Rational Course Design (F15)

A message from the HAPS Communication Committee Chair, Wendy Riggs.
A message from the HAPS Communication Committee Chair, Wendy Riggs.

One year ago, I took the HAPS-I course entitled “Rational Human Anatomy & Physiology Course Design: Incorporating the HAPS outcomes into new and existing courses” with HAPS President Emeritus, Margaret Weck. It was such a fantastic class that she’s agreed to do it again…and the good news (for you) is that the course starts up in a week (9/13/15).  That means you still have time to join the fun!

When I signed up for the class, my intention was to rework my Human Physiology course using strategies of “backwards design” to sort of SIFT through the vast quantities of information I felt obligated to include.  It was actually pretty entertaining to engage in the weekly Google Hangouts with Weck and my classmates, and listen to myself (over and over again) FORGET that I was trying to REWORK the class to PRIORITIZE the most important themes and outcomes.  Over and over (and OVER) again, Weck would nudge me back onto the Rational Road with a quiet question, “But what do you want them to be able to KNOW and DO?”  It was amazing to watch myself fall so effortlessly back into a “This would be a fun activity!  Here is an exciting project!  That sounds like a great test question!” approach, and forget again and again to ask myself, “Why should I have my students do this?  What exactly do I want them to get from it?”

Who knew that ferrets could help motivate students?!  Scritches for Margaret's ferrets motivated me!
Who knew that ferrets could help motivate students?! Scritches for Margaret’s ferrets motivated me!

But like any habit, it takes great focus, repetition, and practice to shift the way we think about education and our roles in the teacher-half of the equation.  I could EASILY take this class again…and again…and again.  (Are you sensing a pattern here?!)

So think about signing up and spending some quality time with a professor who has a great deal to offer all of us.  (Plus, she has ferrets.  And that’s just cool.)

Take Rational Course Design with Margaret Weck!
Take Rational Course Design with Margaret Weck!

Rational Human Anatomy & Physiology Course Design: Incorporating the HAPS outcomes into new and existing courses.
(2 credits) September 13 – November 2, 2015
Margaret A. Weck, D.A.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
View syllabus
Register now:  Graduate Credit or Professional Development

The course is briefly reviews the major concepts associated with the “backwards design” model of rational course development, which stresses the value of thinking through the ultimate outcome goals (both in content mastery and cognitive skill development) for a course as a first step the course design process. Participants will examine the HAPS Course Guidelines for Undergraduate Instruction and A&P Learning Outcome statements and think about the design elements, teaching methodologies, and assessments (both formative and summative) that would best foster student achievement of these outcomes. The course will be conducted entirely on-line. Participants will produce syllabi for new or existing courses that demonstrate the principles of rational course design. As part of this process sample assignments and assessments will also be developed that could be used in any course to demonstrate student achievement of the A&P Learning Outcomes.

We’re Baaaaack!

A message from the HAPS Communication Committee Chair, Wendy Riggs.
A message from the HAPS Communication Committee Chair, Wendy Riggs.

Greetings everyone!  Just as you are all gearing up for the fall term, so is the HAPS Communication Committee gearing up to bring you news and updates from the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society.

We’re excited to bring HAPS out of summer break and back online with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. Hunt us down on those social media venues and start following our weekly updates, which will keep you in the know.

This fall, we’re going to play with some new blog-er-ific ideas.  Instead of coordinating a single blog theme for the term, we are recruiting awesome HAPSters to compose various pieces on topics of their choosing.  We will publish these new pieces on MONDAYS (except for when we publish them on FRIDAYS, like today, because the blog-master (that would be ME) is trying to stretch out her summer just a bit more!), so you can look forward to a Monday morning treat from the HAPS Blog.

We’d also love to encourage conversation around the blog posts. Please let us know what you think of the topics we’re choosing and if you’re feeling really ambitious, we’d love to have you contribute a post or two.

Finally, we are excited to begin a “Best of the Blog” column in the peer-reviewed HAPS-EDucator.

