A Peek Behind the Podium

4 Dec
A message from Krista Rompolski, member of the HAPS ComCom.

A message from Krista Rompolski, member of the HAPS ComCom.

After 10 years of college and a terminal degree, it’s hard to imagine choosing to put yourself back into a situation as a student again. On the other hand, if we spent that many years, or more, in college, it is because we love to learn, and are passionate about what we study. More than any other conference I’ve attended or group I’ve belonged to, the HAPS community is brimming with professors and professionals who love what they do. As an A&P professor, I spend most of my time not at work in my own world. It’s not exactly a passion that can easily share with anyone not in the field, so my friends and family were surprised (but not really that surprised) that I applied for the 2-year Anatomy Training Program through the American Academy of Anatomists. I was fortunate and privileged to be admitted to this program.

In order to meet a number of requirements of the program, I enrolled in our college’s Gross Anatomy course for the Doctoral PT students. This is taught by my senior colleagues, and for an added twist, I’m sitting among many students who I had in A&P as undergraduates and stayed at Drexel for their DPT. After teaching for 5 years, still being (relatively) young and not too long out of school myself, I thought that I would have some advantage over these students, having gone through the hard work of a terminal degree and teaching A&P already. In fact, since I knew I would be placed in a lab group with 5 other students, I was very concerned about not steamrolling them, or guiding too much, out of fear of interfering with their learning. The past few weeks have taught me, in more ways than one, that I still have so much to learn. Here is the first lesson.

Lesson 1: My anatomy education has only just begun

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The study zone…

There’s no simpler way to say it- I’m stumped every day. I stand over a body confident after studying Grant’s atlas, reading Moore’s Clinical Anatomy and looking at as many cadaver photos as I can, only to lose orientation as I move from one cadaver to the next. All my experience in gross anatomy lab until now had been handling joint preparations and prosections, often neatly labeled and tagged (by the gross lab elves, I assumed) by the time I brought my A&P students to lab. The difference between photos in a text and the actual body is staggering. Even if by some magic, all the colors were the same in the body as in the text (oh if only nerves were bright yellow and arteries bright red, how much time would we save?) the lack of 3D visualization is a major stumbling block to overcome when dissecting.

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…and more study zone.

It saddens me to think that cadaver education might be going by the wayside in the advent of digital resources. There simply can’t be a substitute to feeling the springy give of an artery, or tracing the terminal branches of the brachial plexus from the cords to the innervated muscles.

No matter how humbling, this experience is showing me the value of continuing to challenge yourself and further your education. If we aren’t willing to do so, why should our students?

Wish me luck!

 

The HAPS ListServ: The Best Part of Membership

28 Nov
A message from HAPS member, Karen Groh, A&P instructor from Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science in Cincinnati OH.

A message from HAPS member, Karen Groh, A&P instructor from Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science in Cincinnati OH.

“Seriously? Amid all that we’ve done in lab and lecture, how did that idea become lodged in your mind?”

Though I hoped my surprise was not apparent to the students, that was what I thought when, three weeks into the cardiovascular unit, I realized that several of my students thought blood could go directly from, for example, the foot to the stomach, completely bypassing the pulmonary circuit. Somewhere, somehow, despite all the learning activities in lab and lecture, some students had missed a crucial concept of the cardiovascular system: Blood going from organ A to organ B must (almost always) first go to the heart, then the lungs, back to the heart, then finally to organ B; blood vessels are essentially one-way roads.

After I patiently guided the confused students through some blood tracing until they understood this concept, I made a mental note to see what I could do to prevent this misconception from developing in future students. Though I’ve developed a “bag of tricks” with analogies for explaining many A&P concepts, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas this time. Working at a small school of nursing and health science, I have a limited number of colleagues to consult with when I need an idea.

Fortunately, as a HAPS member, I’m not limited to the people I work with because I have access to the HAPS ListServ, my door to an entire community of individuals who are teaching Anatomy and Physiology and are delighted to discuss almost anything related to A&P. One of the best things about the ListServ is the diversity. When someone throws out a question about A&P content or pedagogy, answers start pouring in from textbook authors, instructors at community colleges and large research institutions, high school teachers, experts doing research in just the field, and sometimes even from me! Amazingly, these people are incredibly generous with their ideas and information.

