Musings on Video Lectures…

21 Jul
In this lecture, I received 2 phone calls,  1 text message, dropped my phone, and had a sympathetic nervous response when something fell off the wall in my office.  I think I should re-record this lecture.

In this lecture, I received 2 phone calls, 1 text message, dropped my phone, and had a sympathetic nervous response when something fell off the wall in my office. I think I should re-record this lecture.

Summer is such a luxurious time to reflect on my teaching and get fired up to make improvements.  It is so nice to feel my excitement growing as I get my class materials together for the fall semester, which is only a month away.

After settling into the decision NOT to flip Human Biology this fall, I decided to make use of all the extra time I would have to re-record my Human Anatomy video lectures.  I feel this is a little bit insane…this will be my 4th time teaching (and flipping) Human Anatomy and my third time re-recording my flipped video lectures.  It seems more than mildly insane to re-record lectures this often, but I understand that I am not only ironing out the wrinkles in my flipped pedagogy, but I am also ironing out the wrinkles in my presentation of CONTENT.  I have taken it for granted that in a traditional classroom I get to re-work my lectures and improve on my craft every time I teach the course.  This is a fantastic assurance that I will constantly GET BETTER.  But in the flipped scene, improving the lectures is much more time consuming.  Nonetheless,  I am clearly in need of creating a “new edition” of my lectures, though I am sincerely hopeful that THIS set of videos will last more than one semester.

As I prepare to record lectures, I can already tell that the videos will be better.  I have a better understanding of the big picture, which will make the individual pieces fit together more cleanly.  I have more experience with the tricky parts which allows me to emphasize the concepts that will be most helpful to my students.  And I am hoping to record the lectures at a more leisurely (and reasonable) pace, without the imminent deadlines that inevitably means I end up trying to present content in front of a video camera in my office by myself, exhausted and delirious, at two in the morning.  Ahem.  My fingers are crossed.

Why Join HAPS? So Many Reasons…

14 Jul
Join HAPS.

Check out the list of reasons why you should be a member of HAPS.

Are you a member of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society?  If not, it is time to make it happen.  Being a member of HAPS is, without a doubt, the single most important thing I’ve done in my career to become a better teacher.  Two years ago, when I was deciding to flip my Anatomy class for the first time, I posed several questions to the email listserv, requesting input and pedagogical advice that helped define and hone my approach.  Once, I asked the list about the wisdom of comprehensive exams.  Dee Silverthorn sent me a copy of her comprehensive exam as an example.  And I can’t even count the number of times that Valerie O’Loughlin has pumped me up with enthusiastic pep talks.  My students get wide-eyed when I tell them the authors of their textbooks are answering my questions (and theirs).   To me, this alone is worth the price of membership.  And yet this is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the benefits of being a dues paying HAPSter.

We will soon begin a series on the blog describing all the benefits of joining HAPS.  You might be surprised at some the resources you have access to as a HAPSter.

As the chair of the Communication Committee, I am excited to help increase membership.  So tell me true.  Why are you a member of HAPS?

25- HAPS and Social Media

7 Jul

I am the chair of the HAPS Communication Committee (affectionately known as the HAPS ComCom).  Our committee’s task is to promote HAPS via social media.  This is a really interesting task.  HAPS currently has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  We are exploring Instagram as well.

Wow...there are a lot of ways to share your thoughts via social media.  But who's listening?

Wow…there are a lot of ways to share your thoughts via social media. But who’s listening?

But when I think about all the possible social media outlets, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  How can we increase our audience?  And how many HAPSters participate in social media anyway?  It actually became a rather amusing quest for me at the annual conference in May to find HAPSters who tweet…let me just say tweeting HAPSters were few and far between.  Thankfully, we did find Sarah Balizan, (also known as the HAPS Twitter Queen), who’s doing an inspirational job of keeping the HAPS Twitter account active.

Right now, and for the next couple of weeks, we will be engaged in a bit of a social media experiment with the Anatomia Italiana crew while they are on their exciting Italian field trip starting this week.  Team leader Kevin Petti has generously agreed to provide us with lots of social media fodder to share.  He will be writing posts for this blog, as well as doing daily updates via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Our Communications Committee is mobilized to re-tweet, favorite, and otherwise share his Italian updates.   I’m excited to see if our team can generate some increased interest in our social media presence.

So I’m curious.  How do HAPSters use social media?  Are you interested in following Anatomia Italiana around Italy?  Do you tweet?  Do you use Facebook?  Have you explored Google+ or LinkedIn?

