One of the concepts that co-author Gary Thibodeau and I have considered to be important in our textbook Anatomy & Physiology is the idea of teaching up. What is "teaching up?" What we mean by teaching up is the strategy used by nearly every A&P ...


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Using Your Textbook to 'Teach Up' in Anatomy and Physiology

One of the concepts that co-author Gary Thibodeau and I have considered to be important in our textbook Anatomy & Physiology is the idea of teaching up.

What is "teaching up?" 

What we mean by teaching up is the strategy used by nearly every A&P professor that we know when they add some concepts or facts that go beyond the typical "baseline" content of an undergraduate A&P book. Facts that are not plainly visible in the typical A&P textbook.

Teaching up is the logical consequence of tailoring learning experiences to individual learners, particular programs, or the unique objectives of a particular course.

Examples include adding a few additional bone markings to the course when you know that your students are likely to encounter them in their unique clinical courses at your school. Or there may be a particular theme or concept that you want to emphasize, and you need a few more details of anatomy to set the stage for your explanation.

In a nutshell, teaching up is taking an introductory textbook (such as Anatomy & Physiology) and adding your own additional content for your unique course.

How we enable teaching up

Gary and I have always done our best to make sure that the construction of the text narrative--and especially the illustrations and tables--are suitable for such teaching up.

When commissioning new anatomic art, we ask the medical illustrator to make sure that certain features are drawn in, even if they are not called out in the text narrative or labeled in that illustration. We do the same when designing diagrams and organizing summary tables for each chapter.

One of our jobs as textbook authors is to maintain an awareness of what is "usual" in A&P courses--and what is expected. Not as easy as it sounds, but I think we manage okay. However, we also know that each course is different and we want to make our book usable for those that like to add a little bit here and a little bit there in their courses. By make our book teach-up friendly, we attempt to help all of our users

How to teach up

Here's the method I've used (and tweaked over the years) to teach up in my A&P courses.

First, when I introduce that extra bone feature (for example), I make it clear that it's not emphasized (or perhaps even mentioned) in the book. One can do this during a live or video lecture, a course outline or syllabus, a handout, announcement in the learning management system (LMS) or course website/blog/twitter, or any number of ways.

It's important to take care in emphasizing your deviation from the textbook, because if it is presented in your course in an off-handed way, most students won't realize it's not that way in the textbook, and may fail to make proper note of it.

Expanding on that first point about emphasizing moments when I teach up, I want to add that I nearly always specifically tell them to make note of it. Not just mention that it's added content, but to also take a moment NOW and write it down. Really. I often say that out loud: "Really! Write it down now!"

Often, it's merely a matter of adding an additional label to an existing illustration, so I may tell them the specific Figure number and show them where to put the new label. Then give them a moment to do so. I even do this in the video lectures I use in my course.

Second, when emphasizing the addition of extra content, I often explain the rationale for why I'm adding things. A&P students often feel very overwhelmed by just the baseline content of the course--they want to know why you insist on adding more to their overflowing brains.

For example, mentioning that, "I know many of your will be in our nursing clinicals, and I know that this fact is something that will help you there if you learn it now." Or "those who are going into our rad tech program are really going to need to know this fact."

Besides letting students know that there is a method to your madness, this strategy also helps them realize the connection between isolated facts and real-world applications. That's not always so easy to see in the basic science courses--before they've encountered their clinical courses. By giving those occasional "why you need to know this" explanations, we are actually shifting the mindsets of our students in a way that helps them learn more deeply.

If any of you have some of those "teaching up" concepts that you'd like see reflected in the details of our illustrations, pass your ideas along to me. Please include your rationale for including them in your course. We'll see what we can do make sure we set the stage properly for your teach-up moments!

Top photo: Stefan Krilla


Where Are the Learning Objectives?!

From the very first edition, there have never been chapter objectives in Anatomy & Physiology. Why is that?