Because it has been my door to an incredible storehouse of knowledge and ideas, I consider the ListServ the best benefit of HAPS membership. Sometimes someone on the ListServ will mention an in-class activity; when I email them, they send me a copy to use in my class, no strings attached! How cool is that? Or someone might ask about reducing attrition in A&P, releasing another stream of useful ideas. Someone else might ask a question about the contraction cycle of the heart and the answers pour in, giving me access to a lively discussion at a high level about a topic I teach.

But back to my hapless students and their misconceptions about blood circulation. Stumped for good ideas, I threw the problem out to the ListServ community and ideas poured in. The ideas included:

  • A figure from a textbook, volunteered from the author
  • An amusement park analogy
  • An airport analogy
  • An electric car scenario
  • A delivery truck analogy
  • Suggestions regarding the root causes of the misconception and how to address them

And more! A treasure trove of ideas!

This semester, when I taught blood tracing in the lab, I used the delivery truck analogy, explaining to the students that the delivery trucks leave the heart (company headquarters) and go through the body (city) making deliveries. When they return to the heart (company headquarters), they have to go to the lungs (truck wash facility) to be cleaned before returning to headquarters to pick up more packages and head out again. I drew all of this on the board, emphasizing the fact that all the blood vessels (roads) were one-way only.

The results? This semester, I wasn’t aware of a single student who spent most of the cardiovascular unit convinced that the blood vessels were two-way streets allowing blood to go directly from organ A to organ B. It was a small teaching victory, but a satisfying one, thanks to the wonderful folks in the ListServ.

Last Call: Apply for Awards by Dec 1!

20 Nov
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A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/Grants and Scholarships Committee.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

If you’re thinking of applying for one of the HAPS grants or scholarships for assistance in attending next year’s HAPS Annual Meeting, you’d better hurry! The deadline for submitting applications is December 1st, and that’s less than two weeks away.  We’d love to see you in Salt Lake City and we’d love to consider your application for one of these awards:

All applications are very straightforward and easy to complete.  But even if you don’t want to apply for your own award, consider nominating a colleague for one of these awards:

The Grants and Scholarships committee wants some work to do, and we really like giving away money! So don’t delay-visit the HAPS website now and submit your application.

And while we’re here…have fun identifying avian musculoskeletal anatomy during Thanksgiving dinner.  (C’mon…you’re an A&P teacher…you know you do it…)

Bird wing image- bones and muscles

Wing anatomy– because you know you’ll need it!

The HAPS-Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award

14 Nov
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A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/Grants and Scholarships Committee.

Know a great teacher, someone you feel inspires students to success in anatomy and physiology?  If you do (and we all do), please consider nominating him or her for the HAPS-Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award.  HAPS is delighted to team up with Thieme Publishers to offer this opportunity to recognize one of our own for efforts in the classroom or laboratory.  

Nominated instructors must be teaching anatomy and physiology during this academic year, with an expectation that they will continue, must be a HAPS member, and must be an exemplary teacher.  

To qualify to nominate an instructor, you must be an instructor or administrator at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada, have at least two years of experience, and be able to explain why the nominee deserves the award.

The award includes a $1500 cash award and waiver of fees for the HAPS Annual Conference.  The recipient will present the “HAPS-Thieme Award for Excellence in Teaching Workshop” during the Annual Conference Workshop Sessions in May 2017.  We had terrific workshops at the 2015 and 2016 conferences.  This year’s recipient will join an illustrious group that includes Terry Thompson and Mary Tracy Bee.

Nomination forms and details on award criteria can be found on the HAPS webpage. Deadline for nominations for this and all the other HAPS scholarships is December 1st, 2017.  

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Apply for the Gail Jenkins Learning and Mentoring Award

7 Nov
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A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/ Grants and Scholarships Committee.

