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Join Us at the HAPS 2017 Spring Regional

6 Mar

Get your taxes done early!  We are planning a full day of update speakers, workshops, and poster presentations for Saturday, April 15 in Tyler Texas.  Our morning update speaker will be Dr. Michael Beckstead, Associate Professor in the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Beckstead will be speaking about dopamine neurons and Parkinson’s Disease.  In the afternoon, Dr. Lane Brunner, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Tyler, will talk about how team-based learning has been implemented in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

As always, workshops will be given by HAPS members.  Do you have a unique approach to teaching a lab or a new angle to get complicated ideas across?  Have you found a solution to a common challenge or a new tool (or a new way to use an old tool) that helps your students?  If you need to practice your presentation for the national conference in Salt Lake City, or you won’t be able to attend the SLC conference, we’re here for you!  Submit your workshop proposal by March 24.

Posters will be set up adjacent to the workshop rooms. If you have an idea that suits a poster more than a workshop – even if it’s a poster you’ve already presented in another venue – we’ll have a place for you to share what you’ve done.  A simple idea, or an exploratory look at some new teaching tip, tool, or resource can easily be translated into a poster.  Poster submissions have the same deadline as workshop submissions, March 24.

We’ll be meeting in the newly-renovated A&P labs, so you can get some ideas from our faculty about how technology can be implemented in the lab. The use of overhead cameras to show specimens, iPads in the classroom, and structured group activities can be explored.

At the end of the day, we’ll have the opportunity to tour our new nursing and health science facility, including the simulation lab for nursing students (see image below). The first floor has an area that is set up basically as a hospital, so students get real-world training in LVN, surgical technology, and other fields. There is also a working dental clinic.

If you’re planning to come in Friday afternoon or stay over Saturday night, look for a link to the accommodations on the registration page. If you’re bringing family with you, they can explore our Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE, http://sciencecenter.tjc.edu/) and the Tyler Museum of Art (http://www.tylermuseum.org/), both adjacent to the building where our conference will be held.  If there is enough interest, we can plan a social event for either Friday or Saturday evening. I look forward to seeing you all!

Betsy Ott, Conference Coordinator
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Journal of a New HAPster: Shani Golovay

12 Oct

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology.  We’re always looking for new members to join the community.  Check out some thoughts from new HAPSter, Shani Golovay.  

Meet Shani Golovay, a new HAPSter.

Meet Shani Golovay, a new HAPSter.

“But I have a degree in Plant Biology.  I don’t really know anything about Human Physiology, except what I teach in General Biology.”  And this started my journey to HAPS.

I found the HAPS website to be helpful as soon as I joined. I hunted down the Course Guidelines  and Learning Outcomes right away because I needed a syllabus and some ideas on how much content to cover in the course.  Then I found the Guided Inquiry Activities by Murray Jensen. I tried out the activities with my students right away- and they loved them.  I was starting to feel like I could teach this class after all, and I felt like I had a giant community of people helping me that I didn’t even know.

I learn more from the HAPS email listserv then I do from most professional journals I receive.  I was amazed how open and helpful everyone was with each other.  I look forward to the listserv conversations and I learn so much. It was so refreshing to find a whole group of people willing to share their expertise with those of us way out of our area. If I emailed someone a question, they would explain things and even send me documents or ideas.  I am much more confident about teaching this Human Physiology class because of HAPS.  I think Human Physiology may be my new favorite class to teach because of all the awesome ideas I get from other HAPSters.  I was telling my colleagues about this society where everyone was nice and actually helpful and wanted to share ideas about teaching and everyone was impressed and a bit jealous that I had found such a group.

I am just so grateful to find a community of people where those with experience and lots of talent are willing to help those of us just starting out with these classes.  We need each other because we can’t talk about this sort of stuff over dinner except with each other, right?

The best part for me was the annual meeting, but that is another blog post…..

In Search of the Core Principles of Human Anatomy

27 Apr
A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

HAPSters spend a lot of time discussing the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology.  Check out this post from long time HAPSter and Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.  Murray is trying to generate a bit of controversy about teaching anatomy and long hot lists that we require our students to memorize.  Just how important are all those names and structures?  Look forward to a retort from graduate student Bradley Barger next week.

