HAPS Web 8- Student Lab Data Project

People working together to build a puzzle.
Helping students work together while improving the quality of lab data they can analyze…this is the goal of the Student Lab Data Project.

If you haven’t already gotten this idea, HAPS is an organization based on sharing and camaraderie between A&P instructors all around the world. In this vein, HAPS member Julie Dias, with the crucial support of HAPS Executive Director Peter English, built a dynamic website to enable Laboratory Data Collection and Sharing Amongst Post-Secondary Institutions.  

The project stemmed from a desire to increase student interest in data collection and analysis by allowing them to share their data with other students around the world who were conducting similar experiments.  It was also hypothesized that sharing data could result in a larger pool of data for under-represented groups which may include students in higher age categories, smokers, elite-level athletes and possibly even males.

The project includes three different spreadsheets to choose from:

  • EKG – heart rate, PR interval, P wave duration, QRS duration, T wave duration (before and after exercise)
  • Heart Rate and Blood pressure (systolic and diastolic ) before and after exercise
  • Spirometry – respiration rate, tidal volume, inspiratory reserve, expiratory reserve, vital capacity, FEV1, FVC (before and after exercise)

All three spreadsheets also include the following demographic parameters: gender  and age (both mandatory), and ethnicity, BMI, waist circumference, activity level, and smoker (all optional).

Any equipment for physiological data collection can be used.  There is a column for inputting the type of equipment used to gather the data, such as Vernier with Logger Pro, BioPac, iWorks, etc.  Contact Julie Dais to receive your private Google Docs spreadsheet for your institution, which will enable you to contribute data to the project.  You do not need to be a HAPS member to do this.

A second aspect of the project includes resources to support basic statistical analyses using MS Excel.  Data analysis templates are available along with instructions on how to perform these analyses and how to interpret the results.  If you have questions or comments about the data analysis, you can contact Erin Radomske.  Periodically the data submitted by the various participating colleges will be “curated” or further examined for erroneous results and moved to an Excel file on this page.  However, to access this file of group data, you need to be a HAPS member.  Please feel free to comment on this activity and make suggestions by using the Lab Data Forum.

This project represents just the sort of innovative collaboration fostered by HAPS that makes membership in the organization so incredibly valuable.

HAPSweb 3: Anatomical Sciences Education (ASE)

AAA_journalDid you know that HAPS members have free access to the bimonthly publication from the American Association of Anatomists?

Anatomical Sciences Education is published in cooperation with the American Association of Clinical Anatomists and the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society. Their website describes the journal as providing “…an international forum for the exchange of ideas, opinions, innovations and research on topics related to education in the anatomical sciences of gross anatomy, embryology, histology, and neurosciences at all levels of anatomical sciences education including, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, allied health, medical (both allopathic and osteopathic), and dental.”

There are some directions HAPS members must follow to access this journal online.  These steps are described on the HAPS website.  First, click on the “Resources” menu on hapsweb.org and select “Teaching Resources.”  Here you’ll see a giant list of things available to members and non-members and if you scroll down to the very bottom, you’ll see a  handful of outside HAPS-related resources.  One of these is a link to the Life Science Teaching Resource Community, which was discussed on this blog during spring 2014.  But the next item on the list is a link to ASE.

Now, you have to be a member and enter your login information before you can access the next page, but if you are a member, you will be taken to a website with clear instructions for how to take advantage of your free online access to ASE.

So have you accessed ASE through HAPS?  Take the poll and let us know!

14- HAPS-I Courses

AES_Workshop WIKIsmall
It is always fun to see how OTHER people teach! This “Adventures in Engineering and Science” instructor looks interesting…

Professional development is a key component of maximizing your success as a teacher.  I feel lucky to be able to take advantage of many opportunities for professional development provided by HAPS, such as the Annual Conference and the email listserv, for example.  But HAPS offers other opportunities for professional development that perhaps you weren’t aware of.  For example, we all have access to graduate level courses through the HAPS Institute (aka HAPS-I).

There are three new HAPS-I courses beginning April 18.  The majority of each course takes place online, though all three courses have a face-to-face component that will happen at the Annual Conference in Jacksonville FL at the end of May.

  1. Current Topics in Anatomy and Physiology is being taught by Jason LaPres from Lone Star College in Houston TX.  The one unit course focuses on the specific research presented in the update seminars at the Annual Conference in FL.
  2. LaPres is also teaching a course called Teaching Respiratory Physiology I- Functional Anatomy and Ventilation. This two credit course requires participants to create lesson plans that facilitate the teaching of respiratory topics to undergrads.
  3. Dr. Bryan Schmeafsky, also from Lone Star College, will teach Physiology of Death and Senescence. This is another two credit course that explores the physiology of these two inevitable conditions.

Sign up to take one of these courses and maximize your learning at the annual conference.  What a great opportunity!

7- Active Learning Makes Me Happy

Sometimes my class is a party…

Maybe you are starting to get a sense of this, but I like it when my students are happy. I often use their satisfaction as evidence that a technique or lesson is “successful.”  I understand that happiness may or may not correlate with LEARNING, but I can’t seem to shake the drive to make my students happy (though I am unwilling to give them extra credit or “easy” exams to accomplish this.)  My push to make happy students isn’t linked to the external requirement for positive student evaluations; I am still technically a part-time instructor and we are officially evaluated ONCE every THREE YEARS. But I still find my pedagogy revolves around what students LIKE.  While I think there are some very important reasons to stay true to this intention, I had an interesting experience this week that might provide an important nudge away from the “do what it takes to make students happy” camp.

