Review a Year. Preview a Year. | Debriefing & Predictions
TAPP Radio Episode 132
Episode | Quick Take
Episode 132 is the annual debriefing episode, which features a review of the last year and a look ahead to the coming year. And yes, I make my traditional psychic predictions for the new year, as well as review last year’s predictions.
- 0:00:00 | Introduction
- 0:00:46 | The A&P Professor is Back!
- 0:04:02 | Looking Back at 2022
- 0:14:46 | More Looking Back at 2022
- 0:26:30 | What About Those Sponsor Messages?
- 0:30:31 | Last Year’s Predictions: How Did We Do?
- 0:38:57 | Looking Ahead to 2023
- 1:05:01 | Staying Connected
Episode | Listen Now
Episode | Show Notes
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The A&P Professor is Back!
It’s the second episode of the sixth year of The A&P Professor podcast and, after a special episode on ChatGPT and AI in teaching and learning, we’re now ready for our usual debrief of last year’s episodes, reviewing our predictions of last year, and making new predictions for the coming year.
★ Directions in A&P Teaching | Where We’ve Been & Where We Are Going | Future Trends | TAPP 107 (last year’s debriefing and predictions)
★ End-of-Term Reviews Help Keep Your Course on Track | Episode 17 (how debriefing works in my courses)
★ Is AI the Beginning or End of Learning? | TAPP 131 (the first episode of this sixth year)
Please rate & review The A&P Professor—it helps others decide whether to give us a try! 😁
Looking Back at 2022
The first of two segments that review the topics discussed in the last year of this podcast.
★ Episode List (sortable/searchable list of all episodes of this podcast, each with a list of topics discussed)
★ theAPprofessor.org/updates (check out my Science & Education Updates newsletter)
★ The A&P Professor on Mastodon
★ ★ Handle: @theAPprofessor@qoto.org
★ ★ URL: qoto.org/@theAPprofessor
★ ★ Get started on Mastodon: docs.joinmastodon.org/
★ The A&P Professor on Reddit
★ ★ New subreddit: r/theAPprofessor
★ ★ URL: reddit.com/r/theAPprofessor/
★ ★ A Beginner’s Guide to Reddit: How to Get Started & Be Successful AandP.info/ir0
More Looking Back at 2022
The second of two segments that review the topics discussed in the last year of this podcast.
★ Episode List (sortable/searchable list of all episodes of this podcast, each with a list of topics discussed)
Our annual thanksgiving to the sponsors who support this podcast!
★ The American Association for Anatomy (AAA) at anatomy.org.
★ The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the HAPI degree—at northeastcollege.edu/hapi
★ The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) at theAPprofessor.org/haps
Last Year’s Predictions: How Did We Do?
Overall, we did okay with our predictions made last year! Find out how close (or far) we got.
★ Directions in A&P Teaching | Where We’ve Been & Where We Are Going | Future Trends | TAPP 107 (last year’s debriefing and predictions)
Looking Ahead to 2023
In this segment, Kevin goes out on the proverbial limb to make his psychic predictions for the coming year. For entertainment purposes only.
★ The Plan to Dismantle DEI (an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education) AandP.info/op0
Production: Aileen Park (announcer), Andrés Rodriguez (theme composer, recording artist), Rev.com team (transcription), Kevin Patton (writer, editor, producer, host)
Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!
Episode | Transcript
The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music. Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.
This searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
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Kevin Patton (00:00:00):
The early American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once wrote, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Aileen Park (00:00:14):
Welcome to The A&P Professor, A few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with a veteran educator and teaching mentor, your host, Kevin Patton.
Kevin Patton (00:00:30):
It’s our annual debriefing episode and I have some new psychic predictions.
The A&P Professor is Back!
Welcome back. Happy New Year. We ended our last season of this podcast with a series of four winter shorts. That’s where I remastered one or two or three or four segments from way past episodes that I thought were worth revisiting. You know what? As I did that, I remembered things that I had not thought about in a while, as we often do when we revisit things. For me at least, it was a worthwhile effort. I hope that you also had that experience with these short episodes. Now, this usually leads us into our annual debriefing at the beginning of a new year of podcasting, which is not a short episode like those winter shorts.
