Community College Anatomy Physiology Education Research (CAPER) 2.0: Looking for Participants

This post is from the CAPER Team, including Chasity O’Malley, Murray Jensen, Kerry Hull, Ron Gerrits, Kyla Ross, Suzanne Hood, and Betsy Ott. 

A Few Questions and Answers

Community College educators are busy people, especially in the new normal that we are currently living in and making the best of with COVID-19.  One aspect that rings true just as much now as in the recent past is that there rarely is time or opportunity for meaningful professional development.  That’s where the Community College Anatomy Physiology Education Research (CAPER 2.0) project comes into play. The goal of the CAPER 2.0 project is to help educators become involved in a small community of dedicated educators who wish to explore different ways to run a classroom in more engaging ways.  If funded, and that’s a big “if,” participants will have the opportunity to explore evidence based instructional practices including clickers, small group learning, guided inquiry, and more.  We had a good response to our first blog announcing and describing this project, and below we are answering a few frequently asked questions that have arisen from those interested folks.  If you are interested in signing-up, fill out this form or contact Chasity O’Malley or Murray Jensen.  

  1. When does CAPER begin?
    • Tentative start is for Fall of 2021 if the grant is funded.  The project proposal is due in December, 2020, and we hope to receive word (funded or not funded) from NSF by June or July of 2021. 
    • We aim to have 12 participants in the first cohort (one cohort per year), depending on availability, schedules, and workloads of the interested faculty. Opportunities for those who are unavailable for this first round will have opportunities to join in the 2nd -4th rounds (years) of the projects.  There are a lot of opportunities to work with us, so hopefully one of the cohorts will fit into your schedule. 
  2. What would the time commitment be for the CAPER program?
    • When educators are involved in this program, they can still be teaching full time and do the work for this project.  They will be busy, but everyone in the first CAPER project has found the workload to be manageable.  
    • We are proposing that instructors are involved for two years in this project.
      1. The first year will involve the HAPS-I courses and research design for the project. 
      2. Year two will be implementation of the research project to collect data and to publish the results.
  3. What’s involved with the HAPS-I courses?
    • Typically, we meet online and then we hope to meet in person for a day or two at a HAPS Regional conference in the Fall.   The grant would cover tuition and expenses for the conference. 
    • Class is anticipated to meet 1 time per week, in the evening, for about 2 hours for 2-3 months. Participants will be expected to attend the lectures, do the pre-readings and assignments, and participate in discussions during class. 
    • Participants from CAPER 1.0 found the workload manageable for the course, but does indeed require time and effort to complete.
    • There will be two 1-credit classes that will both be completed in one semester.  The first class is titled Teaching Practices for Anatomy and Physiology and will cover basic learning theories, such as constructivism, and examine how those theories fit into different teaching strategies, such as cooperative group work, guided inquiry learning, and other Evidenced Based Instructional Methods (EBIPs).  The second class is titled Introduction to Educational Research Methods and will examine how education researchers collect and interpret data, and also learn how to design a classroom research project. The final project of the second class will be a research proposal, to examine the effectiveness of an EBIP of your choosing, that you will then implement the following semesters.
  4. How are research topics chosen? Are the projects individual or group projects?
    • Participants get to pick their own topic for their classroom research project.  Some instructors might do “clickers” and others might do “guided inquiry.”  A wide range of options exist.  We will provide help in the decision-making process, and with the research design, but we want instructors to pick their own topics.  What instructional practice do you wish to explore?
    • There will be two products completed by each participant. First, a poster that will be presented at an annual HAPS Conference.  Posters will be completed on an individual basis, but you will have help from mentors and education research experts.  Second will be a research paper documenting your results that will be submitted to The HAPS Educator, or other peer reviewed journal.  The papers might be individual, or might involve a small group of participants who have similar research projects.  Keep in mind that mentors will help with writing, research design, statistics, and other parts of the publication process.
  5. What does the grant provide for participants? 
    In addition to extensive support from the CAPER grant personnel, the grant will provide the following:
    • Tuition and supplies for the two, 1-credit, HAPS-I courses.
    • Stipends to cover food, registration, accommodation, and travel to attend three conferences over the 2 year period: a Fall HAPS regional conference in year 1, the SABER West conference in January of Year 1, and the HAPS National Conference in Year 2. Participants will have to pay these expenses up front and will receive the stipend after the conference.
    • An additional small stipend for completing the program.
  6. What is needed from me at this time?
    • Your interest is all we need at this time. As we get closer to submission, we will ask for a letter of support from you and a school administrator.  (Administrative support is vital for success in this project).
    • Finding out the name of the IRB contact at your institution would be very helpful at this time as well. We will have quite a bit of work to do with your school’s IRB administrative committee, but we will be providing considerable help with that process.
  7. Is this opportunity open to K-12 instructors? 
    At this time, we are focusing only on two-year community, or technical, college Anatomy and Physiology instructors.
  8. Is this opportunity open to adjuncts?
    Yes, adjunct instructors are welcome to become involved. This could be a wonderful opportunity for adjuncts looking to attain full time employment to be able to demonstrate their commitment to improving their teaching craft and the experience for the students. This would look GREAT on a CV for employment.  However, adjuncts must have administrative support from a college. 
  9. I still have questions that weren’t covered here. Who do I contact?
    • Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chasity or Murray. Contact information: Chasity O’Malley (chasityomalley@gmail.com) or Murray Jensen (msjensen@umn.edu )
    • If you haven’t filled out the form to share your interest with us, please fill it out and put your questions in the box that asks for questions. 

