25- HAPS and Social Media

I am the chair of the HAPS Communication Committee (affectionately known as the HAPS ComCom).  Our committee’s task is to promote HAPS via social media.  This is a really interesting task.  HAPS currently has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  We are exploring Instagram as well.

Wow...there are a lot of ways to share your thoughts via social media.  But who's listening?
Wow…there are a lot of ways to share your thoughts via social media. But who’s listening?

But when I think about all the possible social media outlets, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  How can we increase our audience?  And how many HAPSters participate in social media anyway?  It actually became a rather amusing quest for me at the annual conference in May to find HAPSters who tweet…let me just say tweeting HAPSters were few and far between.  Thankfully, we did find Sarah Balizan, (also known as the HAPS Twitter Queen), who’s doing an inspirational job of keeping the HAPS Twitter account active.

Right now, and for the next couple of weeks, we will be engaged in a bit of a social media experiment with the Anatomia Italiana crew while they are on their exciting Italian field trip starting this week.  Team leader Kevin Petti has generously agreed to provide us with lots of social media fodder to share.  He will be writing posts for this blog, as well as doing daily updates via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Our Communications Committee is mobilized to re-tweet, favorite, and otherwise share his Italian updates.   I’m excited to see if our team can generate some increased interest in our social media presence.

So I’m curious.  How do HAPSters use social media?  Are you interested in following Anatomia Italiana around Italy?  Do you tweet?  Do you use Facebook?  Have you explored Google+ or LinkedIn?

So weigh in on this poll and follow the hype for the next couple of weeks.  Then let us know what you think.  In the meantime, happy communicating!

23- A Decision

"Sanity" and "Insanity" signs
Hmmm…left or right…left or right?

I’m a stubborn human.  I also have some pretty grave questions about my sanity.  Because it was just this morning as I chatted with my mom on the phone during a very slow jog through my neighborhood, that I AGAIN lamented about whether or not I was going to flip Human Biology in the fall.

Really??!  Does anyone else get the feeling that we’ve been here before?

But I think this time, I really did work through the issue (though I did ask my mom to remind me of this decision should I somehow lose focus before fall).

So here’s the ultimate reason I am firmly committing to NOT flipping Human Bio this fall.  There are only 17 students enrolled in the course at this time and the course will not be offered again until next summer at the earliest.  There.  So if I were to flip the class, I would invest the ridiculous amount of flipping energy for 17 students (whom I’m sure I will love very much, and who are probably quite deserving of the educational advantages that the flip offers).  But 17 students in 1 year just doesn’t justify the time it would take to prepare for an effective flip.

I think I feel peaceful about this decision.  The true test will be to see what the blog topic is NEXT week.  If I’m still talking about whether or not to flip Human Biology in the fall, you’ll know this peaceful sense is an illusion.  But if I’ve moved onto a new topic, then we’ll all happily put this one to bed and I’ll start trying to remember how NOT to flip a class!   HA!

22- To Flip or not to Flip?

Fair use image of Bart Simpson.
I will NOT flip the classroom upside down…I will not…really…I will not…

I’m slowly settling into the swing of summer…and it is time to pull the trigger on a decision I have been struggling with for a couple of months now.

In the fall, I will be teaching a new class that I have never flipped:  Human Biology.  This is a non-majors course that is general bio, anatomy and physio, IN ONE SEMESTER.  Obviously, we must do a very light survey of these three courses, all of which I’ve taught multiple times before.  I do not anticipate the prep being too difficult, from a content perspective.  But I am having an ongoing internal battle about whether or not to FLIP the class.

There are a million points on the “FLIP IT!” side of the equation.  Students love it.  I have more time to work with them during class.  We can do more FUN STUFF!  Plus, I’m the flipping QUEEN, right?  I’ve been flipping all over the place for 2 years now.  I’m a flipping phenom!