This debriefing, by the way, was the original, sole objective for this episode, which was listed in my planner to be the first episode after coming back from the winter shorts. Then, well, the robots tried to take over teaching and learning and gain mastery over humans. Then that one item from my list of predictions that I had planned to go through for this episode, and still am, by the way, well, that became the theme of, well, what ended up becoming the actual first episode of this new sixth year of this podcast. Wow, sixth the year. I can’t believe it’s been going that long.
Well, if you’ve been listening a while, you know that we did this debriefing thing last January in episode 107 and in the turnover episode in each of the previous years. As I first mentioned in episode 17, I regularly do end of term debriefings with my students and also by myself looking at my end of things. Why do I do that? Because it helps me see what happened, what works and what didn’t work. Nearly always, as I look back, I remember things that would’ve otherwise just faded away in my memory. Sort of like when we sort through our old junk and have moments of nostalgia, remembering friends and adventures that we hadn’t thought about in a while, that had sort of faded away in our memories. I think when we do this, it refreshes and strengthens those memories, sort of like retrieval practice does for our students so that we can take those lessons, good or bad, and take them with us and recall them more easily as we make our way through the next year. We get ideas for what we might want to do next. Let’s do that. Let’s do some recollecting.
Looking Back at 2022
Well, looking back at this past year of The A&P Professor podcast for Anatomy and Physiology Faculty, let’s start with the wider world of The A&P Professor…
There were a couple of new things we did this year and different things that we started up. For example, in social media, a lot of people have been moving from Twitter to other similar platforms. One of those is Mastodon. Yeah. I went ahead and established an identity on Mastodon. If you’re interested in doing that, just take a look in the show notes. If you’re already familiar with Mastodon and you’re ready there, I sure would appreciate it if you could follow me and also give me some feedback on what you like that I’m doing or what you wish I would be doing or wish I would be doing differently because well, like you, I’m just learning what it’s all about and how it works.
If you do follow me, you would find me @theAPprofessor@qoto.org. Another social media thing that I started is that I created a subreddit, which is r/theAPprofessor. Boy, I don’t know what I’m doing there. I’m just playing around and trying something new and different because, well, that’s what keeps our synapses connecting and reconnecting. If you’re on Reddit, then maybe you want to take a look at that and get a conversation going or tell me what I’m doing wrong or whatever. Mastodon and Reddit, two new places to find The A&P Professor. That’s besides all the other social media places where you can find us like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and so on.
Another thing that we did this year is that we kind of made some changes in The A&P Professor Science and Education update newsletter. Now, remember, that’s a free newsletter that comes out usually two or three times a week, sometimes less. Well, never more than that. Sometimes they take a day off. That has been going on for years. I started out in a platform called Nuzzle, and then they sold out to Twitter or something and shut down. I had to quickly scramble and we moved over to another platform called Review, which ended up becoming part of Twitter as well. Twitter kept it going. It was working out pretty nicely until, well, there were some big changes at Twitter. One of the things that they threw out the window was Review. I got a notice that, sorry, starting next month, this is going to be gone. I had to scramble around. I switched it to another actually relatively new platform called Substack.
There’s a link in the show notes at the episode page if you’re not already subscribed to that. It’s a free subscription that you get in your inbox, as I say, two to three times a week usually. What it is just a list of headlines and short snippets from major things that are coming out. Some of these are science updates that are either part of our content of the A&P course or there’s something that kind of helps us add to and understand the content of the A&P course a little more deeply. Besides the science updates, we also have education updates. Things happening in the world of education, things about teaching and learning things about colleges and universities, things about the teaching profession. Things that I think that you would find interesting, mainly because I find them interesting. I think since we’re all in the same business, I’m hoping you’re going to find them interesting too.
If you ever come across some ideas, which some of you do, and I really appreciate this when you send along ideas that I can include in that Science and Education update newsletter. Again, there’s a link, go check it out. If you want to subscribe, then go ahead and do that.
