2- Selling the Flip

Why Flip?  A Prezi justifying the approach

When I decided to flip my class, I knew I would need a very convincing explanation to justify the change, for both my students and colleagues.  Selling the idea to my colleagues ended up being pretty straight forward.  They thought I was crazy for trying such a radical, time intensive, change, but they were willing to let me “do my thing”.  I think they were a little curious to see how it would work.  Selling the idea to my students was another story.  I knew how critical it was to get them on board from the very beginning.  Therefore, convincing my students to embrace the flip became my top priority.

I started the first day of class by acknowledging upfront that my course was not going to be “normal”. My students were going to have to carry out a fundamental change in how they approached  the class.  However, it was critical to me that they understand my class was not going to require MORE work than any other anatomy course taught at College of the Redwoods.  To ensure they understood this, I emphasized the general rule on our campus that for every hour students spend in class, they are expected to spend at least two additional hours of their own time studying the material.  Because my class consists of 8 contact hours each week (2 hours of lecture and 6 hours of lab), I explained that my students should be spending at least 16 hours of their own time studying human anatomy.  I argued that ALL anatomy students at College of the Redwoods should be spending this many hours studying the material, if they wanted to pass the class.  Then I explained that I was simply going to help them use those 16 hours more efficiently.

I prepared a Prezi presentation that emphasized the only real difference between a flipped class and a traditional class, which is the quality of the time spent with an instructor on hand.  I concluded “the sell” by having students build a weekly schedule in which they carved out the chunks of time needed to watch the online lectures and complete the online Flippin’ Quizzes, all before class each week.  This helped students develop a realistic plan on day one, ensuring the course requirements would fit into their busy lives.

I was actually surprised by how easily the idea sold.  My students bought the justification and were willing to try out this crazy new idea…so we forged ahead, ready to flip.

Ready for… HAPS 2014? Tell us what you want!

The HAPS 2013 annual conference in Las Vegas had record attendance, and preliminary member survey results indicate that most found the event informative and enjoyable. However, less than a month after the 2013 conference’s end, the HAPS leadership is making plans for the 2014 conference in Jacksonville, FL. The 2014 conference committee co-chairs, Steve Wood and Lourdes Norman-McKay, have already been working for a year on conference details. They’ve already been working with our Management Company and our Executive Director with respect to hotel selection, transportation to and from the school site, and overall organization of the conference. Well, less than a month after HAPS 2013 ended, discussion and planning for HAPS 2014 has sped up. This past week I joined the conversation as we all discussed some specifics, such as the number of rooms that needed to be reserved at the school, the specific social events that need to be planned, and finalizing update speakers.

The host college for HAPS 2014!

While many of the details are still being worked out, here are a few items I can share with you:
* the organizers are trying to ensure some free time in the evenings, so people will be able to partake the Jacksonville Jazz Festival that is occurring the same weekend
* The ‘fun run’ activity to support the HAPS Foundation likely will be a scavenger hunt, held on Monday morning before the business meeting
* In 2013, we implemented a HAPS social that was free to everyone (instead of a more formal banquet, that required an additional fee). Since we received a great positive response for the Social format, we will continue to hold a Social in 2014.
* Workshop format will be similar to what we had in 2013, with the opportunity for overbooked workshops to be given as ‘second chance’ seminars

It is exciting to see the development of the conference unfold! So please tell me – what do YOU want to see at HAPS 2014? What did you especially like from past conferences that you want to see continue? Is there anything new you’d like us to try? Comment on this post and let’s get this conversation started!

Getting In

I decided to be a role model, so had to go through the motions of applying.  The easiest part was paying the $20 application fee.

Having been a professor of anatomy for over 15 years, I have done my share of recommendation writing.  However, I haven’t had to ask for letters since receiving tenure.  Fortunately, just for fun, I took microbiology from one of my colleagues just a year before.  So, my letters came from him, my orthopedic surgeon, and my boss.

The hardest part of the application wasn’t getting all my transcripts into a single pdf, it was the essay questions.  They were intended for undergraduates, but some still applied. “What do you do when not in school?”  Others were thought provoking.  “What moment in history would you like to have witnessed and why?”  When you know there are no right answers, it’s hard to decide when you are done.

I submitted everything on-line and on-time, and felt like I had gotten in touch with what my students go through.  I imagined that I might be so overqualified as to not receive an interview, so I started thinking about what hobbies I could take up for summer.  Then of course I was invited to interview.  By this time I was torn between my competitive nature and desire to be lazy all summer.UC Davis Medical Center

The interview was only thirty minutes, for which I had to spend money on round-trip air, hotel and rental car.  I even bought a new outfit.   When I arrived, it became obvious I was not only the oldest applicant, but I was close to double my interviewers ages.  These questions were more serious than the essays covering ethics and motivation.

When I was accepted, I secretly felt guilty for taking a spot away from some truly motivated premed.  But the truth is, I will learn whether or not I want to be a surgeon and everything I see will help in my teaching.  Now let’s hope I can keep up with the residents.

1- It’s Flippin’ Fun!

Flipped_yellow_flopMEDMy name is Wendy Riggs, and I am an adjunct instructor at College of the Redwoods (CR), a two year community college in Eureka, California.  I teach Anatomy, Physiology and non-majors Biology to primarily pre-nursing students. I’ve been teaching at CR for almost five years and every semester I find that I am adding some new approach or technique to my course with the goal of improving student learning.  A year ago, when I received my teaching assignment for Fall 2012, I decided to “get crazy” and flip my class.