As questions emerge about the project and new information become available, a live Q&A document can be found here.

Links:

CAPER 2.0 Interest form (Sign up here)

CAPER 2.0 Initial Blog Posting

CAPER 1.0 Description

Anatomy and Physiology Education Research Project – Call for Participants!

This post is from the CAPER Team, including Chasity O’Malley, Murray Jensen, Kerry Hull, Ron Gerrits, Kyla Ross, Suzanne Hood, and Betsy Ott. 

Have you thought about making changes in your classroom, but lacked the time and resources to do it?  If so, keep reading, because we have an opportunity for you. 

 What’s this about?

We are in the final year of the NSF-funded Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) program, in which we worked with twelve community college instructors to expand their knowledge base about teaching and learning and conduct a simple education research project.  We are now planning for CAPER 2.0, and hope to give the opportunity to at least 30 new participants. 

 Who can participate?

A&P instructors who want to improve their classroom teaching skills, especially those teaching at community and technical colleges with large numbers of underserved student populations.  We are also recruiting instructors at four-year colleges, especially those with links to nearby community colleges. Experience in education research is not required. 

What would I do?

Over a 2-year period, participants will engage in the following activities: 

  • Complete two 1-credit HAPS Institute hybrid courses covering best practices in Anatomy and Physiology education and the fundamentals of education research.
  • Conduct a small research project in their own classrooms and present their results at a HAPS annual conference and in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Participate in a multi-institutional research project investigating the impact of different teaching practices in different student populations

 What are the benefits?

  • Involvement in a supportive community of engaged instructors 
  • Mentorship from experienced researchers, as needed, to complete all stages of the research project (experimental design and implementation, statistics and qualitative analysis, poster construction, and article writing)
  • Funding to attend at least three conferences:
    • Year 1 (September-November):  the in-person portion of the teaching and learning course will be combined with a HAPS Regional meeting
    • Year 1 (January): the in-person portion of the education research course will be combined with a SABER West meeting in Sunny California
    • Year 2 (May): participants will present their poster at a HAPS Annual Meeting
  • Funding for the two HAPS-I courses
  • A modest financial reward for completing all the components of the CAPER 2.0 project. 
  • Potentially, the provision of funds for teaching buy-outs (i.e., course load reductions)
  • Opportunities to support the teaching and research goals of future participants by acting as a mentor (which would involve additional funded travel)

 

How do I join in on this amazing experience?

A survey for interested individuals can be completed here

If you are interested in learning more, contact Chasity O’Malley (chasityomalley@gmail.com) or Murray Jensen (msjensen@umn.edu).   

For more information on the first CAPER research project, see these references:

 

HAPS 2020 Virtual Conference Days 2-3

We have now heard from our third and fourth update speakers, Barbara Vanderhyden and Nadia Abu-Zahra.