Narrowing our focus a little bit to the podcast in particular, let’s start out with the idea of you, the listener. Now, last year at this time, we had just reached a significant milestone of a hundred thousand downloads of episodes. When I checked the stats recently we’re almost at 150,000 downloads, which means you’re not the only listener. There are at least a couple of others who listen. It’s not about numbers. It’s about whether all of this time and effort and money that I’m putting into this podcast is helpful for anyone. Well, I still get some feedback that it is helpful. I guess I’ll keep going for another year or at least for another episode or two.
I still want your feedback. I want more feedback so I know more clearly whether I’m meeting your needs the way you want me to and because I want your ideas reflected in this podcast. I can talk and talk and talk, and I have a story or three for nearly any topic that comes to mind, but really wouldn’t you rather hear some more from each other and a bit less from just me? It’s like in class, we need a few more brave souls to step up to the mic. Well, then soon we’ll have everybody talking. Now, let’s take a look at the episodes and topics that we covered over this past year. As I look back, I’m really glad we were able to cover some of the things that we did. That’s that nostalgia thing going on. It’s like, “Wow. Yeah. I remember when we did that. That really turned out nicely. I really got some good feedback on that. That was fun to do, or important to do.”
Now, before I run through some of the featured topics of last year’s episodes, we did have a few science updates tucked in here and there. For example, I talked about new information on how olfactory adaptation works. I talked about how factors in the cerebrospinal fluid help regulate memory, and knowing that, how we may be able to reverse memory decline. We talked about how we may soon be able to grow new auditory hair cells. For someone who’s hearing impaired like me that was a very important discovery, I think. I’m anxious to see how that develops. We also talked about ways to make talking with a mask easier, especially when communicating with those of us with hearing impairments.
We talked about which arm is best, left or right for a booster shot. That’s based on B-cell memory. There really is a best arm. The best arm is the one that you had the previous vaccination in. We also talked about new information on the fact that mammals can breathe through their intestines. We talked about the shoulder width of the human fetus and how it’s evolved a delayed development pattern to facilitate the birth process. We explained what happened to the missing B vitamins that is before B4, B8, B10, and B11 that are usually missing from our AA&P textbooks. To start the year, I did a two-part series on the Inclusive Anatomy and Physiology course. That was episodes 108 and 109.
Then we had two back-to-back chats with my friend Judi Nath in episode one 10 in one 11, in which she talked about her new books about the intersection of science and society, a topic that often comes up as we teach A&P. One book is Sins Against Science: How Misinformation Affects Our Lives and Laws. Her other new book is Digesting Foods and Fads. I had a lot of fun talking with my friend Judi, who I’ve known for a long time. You may know her from HAPS or as an author of a very popular series of textbooks. Both of Judi’s new books are listed in The A&P Professor Book Club, which you can access @theAPprofessor.org/bookclub. Don’t forget that you can earn a professional development credential by reading any of the books in our book club.
We had two more book club segments this past year. One was episode 114 and that concerned the book called Clean: The New Science of Skin by James Hamblin. That’s related to the featured topic of that episode, episode 114, which was skin’s microbiome. Then in episode 116, I mentioned the book, I Am Multitudes: the Microbes Within Us and A Grander View of Life by Ed Yong. That’s part of our book club too. Now remember, I would love to get your audio review of your favorite book of interest to Anatomy And Physiology Faculty. Just record it in your device and send it to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. Or another option is to call the podcast dot line at 1-833-5466-336 and leave it in a voicemail or send me the written version and we’ll have an AI robot read it on an episode. That might be kind of fun. Well, there’s more, but let me catch my breath first.
More Looking Back at 2022
Well, let me continue our look back at the topics that were in episodes released this past year in The A&P Professor podcast. Let’s pick back up here at episode 112. That’s where I talked about being open to extending deadlines for students as a way of being inclusive. Yeah, as you might imagine, that touched off some discussion. Oh, yes, it did. We revisited that topic again in episode 113 and in episode 115. Now, something else in episode 112 is that I talked about being upfront and intentional about the use of models and especially color codes in science. For example, not just assuming that students already know that green is often used as a color code for lymphatic structures, and that those structures aren’t really green in life, or in death for that matter, unless we artificially color them that way. We draw them in diagrams as a color code so that it makes it easier to identify at a glance and also easier to learn if we know the color code.