So weigh in on this poll and follow the hype for the next couple of weeks.  Then let us know what you think.  In the meantime, happy communicating!

HAPS in Italy Starts Next Week!!!

2 Jul

Buongiorno a tutti!!!

On Sunday, July 6, a total of 28 anatomists will convene in Italy for Anatomia Italiana 2014. This summer marks the third year of a program Connecting Art and Anatomy. We will visit the world’s oldest anatomy theaters at universities in Padua and Bologna. We will examine 250 year-old wax anatomical sculptures that are works of art in their own right at the University of Florence. Renaissance masterpieces in Rome, Florence, and Venice will be considered from a fresh perspective: Did the artists and sculptors of 15th and 16th centuries conduct human dissection to enhance their art?

More of us are incorporating cultural concepts into our classes, and this lived experience provides the underpinnings for such interdisciplinary endeavors. Indeed, this entire experience is intended to enrich the teaching and learning of our colleagues and their students.

The diversity of this year’s group demonstrates how these ideas are spreading. Participants are coming from as far away as Qatar and New Zealand! A variety of professionals are enrolling too: scientific illustrators, oil portrait artists, and midwives are seeing the value of Connecting Art and Anatomy.

Some folks enrolled in the HAPS-I course option, and are getting graduate credit. Just this week we finished the last of our Skype sessions discussing journal articles exploring the history of anatomy in Italy, and the role of anatomy in Renaissance art. In just a few days we will go beyond the books, and live the history. Click here for more information about the HAPS-I course option.

If you like, you can follow us while abroad. I plan to utilize social media on a daily basis. You can follow Anatomia Italiana on Instagram @Anatomia_Italiana; on Twitter @AnatomiaItalian (notice the subtle difference in spelling), or on Facebook at facebook.com/AnatomiaItaliana. I will be using the hashtags: #HAPSinItaly and #AnatomiaItaliana2014

If this whole social media thing is too much for you, no worries as I will also post to this blog on a weekly basis. No matter the medium, it will be fun and instructive to keep an eye on your HAPS colleagues as we stand in the room William Harvey dissected, and before the lecture podium of Galileo. And my apologies in advance for the photos of fresh pasta, fine wine, and the Chianti countryside!

Buona giornata, e ci sentiamo presto,

Kevin Petti, Ph.D.
San Diego Miramar College

 

24- HAPS Listserv

22 Jun
http://www.codeservedcold.com/gmail-filters-priority-inbox/

Emails from the HAPS listserv are the FUN ones…

Summer is really here—my crew is headed out on a backpacking/water sliding/camping adventure tomorrow morning and we’ll be gone for the next couple of weeks.  So, in order to avoid packing tonight (I hate packing), I decided to organize my emails.  From the last 3 years.

That makes complete sense, right?

Of course it does.  And even though it might not have been the most productive and efficient use of my time tonight, it was really fun because my email box was FULL of FASCINATING emails from the HAPS listserv.  Honestly (and I know I’ve said it before), the listserv is one of the best parts of HAPS membership.  Aside from the fantastic conversations about TEACHING anatomy and physiology, the list is a community building PLACE where we connect throughout the year.  It was really fun sift through those old conversations and recognize people I now know in person from the annual conferences.

The email threads I sifted through were varied and dynamic.  I found references to hilarious videos (I am forever grateful to the person who shared the fantastic music video “What does the spleen do“), thought provoking cartoons (one recent discussion on technology in the classroom was stimulated by this cartoon), and dynamic interactions around current research.

So if you are already a member of HAPS make sure you join the list.  Just sign up on the website and you’ll be good to go.  It really is a cool perk of being a member.  And if you aren’t a member yet, join.  It is soooo worth it.

I won’t be posting next week—I’ll be too busy being on summer vacation.  (That is assuming I actually get packed tonight…ahem.)

 

23- A Decision

16 Jun
"Sanity" and "Insanity" signs

Hmmm…left or right…left or right?

I’m a stubborn human.  I also have some pretty grave questions about my sanity.  Because it was just this morning as I chatted with my mom on the phone during a very slow jog through my neighborhood, that I AGAIN lamented about whether or not I was going to flip Human Biology in the fall.

Really??!  Does anyone else get the feeling that we’ve been here before?

But I think this time, I really did work through the issue (though I did ask my mom to remind me of this decision should I somehow lose focus before fall).