After 25 years of teaching entry-level anatomy and physiology, I can safely say that I’ve begun to figure a few things out – like the importance of setting high expectations on the first day of class; you have to scare the kids a bit.  All HAPSters know that one.  Another thing I’ve begun to figure out is how to teach human physiology.  This is in large part due to the work of Joel Michael and his group who identified the core principals of physiology  (http://advan.physiology.org/content/33/1/10).    Energy flow, homeostasis, and a few other concepts set the stage for pretty much every topic in physiology.   I use Michael’s core principals to design my course, write curriculum, generate exam questions, etc.  It’s a powerful tool for those of us who teach entry-level physiology. Required Structures ListI also teach basic human anatomy, and after 25 years and a couple thousand students, I can say with confidence that I really don’t know what I’m doing.  I remember vividly the first human A & P course I taught.  Skeletal system .. skull anatomy…hmmm…what structures should be on the hot list?  Ethmoid? Of course. Sphenoid? Obviously.  How about the foramen spinosum?  Should that be on the list? To facilitate the decision process I used Rule One of Teaching – you teach the way you’ve been taught.  In deciding what structures to include on my own hot list, I simply went back to the notes I used as a student, “What did Dr. Ivan Johnson make me learn?” Turns out Dr. Johnson indeed had me learn the foramen spinosum; therefore it must be important, and so it went on my very first hot list for skull anatomy.   Twenty-five years later I still have my students learn the foramen spinosum.  Why?  The best I can do is “because I had to do it!” Blindly following Rule One is not professional.  I would like to do better.  Joel Michael’s core principles greatly improved my ability to teach physiology – his work established an epistemological foundation for physiology education.  Now when a student asks “why do we have to learn about vasopressin?” I can confidently answer that it fits into the bigger picture of how the body works, and vasopressin’s role in the homeostasis of sodium, water, and blood pressure.  Much, much more satisfying than responding, “Well…I had to learn it!” or even worse “Because it will be on the exam.” In the past few years I’ve been pushing my anatomy colleagues for answers.  What should kids learn about anatomy in my entry-level course? What should they learn first?  If a student wants a career in anatomy, what are the themes? What’s at the foundation of a conceptual understanding of human anatomy?  We’ve had some good beginning ideas: orientation, cavities, medical terminology, liquids and solids, layers have promise.  But there is nothing official at this stage – just some good conversations.  And nothing that helps me figure out if I should include the foramen spinosum on the hot list. Identifying the core principles of anatomy is a worthy quest, and HAPS leadership is looking into starting a task force to get things moving.  I’ve been working with Bradley Barger, PhD candidate in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University, and we’ll be hosting a workshop at San Antonio for others interested in the project. In pondering the task ahead, I think I’ve identified a significant question, but some background is needed first.  Dr. Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize winning physicist from way back, has a quote, “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” I think Rutherford is correct – everything in science boils down to physics.  When teaching human physiology and thinking about Michael’s core principals, I see physics (e.g., diffusion, pumps, gradients, barriers, energy).  If students can comprehend some basic physics, then they can make some good strides toward understanding human physiology. My big question: Is there any physics in anatomy?   At this time I don’t see any physics.  I see terminology, orientation, embryology, and sometimes even design (gasp!) – but I don’t see physics. Disagree?  Disagree strongly? Well…make a list of your own core principles of human anatomy and come to the workshop in San Antonio.  Help me figure out if I should keep the foramen spinosum on my hot list.

HAPS + Education

15 Apr

I’m at that point in the semester when I really have to start planning for the next terms – both summer and fall – and that makes me dream big at the same time I’m addressing minutiae.  Can I develop the summer test schedule at the same time I’m designing new assignments that will spur deeper learning? Why, yes – yes, I can. In fact, if I don’t start it now, I wont’ have time to get the long-range plans accomplished.  I have to analyze now, while it’s still fresh,what doesn’t seem to be working in this semester’s initiatives, and tweak, or throw out and reinvent, for the brief summer term as well as the new students in the fall.  My first step is to survey this semester’s students to see what resonated with them and what fell flat.  They seem to appreciate videos more than text, and interactive assignments more than straight reading.  Of course, those types of assignments take more time to develop, and I’m constantly looking for inspiration – a new angle, or a new application – along with new technology to record, post, and assess online lessons.

I’ve perused the new edition of the HAPS Educator – a very fine online journal with a variety of articles produced to help us as educators and as science enthusiasts. I’m particularly impressed with examples of HAPS members sharing their tips with their colleagues.  I’ve also attended presentations given by HAPS members at our regional and national meetings, and I always get good ideas, not only from what they present, but also by how they present it.  I’m pondering how we can leverage that into a shared resource, something that we can all tap into when we feel tapped out.

So, I’m looking forward to the HAPS annual meeting in San Antonio at the end of May. We’ll not only get insight into educational research from recognized experts, but also those teaching tips that just smooth our presentations and get our students in the zone.  We’ll experience that electrifying synergy that energizes us all the way home.  We’ll gain lasting resources that will enrich our classes and satisfy our creative sides.  We might even find out what amazing app/software/website is the secret to our students’ success.  I hope to see you there!

Resolution Review, and Looking Forward

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

A message from HAPS President-Elect, Betsy Ott.