HAPS lost a dear friend when Gail Jenkins passed away earlier this year.  Gail was a dynamic teacher and long-time HAPS member.  Gail loved teaching.  Most of all, she loved to make difficult concepts in anatomy and physiology easily comprehensible to her students.  To accomplish this, she employed the “Keep is simple, Sweetie” (KISS) approach.  When facing a difficult concept, she’d urge her students to “KISS” it by using everyday analogies or tools to visualize and simplify the subject.  Her students loved this approach.

In Gail’s honor, Wiley Publishing, in partnership with HAPS has established the Gail Jenkins Teaching and Mentoring Award, an annual award recognizing a HAPS member who demonstrates the use of engaging learning activities that help students comprehend difficult concepts and to recognize those willing to mentor other instructors in this approach.  The award includes a $1000 cash award and waiver of the 2017 Annual Conference registration fee. Award recipients will present a workshop during the workshop sessions in Salt Lake City.

To qualify for the award, applicants must be HAPS members engaged in teaching anatomy and physiology, must provide an explanation of how engaging learning activities are incorporated into their classes, must provide an abstract of a workshop to be presented at the 2017 conference, and must provide a letter of recommendation from a colleague with direct knowledge of the applicant’s teaching and student interaction.  Applicants who can demonstrate a spirit of sharing this approach and mentoring their colleagues will be given preference.

Online applications can be found on the HAPS website.  The application deadline for this and all the other HAPS scholarships is December 1st.

HAPS expresses its thanks to Wiley Publishing for their support in the establishment of this award.

Take the HAPS Pre-requisite Survey

31 Oct
A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, John Jackson.

A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, Jon Jackson.

I recently received this email from a HAPS member.

I know that there has been lots of discussion on the HAPS ListServ about attrition rates in A&P, but is there any data out there? My institution is looking at retention rates in A&P I, and I’d like to know what percentage of students in other schools withdraw or get a D or F.  Does HAPS have any data?

I responded to this request, and sent the response to the HAPS email listserv, and then decided to turn it into an entire blog post, because it is such an important and relevant question. And the answer is, YES, HAPS has this information…almost.

HAPS does indeed have a potentially large-scale effort going on to understand both descriptively and causatively, the reasons that lead to poor retention in A&P I.  As you probably know — rates of D’s, F’s, and W’s (D-F-W) in A&P II are typically much less than in A&P I. Our very, very preliminary data, which the retention task force presented at the HAPS conference in Atlanta, bore this out.

Sadly, as of right now we do not have a sufficient number of responses submitted from HAPSters and their colleagues to achieve the statistical power needed for conclusions.  This is largely my fault — I made the assumption that this issue was of sufficient importance to ANYONE teaching A&P (or Anatomy alone, or Physiology alone) that they would gladly contribute their outcomes data to the project in order to have some objective data on which to base:

  1. curricular decisions;
  2. discussions with their deans about how a 27% D-F-W is not at all unusual;
  3. and strategies to identify and help the students most at risk for trouble in the coursework of Anatomy, Physiology, and to a wider sense, natural sciences.

So, what do we ask you to do?  First, keep track of this SURVEY LINK. When you’ve gathered all your information, you’ll just click on that link and start reporting your data. Before that, we advise you to:

  1. Go to your computer grade book, and pull out the raw numbers from all of the A&P I classes you have taught.  This can be for the last year, or if you’re say, the John Legler Endowed Professor of Human Anatomy, and have something like 30 years of data to share — please share it all.
    • If you teach just straight anatomy, or just straight physiology, we absolutely want and need that data also.
    • If you teach with other colleagues who are not HAPS members — please, oh please — ask them to join this effort. SHARE THIS POST LIBERALLY!
  2. Once you’ve found those precious grade book files, it will ease your interaction with the survey website to have collated the data for each course into something that looks like this:
    data
    In this case, the numbers represent the final grade distribution for each of the classes at the conclusion of the term and the TOT  column reflects the total number of students at the start of the term.

Note:  the interaction with the web-based survey isn’t precisely what you may be used to with systems like QUALTRICS or Survey Monkey.  Nonetheless, it has an internal logic to it, and once you’ve gone through the work of actually pulling together these numbers, it will not take very long to get your data entered and most importantly, part of the first systemic analysis that has been done by a professional organization thus far.