But maybe I’m growing up a little bit (!) because I am not sure I can handle the stress of DEADLINES that inevitably accompanies the decision to flip a new class.  I’ve spent two years under the “gotta get a lecture recorded before I go to bed TONIGHT” mandate.  Even my YouTube students who don’t’ even know me comment on the scattered and unfocused rambling in my video lectures that is directly proportional to the lateness of the hour (and hits a peak around 1am).

Besides that, fall already promises to be a very busy semester.  It will be my first semester as a full-time tenure-track professor (after 5 years as an adjunct in this institution).  Plus, I will be teaching Human Anatomy again, which I find to be pretty intense.  Add to that the fact that we have two brand new cadavers (who will be with us for the next 3-5 years)…and I am utterly confident my fall plate will be overfull.

Every cell in my body says, “Make the smart flippin’ decision, Riggs.”  And my cells have been saying this for, oh, a couple of months now.  So what part of me is still refusing to pull the trigger and admit that I will NOT be flipping Human Biology in the fall?  I know it is time…and I know what I need to do…it just makes me sad, because I really love flipping.

So I’ll probably just end up agonizing over the summer until it really is too late to pull off a quality flip, and then the decision will be made for me.  Ask me again in August.

19- Get the Conference APP!

The HAPS App!  We can do THAT!
The HAPS App!  We can do THAT!

I’m super excited about the HAPS Annual Conference APP.  This little app, which can be run on your computer OR phone, is a fantastic tool to ensure you make the most of your Jacksonville adventure, which begins next weekend.  (It isn’t too late to decide to crash the HAPS party next weekend…online registration is available until May 26!)

The APP is a power-packed wonder of a tool to keep you organized and informed at the Annual Conference.  And even if you can’t attend next week (we’ll miss you), you can use the app to keep up with what’s happening at the conference.  So let me just tell you a few of the cool things I can do with my app:

  1. I can build a personalized schedule of conference events using the amazing app!  While this will certainly keep me organized and efficient, I am already finding the process to be particularly painful, especially as I attempt to figure out which workshops I plan to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday at Florida State College.  This process is painful because during most sessions, there are at least 5-12 workshops I really Really REALLY want to attend.  Last year I found it extremely challenging to narrow down the workshop options during each session to ONLY ONE. I am optimistic that the amazing APP will help me sleep in peace as I maximize my professional development potential.  (I wonder how many times I will revise my personal schedule on my app???)
  2. With the app, you can set alarms to remind you to get where you want to go.  This will be particularly helpful for the morning sessions, because I am NOT a morning person.
  3. We can TWEET!  There is a Twitter part of the app that lets us follow the Twitter-ific commentary from other HAPSters. Just tag your tweets #HAPS2014.
  4. Have a question?  The app can do that!  There are maps, exhibitor lists, sponsor information, and even a link to this fabulous blog.

So download the app and get ready for FUN TIMES AHEAD.  See you in Jacksonville!

See you there!
See you there!

18- Let’s Share

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_Share_Your_Knowledge.png
Teachers share. It is what we do.

Information is cheap.  Teachers are no longer holders of ALL knowledge.  Instead, we help organize the massive quantities of information that are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.  Our task has clearly shifted from “Let me TELL YOU everything I know!” to “Let me show you how to understand all this information that is available to you RIGHT NOW.”  We do this by creating a path through the information that ultimately helps students build their own understanding inside their own brains.  The way the information is organized cannot be copyrighted…it cannot be “sold.”  And maybe because of this, many teachers are eager to share their ideas and methods.

I think by nature, teachers are a generous bunch.  The HAPS email listserv is an excellent example, as are the contributors to the Life Science Teaching Resources Community.  I know that I am extremely complimented when someone is interested in using my teaching resources.  It somehow adds additional validity to my work, making the investment feel more “worth it.”  And I think we all remember what it is like to teach a class for the first time (or to TEACH for the first time!)  We start out with nothing…but if someone shares with us, we start out with a glimpse of their experience and perspective, which can be invaluable.  This is what is so great about the HAPS Annual Conference.  It is an amazing opportunity to SHARE!

