Well, friends, I'll bet most of us didn't see this pandemic coming. Not to the extent of impact it's had on the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology. But it's here and we're going to roll with the punches and deliver a positive and productive ...
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Patton Anatomy & Physiology

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COVID-19 Scramble: Adapting to Remote Learning, Suddenly

Well, friends, I'll bet most of us didn't see this pandemic coming. Not to the extent of impact it's had on the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology. But it's here and we're going to roll with the punches and deliver a positive and productive learning experience for our students, right?

To help us all get ourselves organized and on the right track as we adapt to suddenly having to move our face-to-face course homes to a remote venue out there in the vast expanse of space, I've assembled a few "get started" resources to help you adapt.

Quickly Moving to Remote Delivery—The Musical

This is an "emergency" bonus episode of my podcast (The A&P Professor). The brief audio presentation presents nineteen tips on how to get started. And there are three A&P songs from my friend and fellow A&P teacher, Greg Crowther. For a sing-along! We could all use a light-hearted sing-along about sodium ions right now, am I right?

Go to theAPprofessor.org/64b for an audio player plus a lot of links and other resources. Or subscribe in your favorite podcast player and look for Episode 64b.

There is also an earlier episode called Mid-Winter Winterizing of Our Courses meant to help prepare us before this all flooded in upon us. Many of these prep tips are still useful, even as the metaphorical flood waters continue to rise all around us. Go to theAPprofessor.org/63b

TEACH Instructor Resources for Anatomy & Physiology

This little gem has been there all along! Really. In your Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition.  TEACH has all kinds of tips and strategies that can be used to generate ideas for learning activities that can be adapted for remote teaching.

Included in TEACH are:
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Handouts
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Pretest Questions and Pretest Answers

If you don't have an Evolve account, then just go to evolve.elsevier.com and click on Sign In in the upper right, then click on Create Account near the bottom of the form that pops up. Make sure you apply for a faculty account. It will take a day or so to verify your faculty status. In the search box on the home page, or when you click Catalog at the top, type in Evolve Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition, then request access. The TEACH resources will be listed in the Instructor Resources tab.

But wait! There's more...

Teaching Tips

Also found in your  Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition, a separate sheet of advice—simply called Teaching Tips—supplements the TEACH resources to spark ideas for your transition to remote teaching.  

Besides the TEACH resources and Teaching Tips, there are all kinds of other resources in your  Evolve (Instructor) Resources for Anatomy & Physiology 10th Edition:

  • Audience Response Questions—meant for "clicker" systems in a classroom, they can be easily adapted for online presentations to spark student thinking during an online "lecture" or demonstration.
  • Image Collection—contains (labeled and unlabeled) jpeg and PowerPoint versions of each image from the textbook.
  • Test Bank—can be a great resource for quickly constructing online quizzes and reviews. Consider using them for Testing-as-Teaching, a type of retrieval practice mentioned later in this post.

The A&P Professor

I already mentioned The A&P Professor podcast, but there is lot more there for you than those "emergency" bonus episodes. It's worth exploring the whole list for practical tips and advice as you move to remote teaching. The great thing about podcast episodes is that you can listen to them while you are wiping down the surfaces in your home, making your family's meals, and rearranging your stacks of toilet paper. Here are a few selected topics to start with:

Besides the podcast, The A&P Professor website includes other resources, such as online seminars for teaching anatomy and physiology. Here are a couple that may be helpful as this time:

Free eText

VitalSource and Elsevier have partnered to provide eText access to students. To assist students at disrupted semester-calendar schools who are losing access to course materials due to COVID-19 campus closures, VitalSource has been joined by Elsevier to offer free access to etexts to students whose classes have moved online from March 16 through May 25, 2020. Students will be able to access the expansive catalog of eTexts from participating publishers through the VitalSource Bookshelf app effective immediately.

Besides this being useful to students who are "stuck without" their textbooks, it can offer additional opportunities to connect with students in a remote environment. 

For example, something that I do in an online course I teach is let my students "subscribe" to the highlights and notes in my own copy of the eText version of the textbook. 

I can mark areas of particular importance, add commentary on what they should be looking at in a section or illustration, and clarify concepts that commonly challenge student learning. This could be particularly useful in "holding the hand" of a confused and dazed student who is trying to adapt to a new learning environment.