On Wendesday Dr. Vanderhyden, a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa and a Senior Scientist in the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, presented “Going Back in Time: Can We Reverse the Effects of Age and Other Risk Factors on Ovarian Cancer Incidence?”. Dr. Vanderhyden showed us how ovarian cancer may arise from the fimbriae of uterine tubes and how risk decreases with parity, hormonal birth control methods, and breastfeeding. She explained this phenomenon is likely due to reduced ovulation. She also discussed how use of Metformin, a drug used to treat type II diabetes, is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer due to its anti-fibrotic properties.

D1CAE606-5E72-4319-981D-0195593FF74B

On Thursday Dr. Abu-Zahra, an Associate Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa, presented “Inclusive Education.  Ways in Which We Learn and the Development of Strategies to Promote Engagement and Inclusion”. Dr. Abu-Zahra discussed how online teaching is changing the way we think about education. She told us education is about more than transferring information. It also encompasses community building. She provided examples of internal motivation and discussed “ungrading” and accountability. The following #HAPS2020Chat focused on methods for building community in classes.

day 3

In the evening, the exam program chairs hosted a town hall event in which they discussed the HAPS exam in a new normal going forward.

Catch up with us this evening at the Welcome Reception hosted by McGraw-Hill! This will be a chance to check in with friends old and new as we toast one another and learn a little more about just how HAPSy we can be in this remote social. Check your email for event links. BYOB!

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HAPS 2020 Virtual Conference Day 1

Day one of the 2020 Virtual Conference is complete! Today we heard from two of our update speakers: Anne Burrows and Peter Ward.

Dr. Burrows, a biological anthropologist at Duquesne University, presented a fascinating seminar called “Making Our Face – The Evolutionary Story of the Human Face”. She discussed facial recognition in the brain, thereby explaining how we see faces in potato chips. During the social media discussions in the evening, HAPSters decided this talk was very relevant to online teaching and video conferencing lectures.

day 1

Dr. Ward, from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, presented a captivating talk called “Pushing the Boundaries of Clinical Anatomy”. Dr. Ward challenged the concept of “normal anatomy” and suggested teaching variation as the norm. Later HAPSters questioned whether click-bait headlines about “new” organs could be used to teach science literacy.

fabella Fabella – A sesamoid bone Dr. Ward informed us forms in the tendon of the lateral head of the gastrocnemius that is sometimes mistaken for a fracture.

Anthony Edwards has begun the online discussion this morning by asking, “What’s your favorite part about teaching A&P?” #HAPS2020  Follow the hashtag to respond on LinkedIn.

Anatomy & Physiology students share their knowledge with the world through Wikipedia

1599px-Wiki_Education_at_USF_April_2018_84

We all know that students use Wikipedia. But many don’t have the skills to evaluate the accuracy of the information they read there (Wineburg et al., 2016). Instead of issuing a blanket ban on the website, many professors are now having their students write Wikipedia articles as an assignment. As one put it, “Students can’t cite Wikipedia if they’re writing it.”

In a Wikipedia writing assignment, students play the role of “expert” as they summarize course content into relevant Wikipedia articles. The exercise essentially mirrors a lit-review assignment, except that millions of people have access to that student work.

It’s part of a growing movement of educators embracing Wikipedia as a learning tool, with instructors from more than 500 universities involved in the US and Canada. Most aren’t familiar with the inner-workings of Wikipedia, but still successfully guide their students in editing articles thanks to free support and student trainings offered by Wiki Education

Practicing science communication on a world stage

By bringing their work to Wikipedia, students make a difference for public knowledge while also diving deeply into course content. Last term, a student at Drew University contributed well-referenced content to Wikipedia’s article about Sheehan’s syndrome, adding sections about its causes and history. Now the almost 200 daily visitors to the page can access better information summarized from academic sources.

Another student, from Fordham University, expanded the Wikipedia article about intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in 2017, adding new sections about structure and function. They were even inspired to create and add a new diagram (Fig.1). Since then, the page has been viewed almost 50,000 times by Wikipedia’s readers.

Diagram_of_inputs_and_outputs_of_ipRGC_1

Fig 1: Diagram of inputs and outputs of ipRGCs and their corresponding location in the brain, created by a Fordham University student as part of their Wikipedia writing assignment [image link]

Sometimes instructors have students create new Wikipedia biographies for women scientists instead of having them expand articles about course topics. Only 18% of Wikipedia biographies are about women, so when students participate in this endeavor, they are helping correct that gender gap in public knowledge. Having students write Wikipedia biographies for women in STEM not only demonstrates to them that diversity and inclusion belongs in STEM, it asserts that to the world. 

