Introducing… the HAPS Anatomy Learning Outcomes!

In the early 2000s, the HAPS Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) committee embarked on a multi-year project that resulted in the development of HAPS Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) learning outcomes.  These learning outcomes were developed for 2-semester human A&P courses, and served as a benchmark for instructors who are currently teaching A&P courses, or as a guide for those individuals developing new A&P courses.  These learning outcomes were well received, and many publishers have since adopted or incorporated these outcomes into their own learning materials.  In addition, the HAPS Comprehensive A&P exam questions were developed by mapping to these learning outcomes.

Unfortunately, the A&P learning outcomes are not as useful for those of us who teach stand-alone anatomy (or stand-alone physiology) courses.  A new set of learning outcomes needed to be developed for each of these stand-alone courses.  With that in mind, the HAPS Testing Committee embarked on a multi-year project to create and develop the HAPS Anatomy Learning Outcomes.

Why the HAPS Testing committee and not the C&I committee, you ask?  We quickly realized that anatomy-specific learning outcomes needed to be developed by individuals who teach stand-alone anatomy courses – and most of the C&I members did not teach such a course, whereas many members of the HAPS Testing committee did.  In addition, the HAPS Testing committee also has the goal of creating a HAPS anatomy-specific comprehensive exam – but before an exam could be created, the learning outcomes needed to be fleshed out.

The process of creating anatomy-specific learning outcomes involved multiple revision cycles involving members of the Testing Committee as well as members of the Anatomy Testing task force (experts charged with the task of developing the HAPS anatomy exam, under the purview of the HAPS Exam Program).  We used the HAPS A&P learning outcomes as a template, but ensured the learning outcomes were written with a stand-alone anatomy course in mind.  We greatly appreciate the assistance of ADInstruments, as they helped fund several off-site meetings with the task force in order to finalize these learning outcomes.  We completed our task in early 2018 and introduce to you all – the HAPS anatomy learning outcomes!  Please visit the website to learn more and download the outcomes.

As with the A&P learning outcomes, the HAPS Anatomy learning outcomes are to serve as a guide and benchmark only.  We do not expect all anatomy instructors to cover every single learning outcome, they may address the learning outcomes in whatever order they like, and they are welcome to include additional learning outcomes in their own courses.

We hope you find these learning outcomes of use in your anatomy courses! Many thanks to the HAPS testing committee members and the HAPS anatomy exam panel for their hard work in this effort.

Go to the Anatomy Learning Outcomes now

HAPS Midyear meeting – where, when, and why?

Planning for HAPS 2014 requires a midyear meeting of the HAPS leadership in 2013!

One of my jobs as HAPS President to plan the agenda for the HAPS Midyear meeting.  This meeting is an opportunity for the Board of Directors (BOD)and the Steering Committee (SC) to meet face-to-face to discuss HAPS business.  We typically meet in mid-October over the weekend, and the agenda is packed.  The location of the meetings varies, but we typically try to hold the meeting in the same city and hotel that the next HAPS annual conference will be.  This gives the leadership an opportunity to ‘check out’ our conference locations and do additional planning for the upcoming annual conference.  So, this year, we are traveling down to Jacksonville and staying at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Our meeting is this weekend, and I leave for the trip tomorrow (if i forget to pack anything important for the trip, I blame waiting until the last minute to write this blog entry).  The BOD members arrive Thursday evening in preparation for our all-day meeting on Friday.  By Friday evening, most of the Steering committee arrives.  Then, on Saturday, the Board and Steering Committee meet all day to finalize additional business before we leave for home on Sunday.