Let me start by asking the question How likely is it that every single course using a particular textbook would have the SAME objectives? Not likely. The makeup of the student population in a course matters. The context of the institution matters. All kinds of factors are involved in setting a proper set of learning objectives for any particular course.

We feel that it's much better for the objectives to appear in the course syllabus (or similar course-based location). That way, they exactly reflect what the student should achieve. This results in far less confusion for students trying to reconcile all the many concepts and facts in the book vs. what they will actually be held accountable for learning. Students will have a much better idea of how to prepare for tests.

But the instructors are not left to fend for themselves completely. In the TEACH lesson plans—available online in the Evolve Instructor Resources that accompany Anatomy & Physiology—there are sets of objectives already laid out for you. These include chapter objectives AND section objectives—all aligned with the HAPS Learning Outcomes.

The idea is that each instructor (or department) can copy over to their syllabus only the objectives that actually apply to their course. Perhaps adding, changing, deleting bits here and there. We feel that this works much better for student learning. But it does take some thought and effort on the part of the instructor.

This isn't one of the reasons we don't include chapter objectives in Anatomy & Physiology, but this about this—how many times have we all realized of how "stinking big" all the two-semester A&P books are? So I'm loathe to add (how many?) pages to the book by adding 48 sets of objectives!

Easter Eggs in A&P

In my introductory post for this blog, I promised some behind-the-scenes trivia from the Anatomy & Physiology textbook—and I realize I have yet to deliver on that promise. So, with actual Easter eggs still fresh on our minds, I thought I'd reveal a few bits of the "hidden information" that gamers like to call easter eggs.

This round (yes, I'm implying more in the future) features a few visual easter eggs.

First up is that illustration in the Big Picture section that introduces the Anatomy & Physiology textbook, It's on page 2, facing the opening page of Chapter 1. The woman in the central photo of that illustration is my wife, Jenny. 

Early editions of Anatomy & Physiology used a different model, but we needed to update the photo for a planned rearrangement of its elements. So Jenny and I went out to our college's Lake Patton (that's what I call it, anyway), and Jenny posed on a boulder in the same position as the original model (who was sitting on stairs). She wore clothing of similar color and style to the drawn art components, and held a book the same way.

Although we have reconfigured that Big Picture illustration a few times since then, we're still using Jenny's picture. For each edition, our production team replaces the cover within the photo with a cover to match that edition.

The ninth edition of Anatomy & Physiology features a whole new set of photos that depict different types of body movements, such flexion, extension, circumduction, etc. Most of them appear in Chapter 14 (Articulations).

Before I tell the story of the new photos, I'd like to mention that I had some hesitation in replacing some of the older photos. I had some ideas for a new approach, so I finally made the leap to a new set of photos with a consistent presentation. But a few of the older images were from a way-back photo with my co-author Gary Thibodeau, featuring his two kids, Doug and Beth, who were teens at the time. Although I hated to lose that "family connection," I think the new images work really well for teaching, too.

The new series was shot at a huge photo studio in St. Louis, just down the street from my old high school. I live near St. Louis and my editors are all based at the St. Louis offices of Elsevier Publishing. It was an amazing experience. The advanced equipment, advanced facilities, and skilled photographers and professional models, all made the several days of shooting seem more like fun than work. Before that day, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "foot model," so it was a great learning experience, too!

All those photos were shot in front of a gigantic green backdrop that curved forward to cover the floor. After choosing our final selections of each photo, the photographer digitally replaced the green background with a transparent background. By doing so, each model appears to have the page itself as a background—and the text can be easily wrapped around some of the images without being distracting. I also like the "clean" look of photos with no apparent background.

A pair of illustrations on page 196, in Chapter 10 (Skin) are two more more illustrations with a bit of a story.

Figure 10-19 is another photo from the multi-day photo shoot I just mentioned. We wanted a new shot of male pattern baldness and we hadn't hired a model for just for that shot.