Check out the 2015 Conference Edition of the HAPS-EDucator.
Check out the 2015 Annual Conference Edition of the HAPS-EDucator.

This column will run in every issue and will feature the term’s most popular posts.  While there will be several criteria to help us decide which posts “win” the honor of being published in our journal, one of the criteria will be the amount of conversation generated by the post.  So if you really like what someone has to say, please leave a comment indicating your approval.

So check back next Monday (I promise…I will publish the post by MONDAY!) for a game-changing piece from HAPS President-Elect, Terry Thompson.  I can tell you that her post really is game-changing, because when she sent me the draft 2 weeks ago, it immediately changed my game.  What fun!

Interested in composing a blog post or two?  Contact Communication Committee Chair Wendy Riggs (wriggs@hapsconnect.org) for more information.

Moving Forward: A Blog Plan for the Fall

We're making new BLOG-er-ific plans for the fall...stay tuned for all the reasons you are happy to be a member of HAPS!
We’re making new BLOG-er-ific plans for the fall…stay tuned for all the reasons you are happy to be a member of HAPS!

I love this time of year.  Even though I am sad that summer is winding down, I feel refreshed from the summer activities involving family and fun and sleep (!), and I start getting excited to gear up for a whole new semester.  Just like the rest of us, the HAPS blog is gearing up for a fresh set of posts.

So here’s the plan for the fall.  After a brief break, the Communication Committee will be doing a new series on all the cool things YOU can find on the HAPS website.  These posts will be published each Monday and our goal is to inspire folks to either renew their HAPS memberships or join for the first time.  HAPS is a really amazing organization that supports its members in such a personal and meaningful way.  Ask any HAPSter: The value of a HAPS membership goes FAR beyond the cost of the annual dues.   It will be fun to follow this set of posts and be reminded on a weekly basis just how many ways HAPS membership supports YOU.

We are also excited to start hearing from HAPS President-elect Betsy Ott .  This will be a great opportunity to learn more about Betsy and some of the exciting things she’s got planned for her time as HAPS President next year.

With this plan in place, if you get a wild hair and want to join the Communication Committee, I’d love to recruit you up to write for our blog!  Just shoot me an email and I’m happy to make it happen (I’ve got skills like that).  And in the meantime, enjoy these last few days of summer and happy new school year to all!

HAPS-I: Rational Course Design

Image from http://www.zazzle.com/rational_as_pi_tshirt-235552823010272068
Maybe I need some lessons on being RATIONAL.
(Tshirt available at Zazzle.com)

I am sometime surprised by the way I can squeeze time out of an apparently packed week. But just like students often “need” the pressure of a quiz to remain diligent in their studies, I find tasks easier to complete if they are linked with looming deadlines.

So! In a moment of brilliant justification, I decided to sign up for Margaret Weck’s HAPS-I course on rational course design. Ready for the justification? It is simple. I will be teaching Human Physiology in the spring semester and have already decided to re-work the entire course. I’ve taught Physio many times in the past and feel it needs a giant overhaul. This means new labs, new lectures, new projects…the whole deal. And of course, I’ve been wondering where I would come up with the time to DO this overhaul—(insert heroic music here!)—HAPS and Dr. Weck to the rescue!

The course description states:  Participants will produce syllabi for new or existing courses that demonstrate the principles of rational course design.  As part of this process sample assignments and assessments will also be developed that could be used in any course to demonstrate student achievement of the A&P Learning Outcomes.  Clearly, this is the perfect opportunity to learn from the amazing Margaret Weck, complete a comprehensive overhaul of my course, and  take advantage, yet again, of all the ways HAPS helps me become a better teacher.

So join me!  This will be a fun class!  You can earn two graduate credits for the course, or just take it for professional development.  And remember—you can still apply for a HAPS-I scholarship to help you pay for the course.  The deadline to apply for this generous award is Friday August 15.

 

HAPS-I Scholarships

The HAPS Institute offers working Anatomy and Physiology instructors the opportunity to earn graduate credits or just gain Professional Development in a variety of flexible formats tailored to their busy schedule.
The HAPS Institute offers working Anatomy and Physiology instructors the opportunity to earn graduate credits or just gain Professional Development in a variety of flexible formats tailored to their busy schedule.