‘Why do you all need to meet face to face?’ you ask?  Both the BOD and SC each have monthly e-meetings, where we use an asynchronous discussion forum to discuss HAPS business.  In addition, the BOD has a monthly conference call to continue discussing the items brought up in our e-meetings.  We get a lot of stuff done during these e-meetings and conference calls, but these formats have their limitations.  There is some business that simply needs to be discussed  face-to-face, or over a longer time than a typical conference call lasts.  Our ‘physical’ meetings can be much more productive than our ‘virtual’ meetings because we are able to focus on HAPS (instead of our teaching responsibilities, family duties and upcoming deadlines).  Some of the business we discuss includes continued planning for the annual conference,  HAPS-I course development, finalizing and approving the organization’s yearly budget, and brainstorming the future of the organization.

The midyear meeting gives us a chance to reconnect and remember what makes HAPS so special – it is the long-term friendships with each other and our shared commitment to excellence in A&P education.  After our meetings, we get together for dinner and share a laugh or two (or 100).  I always leave a midyear meeting feeling like I left my 2nd family, and am energized to take HAPS to its next level.

So when people ask me why I volunteered for HAPS leadership positions and ran for President, these are some of the reasons why – I get to be a part of the growth and development of an organization I love, and do this with people I consider my second family.  🙂  It is a tough job, but one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had!

From HAPS President to Flipped-Classroom-Apprentice: Why I also ‘drank the kool-aid’

These past two and a half months as HAPS president have been keeping me busy.  I am in the midst of planning our mid-year meeting for the Board and Steering committee, assisting the Jacksonville committee for the HAPS 2014 planning, and attending to a whole bunch of items that I was blissfully unaware of when I was NOT President.  So, in true idiotic fashion, I decided to put even MORE on my plate – ‘let’s also ‘flip’ my undergraduate classroom of 425 students this fall!”

(I never said I was smart.)

a215learning exercisespage
A Portion of my Anatomy A215 website

Why would I attempt to do this, when i have a bunch of other items on my plate?  for starters, see the above sentence.  🙂  But more seriously, there is a growing body of research that indicates flipping the classroom improves student learning and outcomes.  There are always a small group of students that struggle with the material – and if this is a way to reach those students, then why NOT try this?  Also, I HATE a pure lecture environment where I am droning on and the students are struggling to stay awake.  As much as I would like to think I am the most fascinating person they have heard, let’s face it – there is not a lot of engagement going on this way.

In the past, I had created some interactive learning activities that we would do in the classroom (you can check them out and steal them for yourself here – click on the exam links to get to the various exercises).  These are modifications of Classroom Assessment Techniques (or CATs, as penned by Angelo and Cross) and I would do these in the class at various times for students to test their learning.  I love to use these, but I noticed that in a traditional lecture format, I always seemed to run out of time before I could do as many of these as I wanted to.  So – this semester began the flipping of the classroom.

Now unlike Wendy and Elaine (who are true transforming agents), I am taking ‘baby steps’ in this flipping approach.  For each major lecture topic, I create a 10 minute podcast that students have to watch prior to class.  (I create those in a program called Camtasia, which is SUPER easy to use and is not that expensive).  I also encourage students to use the McGraw-Hill LearnSmart learning activities prior to coming to class (full disclosure:  I am a McGraw-Hill author.  Please note that other publishers have other wonderful accessory learning activities you could have your students use).  In class, I now have extra time to do some of the learning activities I’ve linked to above,  and/or I’ve planned other interactive activities in class to reinforce concepts (such as pulling up slides from the students’ virtual microscope and having them get into groups to discuss).

How many of these plates can I keep from crashing down on my head?

Am I still ‘lecturing’?  Yes, and more so than a typical ‘flipped’ classroom would.  but remember – I am taking baby steps here.  I knew there was only so much I could do this fall with my other HAPS responsibilities and not have all of the spinning plates come crashing down upon me.  I’ll keep you posted about my ‘baby steps’, while Wendy and Elaine discuss their true transformations!

And so it begins…

For many of you, July 1st may not have been any big deal.  It may have meant you were one day closer to your 4th of July weekend.  Perhaps it was the start of your schools fiscal year, and that miniscule raise the administration had been promising everyone finally came to fruition.  Maybe you remembered you had a car payment to make.