I hope you’ll have a chance to talk with any colleagues, or at least share this post with people you know who are now looking at the grades being handed back around mid-terms, and are starting to face questioning looks from administrators who are thinking: “What’s the deal with A&P?”  Well, this survey and its analysis will help to provide defensible and data-centered analysis of the things we see, and any trends or predictive correlations that emerge from the data analysis.

Let us help you get to Salt Lake City!

24 Oct

 

don-kelly

A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/Grants and Scholarships Committee.

Do you use innovative technology in the classroom or lab?  Could other educators benefit from your experience?  Are you eager to share how technology could enhance everyone’s teaching and learning?  If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” or even “I think so,’ then you should consider applying for the AD Instruments/Sam Drogo Technology in the Classroom award for 2017.  

Sam Drogo was a long-time, active HAPS member, a dedicated and innovative teacher, and a fervent advocate of inquiry-based learning.  He loved to demonstrate to his colleagues how the effective use of technology could enhance the classroom and lab experience and contribute to student success.

Drogo doing what he loved most...

Sam Drogo doing what he loved most…

In Sam’s honor, AD Instruments has provided funding for three $500 awards to support your attendance at the HAPS Annual Meeting and to encourage you to present a workshop in Salt Lake City.  To be eligible to apply for the award, you simply need to be a HAPS member, teach anatomy and physiology at the undergraduate level, and have your students use technology as part of their experience.  A desire to share your techniques with other HAPSters is certainly a plus.

Sam was a well-loved and highly respected colleague and friend to so many of us.  He was also a fantastic educator. These awards honor him and his contributions to HAPS.  So help us celebrate Sam’s contributions to teaching-and please consider applying for one of these awards. We’d love to see you in Salt Lake City!

ADInstruments

ADInstruments has been generously increasing the number of Drogo Awards in recent years.

Skip the Inbox!

16 Oct
A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.

A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.

The HAPS-L discussion group is one of the most incredible benefits of HAPS membership.  If you have a question, our community of 600 members (and growing) is there to help.  If you have a question about a book, more often than not, it is the author of the book who replies to your questions.  It is amazing.

Of course, when a topic heats up, what can also be amazing is watching your inbox blow up with 40+ emails while you were in class.  That has only happened to me once, but once was enough and thankfully, there are some easy ways to manage this possibility.  

For the HAPS-L discussion group, I ask my email provider to bypass the part of my inbox that counts and send the emails “somewhere else.” Then I have the freedom to check in on the discussion when it is convenient for me, without the risk of losing other important emails in the storm of HAPS-L discussion posts.  When I feel like the time is right, I go to that “somewhere else “and see what has been happening on the HAPS-L discussion group.  I get to check in on my time, and never experience the trauma of 40 unread emails as I look at my phone on the way out of class.  

So, how do you achieve this peace?  You translate what you want your email to do into the words that google (and other providers) want to hear.  I am going to give the example of a google/gmail account because that is our official discussion group provider in the hapsconnect.org domain.

The best way to set this up is at the server level.  The server collects your email for you, and then you use various devices to ask the server what it has for you.  Computers, tablets, phones all just ask the server what it has and then they report it to you.  If you look at an email on one device, the server tells all the other devices that you’ve already seen it.

So, assuming you have a gmail account (or are willing to use one), you would do the following:

  1. Tell the server that anything with [HAPS-L] in the subject gets the “HAPS-L label”
  2. Tell the server that anything with [HAPS-L] in the subject “skips the inbox”
  3. Tell the server that anything with [HAPS-L] in the subject is “never important”

And today’s your lucky day- because I’m going to tell you how to do this.

First you will go to settings and create the label for this set of email.  In most email programs this label will look and behave like a folder.  

1. Open settings:

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2. Open labels settings

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3. Give a name to your new label and hit CREATE

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Now you are going to set up the rules that will evaluate all incoming email, identify the email you want to manage, and do what you say to do.