Coloring Book

I've been seeing a lot of advice to folks in general, telling them to sit around as a family and color in their coloring books. That makes a lot of sense in terms of diffusing stress and connecting in a positive way with those with whom we are house-bound. 

Why not suggest to students to do that, but use Mosby's Anatomy & Physiology Coloring Book as one of their coloring books? 

In a post from my blog The A&P Student, I recommend coloring as a way to study anatomy and physiology in a new and fun way—that also calms the nerves. So their nerves will become calm as they study their nerves! Check out Coloring Books Are Powerful Study Tools (And They Help Manage Stress).

Okay, whew! That's enough for now, eh? Don't hesitate to reach out if I can be of help to you. 


The New Adaptive Quizzing Tool Is Available!

Did you know that there's a new version of  Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) now available for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition?

I've mentioned the value of EAQ in the past, but this version has been updated and enhanced to be an even more valuable learning and teaching tool! 
  • Have you ever wished that you could tell where your students are struggling with content by just glancing at a dashboard?

  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if your students were being quizzed on material they’re struggling with versus material they’ve already mastered?

How would you like to create a quiz or a test that adapts to your student’s needs, in just 3 easy steps?

Check out this 1 minute video below to show you how!

My friend Ashley Nagel over at Elsevier Publishing is hosting a 30-minute live demo on EAQ for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition on Thursday, October 4th at 1:00 PM CST.

If you would like to attend, simply register by clicking or copying/pasting this link:


If you attend, Ashley will send you a fantastic gift that’s fit for an A&P Instructor!

If you’re unable to make it to this demo, but would like to set up a private demo at a time that better works for your schedule, still register for this meeting and then shoot Ashley an email at a.nagel@elsevier.com . She’ll be happy to set up a time with you!


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What's Up with Eponyms in A&P? Part 2

In my previous article, I gave some reasons why in the Anatomy & Physiology textbook I avoid possessive form for all eponyms (which I lump together with toponyms) and avoid capitalizing eponyms in which the name is converted to a different form. For example, I use Henle loop instead of loop of Henle and I use eustachian tube instead of Eustachian tube.

Next, why are eponyms usually presented as only the secondary or alternate term? For example, why is the term preferred in the textbook pancreatic islets and not islets of Langerhans or Langerhans islets? It turns out that this is another contemporary trend that I agree with.

Eponyms can be problematic. As much as I love saying Islets of Langerhans out loud—and I truly do—the term does not tell anyone much about the actual structure. Okay, it tells me that they are small and isolated, which I get from the term islets. However, the eponym doesn't tell me where to find them. Or what they do. Or much of anything very useful. But pancreatic islets tells me much more about them. Not everything, of course—but such descriptive terms tell me much more than does the eponym islets of Langerhans. 

Another potential problem with eponyms has to do with the people themselves. For example, recent discussions of Hans Asperger have expressed concerns about a potentially complicated relationship with Nazi "race hygiene." Although named for him, the condition Asperger syndrome (AS) may have been first described nearly two decades earlier by a Russian woman working in the field of child psychology.

Besides that, the Asperger eponym has been dropped from the ICD (International Classification of Disease) and the DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in favor of a new range of conditions under the umbrella term autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In general, the ICD and DSM usually consider eponyms as secondary alternatives to "proper" disease terminology.

There are several issues at play with terms like the Asperger eponym. One is the fact that many (perhaps most) eponyms recognize the individual with the best awareness ratio, most aggressive supporters, and (probably mostly) lucky timing—not necessarily the person(s) most deserving of recognition. 

Another issue is the fact that we don't want to be reminded of Nazi ideology or atrocities when we are using scientific and medical terminology—nor are we anxious to honor individuals who may have used morally questionable methods or have other unsavory qualities.

Yet another potential issue with such eponyms is that they may reflect the dark underbelly of the history of science.
 Cross section of fallopian tube
Cross section of fallopian tube

For example, Asperger syndrome may have been first described by a woman—but the condition was named for a man. This case is probably more about luck of timing and particulars of awareness of the existing literature at a time when scientific reports were not as easily accessed across the globe as is the case nowadays. However, it can't be denied that most eponyms are named for men and that probably reflects the historical exclusion of women from science—and from scholarly endeavor in general.

A number of discussions have also questioned why many anatomical structures that are uniquely female are named with eponyms that honor men such as Fallopius, Bartholin, Skene, and so on.