Now, to us, that color code seems obvious probably because we don’t have a distinct memory of that particular moment when this whole idea of a color code dawned on us. I found out, after years of teaching, there is a subset of our students for whom this is confusing because they haven’t figured out that there is a color code. I suggested that we should unhide what is a hidden part of our content for some of our students.
Now, in social media, I did get a comment from someone this said, “Well, this isn’t a problem for their students.” Yeah. Well, that’s what I thought for many years. I didn’t hear any complaints because I didn’t have any pushback because I didn’t know that some of the confusion they were having was because of that. I thought they just weren’t studying or just weren’t understanding the concept itself. I didn’t know that this color code thing, that I was using in my explanations and so is the textbook, that that was creating a problem for them. It wasn’t until a chance comment by a student, after which I then asked my classes about it, did I find out that this really is something that needs to be said that many students just aren’t going to learn it through osmosis the way we did.
Well, let’s move on to what we talked about in episode 113 that was titled, Why Do A&P Students Hate Histology, and How Do We Fix That? Now, in that episode, I talked about several strategies to help students get more comfortable with tissue identification skills, including specific ways to help them develop their own expert eye. I talked about being a warm demander in episode 115, that is having high expectations, but also being supportive and empathetic in helping students meet those high expectations, thus, avoiding the toxic form of academic rigor in our courses.
In episode 116, I discussed another of those seemingly obvious ideas that sometimes needs to be revisited and discussed. This time it was why students need sectional anatomy skills. I think sometimes we use some sectional anatomy in our course, maybe even a lot of sectional anatomy in our course, but maybe we think of it as a means rather than an end. I proposed in episode 116 that sectional anatomy skills should be a learning outcome of our course, that we should think about developing those skills or helping our students develop those skills in themselves. It’s not something that’s just automatically picked up by all students. We have to practice it.
Then in episode 117, I discussed why we need to keep going back to school ourselves. In some way, whether formal classes or not, we should pick learning goals and achieve them so that we’re fresh in our experience as students ourselves. I think that after a couple of years, or maybe even sooner than that, we start to lose some of that freshness of experience and therefore start to lose some of that empathy for our students. There’s more, but you’ll have to re-listen to episode 117 for that. We need to move on.
In episode 118, I discussed the fact that when listening to public debate on abortion, pregnancy and other reproductive issues, we find a lot of misconceptions are being discussed as fact and sometimes even becoming the basis of laws. I discussed some of those misconceptions and the fact that we ought to really be staying up to date on our facts so that we’re not teaching old or mistaken concepts that can adversely affect people’s lives. That one was by far the most listened to episode of the year probably, because it caught a wave of Google searches on those topics. Then we swung back around to those topics in episode 122 when veteran A&P professor Margaret Reece joined me for a chat on the difficulties of teaching human reproduction. She also shared a moving personal story of her own encounter with some of the issues brought up in that previous episode about pregnancy concepts. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend you go back to episode 122 and have a listen.
In episode 119, I also discussed some feedback from the abortion and pregnancy issues discussed in episode 118, and also talked about some new information about phantasia, the so-called mind’s eye where we can picture a concept or principle or structure in our thoughts and that some people have aphantasia or difficulty in forming such pictures in the mind. I think those of us who are comfortable with visual learning and have a developed phantasia ability, don’t consider that some of our students sometimes struggle with it. Turns out, that at least one of our listeners also struggles with that and gave me some feedback on that. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from that person and what their experience has been with it as not only an A&P student, but an A&P instructor and a healthcare practitioner in dealing with that different ability than many of us take for granted. I hope that works out that we’re going to be able to do that.
In episode 120, well, that one featured that teaching tool that we all love to hate that is the syllabus. Yes, it was yet another syllabus episode. This time I focused on the art of making an effective syllabus, that is going beyond the formula of what must go into a syllabus, but finding ways to make it beautiful in a variety of ways. In episode 123, I revisited syllabi and other course documents by discussing what kind of font might work best, including the controversial idea that hard to-read fonts may improve learning. If you missed it, well, you missed a really weird and really interesting discussion. Go back to episode 123 for the thing about fonts.