Perhaps the worst U.S. President ever. but at least he got a stamp.

For me, July 1st meant the official ‘start’ to my term as President of HAPS.  Gulp.  As President-elect, I spent the last year participating in HAPS Board meetings, taking on additional responsibilities, and learning more about the workings of the organization.  This past year was very helpful for me to learn more about what a good president does and how a good president leads (thanks, Dee!).  Now that it is my time to lead this organization that I hold near and dear to my heart, my thoughts are “Gee, I hope I don’t screw anything up!”  Seriously.  I really don’t want to go down as the president who destroyed HAPS.  Will I become the Warren Harding or Calvin Coolidge of our organization?  Have I just aged myself by mentioning Harding and Coolidge?  Where did I put my keys?  Where was I?  Oh yes, the start of my term as HAPS President.

Roller Coaster
let the ride begin!

As president, I have several goals for HAPS – the first of which is to not mess it up. 🙂  I also want to expand an educational research focus in our organization, both in our meetings and in our publications.  I would like to get more of our HAPS members involved in regional and national meetings.  We have over 1700 members, yet only about 400-500 members attend an annual meeting.  This percentage is actually very good, compared to other organizations, but I want to see it get even better.  Many of our members do not have the funds to travel to an annual meeting, which is why HAPS regional meetings are a great way for people to become involved.  In addition, there are many A&P instructors who still have no idea about HAPS and what we can do to help them in their professional development, so we must do more to make these individuals aware of HAPS.  Just as importantly, I want to ensure that the day-to-day operations of HAPS continue to go smoothly, and hopefully I will handle any crises in stride.

Buckle up your safety belts, and let the ride begin!

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!

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.

Getting ready for HAPS 2013 Conference!

HAPS 2013 Annual Conference in Las Vegas!

In just a few short days, the HAPS 2013 Annual Conference will begin. Until I became active in HAPS leadership, I was blissfully unaware of all of the prep required months and years before the conference. Somehow everything magically fell into place each May, and I had a fantastic time at our annual event.

I know better now. The annual conference would not come to be without conference organizers (HAPS members who volunteer to host the conference), their volunteers, and our wonderful management company, ASG. ASG employees Shanan and Robin do much of the ‘heavy lifting’ concerning scheduling a venue, arranging hospitality contracts, working with our vendors and exhibitors, handling registration, and ensuring all of the details fall into place. If you are coming to the conference, please take time out to thank them both for all of their hard work – they are irreplaceable! Our new Executive Director Peter has been phenomenal, working with ASG to make sure all goes smoothly at the meeting, and setting us up with our first HAPS meeting app. Be sure to go to Google Play or iTunes and download the HAPS 2013 app for the meeting!

Download the free HAPS 2013 app from Itunes or Google play
Download the free HAPS 2013 app from Itunes or Google play

Our current HAPS president, Dee, has been working tirelessly with all of these individuals to make sure the annual conference goes smoothly.  Since her first month as president, she has been in contact with all of the above individuals to make sure that all aspects of conference planning were in place.  Dee was (and is) the ‘go to’ person whenever any of the above individuals had a question or an unresolved issue concerning the conference.

Why all the fuss?  Well, in addition to being a fabulous social and intellectual experience, the annual conference is the major event that keeps HAPS afloat.  It is through the funds received from the conference that HAPS continues to exist and thrive.  No annual conference – no HAPS.  Simple as that.

So when I begin my tenure as HAPS president, I hope to be as successful as Dee was with the conference organization.  I am looking forward to working with the conference chairs for our 2014 annual conference.  In the meantime, I hope to see all of you in Las Vegas beginning this weekend!

Anatomy and physiology education at Experimental Biology 2013

I am writing this latest blog while on a plane, returning home to Indiana. Like many other HAPS members, I also am a member in several of our sister societies. This past week, many HAPS members put on their American Association of Anatomists (AAA) or American Physiological Society (APS) ‘hats’ as we participated in Experimental Biology (EB) 2013. Experimental Biology is composed of multiple associations, and their yearly meeting typically is in April each year. Over 12,000 scientists and educators converge on a city and share the latest bench and educational research.