Student learning outcomes

Instructors have found a Wikipedia writing assignment to be an opportunity to solidify students’ research skills, critical media literacy, and ability to write for a public audience (Vetter et al, 2019). By participating in the production of knowledge on a site they use all the time, students understand where that information comes from and how to assess the accuracy of online information they encounter in the future.

Want to get involved?

If you’re interested in improving science content on Wikipedia, there are a few ways to get involved:

  • Use Wiki Education’s free assignment templates to have your students write Wikipedia articles related to your course topic: teach.wikiedu.org.
  • Learn how to edit Wikipedia yourself and expand your educational reach to the public: learn.wikiedu.org

cassidy_Staff-photo-1

 

As Wiki Education’s Outreach and Communications Associate, Cassidy Villeneuve helps share the impact of Wikipedia editing on students, professionals, and public knowledge.

Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research Program

Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) Program: Promoting Change in Classroom Pedagogy to Benefit Students

Active learning is not a new concept within HAPS. Annual conference poster and workshop sessions are chock-full of ideas on how to incorporate more student-centered techniques and personal storiesof faculty experiences with various methods. Nearly all of us likely have active learning terms in our lexicon and the majority of HAPS members would agree we should use such techniques (if not, please see the meta-study by Freeman et al. [1]). Yet an awareness of active learning and its benefit by itself does not necessarily drive change in our classroom practice.  The more change is required, especially when that change is associated with significant effort, possibly even a seismic shift from our past teaching routines, the less likely we are to rush out and try it. And if an instructor is really motivated to find out what most benefits their specific population of students, the thought of developing an actual pedagogical study can seem utterly overwhelming. This is where peer-mentoring and a set timeline can really help. The Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) Program is designed to provide the needed support for participating community college instructors.

image

CAPER is an NSF-funded project, with Murray Jensen (University of MN) as Principal Investigator. CAPER is aimed at supporting community college faculty who are interested in identifying how evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) impact the community college student population, a population that has been under-studied in the active learning literature. The current cohort of six participants kicked off the project by participating in the HAPS-I Educational Research course in fall 2018. Their culminating project for the course was an educational research proposal they are implementing this spring. A group of additional active HAPSters also participated as mentors in the HAPS-I course, providing feedback on project proposals and helping as needed.  Kerry Hull, for example, is heading up an interdisciplinary group at Bishop’s University in Ontario, Canada that provides expertise in experimental design, data analysis, and manuscript preparation.

In addition to the studies being conducted by each instructor, all instructors are working with the research team to investigate the impact of EBIPs on reducing student stress and increasing their feelings of academic self-efficacy. If you are attending the meeting in Portland, be sure to check out the CAPER posters, or attend our workshop, to learn more specific details about the project.

Principal Investigators: Murray Jenson, Kerry Hull (BU sub-contract)
Mentors: Ron Gerrits, Betsy Ott, Kyla Ross
Research Support: Heather Lawford, Suzanne Hood
Graduate Students: Laura Seithers, Rob Palmer

[1]   S. Freeman et al., “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., vol. 111, no. 23, pp. 8410–8415, Jun. 2014.


image (1)

Submitted by Ron Gerrits on behalf of the CAPER group. Ron Gerrits is a Professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where he teaches health-science courses, mainly physiology. His professional interests are science and engineering education. Currently he is one of the mentors on the CAPER project, which includes several HAPSters interested in improving physiology education (which seems to be a group trait of HAPS!).

Concept Mapping in A&P – One Instructor’s Experience

I assigned concept maps as homework in my A&P courses and it has proven to be extremely effective. Students are provided instructions for how to access a free concept mapping website and a list of concepts to be included in their map. I typically assign one map per major topic or body system (8-10 per semester). Concepts to be included are heavily based on the HAPS Learning Outcomes. Since students can make concept maps in many different ways, they are primarily graded for level of detail and completeness. After the first assignment is submitted, I choose several maps and display them anonymously to the class. I ask students to identify how that particular map is helpful and to find ways the map might be improved, stressing their use as study tools. As students gain experience, the quality of their maps improves significantly. By the end of the semester, many are astonishingly complex and detailed.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 21.20.46
(Click on image above or here for a full-size PDF)

Student scores on a standardized departmental final have improved in the classes that I’ve utilized concept mapping and many students reported that concept maps were extremely helpful in A&P.  Many nursing programs now heavily integrate concept mapping into nursing education so this assignment was particularly helpful to pre-nursing students. I also discovered that the rate of homework completion was higher for concept maps than more “traditional” homework. Students stated that creating the map forced them to really read the text and think about how the concepts related to each other, but that they were also fun!