So here’s the ultimate reason I am firmly committing to NOT flipping Human Bio this fall.  There are only 17 students enrolled in the course at this time and the course will not be offered again until next summer at the earliest.  There.  So if I were to flip the class, I would invest the ridiculous amount of flipping energy for 17 students (whom I’m sure I will love very much, and who are probably quite deserving of the educational advantages that the flip offers).  But 17 students in 1 year just doesn’t justify the time it would take to prepare for an effective flip.

I think I feel peaceful about this decision.  The true test will be to see what the blog topic is NEXT week.  If I’m still talking about whether or not to flip Human Biology in the fall, you’ll know this peaceful sense is an illusion.  But if I’ve moved onto a new topic, then we’ll all happily put this one to bed and I’ll start trying to remember how NOT to flip a class!   HA!

22- To Flip or not to Flip?

9 Jun
Fair use image of Bart Simpson.

I will NOT flip the classroom upside down…I will not…really…I will not…

I’m slowly settling into the swing of summer…and it is time to pull the trigger on a decision I have been struggling with for a couple of months now.

In the fall, I will be teaching a new class that I have never flipped:  Human Biology.  This is a non-majors course that is general bio, anatomy and physio, IN ONE SEMESTER.  Obviously, we must do a very light survey of these three courses, all of which I’ve taught multiple times before.  I do not anticipate the prep being too difficult, from a content perspective.  But I am having an ongoing internal battle about whether or not to FLIP the class.

There are a million points on the “FLIP IT!” side of the equation.  Students love it.  I have more time to work with them during class.  We can do more FUN STUFF!  Plus, I’m the flipping QUEEN, right?  I’ve been flipping all over the place for 2 years now.  I’m a flipping phenom!

But maybe I’m growing up a little bit (!) because I am not sure I can handle the stress of DEADLINES that inevitably accompanies the decision to flip a new class.  I’ve spent two years under the “gotta get a lecture recorded before I go to bed TONIGHT” mandate.  Even my YouTube students who don’t’ even know me comment on the scattered and unfocused rambling in my video lectures that is directly proportional to the lateness of the hour (and hits a peak around 1am).

Besides that, fall already promises to be a very busy semester.  It will be my first semester as a full-time tenure-track professor (after 5 years as an adjunct in this institution).  Plus, I will be teaching Human Anatomy again, which I find to be pretty intense.  Add to that the fact that we have two brand new cadavers (who will be with us for the next 3-5 years)…and I am utterly confident my fall plate will be overfull.

Every cell in my body says, “Make the smart flippin’ decision, Riggs.”  And my cells have been saying this for, oh, a couple of months now.  So what part of me is still refusing to pull the trigger and admit that I will NOT be flipping Human Biology in the fall?  I know it is time…and I know what I need to do…it just makes me sad, because I really love flipping.

So I’ll probably just end up agonizing over the summer until it really is too late to pull off a quality flip, and then the decision will be made for me.  Ask me again in August.

HAPS Leadership (#28): Changing of the Guard

4 Jun
On the road again!

On the road again!

Another annual HAPS conference has come and gone. Attendees have scattered back to their homes, either teaching, writing, relaxing, or keeping up with other activities to keep them busy during the summer. For the HAPS leadership, it’s no different.

As you are aware, we had elections this spring for several new positions on the Board of Directors. We also saw changes in the Steering Committee, as some chairs rotate off and others rotate on. Officially, the changes occur as of July 1, but we’re already going through a training and transition phase.

New Board members include Valerie O’Loughlin (past-president), Tom Lehman (president), Betsy Ott (president-elect), Karen McMahon (treasurer), Jon Jackson (western regional director), and Leslie Day (eastern regional director).

Thanks to the outgoing Board members: Dee Silverthorn (past-president), Elizabeth Becker (treasurer), Anne Geller (western regional director), and Javni Mody (eastern regional director). We know that you’ll still be active within HAPS and are excited to see how you’ll use your experiences in your future endeavors.

For the Steering Committee, the new roster is here.

140604 (2) HAPS Steering Committee roster

Thanks to outgoing chairs for this past year: Pat Bowne, Nick Despo, Christine Eckel, Elizabeth Hodgson, Karen McMahon, Lourdes Norman, and Valerie O’Loughlin. We greatly appreciate your contributions and know that you’ll help First-Timers next year as they track down those elusive Chair signatures at the next Scavenger Hunt.