Even though this my second consecutive article on the topic of eponyms, I'm still not finished! Stay tuned for Part 3 of my discussion...coming up in my next blog post. In that, I discuss the various lists of terminology and how we A&P teachers can best help our students deal with a changing terminology during this time of transition.


What's Up with Eponyms in A&P? Part 1

Eponyms are terms based on a person's name—such as Langerhans islet. Often, it's the recognized discoverer of a structure, process, condition, medical procedure, or whatever.

Toponyms are similar, but are named for a place rather than a person. For example, Lyme disease is a toponym, named for a town in Connecticut where the condition was first identified. In anatomy and medical circles, toponyms are often lumped together with eponyms. I'll do that here, too—because my explanations apply equally to both kinds of terms.

In Anatomy & Physiology, you may notice some things about the use of eponyms and toponyms that you are wondering about. So here's the scoop...

First, you may wonder why I avoid the possessive form of eponyms. For example, Parkinson disease  rather than Parkinson's disease. This method converts the possessive form to an adjective. By doing that, it's clear that Dr. Parkinson did not own the disease, nor did he have the condition himself. It's now very clear that the term refers to a particular disease named after Parkinson. I agree with this strategy.

It turns out that this has been the trend for a quite a while, but only recently becoming widespread in use. For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) and other professional organizations that have something to say about terminology, recommend this approach. Because I think a textbook should reflect contemporary usage and engage with emerging approaches that have recently become mainstream, it makes sense to go in this direction.

Something else you may wonder about is that some eponyms are capitalized and others are not. For example, why are fallopian tube and eustachian tube not capitalized when Corti organ and Henle loop are capitalized?

Honestly, I only recently learned about this issue—when my copyeditor and I started going back and forth changing each other's terms from capitalized to lowercase, back to capitalized again, then lowercase again. It turns out that it's an increasingly common style to drop the capitalization when the person's name is converted to an altered form. As when Fallopius is altered to fallopian.

What is important to remember is that using possessive forms eponyms is not wrong. Nor is capitalizing Haversian canal. However, neither usage is in favor around many professional circles right now. My purpose is merely to explain why my usage may differ from the way you and I were trained.

You may also wonder why I usually relegate eponyms to only secondary or alternate status when naming structures and processes of the body. And you may wonder how we handle these changes in usage in a world where some professionals still use the older terminology. Those answers will have to wait until my next few articles. This one is already too long!


New Unit Pre-Tests Help Jump-Start Student Learning

A particularly exciting update in the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology is the new learning feature in the opening of each unit of the book.

Recall that A&P is chunked into more, smaller chapters than other 2-semester A&P textbooks to reduce a reader's cognitive load while learning. This improves both the reader's engagement with the book, making them more likely to actually read it, and the overall ability to learn from it. These small chapters are grouped into six logical units, mapped out in the color-coded list on the first page of the book (facing the cover) that corresponds to the color tabs visible on the page edges.

In previous editions, the unit-opener page had a listing of the chapters within that unit plus a brief introduction to the "story" of the unit. I have now expanded that into a two-page spread that also includes a brief pre-test to get students engaged in the upcoming topics.

Learning science shows that pre-tests help jump-start student learning. Long used solely to measure students' prior knowledge, pre-tests have demonstrated their own ability to enhance learning outcomes—even if teachers never look at the scores. I have found this to be profoundly true in my own A&P teaching.

The concept and design of our new unit openers was worked out by textbook learning guru Michael Greer, veteran A&P teacher Terry Thompson, and myself. Terry then worked in consultation with me and our editors and book designers to execute the final versions.

Students will see just a few illustrated questions that help students refresh learning from prior chapters that they'll need when reading the new unit, along with questions that preview new concepts they'll encounter. Such pre-testing "primes the pump" by getting them thinking about key concepts ahead of their reading. And it sets the stage for connecting new learning with prior learning.

Readers get immediate feedback on the accuracy of their answers by using the answer key printed sideways along the page edge.  Just like in a magazine quiz, eh? That ensures that they're not accidentally remembering the wrong answer as they read.

Readers also get an embedded hint that tells them why the pre-test is there (to jump-start their learning).

Of course, our students may just skip the unit openers. So we need to tell them about it. Continued and emphatic reminders of the value of these pre-tests in making their reading and learning easier is a key to its role in student success in our course.


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