Since several of these students had previously utilized concept mapping in my courses, they volunteered to create a comprehensive concept map that included all of the 900+ HAPS Learning Outcomes. Their goal was to use this project to reinforce their own understanding of A&P and to create a teaching tool that could be displayed for future student use.

They worked on this project on their own time between early January and mid-May, 2018, including spring break, while also juggling classes, jobs, and other responsibilities. The final product, a 16-foot-long concept map with over 5000 elements, was printed and displayed during the conference.

IMG_0313
Paul Luyster, Associate Professor of Biology, and nine TCC students, Brian Cisneros, Daniel Duran, Stephanie Galaviz-Webster, Jocelyn Gonzalez, Karely Leon, Mitchell McDowell, Auston McIntosh, Lisabel Ruiz-Steblein, and Jami Williams, presented a workshop titled “Using Case Studies and Concept Mapping Assignments to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning in A&P” at the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) Conference in Columbus, Ohio, May, 2018.

These students are proud of their concept map but even more importantly, they know with certainty that they have constructed – in a diagram and in their mind – a detailed set of concepts and relationships that integrates all of the important aspects of A&P.. They know their stuff, and they KNOW that they know it. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?


pluyster

Paul Luyster is an Associate Professor of Biology at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys teaching Anatomy and Physiology, Majors Biology, Undergraduate Biology Research, and an Environmental Biology Wilderness Course.

 

Publishing with HAPS

You know that old, grim academic saying, “Publish or perish”?  We at HAPS prefer to say “Publish and flourish!” While your home institution may have specific expectations regarding scholarship, we offer several options for “publishing” (in the broad sense of the word) that will make communicating with your fellow A&P professionals fulfilling and fun!  Some of these resources are only available for HAPS members (HAPS Discussion Group and Teaching Tips) while others are publicly available for the benefit of the entire A&P community (HAPS Blog and HAPS Educator). Details of each publication venue are provided below.

HAPS Discussion Group (HAPS-L Listserv): Maybe you don’t really want to write up anything formal — you just want to share a link to a cool news item and comment on it. Or maybe you have a question for your fellow educators.  Great for getting rapid feedback, often from experts like A&P textbook authors.  Why do some texts refer to a “dorsal body cavity” while others do not? How does pelvis shape vary according to geography?  The listserv has you covered.

Teaching Tips: As the name implies, teaching tips are concise pieces of practical teaching advice. Teaching tips can be submitted here; submitters choose appropriate learning outcome tags to assist others in locating their tip for usage in class or lab.  Each submission is reviewed by Curriculum and Instruction Committee members to assure that it is posted in an optimal location.

Blog: Want feedback during the early stages of a research project?  Want to provoke discussion that is more extensive or more timeless than the typical listserv chit-chat? The blog is the place for you. Blog posts are published once a week during the academic year and contain a wide variety of ideas from short teaching tips (see above) to descriptions of unique A&P-related experiences. Each post is edited before publication, so no need to worry about minor errors or incomplete thoughts. Ideas and drafts can be emailed to hapsblog@hapsconnect.org. Please include a headshot or other picture and a short author bio.

HAPS Educator: The most formal of these four options, but run by friendly editors! HAPS Educator aims to foster teaching excellence and pedagogical research in anatomy and physiology education.  This open-access journal publishes peer-reviewed articles under three categories. Educational Research articles discuss pedagogical research projects supported by robust data.  Perspectives on Teaching articles discuss a teaching philosophy or modality but do not require supporting data. Current Topics articles provide a state-of-the-art summary of a trending topic area relevant to A&P educators.  All submitted articles undergo peer review. Educational Research articles will additionally be reviewed for the quality of the supporting data. HAPS Educator is the official publication of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) and is published online three times per year: on March 1, July 1, and November 1.