Then there was the poop episode, that was episode 121, where I talked about how we can help our students both understand digestion and be in a better position to monitor their own health and the health of their future clients. I told a lot of stories from my days as a wild animal keeper because you know, us wild animal keepers, we’re experts on poop. We have a lot of experience with poop. For example, I talked about how to get an elephant to poop on command. Not everybody can use that information, right? Actually you can because it applies to people too. That skill by itself is worth listening to episode 121.
That gave me the idea for a pee episode. I mean, if you have a poop episode, you probably ought to balance that out with a pee episode. Well, that ended up being episode 125. That one, well, it was a musical. Well, okay, at least they had some music in it. Yeah. It was a song about how pee is formed, and that came from our friend Greg Crowther, who you’ve heard from in previous seasons, including some of his STEM songs, STEM teaching and learning songs. Then Krista Rompolski joined me once again in episode 124 for this year’s only journal club episode. It was a good one about a paper on whether it’s best to teach a combined A&P course, or is it better to separate an anatomy course from a physiology course. Again, you’ll have to list an episode 124 to see where we landed on that one.
Then in episode 126, I listed 10 things that we forget to tell students about cells, things that will help them understand cells better and help them understand so many more things about human structure and function as they proceed through the entire course. Then we wrapped the year up with a series of four brief episodes that I called winter shorts. That’s where I began this debriefing of last year. Remember I started with mentioning those winter shorts. That’s where I’ll end it, at least end the looking back part. Okay. Except there is one thing I left out here that’ll be in a different segment, and that’s those predictions that I made at the end of last year. Let’s look at those after a short break.
What About Those Sponsor Messages?
It’s that time of year when I thank the sponsors of this podcast. I’ve got to tell you, I’m not a huge fan of sponsor messages. I’ve mentioned that before. Some of the podcasts I listen to have a lot of sponsor messages in them. They’re long and they’re boring, and they don’t often relate to anything that interests me. Thank you. I already have Audible and I don’t want any meals from Blue Apron. Hey. That reminds me, did you know that you can listen to The A&P Professor podcast in Audible? Seriously, you can. The thing is, doing a podcast like this one is kind of expensive. I spend a lot more than I thought I’d need to when I first started this adventure. A little sponsor support here and a little bit there and a lot more over here adds up. I need that support to keep this ship afloat.
This podcast has three faithful sponsors that we all appreciate for helping out. When I put in those sponsor messages, I always try to add something new about the resources that each offer that can really help us as A&P faculty. By hearing from those sponsors episode after episode, it eventually sinks into our memory that, “Hey. AAA, the American Association for Anatomy, has a whole library of histology images that I can use in my course.” That bit of info can help you or a colleague at some critical moment. You already have that knowledge embedded in there from all the sponsor messages. You know somebody looking for more training and applying contemporary evidence-based teaching and learning strategies in both anatomy and physiology? Or maybe a review of the essential concepts of both anatomy and physiology. Well, now you know exactly where to send them to the Master of Science and Human Anatomy and Physiology instruction, The HAPI Degree.
Even if you are already a member of HAPS, the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, you might learn something about an upcoming town hall meeting. Our sponsor messages are not ads, they’re statements of support from organizations I believe in strongly. They give you helpful information or perhaps reminders of something you already know but could use a nudge, even if it’s not something that you can use today. Another thing about the sponsor breaks is that they give a short break between content segments in each episode. Those little brain breaks really do help us detach from the previous segment, even if it’s just for a moment. Think about something different during that brief moment, thereby resetting our brains before we dive into the next segment. They do end up helping us listen to the rest of the episode, believe it or not.
Anyway, if you get any benefit at all from this podcast, will you please consider mentioning your appreciation to our sponsors? No, really. I mean it. Right now, drop them a line. You can pause this. You know that you can pause a podcast episode, right? Right now, drop them a line that’ll help keep this podcast going for you and for the thousand or so other listeners who get some benefit from it.
Last Year’s Predictions: How Did We Do?
