Online zoology/anatomy/physiology classes??

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May 11, 2009
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Has anyone taken any online courses in zoology, anatomy, or physiology?? Good, bad? Pros, cons? Also, what program did you guys use (for those of you, if any, who took a course online)?

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If you're taking them for prereqs, you should make sure that the schools you're applying to are okay with taking them online without labs.
I 100% agree with nyanko! Definitely get the courses approved in writing before enrolling!

These are online/distance courses I've taken and my thoughts...

Anatomy: Colorado State University - Domestic Animal Anatomy - loved it! Blackboard based. Very well organized and great communication (not necessarily with the prof, but there was an excellent TA that was VERY helpful and available!) I would recommend it in a heartbeat it was so much fun!

Physiology: University of New England - Medical Physiology - I'm not done yet (just have to take the final in the next week or two) but I definitely don't like the course. Blackboard based. It's not organized well and I've had all sorts of issues with the professors because there are 3 professors from 3 different schools collaborating for the course. It is a brand new course (just started this year) so maybe they will iron out the kinks, but if I would avoid it if possible. (Note: this course has a lab component)
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My two cents, for anatomy and physiology (it was 1 course for me), the lab section was really valuable--you probably don't get any hands-on exposure in online courses (unless there is a lab aswell)?
To Pomona, for the anatomy class you took at Colorado, do they still offer it? And is it an undergraduate or graduate course? If you could point the way to this course for me that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!! :)
I know they don't offer it every semester and because of that I don't know if they are still offering it.

I took it in the Fall of 2008 and it was offered in the Summer of 2008 as well. But I know it's not being offered this semester.

The website is:

The course is VS 333: Domestic Animal Anatomy

It is usually listed under Clinical Sciences

Hope that helps!
Thanks! Looks like it's not offered this summer/fall but maybe it will be next year. :) I'll probably end up emailing someone about it to see when it'll be offered again. Thanks for the info! :D
I took the UC Berkeley Extension School online intro to human physiology course.

Overall, it was ok. Physiology is a class where I think a lab component would definitely be helpful (and interesting). However, scheduling constraints (and the fact that I just never got around to taking physio in undergrad) led me to an online course.

Pros: it was a pretty easy A. All of the worksheets and "review quizzes" were open-book. Only the final had to be proctored, which wasn't too difficult to arrange and the final was much easier than I expected it to be. The professor got your worksheet grades back to you quickly. I never contacted the prof with specific questions but he seemed like he would have been good about responding.

Cons: I got the feeling that the worksheets weren't very well constructed or proof-read. A lot of the wording was kind of confusing, there were answers that I could not find in the assigned textbook and had to look elsewhere for or were minute details that seemed rather trivial in the context of the chapter. A couple times there were repeated questions or matching problems where there really was no logical answer. There wasn't any real feedback on how you did, I just got an overall letter grade for each assignment (no percentage or point value) so I had no idea how many questions I actually got wrong and right, which was frustrating for me because I know I couldn't have possibly gotten every question perfectly correct.

Something that could be good or bad for you is that the course was self-paced. You start it and then you have six months to finish. Also, I remember some threads talking about how not all of the vet schools will accept this as fulfilling their physiology requirement (Oregon State doesn't have a problem with it) so that would be something you would want to look into before starting any online course. Feel free to PM me if you want any more specific info on the course.
I highly recommend VS 333, as well. I especially enjoyed (still do) the accompanying cd-rom with 3-d rotatable parts. The class did very well at going over similarities then branching out to species differences. I think I took it in fall or was it spring of 2008. I saw information on it this winter. They switch over the offerings some time in June, so you may want to check back at the distance learning site. It's not like the regular classes which show the offerings for Fall at the same time as summer.
Good quality anatomy classes that are open to anyone are offered through Equine Studies Institute. Go read about them at -- click on "forum" and see the threads describing the dog and horse classes near the top of the Forum homepage. If you are enrolled at an accredited institution, your school will probably be willing to give you credit for taking these classes "outside" -- but you absolutely MUST get permission from your school in writing, or else have them contact the Institute so that a solution can be negotiated. Equine Studies Institute is a think-tank that we founded a number of years ago, precisely because we were aware that nontraditional, alternative-care, and even quite a few "traditional" students in medical, veterinary, and the "para" disciplines often have great difficulty getting a hands-on carcass class. We've had a number of more mature, goal-oriented High School and Community College students enroll, too. If you have further questions, just write me through the Forum above mentioned. -- Dr. Deb