HAPS_publications

Dissecting and Drawing the Forearm: Anatomical Illustration for the Classroom

ABSTRACT:

Flexor Compartment of Distal Forearm layer 3
Flexor Compartment of Distal Forearm layer 3

The human hand is challenging to study, due to having many narrow vessels and tendons packed together in a small space. Because of this, it is useful to have clear diagrams showing just a few structures at a time. From February to mid-March 2017, a human distal forearm was dissected and used as a model for six drawings in the style of a traditional anatomical atlas. These images are meant to be teaching tools for helping students identify structures, just like a professionally made atlas. During the dissection process, rough pencil sketches were made in the lab as new structures were exposed. Later, these sketches were redrawn in full color with colored pencil. Anatomical illustration could be an educational activity for students: by trying to draw diagrams clear enough for others to understand, students would retain more information and improve their communication skills.

DISSECTION:

In Dr. Olson’s basic gross anatomy course at NIU, the undergraduates often use atlases to help identify countless tiny structures. These atlases introduce students to the art of anatomical illustration, which has roots as far back as the Renaissance. The hand is an ideal subject for an atlas because it has so many tendons, vessels, and bones that can be difficult to keep track of, so it would be helpful to have clear diagrams of these parts. The hand is also more “relatable” relative to internal organs; hands are frequently used for nonverbal communication. People depend on their hands to do so many tasks everyday but rarely think about what goes on behind the scenes.

To separate the forearm from the cadaver, Dr. Olson steadied the body while I sawed (with an actual hand saw) through the radius and ulna distal to the elbow. I used a scalpel to cut a vertical slit in the skin along the anterior side of the arm, from the wrist to the bottom. Then I cut a horizontal line along the wrist and pulled back two flaps of skin to expose the flexors. With a scalpel and forceps, I removed fascia and fat from each muscle and vessel to see the structures more clearly. I made a pencil sketch of the flexors and used the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy 2nd edition to try to identify the structures myself. Then I checked my answers with Dr. Olson. For the next few weeks, I repeated this process of dissecting more structures, sketching the muscles, and labeling the drawings with help from Dr. Olson and TA Sally Jo Detloff. I was generally able to dissect tissues without damaging them, although I accidentally cut the ulnar nerve and had to tie it together with string. Between dissections, I sprayed the arm with humectant and wrapped it in terry cloth to retain moisture.

CREATING THE ATLAS:

Elle_Baker_Foot_Bones
The first drawing was of foot bones.

When I had finished dissecting most of the arm and hand, I had a set of rough draft sketches to turn into final drafts. I redrew each drawing on larger paper and colored the new drawings with colored pencils. To make digital versions of the diagrams, I scanned the drawings and used the GNU Image Manipulation Program to fix margins and erase blemishes. Finally, I presented my work at NIU, at both the Phi Sigma Research Symposium and at the Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day poster shows. I enjoyed teaching the attendees everything I had learned about how the arm works. At URAD, my project won second place out of fourteen exhibits (NIU “URAD and CES Winners Announced.”)

THE DRAWING PROCESS:

Before starting the atlas project, I had never made scientific illustrations and had not taken any illustration courses at NIU. My artistic education was mainly from drawing for fun and taking public school art classes prior to college. Other than confirming the labels with Dr. Olson, I worked on the atlas diagrams independently.

I used photos taken in the lab as references for my color palette, which was meant to be realistic but still simple to understand. Hence, the atlas colors were bolder and more diverse than in the actual arm, where arteries and vessels were the same colors and everything turned more orange over time. The nails were colored to match the cadaver’s nails, which were, in fact, dark magenta. See the final Forearm Atlas diagrams: Flexor Compartment Layers 1-3, Flexors in the Palm, Extensor Compartment Layer 1, and Lateral View: Extensors.

Elle_Baker_Lateral_Extensors
One of the first atlas quality drawings.

 

Other students could benefit from drawing their own diagrams of their dissections. Doing so would help them memorize the names, locations and relationships between structures. While drawing, students might come up with deeper questions about how the body works, like I did during my project. Students could trade drawings and give each other feedback about the clarity of the diagrams. Students would be reminded to focus their critiques on legibility and accuracy rather than on aesthetic appeal. By making their diagrams understandable to others, students would improve at teaching and communicating. Ideally, they would also have fun improving their drawing skills.