Okay. I made some predictions at the end of last year, that is just as we were beginning the year 2022. I’ve done that for several years now, just for fun. I just want to clarify that my so-called psychic predictions are based on the idea that the word psychic means related to the mind. Psych is mind, and the -ic ending means relating to. Yeah. I’m using my mind to figure out what might be coming next. Therefore, they are, by definition, psychic predictions. Now, this is tricky, this looking ahead. Like any good psychic, I make predictions that have outcomes that are hard to measure. Yeah. If they’re hard to measure, then you can’t really prove that I’m wrong exactly, or at least you have a harder time proving I’m wrong. When they’re inexact, it’s hard to say whether they missed the mark or not. Well, let’s do the best we can in seeing whether they missed the mark or not.
Now, one prediction I made was that pandemic issues would continue. I said that maybe even there’d be a new variant or two, or perhaps a whole new pandemic of a different kind of infectious agent or two. I said that science denial would become an even bigger issue in how we manage public health and colleges and universities. That was the prediction. As we look back, well, yeah, we’re still having new COVID variants pop up even now again and again. That’s kind of expected. That’s not really much of a stretch to make that kind of prediction because if you know anything at all about epidemiology and public health you know that, well, of course that was going to happen. That’s the way nature works.
Along the way, I mean, there are other things that came up that we wouldn’t necessarily know exactly what would come up. For example, RSV, respiratory syncytial virus infections. That popped up with some strength that was a little bit unexpected. I mean, it’s not totally unexpected within the realm of, well, this is how epidemiology works, but we didn’t know it was going to be RSV. We didn’t know it was going to have the kind of toll that it took, unfortunately. We had more problems with influenza than is typical, than we saw in those pre-pandemic years. With those three things, the new COVID variants, the RSV and this big outbreak of influenza, some people were calling that a tripledemic. I think it’s safe to say that we’re not any better and probably worse about the science denial thing. Yeah. I think that I got this one right, at least kind of right.
Another prediction I made last year was how we grade assignments and courses is going to evolve more rapidly. Now, this one is really hard to track. Now I’ve been seeing way more discussion about alternative grading and authentic assessment this year. Not just way, way. I think that’ll give that three ways. Way, way, way more. I concede that because it’s interesting to me I may just be more likely to notice it. You tell me, did I get this one right? I think Kevin’s magic predictometer is tilted toward yes on this one, but you tell me whether I’m just kind of seeing it the way I want to see it. Another prediction I made last year is that diversity, equity and inclusion will become more of a focus in A&P teaching and learning. I think the DEI focus has continued its trajectory. I think I got this one right too. The thing is, we’ve got to stay focused for that to continue. That’s hard. Trying to stay focus and not getting tired or discouraged, but I think we can help each other with that.
Another prediction that I made was that we would see the beginning of a rapid upheaval among faculty caused by a perfect storm as a list of factors, crescendo in overlapping waves, perhaps even tsunamis. Those factors are these; overwork and burnout, top-down governance, political interference in education, acceleration of the loss of full-time positions compared to part-time, contingent and temporary faculty positions. Another factor, the last one on my list from last year, is the deepening of the downward spiral of the real cost of living, compared to faculty compensation, that is salary and benefits and other kinds of compensation. Now, I think all of these things are indeed happening over this past year, some of which unfortunately are far worse than the dystopian picture I was painting at this time last year. If you read The Chronicle of Higher Education or even your favorite general news outlets or just pay attention to the buzz among educators, we get that these things are happening. Now, I’m not happy I got this one right, at least not as a set of general trends.
Now, another prediction I made last year was that there would be an acceleration of changes in the world of textbooks and related resources. That we would see more and more textbooks go digital or digital only. We would see more subscription plans and big platform models for textbooks. We would see more blurring of lines between textbooks, homework platforms, and learning management systems. Now, this one is really hard to measure, but I think it is happening. However, some of it isn’t all that visible yet. That’s because a lot of things need time to cook. They’re being developed and plans are being made, including plans for moving away from some of the more traditional media that, well, they haven’t been implemented by publishers and other providers yet. The plans are being made, but the full implementation isn’t being seen yet, or maybe only just the beginning of it as being seen.