140604 (3) green yugoPresident Valerie O’Loughlin and Executive Director Peter English are busy organizing for the June Board meeting. Steering Committee Chair Ron Gerrits is busy corralling his people for summertime projects. President-elect Tom Lehman has fallen off the radar, last seen entering a brewpub somewhere in southwestern Florida. President O’Loughlin has commissioned HAPS Three – a green 1985 Yugo – to be ready to pick up new president-elect Betsy Ott in case she needs to be sworn in a year early. Keep your fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, this blog theme on the HAPS leadership is coming to a close. It’s been a blast to share with you the people and positions in the administration of HAPS and I hope that it’s been fun and/or informative for you. The blog will continue. Wendy Riggs – Communication Chair – will continue to bring great entries for you. Betsy Ott – president-elect – will be sharing entries with you about the various educational resources that we have to offer through the HAPS website (there are so many great benefits to being a member of HAPS!).

It’s gonna be another great year as we plan towards HAPS 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. Keep up on all the great details as they develop!

Skully in San Antonio

I’m counting down to San Antonio already…

21-The Post-Conference High

2 Jun
HAPS Logo

Proud to be a HAPSter…

Returning home from the HAPS Annual Conference in Jacksonville, I am trying to ride the high for as long as possible (though I’m definitely appreciating being back on West Coast time) .  It was an amazing week, as usual, filled with meaningful conversations and fun, committed people.  It was particularly inspiring to observe the unique camaraderie between HAPSters.   I continue to be a little star struck by the A&P celebrities who are HAPSters and find it so lovely that in spite of celebrity status, these A&P superstars are completely committed to sharing their expertise and passion with anyone who is interested.

Multiple times,  I suddenly found myself unknowingly (and rather clumsily) in the presence of GREATNESS.  For example, the last workshop session I attended was entitled “Regional Anatomy for Undergraduate Students”  with Mark Nielson and Robert Tallitsch.  I was glued to the presentation.  Somewhere in the middle, Mark Nielson said something along the lines of “…and you all know what I do in my anatomy lab.”  I  hesitated as the people around me nodded knowingly, then engaged in an internal debate…do I ask him what he’s talking about, or do I pretend that I (like everyone else) already know?  Not known for social grace, I opted for the honest approach and raised my hand and asked Mark, “What exactly DO you do in your lab?”

Well, let’s just say the room got really quiet and everyone turned to stare at me and one brave soul informed me that all the cadaver images in my textbooks?  Well, those came from the work Mark does in his Anatomy lab.  Oh.  That.  So I guess I DO know what Mark does in his lab.  Ahem.

But instead of feeling disrespected by my ignorance, Mark proceeded to offer to SHARE  his amazing resources with me, a baby anatomy instructor.  Seriously? Of all the incredible workshops I attended, I was most moved by the spirit of COMMUNITY present in this one.  It just captured the essence of HAPS and made me feel so grateful to be part of this organization.  I’ve started my countdown to the 2015 Annual Conference in San Antonio…only 11 months and 3 weeks to go.

Skully in San Antonio

I’m counting down already…

 

20- Learn, Discover, Share

25 May
The HAPS Strategic Plan

The HAPS Strategic Plan

Who would have thought that a meeting about a Strategic Plan could be remotely stimulating???  But after a day of inspirational update speakers and HAPSter-ific camaraderie, listening to people discuss the vision, value and history of HAPS was a nice cap to the day.

I’ve been a member of HAPS since 2011.  I was originally drawn to HAPS because of its amazing list-serv and through the list, was delighted to discover that HAPSters focus on TEACHING.  But  I didn’t realize that this was actually the original reason why the society was created.  The HAPS mission is epitomized in three words: Learn, Discover, Share.  This annual conference is staying true to that mission so far.

The conference started with a Welcome Reception on Saturday night with drinks and desserts (really yummy desserts).  You couldn’t walk more than a couple of feet before running into people talking about teaching and learning.  Folks are excited to share their methods and results, and learn from each other while discovering new things to do in their classrooms.  And the social connections and collaborations continued the next morning at the First Timer’s Breakfast (at the ungodly hour of 7:30am).  Then began the update speakers and poster sessions, and a wealth of new ideas were discovered and shared.  Top it off with a stroll through the exhibitor’s hall where every step makes you wish you had a million dollars in your pocket…and you already have an incredible conference experience.

The incredible thing is that this is only HALF of the annual conference. Tuesday and Wednesday are filled with workshops that will make you drool.  Really.

I better get some sleep before another ridiculously early morning with the HAPS Foundation fundraiser at 7am: The Fun Run in the Sun.  (And just in case you were about to, don’t forget to follow #HAPS2014 on Twitter!)

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