A flipped class takes place when students acquire content before coming to the “lecture” portion of a course, so that during the traditional lecture time, students engage in activities that promote deeper learning.  While there are many ways to flip a class, my version of “the flip” involves students watching pre-recorded video lectures before coming to class. This frees up lecture time for activities that challenge students to review, apply, and synthesize the content they’d covered in the video lectures.

Today, one year after deciding to plunge into the flipped world, I’ve flipped a total of 3 different courses and I’m delighted to report that I would be hard-pressed to ever go back to a traditional approach.  In this series of blog posts, I will talk about the process leading up to flipping a class (Riggs-Style), various issues I’ve had along the way, and then I will share my observations and experiences while flipping Human Anatomy (for the second time) this coming fall.


Back on May 1st I wrote about professional development and today I would like to expand upon that post and talk to you little bit about the HAPS POGIL project. As some of you may recall one of the leaders of POGIL, Richard Moog, was an update speaker at the Las Vegas conference. HAPS member and newly elected Central Regional Director Murray Jensen of the University of Minnesota also presented several workshops and is facilitating a National Science Foundation grant to develop POGIL worksheets for anatomy and physiology. Once complete and approved as official POGIL worksheets they will be released to HAPS members for one year and then be archived in the APS archives.
This week me, Jon Jackson, Murray Jensen, and about 40 of Murray’s College in the Schools high school teachers have been working to develop more POGIL worksheets. We have been particularly focused on producing laboratory exercises.
There are a lot of exciting things that you can do with POGIL, including partially or completely flipping the classroom. Stay tuned for the release of the approved POGIL activities and development of more. Also if you would like to get involved you can contact myself at jlapres@hapsconnect.org or Murray Jensen at mjensen@hapsconnect.org.
As a reminder these worksheets will be free to HAPS members only. This is just another perk of membership in Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. Below is POGIL facilitator Laura Trout with her class. Laura was kind enough to come to the University of Minnesota this week to help us with POGIL.



Last Fall I got roped into serving as an advisor to our “Caduceus Club” at Pasadena City College.    These students want to go into health-related careers…and even if I never did, I agreed to open a classroom once a week at lunch for their meetings.  During their meetings I heard the guest lectures and learned a lot about our campus blood drives, but mainly served to encourage them in their academic pursuits.  However, I also got e-mails of off campus opportunities to share with them, one of which really caught my eye.

elbow1Last November I tripped.  Really hard!  Caught myself by sticking out my left hand (my right hand was full and couldn’t get empty quickly enough).  The good news was I kept my face from hitting the ground.  The bad news was I locked my elbow and apparently the head of the radius shattered on impact with the capitulum of my humerus.  I am now the owner of a titanium radial head replacement.  I asked my surgeon if I could watch the operation, but he said no.

So, there is a program at UC Davis where premedical students can shadow surgeons.  I already have all the prerequisite courses, even if I never seriously thought about becoming a doctor.  I decided that to be a good advisor I should lead by example.  If nothing else, applying to the program would help me understand what my students who need letters of recommendation are going through, right?

HAPS Poker Walk: fun and merriment for a good cause

Among my duties as President-elect of HAPS was to organize and oversee the yearly 5K fun run/walk that is held during the Annual Conference. This event was developed a few years ago as a way to raise monies for the HAPS Foundation, and for our members to have an opportunity to socialize and get some exercise at the same time. (For those of you not familiar with the Foundation: the HAPS Foundation was established to manage funds that may be used to advance current and future HAPS projects, such as the HAPS-Institute and the Learning Outcomes Project. The Foundation also provides money for scholarships and awards to our members.)

Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!
Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!

Since this year’s meeting was in Las Vegas (which typically has temps of 100+ degrees at this time of year), we were concerned about having a regular run and potentially killing off our members. (As a general rule in organizations, it is not a good idea to cause bodily harm to your membership.) 🙂 Our current President Dee Silverthorn suggested we hold a Poker Walk instead, so members would not get overheated.

All types of participants came to walk this year. 🙂

What is a Poker Walk, you ask? Some more official rules may be found here, but a nice summary is that it is part walk, part scavenger hunt, topped off with a hand of poker. Participants start off at a central location and receive a poker chip and a clue to their next destination. They walk to the next destination where they will get another poker chip and a clue to the third destination. This repeats until the participants have collected 4 chips, and they return to the starting point. There they exchange their chips for a 5-card draw poker hand. For an additional donation, they may exchange one of their cards. The best poker hand(s) win prizes.

Poker Walk volunteers dance away for participants at the first destination.

I was assisted in the planning of this event by Tom Lehman (Steering Committee chair and new President-Elect) and Bob Crocker (co-chair, Foundation Oversight Committee). The three of us were able to address various challenges in the planning and eventually came up with a route that wasn’t too terribly long and had easily identifiable landmarks. Multiple volunteers from the board, steering committee and membership got up extra early on Monday morning so they could staff the various locations. McGraw-Hill graciously donated water bottles to all participants and the annual conference committee had a variety of prizes to give both before and after the event.

But the big question remained…. Would people get up early on Monday to participate in a walk at 7am? The answer was yes! We had over 60 people participate and engage in the fun. Volunteers at each station entertained the participants, and our final station dealt poker hands like card sharks. The annual conference committee had many prizes on hand so many participants walked away with a prize. Many people commented that they had a great time and would like to so this again. So next year, when our annual conference is in Jacksonville, be prepared for another similar event. While the event may not be a poker walk per se, it will be something that is fun, gets us moving, and helps the HAPS Foundation.