In fact, this shot wasn't even on our planned list of new photos. But when it came up, a photographer said, "just a minute!" and picked up his camera as he ran off to a suite of offices down the hall. He came back with a smile and great photo of a colleague from an office down the hall.

On the same page (196), that photo of the mix of black and white hairs that make up a typical head of gray hair is a shot of my head. When I was working on revising this chapter in a previous edition, I grabbed a digital camera and handed it to my wife, Jenny, and asked her to take a close up of hairs on my temple. I'm thinking of using this on the "about the author" page in the next edition.

Getting back to that amazing photo shoot in St. Louis, there is one more photo I want to mention. It's a shot of a slice of pizza used in a Case Study on page 961, near the end of Chapter 41 (Nutrition and Metabolism). It was nearing lunch time on the first shooting day, and an astute photographer brought up the "pizza shot" we had on our planning list. He suggested ordering a pizza from a nearby pizzeria that had very photogenic pizza that also happened to taste amazing.

Although it wasn't the thin-crust St. Louis style pizza that had originated in that very neighborhood, I have to say it really was amazing. And photogenic. And it really was that loaded with toppings (no trickery, truly!).

Wow, here I am at the end of a too-long blog post and I haven't even covered the tip of the iceberg. So I'll have to make this a recurring series of behind-the-scenes trivia, gossip, and St. Louis food recommendations. Be sure to subscribe, so you don't miss it!


Pathology Photos Spark Student Interest

As an anatomy and physiology instructor, you already know that students have an innate fascination with the body. I think everybody does, to some extent. But A&P students more so, because they have a demonstrated interest in health care, athletics, or some field related to the human body.

That's one reason that we've always included a lot of dramatic pathology photos in our textbooks. They spark a curiosity in readers that motivates them to read more and find out about that dramatic condition they see in front of them.

Another benefit of pathology photos is that it "brings home" the reality of conditions described in the text narrative. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. And dramatic pictures are perhaps worth even more. Such images may also help the brain reinforce memories by acting as a mnemonic device.

But why have any pathology at all in a "basic science" textbook focused on normal structure and function? Because pathology is a great way to clarify "normal" by revealing what can happen when specific mechanisms or structures "break." It helps prepare students for the clinical concepts they'll be learning in their next courses.

Many users forget, however, that there are lot more of these dramatic pathology images than are seen in the pages of the textbook itself. There are many more among the A&P Connect articles available in the Student Resources online at Evolve.

The online A&P Connect articles feature many images that use various medical imaging techniques, giving students a great introduction to the kinds of medical image that they may see in later courses and in their clinical experiences.

Medical images not only enhance student motivation, they also provide great opportunities to practice visualizing the body in many different planes and from different perspectives.

A&P professors may want to "spice up" their course materials with pathology images from the book (available at Evolve Instructor Resources) and from the A&P Connect articles (Evolve Student Resources).

CT scan: Yale Rosen (not from textbook)

2016 Textbook Excellence Award for A&P 9e!

I'm happy to announce that today, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) announced that our textbook—Anatomy & Physiology 9th edition—is a winner of the 2016 Textbook Excellence Award.

This award "recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials."

TAA is a group of textbook and scholarly authors who work together as peers in striving to improve our effectiveness.  The honor of receiving this award is enhanced by the fact that it was thoroughly examined by accomplished textbook authors in our discipline—a very humbling experience.

I think the judges have recognized that our book has a unique combination of strong text narrative, illustrations, and learning features that sets it apart as an effective learning tool.

I think the award also recognizes the excellent work of the many members of our team responsible for the continuing success of this textbook. Besides Gary and I as authors, there are many contributors, reviewers, editors, other publishing professionals, illustrators and designers, learning consultants, and many other colleagues, who have critical roles in producing our textbook.

If you haven't had a chance to check out what sets this A&P textbook apart, click here and see for yourself.

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