Dramatizing the Heart

Biology Assistant Professor Alexandra Masterson won a University Teaching Excellence Award for her immersive approach in her Biology 124: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology classroom. Students actually act out physiological processes. For example, “in large lecture classrooms, we dramatize the cardiac cycle in a repetitive series of groups on the stage,” Masterson said. Multiple demonstrations mean the students have opportunities to change roles, as well as to view the process many times in order to grasp all steps involved in a single heartbeat.

“Skills taught in lecture are heavily reinforced by active participation,” added Masterson, who has over 28 years of clinical pharmacy experience, primarily in hospital settings both in the federal government and private industry. She also advises Mason’s Pre-Pharmacy Honor Society.