Take the HAPS Pre-requisite Survey

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:
    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!


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

Skip the Inbox!

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:


2. Open labels settings


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


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.


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.  


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

Why do we teach A&P lab?

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…

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.


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.