This year, the meeting was in Boston, scheduled to open the Saturday morning after the horrific bombing at the Boston marathon. Many were scheduled to arrive on Friday, the day the city was locked down as the suspects were involved in a shoot out with police. Thankfully, people were able to safely arrive (although most were sequestered in their hotel for the day) and the police were able to capture the suspect.

One of the neat things about EB is that you may attend any of the sessions offered by your or other affiliated societies. Thus, a AAA member may attend an APS session, an APS member may attend a Society of Nutrition symposium, and so on. There simply are too many interesting concurrent sessions to attend!

My focus was on the anatomy education sessions, where I listened to talks about incorporating anatomy in an integrated medical curriculum, the use of team based learning in anatomy, the flipped classroom, and more. I tweeted about the specifics of these sessions throughout the conference. (If you are interested in following me, my twitter handle is @vdoloughlin). In addition, my graduate students and I each presented posters on our anatomical education research. I was able to connect with colleagues, share ideas, and see a truly wonderful city that did not let an act of terror get the best of them.

While EB2013 was energizing and exciting, I am looking forward to going home, seeing my family, and finishing up the semester. And in less than one month’s time, I can’t wait to reconnect with my HAPS family in Las Vegas for our annual meeting! Will you be at this year’s HAPS Annual meeting? Please comment below and let me know!

Building homes and partnerships with Medical Sciences and the community

Who let this person have a hammer?
Who let this person have a hammer?

Anatomy and physiology courses offer wonderful opportunities for service learning. Our students may volunteer at local health clinics and hospitals, they may organize health fairs for school children, and/or they may visit individuals in hospices and retirement homes. These service learning ventures often are organized by the professors and it is the students who are the primary volunteers, but this is not always the case. Our medical students at IU frequently initiate and organize their own community engagement ventures. And recently, one such venture solicited both student AND faculty volunteers to work together.

halfway done with the siding!
halfway done with the siding!

This venture was a Habitat for Humanity build. Our first year class representative (Bryce) was active with Habitat for Humanity in the past, and he arranged a Medical Sciences ‘build’ day where both medical students and faculty could participate. Bryce took it upon himself to solicit volunteers, prepare the work schedule, and liaison with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to set up a good date and site. I’ve always been impressed with Habitat’s work, and I jumped at the chance to participate in a build. In addition, I was looking forward to working with my students and colleagues in a non-classroom setting.

The morning started out chilly and many of us were a little sleepy, but we were excited to begin work.  We began the morning with learning a bit about our tasks (either putting up vinyl siding on two homes or doing the indoor painting) and we met the families who would live in these homes, as they worked beside us.  We learned about the ‘sweat equity’ these families had to earn (by working on other families’ homes first) before they could build a home of their own.  And we met the wonderful coordinators and leaders of the local Habitat chapter.

Many of us had never put up siding before, but we quickly learned, thanks to the guidance provided by Bryce.  Slowly but surely,

from none to done in a day!
from none to done in a day!

the back of one house (which had no siding in the morning) was completely covered with siding by the day’s end.  This was a remarkable feat for us, especially considering we made some mistakes and had to remove some of our work and start over again.  Students and faculty worked as a team towards a common goal.  So the team wasn’t in the hospital room or O.R. – but the team building was incredibly valuable.   And in a single day, we had a tangible product to show for our hard work.

I personally viewed this opportunity as a way that I could help some others in our community.   What I did not expect was how this opportunity helped strengthen the relationships I had with my students and colleagues, and how much *I* learned from this whole venture.

IU School of Medicine Habitat volunteers - a job well done!
IU School of Medicine Habitat volunteers – a job well done!