1. Open settings as before if that is not still open.  Choose FILTERS this time at the top, not LABELS.

2. You can obviously do lots here, but I prefer to use the subject identifier that we add to all groups in hapsconnect.  This example shows the subject identifier [HAPS-L] which is what we use for the discussion group subject lines.

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3. Tell the filter what you want it to do with the email that matches your criteria.  I have found that the settings marked below work great for me with groups that produce lots of email.  I have it skip the inbox so that it is not adding to my unread message count or mingling with other work related email.  I also never allow it to be marked as important, because that would mix with other email.  And by applying the label that I just created, it will show up in the list on the left.  

On my computer where I have Apple Mail checking 5 different email accounts simultaneously, this label shows up as a folder.  

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And that’s it!  Welcome to a cleaner, happier inbox!

Why do we teach A&P lab?

10 Oct

Dave is an assistant professor and director of the natural sciences program at American Public University System. He supports the HAPS Curriculum & Instruction committee with an emphasis on online instruction and laboratory learning.

A message from Dave Brashinger, member of the HAPS Curriculum and Instruction Committee.

A message from Dave Brashinger, member of the HAPS Curriculum and Instruction Committee.

Why do we include a laboratory component in the introductory A&P course sequence for nursing and allied health students? On the surface, this may appear to be a straightforward question. However, my discussions with fellow A&P educators over the years have revealed multiple perspectives and sometimes strongly held beliefs regarding the purpose of laboratory education.

As a distance A&P educator, I’m interested in understanding why we teach lab in order to figure out how to best achieve those learning goals through distance learning. Ideally, students should have the opportunity to achieve the same core learning outcomes regardless of the learning format (distance, hybrid, or physical laboratory).

Some of you may remember the laboratory instructor survey HAPS conducted in 2013. We collected data on what we were teaching in A&P lab and had some thought-provoking discussions of the survey results at the 2014 Eastern regional and Annual conferences. We have just released the 2016 version of the survey and I’m excited to see that many instructors have already participated.  

The 2016 survey focuses on the following questions:  

  • What are your priorities for the laboratory experience?
  • Which inquiry skills are performed by students in your lab?
  • Do you have learning outcomes specific to your lab component?
  • Do your students perform the HAPS learning outcomes identified for the lab?
  • Which activities, materials, or techniques do you currently use in your A&P lab?

The survey is available here until December 4, 2016. Participants will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card (one $100 gift card and four $50 gift cards), sponsored by ADInstruments. (Thank you ADInstruments!)

So, tell me…why do you teach A&P lab?

Freedom….kind of…

3 Oct

Becca’s back!  Becca Ludwig is an experienced HAPS blogger and brought us a series of five posts in March 2015 from the A&P student perspective.  Now we get to hear from her again, this time as successful graduate!  

A message from Becca!

A message from Occupational Therapist, Becca Ludwig.

For nearly three years now, I have been a member of HAPS – first as a student and now as an occupational therapist in the professional world of health care.   I have to admit that I feel liberated now that I am done with school; however, in many ways, it seems like I’m actually still in school.

I can honestly say that I have not missed the daily grind of going to class and then going home to study and do homework. I also have absolutely no guilt about sitting around and watching TV rather than walking around with a stack of 500 note cards that I have to stay up all night to learn.   It has been great to be out of school!  My initial thought after graduating was that with all of my new-found free time, I could probably start up a new hobby – or connect with old friends. Those were my thoughts for a little while…. until the big-kid world hit me.

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It was soon after I began working that I realized that those in the health care field are expected to continue to learn and apply evidence-based practice. While in school, I thought words like “evidence-based practice” were just a few buzz-words used in research classes.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that in reality they actually do mean something! In fact, evidence-based practice is the process of integrating clinical expertise, patient values, and sound research into the decision-making process for patient care.  That means that reading journal articles for new and emerging practice techniques and participating in continuing education classes are strongly required. And the good news is that these educational opportunities are often paid for!  So my freedom from reading countless journal articles and sitting in class was short-lived, but I’m glad that my profession gives me the opportunity to still learn. In fact, I’ve realized that everyone, whether in the health care profession or not, really should be a lifelong learner in order to provide the best care, technique, and/or service to the recipient.  

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