Original Publication
Open Access

Endocrine and Integumentary Systems: A Team-Based Learning Module for Histology

Published: December 7, 2015 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10290

Included in this publication:

  • Application Exercise.pptx
  • Instructor's Guide.pdf
  • gRAT.pdf
  • iRAT.pdf

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Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


At the conclusion of this team-based learning (TBL) module, students will be able to describe the structural and functional characteristics of the glands comprising the endocrine system, explain the significance of hormones in maintaining body homeostasis, and interpret select clinical data related to disorders of this body system. Moreover, students will be able describe the organization and structure of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis, recognize and differentiate the skin’s different types of cells and glands, and relate the integumentary system’s unique characteristics to the functions of protection, thermoregulation, excretion, and coordination of immunological responses.

Our philosophy of teaching this module is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the endocrine and integumentary systems coupled with sufficient clinical material to illustrate the relevance of this topic in practice. We have previously reported that TBL modules and traditional lectures produce comparable learning outcomes in histology, as measured by our end-of-unit multiple-choice exams. The students take the TBL process seriously. They study the relevant learning materials (textbook reading assignments and class notes) prior to coming to class, and they demonstrate a good understanding of the subject matter, as evidenced by their Individual Readiness Assurance Test scores. The students also demonstrate effective teamwork, as evidence by their Group Readiness Assurance Test scores and, more importantly, their performance on the Group Application Exercises. Students rarely miss TBL sessions. They seem to feel an obligation to their teammates.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, the learner will be able to:

  1. Differentiate the following endocrine glands anatomically and functionally: pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, and suprarenal (adrenal).
  2. Describe how hormones are classified and understand how they function to maintain homeostasis.
  3. Explain the hypothalamus-pituitary relationship and understand how hormonal secretions affect their target organs.
  4. Compare and contrast the three zones of the suprarenal gland, including histological composition, mode of hormonal secretion, and target organs.
  5. Describe the composition of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis and differentiate among them based on structure, cell types, location, and function.
  6. Name the four cell types found within the epidermis and explain their functions.
  7. Identify the individual components of hair follicles and nails.
  8. Describe and contrast the glands of the skin, including mode of secretion, secretory product, and location.
  9. Interpret select clinical data related to disorders of the integumentary and endocrine systems.

Author Information

  • Courtney Traser: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Keith Condon, PhD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • James Brokaw, PhD, MPH: Indiana University School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


  1. Brokaw JJ, Condon KW. The efficacy of team-based learning in histology [abstract]. Clin Anat. 2010;23(4):474.
  2. Brokaw JJ, Condon KW. Team-based learning (TBL) in histology: lessons learned through 7 years of experience [abstract]. FASEB J. 2013;27(suppl):960.20.
  3. Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD. Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing; 2004.
  4. Michaelsen LK, Parmelee DX, McMahon KK, Levine RE. Team-Based Learning for Health Professions Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing; 2008.


Traser C, Condon K, Brokaw J. Endocrine and integumentary systems: a team-based learning module for histology. MedEdPORTAL. 2015;11:10290. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10290