So I challenge all of you to think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to service learning ventures with your A&P students.  Don’t feel that the community engagement must occur in a health care setting, just because we teach anatomy and physiology.  Perhaps your local animal shelter needs some volunteers to help exercise the animals, or perhaps the local Boys and Girls club would like a group of students and faculty to simply play some board games with their kids.  In the end, we strengthen our relationships with the community and all of us learn to work as a team – and isn’t that what we want our future health care professionals to know?

Ultrasound in Human Anatomy and Physiology Education

This past weekend was the first Conference on Ultrasound in Human Anatomy and Physiology Education. As President elect of HAPS, I was invited to participate in a panel session during the conference. Not sure of what exactly to expect, I traveled to Columbia, SC for this inaugural conference.  I was excited to learn of the possibilities of incorporating ultrasound, but my initial ‘gut’ reaction was that I wouldn’t be able to do too much, since I was not a physician trained in the field.  Boy was I wrong!

John Waters and I (in matching colors) practice visualizing the common carotid artery and internal jugular vein on a very patient USC medical student.

The first day of the two day conference began with some very informative talks about how various medical schools incorporated ultrasound into their medical school curricula.  Among the key points:  a) implement in increments (don’t try to set up an entirely new program all at once), b) make sure you assess the students in ultrasound (and don’t just have it as a ‘neato cool toy’ that you never incorporate in exams or other assessments) and c) it isn’t as difficult to use ultrasound as you would think!  My response to C initially was “Yeah, right”.  I already teach an upper level course entitled Human Anatomy for Medical Imaging, and we do examine ultrasound images in that course.  However, I always relied on a skilled ultrasound tech to do ultrasound demonstrations for me, as I had no idea how to even turn on the machine.

Well, boy was I wrong about the difficulty in doing ultrasound demonstrations myself!  Don’t get me wrong – being a skilled practitioner of ultrasound takes a LOT of work and training.  But I was not aspiring to the level of skilled practitioner.  Rather, I became the ‘enthusiastic novice with gross anatomy knowledge’ who was able to pinpoint where major organs were and pick out basic differences between various tissues.  With the help of many 1st year medical students from University of South Carolina, I and the other conference participants were able to visualize the common carotid artery and internal jugular vein, determine the difference between the thyroid gland and thyroid cartilage, examine cartilaginous and tendinous structures of the knee joint, visualize the kidneys, spleen, liver, and of course, the heart.  Sure, there were times that we were nowhere close to accurately visualizing a particular structure – but with some guidance, we soon learned the basics of the ultrasound machine and some of the tips and tricks to getting a good image.   I jumped in and started using the machine on myself – I learned my gallbladder still appears to be ok, my common carotid doesn’t have any major evidence of atherosclerosis, and my creaky right knee still has some cartilage left. 🙂

Sonogram simulators – the best of ultrasound and a simulated patient, wrapped up in one!

John Waters (fellow HAPS member) and I quickly thought of possibilities of using ultrasound in the undergraduate A&P classes.  It would be very easy to demonstrate key features on the undergraduates and get them excited about visualizing structures in themselves.  Whereas prior to the conference, I would not have considered using ultrasound in my intro level human anatomy class, now I was brimming with excitement about the possibilities.

“But what about the cost?” you may ask.  That can be a sticking point.  Diagnostic-level ultrasound machines can cost 5 or even six digits – well out of range of most undergraduate institutions!  But educators in intro classes do not need the ‘best and the brightest’ of ultrasound machines – they need a basic machine that can provide a decent image and is relatively easy to use. Several ultrasound manufacturers are exploring educational partnerships, and are in the process of developing lower-end machines that wouldn’t cost very much for the educator.  There may be the possibilities of grant monies to fund these ventures. As local hospitals upgrade their ultrasound equipment, there may be the possibility of your institution being able to purchase the hospital’s older machines.  Think outside the box when it comes to funding this venture.

For those of you attending the HAPS conference in Las Vegas this May, you’ll have a chance to see a workshop about incorporating ultrasound in the undergraduate classroom.  I hope you will find this concept as interesting as I did!