Now, that’s not really a guess. I’m deeply involved with the community of textbook authors and publishers. I can confidently tell you, expect a lot more changes to become visible. That cake is almost fully baked and it’s ready to be served. Leep your eyes out for that and be prepared for the unexpected. Well, actually, you expect it now, so it’s not unexpected. You should still be prepared and don’t be alarmed. We can handle it.
Another prediction that I made last year is that we would see an increase in networking activity among A&P faculty, that is more mutual support, more small groups or maybe even pairs of people that commit themselves to helping and supporting each other. I don’t know. I think I got this one right. I think it’s probably on the mark. I’m seeing a lot more social networking groups forming and distance collaborations coming together. How about you? Are you seeing that too? If not, well, let’s get together and collaborate on that. Let’s have a discussion. Let’s be part of a community together. Now, I’ll be back in just a moment with my predictions for the coming year.
Looking Ahead to 2023
Well, now it’s time for my predictions for the coming year or so. A lot of the things I’m going to mention aren’t going to happen within the timeframe of just a year, but I think we’re going to see some movement in them this year. You know with these predictions, since I started doing them a couple months after the debriefing episode, I’ll start my list for the following year because I’ll start to see things that just pop out at me as things that are trending or might be trending soon. Either things that occur to me that might be a new trend or things that I’ve seen various experts and observers say, “Hey. This is going to be a trend over the next year or so.” I jot those down. I try to form it in a list that’s somewhat coherent as sort of my basis, my notes, my outline for what I want to talk about in this segment. Right now I’m looking at an outline in front of me that I’ve tweaked for several months, and added to and taken from and readjusted.
What’s different this year though, is that, oh my gosh, the last episode was supposed to be the debriefing episode that had these predictions. ChatGPT and artificial intelligence tools just blew up in the discussions that educators and others were having, and so I felt like it was more … Even though that was on my list of predictions, I thought, holy smoke it. The universe beat me to it. Before I could predict that it, it happened. Boy, that’s easy for me to say, isn’t it? Yeah, I predict. I knew that was going to happen, but it really was on my list, I swear. I made that into its own episode. That was episode 131. We’re now in episode 132. I come back to my list and I’ll talk about that one in just a second, but I want to mention that it’s kind of a messy outline here. Bear with me as I go through this. If I kind of start rambling a little bit that I got lost. I don’t know where I’m at here.
Number one on the list is, yes, you guessed it, artificial intelligence issues. Of course, ChatGPT is the one we’re all talking about right now, but that’s been out there for a while actually. There’s some related artificial intelligence tools that do different kinds of things besides what ChatGPT is good at or kind of good at, sometimes, out there, and all kinds of things in development too. Today as I’m doing this recording, I just saw a news item about Google’s been working on a bunch of artificial intelligence things. They’re saying they’re not going to release it to the public. They’re doing it as research, as an experiment that there are too many pitfalls, as we’ve seen with the rollout of ChatGPT Pro. Yeah. They’re just going to hold onto that for a little while. I think there are other organizations and companies that are doing the same and have been doing the same for a while.
Another one of those little hidden things that it’s being cooked in the background, and some days it’s just going to pop out and be fully developed or at least partly developed. We’re going to see this happen. That’s one of my predictions is, and maybe not this year, probably this year though, but maybe not this year, I think we’re going to see more and more of these things pop up artificial intelligence tools.
I put this prediction on my list weeks and weeks ago, and then ChatGPT blew up. Since I recorded episode 131, the previous episode, my thoughts on this topic have changed about a dozen times maybe a dozen, dozen times. Maybe that’s happening to you too. I think I’m just kind of swimming around in this [inaudible 00:42:47], just trying to go with the flow. That’s all we can do when things are this powerful and this pervasive in our culture. We have to go with the flow to some extent. I think this is really going to weigh on us during all of the coming year, probably beyond, but at least during the coming year. I think we are going to see some new things develop. This is the important thing, I think we’re going to see attitudes evolve. Yeah. There’s going to be a lot of flip flopping, back and forth between, AI is good, AI is bad, AI isn’t good or bad, and we’re going to just try to get our bearings and try and see where we’re headed and how we can stay afloat as the waters spin and crash around us.