This might surprise you (!) but we Anatomy and Physiology instructors are usually pretty busy people.  HAPS, as usual, aims to support us by offering opportunities for professional development via HAPS Institute (HAPS-I) courses.  These courses are designed to broaden our understanding of our subject by enabling us to participate in interactive learning communities made of peers who are also teaching anatomy and/or physiology.  HAPS-I courses include both subject-specific content as well as practical teaching and learning methodology and in this way exemplify the mission of HAPS as a whole.  Additionally, each course provides participants with the opportunity to publish their work in the peer-reviewed Life Science Teaching Resource Community.  Courses are available in two separate tracts to maximize flexibility for participants, allowing them to earn graduate credits or simply participate in the course for professional development.

The next round of HAPS-I courses are scheduled to begin between August 24 and September 15.  I’d personally like to take all of them.  Dr. Margaret Weck’s course on Rational Course Design “briefly reviews the major concepts associated with the “backwards design” model of rational course development, which stresses the value of thinking through the ultimate outcome goals (both in content mastery and cognitive skill development) for a course as a first step the course design process.”  I want to take that class!  And Dr George Ordway’s course on Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology will “provide college-level instructors with an opportunity to develop their understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, including key cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for function of the heart and blood vessels.”  Oooh!  I want to take that class too!  And then Dr. Chad Wayne will be offering THREE classes on reproductive physiology.  Whaaaat?!?!?!  I want to take ALL of those classes!

And not only does HAPS offer these amazing courses, they also offer scholarships to support you in TAKING these cool courses. In fact, the next scholarship deadline is August 15.  To be eligible for this scholarship, you need to be a HAPS member in good standing, you must be a regular full-time employee teaching anatomy and physiology, and you must have a teaching load that includes at least one section/class of anatomy and/or physiology.

So pick the fall HAPS-I course you’d like to complete, and apply for that HAPS-I scholarship by August 15.  And then vote on which class you think should I take!

HAPS and Twitter

HAPS_TwitterSo I think I might be finally starting to figure out Twitter.  I have been trying to climb aboard the Twitter train since January.  I took my first step and created an account in February.  (My twitter handle is @wendyriggs47.)  I tweeted my first shy tweet in March, and was hacked a week later.  Slowly my tweet-rate increased as we neared the HAPS annual conference and peaked somewhere during the middle of the conference. My tweet-rate then plummeted shortly after I returned home from the event.  I’ve been trying valiantly to re-tweet the twitterings of Kevin Petti and the Anatomia Italiana crew as they adventure through Italy (@AnatomiaItalian), but until recently, I continued to feel generally baffled by the whole Twitter scene.

And then, for some unknown reason, everything seemed to click and instead of dreading my Twitter-time,  I actually started looking forward to seeing who said what on my Twitter feed.  I think it took me awhile to figure out who to follow and who to NOT follow.  For example, back in February, (under the advice of my young brother), I started following the tweets from “Politico.”  I’m not kidding—those guys must have been tweeting something every 30 seconds.  I was horrified and overwhelmed by the massive quantity of their tweets and couldn’t even begin to sort through what things I might be interested in exploring more fully.

But lately, I’ve honed the list of tweeters I follow (bye bye Politico, hello Valerie O’Loughlin) and I actually enjoy checking out what is reported.  In the last few days of Twitter-time, I found an interesting blog post on flipping the classroom entitled 4 Tips for Flipped Learning by Joe Hirsch, a fantastic TED talk on the adolescent brain by cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, and a set of classroom-ready case studies for A&P from the Life Science Teaching Resource Community.  (Seriously?! How is it possible I’ve never seen this before?!)  It is exciting to see potential like this and I’d love to see the HAPS twitter feed (@HumanAandPSoc) become such a valuable and dynamic source of ideas.

So take this week’s poll to share how YOU engage with Twitter.

Musings on Video Lectures…

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.