HAPS Web 14- The Histology Challenge

An archived imaged from an old histology challenge...
An archived imaged from an old histology challenge…

The HAPS Histology challenge, a fantastic benefit of  HAPS membership, was a the subject in an article on page 23 of the HAPS-EDucator’s Winter 2015 edition.  The abstract of the article states:

(The Histology Challenge) presents actual patient cases, in the form of photomicrographs of biopsy or surgical specimens, along with a “live” online discussion. Each case includes a series of questions designed to guide readers through the process of interpreting the photomicrographs, beginning with basic histology and progressing through the process of diagnosing the case. In this article, we review the history of the Histology Challenge, describe how it works, and describe some sample cases, to illustrate how they reinforce basic histology and introduce clinical applications. This article will also include suggestions for how these Histology Challenges can be used in A & P courses, and ways in which interested instructors can participate both in the online discussions and in production of future cases. 

The histology challenge serves many valuable functions for HAPSters and their students.  Some instructors use the challenge to beef up their own histology skills.  Others use the challenge to provide hands-on experiences for their students!  Either way, the challenge is a stimulating resource for HAPSters and their students.  So check out the Winter 2015 HAPS-EDucator and learn more about how you can take advantage of this fantastic benefit of being a HAPS member.

New Semester Resolutions

A message from HAPS President-Elect, Betsy Ott.
A message from HAPS President-Elect, Betsy Ott.

Okay, it’s that time in the semester when I have to force myself to focus on the positive – not on the desperate pleas for just half a point, or the snarky comments that I don’t know how to teach.

So, here is my list of New Semester Resolutions. I hope to actually keep these resolutions (unlike the ones I’ll make on Dec. 31).

1. I will make my course policies crystal clear. This will mean reading, and re-reading how I have the policies stated so they can’t be misinterpreted. Who knew that calling an assignment “practice” and including a message that “this is not for a grade” does not clearly state that completing the assignment is not mandatory? Seriously, it’s important to know that students don’t always read sentences the way we meant them to, and it’s just as important to write course policies clearly as it is to word-smith our test questions.

2. I will provide more small-stakes practice assignments. I will, of course, make sure that if they are mandatory, I will be quite explicit about that fact. My plan, only partially formed, is to have daily assignments (online, auto-graded) that are available only for 24 hours, to encourage students to check in online every day and recharge their content familiarity. I’ll drop enough of them to not penalize students who can’t get online every day (and to reduce complaints that I have to respond to). I’ll make them comprehensive, to help students review and rehearse the quickly-accumulating load of anatomical terms and physiological concepts.

3. I will post more short videos. Students apparently like to know that I am out here, telling them what they have to know, and apparently, sending emails and posting text announcements isn’t as effective as posting videos, according to course-end feedback. Teaching is a particularly human endeavor, so anything I can do to enhance that human contact will add intrinsic value to my online course communications, even for my face-to-face courses.

4. I will provide more choices in what students can complete for a grade. According to my course-end survey, the most valuable and popular course assignment is the discussion. Except that in the same survey, discussion is the least effective and least valuable assignment. Ditto for every other course assignment category. So, providing choices and allowing students to choose the type of assignment that resonates with them will be more likely to meet their needs. I’ve read recently that allowing student choice in assignment type increases engagement and satisfaction and can improve student outcomes.

5. I will provide feedback on student mastery. According to some of my students, my standards are unrealistically high and I expect too much out of them. This, from students who don’t answer the simple, direct questions I ask, and skip the easy and/or optional assignments. But, I can at least let them know whether the work they turn in meets standard expectations of college-level work. This is an opportunity to use the HAPS Outcomes, so students know it’s not just me that expects them to know this stuff.

6. I will try to remember that my course is not my students’ highest priority. This one is tough, so all I can resolve is to try. Students come to us with a mixed set of skills, and an assortment of competing claims on their time. I know that my course, while important to them, is not the most important priority for them, and I shouldn’t penalize them for not loving A&P the way I do.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions for other resolutions. What have you gleaned from your students this semester that motivates you to make changes for your spring courses?

HAPS Web 13- Primal Pictures Partners with HAPS…Again!


Primal Pictures and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society are proud to be working together for the second year in a row to support and recognize an exceptional undergraduate A&P student in 2014-15. The goal of this collaboration is to promote excellence in anatomy and physiology, encourage innovation, and celebrate learning by rewarding an outstanding A&P student.

Primal has agreed to sponsor a cash award of $1000 for a deserving undergrad, as well as up to $1100 to reimburse travel expenses for the 2015 HAPS Annual Conference in San Antonio Texas!  In addition to this, the $350 Annual Conference fee will be waived.

Last year, this award went to an amazing undergrad, Dani Hall.  Dani has since taken on a leadership rolesin HAPS, by serving on the Communications Committee.

This is an excellent time of year to think about your best students and consider nominating one for this award.  All nominations are due by February 3, 2015.

Instructors who nominate students must:
  • be teaching at an accredited institution in the US or Canada
  • have at least two years of Human A&P or Human Biology (broadly defined) teaching experience
  • have direct knowledge of the student being nominated and be able to explain why the nominee deserves this award.

Nominated undergraduate student must be:

  • a degree-seeking student enrolled full-time at an accredited higher education institution in the US or Canada during the 2014-2015 academic year
  • enrolled in at least one Human A&P or Human Biology course in the 2014-2015 academic year.
  • a person who would benefit from attending the HAPS Annual Conference

Award recipients will receive their award at the HAPS Membership Meeting on May 25, 2015 and must be present.