I do understand being shy to share…because it is easy to feel like our materials aren’t “perfect” yet.  But I know someone else’s imperfect materials are STILL a start for me!  (And I’m sure many of you are like me and don’t ever use anything AS IS.  We always have to tweak things!)

For most authors,
the greatest risk is not
piracy
but
obscurity.
-Tim O’Reilly

Sharing makes us all better educators.  What a lovely thing!

HAPS Leadership (#26): Steering Committee preparations for JAX!

We're here to serve you!
We’re here to serve you!

Seventeen days until the 2014 HAPS Conference in Jacksonville, Florida and the Steering Committee is busy making preparations for our 28th annual conference. As usual, there are so many things to do at the conference, and the Steering Committee Chairs are busy getting ready for all of them.

You too can earn this much bling for your ID badge!
You too can earn this much bling for your ID badge!

The conference starts off Saturday evening with the Opening Reception. It’s a great chance to renew friendships and meet a lot of new people. Many of the Chairs will be out in force, welcoming people to the conference. They’ll be a great resource if you’re curious about the events and attractions in store for the week. As usual, Tom Lehman – president-elect – will be there with his tie-dye shirts, ready for the Shirt Swap. Bring your school gear and be ready to find something to take home and treasure.

Quick, there's a bulls-eye!  Get'her signature!
Quick, there’s a bulls-eye! Get’her signature!

Sunday morning, the Chairs will help welcome First Timers to the First-Timer Breakfast with the Presidents Emeriti. They’ll hand out Scavenger Hunt cards to the First-Timers, who’ll have the challenge of finding chairs of each committee and getting their initials on their card. As you learn about each committee, you’ll be one step closer to the drawing for free conference registration to next year’s annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. Look for the Bulls-eye buttons and that’ll identify the Chairs and Regional Directors (make sure you know which Region you’re from so you can get the write signature).

Throughout Sunday, you’ll find various Chairs manning the Foundation table. Learn from them what the Foundation is and what it can do for you. Several of them will be near the posters, so there’s another opportunity for learning.

Nick furiously signing cards, repping the Foundation table, and describing the Animal Use Committee!
Nick furiously signing cards, repping the Foundation table, and describing the Animal Use Committee!

Monday morning, the Chairs will be up early and bright-eyed for the annual Foundation Fun Run. Come find them out on the Riverfront, directing participants on the Run. It’ll be a great chance to get some exercise and help raise funds for a wonderful cause. After that, come to the Business Meeting and participate in the business of HAPS. We’ve had some great discussions in the past and anticipate another lively and informative meeting.

Later that day, Shanan Atkinson and Peter English will be hosting the Vendor Raffle for amazing prizes. This will be your last chance to get Chair initials before the drawing of the Scavenger Hunt cards. Be sure to have the conference App on your Smart Phone, so you can find the pictures of the Chairs to help you hunt them down.

Why, yes I do know where the Foundation Oversight meeting is.  Follow me...
Why, yes I do know where the Foundation Oversight meeting is. Follow me…

Tuesday, we’ll be at Florida State College for the Workshops. Several of the committees are having their annual meetings during lunch on Tuesday (check the Steering Committee poster for details). That’s an incredible opportunity to learn how much the committees can do and what you can get out of (and put into) a committee.

Wow, all that in less than a week. Whew, it’s going to be a busy time, but we’ve learned in the past that it’s more than worth it. See you in JAX!

Let us help make this conference as rich an experience as possible for you!
Let us help make this conference as rich an experience as possible for you!

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!

HAPS Leadership (#24): Curriculum & Instruction

140409 (1) handshake.jpgSeveral of the committees within the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) can become quite busy at times. Being chair of such a committee can be daunting. At times, we’ve addressed this issue by having two people serve as co-chairs. You’ve probably wondered what it means to be a “co-chair”, so I asked Terry Thompson and Hiranya Roychowdury what it’s been like to take over the reins of the Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) Committee.