Thank you to HAPS for the Student Grant, and thanks to NIU’s Office of Student Engagement for providing me a grant from the Student Engagement Fund. This project was supported by the Body Donation Program at Northern Illinois University, supervised by Dr. Daniel Olson, Director of the Anatomy Laboratory, which ensured the proper and respectful handling and disposal of the tissues used in this project.

Literature Cited

NIU. “URAD and CES Winners Announced.” NIU Today, 26 Apr. 2017, Retrieved from http://www.niutoday.info/2017/04/26/urad-and-ces-winners-announced/.

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. “URAD Program 2017.” Northern Illinois University, 2017, Retrieved from http://niu.edu/engagedlearning/_pdfs/urad/urad-program-2017.pdf.

Schuenke, Michael, et al. Atlas of Anatomy. Second ed., New York, New York, Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 2012.


Eliya Baker graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Premed Biology and minors in Psychology and Chemistry. She is not formally trained in art, but enjoys making art as a hobby.  Her teacher and lab instructor is Dr. Daniel R. Olson Ed.D., the Director of the Anatomy Laboratory at NIU. 

Starting on a high note: a first-week-of-fall A&P challenge

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of an oddball.

To many A&P instructors, music is a tool for learning about the auditory system (Ganesh et al. 2016) or adjusting students’ moods (Anyanwu 2015, Modell et al. 2009, Weinhaus & Massey 2015), or a metaphor for the learning process (Modell 2018).  These are valid, reasonable ideas.  But for me, odd duck that I am, music is mostly a mechanism for teaching science content.  If you can imagine a version of Schoolhouse Rock with really short songs written and performed by amateurs for undergraduate audiences (Crowther et al. 2015), you have the general idea.

There are many reasons why I do this, some well-rooted in research and others less so.  Content-rich lyrics can condense some material into concise, memorable phrases.  Such lyrics can be interrogated to make their meaning clearer, somewhat in the manner of an English class dissecting a poem.  And singing about content with your students is a good way to convey that you care deeply about their mastery of it, and that scientists are human beings too.

STEM Biology Gregory Crowther

If any of these ideas resonate with you, consider the following a friendly challenge for the fall. Are you ready?

  1. Identify and write down the 1-5 most important overall themes that you will emphasize in your course.
  2. Write a short song or rap introducing your students to those themes. If you are not musically inclined — or even if you are — collaborate with a spouse, colleague, previous student, or me to create the best piece that you can. (Here is an example of such a song: http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/Misc/Songs/blessing.shtml.)
  3. Perform it live for or with your students on the first day of class.
  4. Facilitate a class discussion of what the lyrics mean. (Sample study questions for the song mentioned above are listed toward the bottom of the web page listed above.)
  5. Leave a comment to let me know how this went for you!
  6. Revisit your song at the end of the fall for further reinforcement and reflection.

What about those of you in the “silent majority” who are not quite ready to serenade your students, but are curious about this form of teaching and learning?  Well, consider attending VOICES (https://www.causeweb.org/voices/2018/program) on Sept. 26.  It’s a one-day online conference devoted entirely to teaching STEM subjects via songs.  And it only costs $10!  Is that music to your ears, or what?

 

References

E.G. Anyanwu (2015). Background music in the dissection laboratory: impact on stress associated with the dissection experience. Advances in Physiology Education39(2): 96-101.

G.J. Crowther, K. Davis, L.D. Jenkins, and J.L. Breckler (2015).  Integration of math jingles into physiology courses.  Journal of Mathematics Education8(2): 56-73.

G. Ganesh, V.S. Srinivasan, and S. Krishnamurthi (2016). A model to demonstrate the place theory of hearing. Advances in Physiology Education40(2): 191-193.

H.I. Modell, F.G. DeMiero, and L. Rose (2009).  In pursuit of a holistic learning environment: the impact of music on the medical physiology classroom.  Advances in Physiology Education33(1): 37-45.

H. Modell (2018). Jazz as a model for classroom practice. HAPS Educator22(2): 165-170.

A.J. Weinhaus and J.S Massey (2015).  Pre-lecture reviews with anatomy tunes.  HAPS Educator19(3): 35-38.

 

Dr. Greg Crowther teaches anatomy and physiology at Everett Community College (WA).  His peer-reviewed articles on enhancing learning with content-rich music have collectively been cited over 100 times.

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