided to adopt Pearson’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 2nd Edition by Amerman along with Mastering in Fall 2020. They landed on Pearson because of the superior way it was written and its concise, well laid out material. Anatomy & Physiology I and II are traditionally taught face-to-face, but due to the pandemic, course models had to be shifted. In response, courses had to be taught fully online, which meant faculty needed their Pearson textbook earlier than anticipated so it was adopted in Spring 2020.

How Mastering A&P implemented?

While Bryan incorporates Mastering content as optional for extra credit, he does strongly encourage its use and explains to his students its many benefits. He narrows down the sections from each chapter he wants them to read and includes Dynamic Study Modules.

Outside of optional Mastering content, Bryan’s assessments in A&P I include four quizzes, six lecture exams and one standardized final exam. Students must receive a minimum of 50% on the final exam to pass the course.

The instructor experience

One of the main benefits Bryan has noticed since switching from OER is the improvement in artwork quality. OER lacked detailed artwork that is so crucial for students in A&P courses. Another highlight for Bryan is the readability of the Pearson text. He believes his students are better understanding concepts with the Pearson text because it’s concise and easy to navigate without being too tied down with unnecessary and disjointed material.

Bryan finds the Pearson textbook sets A&P I students up for success in A&P II better than their previous OER textbook, with Bryan saying: “I think they are getting a better idea of chemistry from the Amerman textbook than they were getting from OER. (OER) is written by multiple people at multiple times. They go in there and do their little bit and it’s not easy to read. At least with the Pearson textbook…they’ve got a shot because it’s giving them something they can read, something they can understand, and the diagrams are plainly laid out.”

Bryan never had anyone to reach out to with OER, no support to go with the textbook if he needed any type of assistance. In contrast, with Pearson, he feels he has been supported every step of the way. There was plenty of training when initially adopting Mastering with step-by-step instructions.


When deciding to switch from OER to Pearson, Bryan and fellow faculty wanted a more effective way for students to develop a foundational knowledge of anatomy and physiology concepts that would prepare them for their clinicals. With Pearson, he finds the quality animations, diagrams, and concise wording all combine to help students be successful. As the instructor, he finds the continuous support Pearson offers to be invaluable in being able to offer his courses as seamlessly as possible.

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