Question: How does it feel to be part of the Steering Committee?

140409 (2) Terry ThompsonTerry: It has been an interesting transition. I’ve been part of the C&I committee for years, but it is interesting now to see the workings from the other side. I continue to be impressed with all our organization has to offer and the great people we get to work with. Peter (English) has also been a great help.

Hiranya: This is my first experience in a steering committee for this big an organization. I have been involved with HAPS since 2007, and, interestingly enough, the first person I got to meet and socialize with as a “First Timer” was Carol Veil. I had been interested in the process of Curriculum Development for quite a while, so I offered my services. She asked me to be a “Friend of the Committee” and I worked in that capacity for some time, offering occasional input. Whether it was my continued unfamiliarity with the so-called “inner circle” or my involvement more with the HAPS-EDucator, I had less time to contribute to the C&I modules. However, I was working as a liaison between the C&I and the Testing Committee (and as chair of two subcommittees under it), so I kept tab on what was going on with the Modules and was quite impressed with especially Terry’s “go-get-’em” style.

Question: What are the benefits of having co-chairs for your committee? Any challenges?

Terry: It is nice to have someone else to split up tasks and work off our strengths, and to bounce ideas off of each other. Everyone is so busy, it helps to work together and help each other. The biggest challenge comes not from being co-chairs, but from the transition to the HAPSConnect. Getting everyone comfortable working within the environment and using the google.docs has been a steep learning curve.

140409 (3) Hiranya RoychowduryHiranya: When Ron asked me if I would be interested in co-chairing with Terry, I jumped at the opportunity. It was quite an honor and I just couldn’t pass it up. So far, most of the heavy lifting has been done by Terry, so if you ask me that question, a resounding reply would be “Great! Especially if you had Terry Thompson to work with!”

Question: What is the status of the Committee?

Terry: The Learning Outcomes are now on a review cycle of 5 modules per year – at least that is our goal. We may find there aren’t any changes needed, but we wanted to set in place a review schedule so that they would be updated as needed to fit feedback and possible changes in teaching focus and strategies over time. We will also likely be adjusting them as needed to incorporate recommendations that come from the task groups, such as David’s survey results on lab outcomes and Carol’s work on using word banks. Also Wendy is reviewing current documents on recommendations related to online teaching and that may be updated as well as influence changes to learning outcomes eventually.

Hiranya: Implementing the features from HAPSConnect (Google) has been daunting, but Peter has been quite helpful in our efforts to train our committee members with these features. Terry and I have had to be flexible in assigning modules to committee members as we all learn how to navigate the new website (check it out!) and update our offerings. We’re working to update the list of web-links, so we could use some help with that project.

1525R-69047If there are any HAPSters out there interested in learning more about committee work, Learning Outcomes, and the secret handshake (originally created by Carol Veil and yoga-modified by Ron Gerrits), contact Terry and Hiranya and they’ll be happy to talk C&I with you.

HAPS Leadership (#23): Secretary to the Board

She keeps us sweet!
She keeps us sweet!

An organization lives on its documentation.  You can sink or swim depending on how well you keep track of details.  When the details are there, they help you stay focused and moving forward.  When they’re absent, you meander directionless or backtrack with no idea that you’re retreading previous trails.

Carol Veil is the Secretary for the HAPS Board of Directors.  It’s Carol’s responsibility to keep track of the documentation during meetings and help us to keep our focus.  I had a chance to chat with Carol recently and find out what she thinks of her role and of HAPS.

1.      What’s the coolest part about being the secretary?

      The two coolest things about being secretary are how much I have learned about HAPS and how much better I have gotten to know the other HAPS members on the BOD. 

      There are so many details that must be handled to run an organization like HAPS.  Prior to being on the BOD, I was unaware of the many behind-the-scenes processes that are so necessary.  And as secretary taking the notes at meetings, I am focused on everything that is discussed.  Hands always on the keyboard – no daydreaming!