I’m feeling kind of unsettled this month. After taking a break from blogging over the month-long year-end break, I’m finding it difficult to kick-start myself.  In preparing this post, I looked back at my resolutions – and I want to assure you, I’ve kept them as well as I can.  Although, I did have a student today ask if he should finish the “pre-lab 2” assignment before or after attending lab 2.  It’s hard to know how much clearer I can make assignment titles.

I spent quite a bit of time over the holiday break refining my courses, particularly the online instructions.  I actually had a student tell me she was intimidated by how much she was going to have to wade through just to start the course.  I’m not sure how to fix that.  I remember when I started teaching microbiology lab, that my pre-lab briefs were pretty short.  As my experience increased, the length of my briefs did, too – I kept adding to the things that could go wrong, as students continued to find new ways to mess up the lab.  So now, I find myself adding to the instructions about how the course works, to the point (apparently) that students are overwhelmed by the instructions before they even get to the content.

So, I’ve decided to look for expert help.  I will ask our resident instructional designer to review my course orientations, and see if they can be streamlined – or if they are fine the way they are.  I”m reading about teaching and learning, which I’ll report on in future posts.

Most significantly, I’ve signed up for Valerie O’Loughlin’s HAPS-I course on educational research.  After thirty-plus years of being a professional educator, I suppose it’s high time I actually get some professional development on education.  I’m looking forward to creating a system of asking, and answering, questions about how my students learn and what I can do to facilitate their success.  Particularly as I am chair of the college’s General Education Committee, I feel compelled to collect meaningful information that measures parameters that matter, rather than just what is easy to quantify.

One of the best aspects of a HAPS-I course is the interaction with peers.  With a focus on a specific outcome, the quality of discourse can be amazing, and I’m looking forward to working with HAPS colleagues to explore aspects of metacognition and the scholarship of teaching.  I encourage you to join us – or to find some other avenue to enhance your scholarship of teaching.  Have a great spring semester!

Betsy Ott
President-Elect

HAPS Web 15- Partnering with the LifeSciTRC!

19 Jan
APS Life Science Teaching Resource Community

Access HAPS resources from the Life Science Teaching Resource Community directly from the HAPS website!

Welcome back from the holiday!  The Communications Committee (responsible for maintaining this blog) took a restful break and we’re fired up and ready for a new set of fun blog posts.

Not surprisingly, while the Communications Committee (fondly known as the ComCom) was enjoying good food, the rest of the HAPS leadership was hard at work maintaining this great organization.  True to the theme describing all the amazing resources HAPS has to offer its members, today’s post is about a new partnership garnered over the break.

HAPS works hard to provide its members with high quality teaching resources and the intention of this blog theme is to make sure HAPSters know what is available to them.  And true to form, instead of sitting back and admiring the good work that has been done, the HAPS leadership has been busy pursuing additional resources and conveniences for its membership.  This is evidenced by a recent addition to the HAPS website.

HAPS enjoys a strong partnership with the American Physiological Society (APS).  This is the society that maintains the Life Science Teaching Resource Community (formally known as the APS Archive of Teaching Resources),  which was featured in a series of HAPS blog posts last year.  HAPS has always been a partner with APS and has actively contributed resources to the LifeSciTRC.  For example, materials developed in HAPS-I courses have always been published in the LifeSciTRC.  However, in the last few weeks, HAPS Executive Director Peter English has taken this partnership a step further.  Peter put together a page within the HAPS website that explicitly brings together the materials from these HAPS-I courses since 2012!  The resources are organized into collections that put all course content in one easy to access link.

So check out this latest addition to the wealth of resources found on the HAPS website.

HAPS Web 14- The Histology Challenge

15 Dec
An archived imaged from an old histology challenge...

An archived imaged from an old histology challenge…

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

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

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

HAPS Web 12- Travel Award Applications DUE Monday 12/1!

24 Nov
Skully in San Antonio

Are you planning to hang with the HAPSters in San Antonio? Apply for a scholarship now!

If you’re looking for financial assistance in getting to San Antonio in May, HAPS has your back.  There are four awards available to help you make it happen.

ALL of these applications are DUE by December 1, so get your things together and apply now!

The Sam Drogo Technology in the Classroom Award
This award is given to someone who demonstrates innovative use of technology to engage undergraduates in human anatomy and physiology. Two awards are available, both sponsored by ADInstruments.
Award: Awards up to $500 to attend the HAPS annual conference.

Robert Anthony Scholarship
This award is given to new instructors in A&P with the goal of helping new faculty network with seasoned professionals during their first five (5) years of teaching anatomy and physiology by attending the HAPS annual conference.
Award: Pays for registration fee at the annual conference.