We began the skeletal system in Human Anatomy on Tuesday.  This lab is notorious on our campus for being the point at which quantity of content PLATEAUS.  The labs prior to the bone lab are progressively more challenging, but none of the labs after the bone lab are MORE difficult (though they certainly are not easier!)  I always note that if you can master the bone lab, you are ready to handle the rest of the course.

Because of the notorious difficulty of the lab, I came up with a task for students to carry out during their three hour lab period.  I divided our bones into 6 stations (skull, superior limbs, pelvis, etc), provided groups with sticker tags, and asked them to create a practical quiz for their assigned station.  I then gave them about 20 minutes to create the quiz for their station, complete with an answer key, and then I had them move through the stations and take each others’ quizzes.  I found the experience a little exhausting in my morning lab, because there was a general undercurrent of disgruntlement about the activity that just made me tired.  So when the afternoon lab came in, I ended up giving them a CHOICE: they could do my activity, or study on their own.  All of the students in the afternoon lab chose to study on their own and the general mood was much more pleasant.

And then I graded their quizzes, which were given to each group at the end of their lab sessions.  Ready?

The early lab (who DID the activity) scored an average of 1.2 points higher on their 10 point quiz when compared to the late lab (who studied on their own).  Now these are students who FIGHT to the DEATH about one point on a 100 point exam…so this difference will be perceived as ENORMOUS for my team.  Of course, I wondered if perhaps my afternoon students were always…more challenged than the early group, so I compared the averages for the two previous quizzes.  One quiz had the early lab leading by 0.2 points and the other quiz had the late lab leading by 0.1 points.  That counts as a wash in Wendy-land.

...and sometimes not.
…and sometimes it isn’t.

This was a “moment” for me. I won’t ever ditch the idea that happy students learn more and I really believe that the ability to motivate students is a powerful teaching tool.  But I do think I need to follow my instincts and require my students to do the same, whether they are happy, or not.

6- Case Studies

The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Logo
The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science is an absolute treasure trove of interesting cases!

After spending nearly a year recording video lectures for my flipped classes, I have finally arrived at a semester in which MOST of the lectures have been recorded (for better or worse) and I am able to focus my time on improving the quality of the ACTIVITIES we do during class time.  Although I am painfully critical of the quality of my existing video lectures, I am grateful to finally have more time to work on the class activities.

I am always intrigued by case studies and if you haven’t taken a look at the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, you really need to check it out.  This resource is included in the APS Archive and it is literally a gold mine of interesting cases.  I’ve signed up for their email listserv and receive monthly updates describing new cases they’ve recently posted.  When I get these emails, I usually end up wishing I taught more classes, because the topics are so engaging.  I was particularly interested in checking out a relatively recent case about Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees.

The group also facilitates an annual summer workshop where participants explore different kinds of case studies, and then write and deliver their own cases to a guinea pig group of undergrads who offer feedback on the experience.  Someday, when I figure out how to squeeze 48 hours out of each 24, I would LOVE to participate in this conference.   But there are other sources of case studies for use in the flipped classroom.  One of my favorite workshops at the HAPS Annual Conference last year in Las Vegas was Cherie McKeever’s workshop on writing your own case studies.  She also offers an online summer class on how to write and implement fun cases.

I am going to experiment with a clicker-based case study on hearing loss this week in Human Physiology.  I will keep you posted!


Arrivederci Italia!

IMG_2596Salve i miei colleghi!

In my previous post about Anatomia Italiana 2013 our group had just visited the La Specola anatomical wax museum at the University of Florence. Since then we visited two other collections of anatomical waxes, and the historic anatomy theater at the University of Bologna. Present here also are Luigi Galvani’s tools for his neurophysiology experiments. Amazing! Pictured above, Prof. Alessandro Ruggeri discusses the historic collection of specimens at the Luigi Cattaneo Museum, which is in the present anatomy department at the University of Bologna.

Once we moved onto to a four day stay in Venice, we took a brief train ride for a day visit to the University of Padau. Here we got to see the oldest permanent anatomy theatre (1595), the location of anatomic study by the likes of William Harvey. Was it here that Harvey entertained his first thoughts on the nature of the circulatory system? An added bonus was to sit within the lecture hall of Galileo, and stand before his podium.

The sense of history that our group experienced was personally rewarding, and truly a professional development exercise. We often shared ideas on how to incorporate what we learned on this venture into our classes.

Anatomia Italian 2013 concluded this weekend after two weeks in Italy. Most of us have returned home by now, while a few in the group extended their stay in Europe. All of us, however,  will never forget our journey back in time to the venues where anatomy as a science in medical education began.

The exciting idea about all of this is that in 2014 HAPS members can participate in Anatomia Italiana and also enroll in a three-unit HAPS-I course. A month of online readings prior to the travel experience, followed by the submission of a teaching element after a visit to Italy is the essence of the course. If the 2014 HAPS-I Anatomia Italiana course is something you are considering, you can download the syllabus by clicking here. Details are also on the HAPS-I registration page, which can be visited by clicking here. The entire travel program can be reviewed at the Anatomia Italiana webpage. Keep in mind that it is also an option to travel with Anatomia Italiana and not enroll in the HAPS-I course.

IMG_2709Buona giornata, e ci vediamo a presto,

Kevin Petti, Ph.D.
San Diego Miramar College