      It has also been cool getting  to know the other BOD members, some of whom I previously knew by name but had never talked to them more than a quick “hello” at a conference.  It’s fun to see both the “business” and the “casual” sides of everyone.   I must give a big shout-out to President Valerie O’Loughlin and Executive Director Peter English.  They are in constant communication with the BOD (not quite daily emails, but close) and are always working hard on behalf of the organization. 

2.   What’s the biggest challenge? 

     140326 (2) F grade For me, the biggest challenge of being secretary has been learning the appropriate level of detail to include in the minutes that are publically posted for all to read.  Personally, I tend to be very “anal” (I can use that term in an A&P blog, right?) about details. The first draft of minutes that I sent to the President for review included everything that happened at the BOD Google hangout meeting short of who coughed when!   That draft came back to me like an F-student research paper, covered with 140326 (3) A gradestrike-outs and comments.   It took me until the third BOD meeting to become the A-student, with minimal edits to my minutes and a big “thank you” of approval.  The take-home message for me – there is a big difference between personal notes for myself and public minutes for an organization!  

3.  Whose name do you have the hardest time spelling?

The name I have the hardest time spelling correctly is Shannon, Shanon, Shanan (Molnar – our Business Manager from ASG).  I have to remember … only one “n” in the middle and “a-n” at the end!  I got it now! 

4.  What was your impression of the mid-year meeting in JAX?

The mid-year meeting in Jacksonville was a delightful experience. It was the first time for me to meet with the entire BOD in person (as opposed to conference calls and Google hangouts).   In addition, the BOD had one afternoon meeting with the Steering Committee.  It was so nice to interact face-to-face with everyone, rather than electronically.  We got a lot of business accomplished in two long days of meetings. 

Cheers!
Cheers!

In addition, I was pleasantly surprised how beautiful Jacksonville is – I had no idea!  The St. John’s River runs right through the downtown, with numerous bridges crossing over as well as water taxis.  It’s a great location for the 2014 HAPS conference – hotel nicely situated, lovely for an evening walk, a ride on the river, and some good food (such as the tasty chocolate truffle torte at River City Brewing Company!).

11- Be Heard!

Robin_Hood_(1922)_-_Allan_Dwan
Even if you DON’T have access to the world’s biggest microphone (!), you can STILL make your voice heard!

I’ve talked about how valuable the HAPS email listserv is  (join HAPS and sign up for the listserv to see for yourself!) and I’ve analyzed WHY the listserv is so valuable.  It comes down to the active engagement of a knowledgeable community.  The APS Archive of Teaching Resources has the tools necessary to facilitate a similarly engaged community.

I noticed this when I was browsing the Archive.  I created an account with them which allows me to personalize my interactions with the archive via a tool called “myAPSarchive.”  This tool shows up on the left side of the website when I sign in, and posts suggestions for things I might like, based on the preferences I set when I registered.  I was delighted to find a collection of resources on “Interactive Lectures” posted there tonight.  Once you have an account, you can create your own collections.  This is a fantastic option for saving a group of resources related to similar topics!  But even if you don’t create your own, it is really fun to explore the collections posted by OTHERS.  I usually find topic-based collections (check out this cool collection on “Diabetes“), but I was excited to find this  collection based on pedagogy.

Here is where I so clearly see the value of the COMMUNITY.  The “Interactive Lectures” collection was rated by 3 people and had earned a total “star” score of 4.7 out of 5 (the rating  asks you how helpful the resource will be for your teaching).  Once you’ve created an account, rating the collections and activities is as simple as clicking on the stars.  And the more people that rate a collection or activity, the more valuable those stars become.  But  you can also comment on the resources at the bottom of the page.  These comments are very helpful and often provide insight into how the resource can be used.  The “Interactive Lectures” collection has two very thoughtful comments.

I think it is important that if we JOIN the archive community, that we also CONTRIBUTE to the community.  It is easy to do…and we HAPSters are good at it!  So be heard!