Contingent Faculty Scholarship
This award is set up to encourage Contingent Faculty to network with seasoned professionals by attending the HAPS annual conference.
Award: Covers registration fee at the HAPS annual conference.

HAPS Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Travel Award
This award is given to graduate students or postdoctoral students who attend and present at the HAPS annual conference.
Award: $400 cash and annual conference registration fee is waived.

**ALL AWARD APPLICATIONS ARE DUE DECEMBER 1, 2014**

Lessons Learned from NABT

19 Nov

I attended the National Association of Biology Teachers last week (my excuse for not posting last Wednesday) in Cleveland. In addition to my first experience with “lake effect snow,” and a reception at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (with biology rock stars Sean Carroll and Neil Shubin), I profited from some great, focused workshops. One of the most amazing, because of its simplicity, was a short lesson on how to teach students to make the most of graphs.

You might think reading graphs is intuitively obvious to young students, and it probably was to those of us who went into science teaching. I’m guessing that if it had been difficult, we would all have gone into some other professional field.  So it might be difficult to explain something we do without working at it, and having a step-wise method to help students think about what graphing means is really helpful.  Having an approach that starts with what a student finds easy to do is a good way to engage them and retain their interest.  The technique I learned (presented by Cindy Gay, of Steamboat Springs HS in Colorado) was developed for an AP Biology workshop put on by BSCS.  The technique has three parts, which are easily summarized as identify, analyze, and caption.  The first step involves simply identifying (with arrows) parts of a graph that appear to have some significance. This can be something as simple as a line increasing, or the point at which a curve peaks.  The second step is to determine the meaning of the aspects identified in the first step.  This requires conscious examination of the axes, and thinking about what the graph means.  The last step is to write a title/caption that states the point of the graph and explains its significance.    As I said, this may seem simplistic and obvious to us, but I’m sure I have students who could benefit from developing a habit of identifying, analyzing, and captioning important graphs.

Several of the sessions at the meeting were sponsored by HHMI, including a debut of their latest educational video, on the evolutionary transition that led to humans.  (All resources are available by going to www.hhmi.org.)  That facet of human anatomy is another aspect that is intuitive to many but not all of us.  Teaching resources are being developed and will be available at no charge on the website. Resources developed in the last few years are already posted, and I encourage you to take a look if you haven’t ever visited the site.

These teaching resources point up the value of attending conferences; I hope you are all planning to attend the HAPS San Antonio conference next May, and regionals that are in your area. We’ve made a commitment to offer three regional meetings a year, so you should be able to attend at least one every year.  You might even consider presenting a workshop; you never know how the simplest of ideas will resonate with your colleagues!

HAPS Web 11- Thieme and HAPS join forces!

12 Nov
As part of a larger partnership that includes 30% off all Thieme products for HAPS members and students, the HAPS leadership is proud to announce a new award to recognize and reward excellence in undergraduate A&P instruction.

As part of a larger partnership that includes 30% off all Thieme products for HAPS members and students, the HAPS leadership is proud to announce a new award to recognize and reward excellence in undergraduate A&P instruction.

HAPS is always trying to find ways to make the lives of its members easier.  For example, HAPS offers scholarships to ease the financial burden of participating in HAPS conferences or HAPS-I courses.  But HAPS also negotiates deals for its members, like the most recent partnership between HAPS and Thieme.

This new partnership has two excellent member benefits.  First, Thieme is proud to now offer all HAPS members and their students 30% off and free shipping* for all titles from Thieme.com. This generous deal benefits members AND their students.

Second, Thieme is sponsoring the 2015 HAPS-Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award!  This award is designed to recognize and reward excellence in undergraduate A&P instruction.  Award winners must be nominated by colleagues and will demonstrate the core value of HAPS.  Nominations are allowed from instructors or administrators at accredited institution in the US or Canada.  The winner of this award will receive a $1,500 cash prize and free registration for the 2015 Annual HAPS conference in San Antonio.
The deadline for  nomination is January 1, 2015.

Nominators must have:

  • Experience as an instructor or administrator at an accredited institution in the US or Canada
  • At least two years of A&P (broadly defined) teaching experience or administrative experience
  • Direct knowledge of the instructor being nominated and be able to explain why the nominee deserves this award

Nominees must:

  • Be teaching an A&P course (broadly defined) in 2014-2015 academic year with an expectation that he/she will continue as an A&P instructor going forward
  • Be a HAPS member in good standing on January 1, 2015
  • Be an exemplary teacher
  • Provide a CV and a note saying that he/she understands that he/she must attend the annual conference.

*Free shipping applies only to orders placed on www.thieme.com  and  ebookstore.thieme.com. Offer available in the continental US only. All prices are subject to change without notice. This promotion is available for a limited time only.