Another prediction I have on my list, and this is related to the first thing, the AI thing, and that is I think that approaches that we as educators have toward cheating are going to mature. I think we’re going to get a lot better handle on ways to not just approach cheating, but to consider it in our planning, in our course design, consider it in the ways that we teach and even within our overarching teaching philosophy. We’re going to think about the different kinds of cheating that there are. Different people use the different definitions, but I’m using it as an umbrella term that would include things that are not necessarily called cheating, but things like plagiarism, fabrication of content, things like that. I think that we’re going to start really thinking about that more and not just having knee-jerk reactions. I think, especially, we’re not going to be maintaining this black and white attitude toward cheating that we’ve always had, that we’re going to see that, well, some things that used to be considered cheating really are just part of the way we do things anyway. Why should we consider them to be cheating?
I mentioned this in the last episode, when calculators were first introduced to the classroom, that was considered cheating. How can we encourage students to cheat, using a calculator? Well, I don’t know, I prefer if my accountant uses a calculator, because I’d rather not have them working on my books and on my tax return and so on, on this big old scratch pad, where they’re doing all these pencil human calculations because I know what’s happening in that accounting office. Come tax time, they’re burning the midnight oil and their brains are getting fried. You know what it’s like coming up to exam week or maybe during exam week when we’re grading all those exams, our brains don’t always work right. Yeah. If we had a little calculator that could help us grade A&P exams, that would be something it. We’d use it. Would we consider that to be cheating? No, we wouldn’t. I don’t think so.
Yeah. I think we’re going to really start to realize that certain things that we’ve called cheating, and maybe in certain contexts they would be cheating, we’re going to be changing the context enough that they are no longer cheating, such as using AI tools. That was my second prediction.
Third prediction is I think we’re going to realize that we, and this is related to all of this thing I’ve been talking about so far, I think we’re going to realize that we have to stop trying to return to 2019. 2019 is gone. The pandemic happened, AI stuff, ChatGPT, it all happened. There are all kinds of things that have happened. We can’t turn back the clock. We can’t go back in time. Students, teachers, teaching and learning, they’ve all changed. We’re not going back. What we, I think, need to work on this year and what we’re going to work on, I predict, is coming to terms with that and finding ways to make this new reality work for our students’ learning.
Next prediction on my list, number four, I’m not sure it’s going to happen this year, but it’s got to happen eventually. We’re going to get better about turning things around regarding faculty burnout and overwork. We’re going to find solutions that work. I’m being hopeful here. I think that we’re actually going to start implementing some of those solutions that we find. That’s my hope. We must always have hope.
Prediction number five is I think we’re going to start to get, or maybe continue to get better at assessments. Now, I mentioned the authentic assessment movement briefly before, but I think we’re going to start hearing even more about it this year, a lot more about it and related topics. I think this year, I predict, it’s going to have an impact on how we do assessments. Keep that in mind as you’re looking at the assessments that you do in your course, and as you discuss different forms and styles and approaches to assessments with your peers, because we’re all doing this collaboration that I talked about in the previous segment. Okay.
Prediction number six is something that I brought up before. Way back in episode 87, I brought up this trend of micro credentials, things like badges and certificates. This idea is just to review and refresh that concept instead of … We always think of things in higher education in terms of a course and a degree. Maybe a certificate, maybe different kinds of degrees, but usually they’re courses. Even courses, if they’re shortened or abbreviated, we still call them courses. We may call the term a minimester, but it’s still each thing is a course. Each little unit, each little piece of learning, the organization of it is as a course. What I’m saying is that more and more we’re finding there’s some smaller skill, or maybe it’s not a smaller skill, but a smaller piece of a skill that we need for our profession or just for our own selves, satisfying our own interests and so on, that would not normally constitute a full-blown course in the traditional way of things.
For example, if I want to be able to use ChatGPT as a tool in my teaching, do I need to take a course on that? Or maybe just a couple of hours of maybe some video demos, maybe an expert discussing things with me or a whole group of us, maybe me collaborating with some other learners on this topic, maybe me testing myself, maybe me creating a project. There are all kinds of little things where I come out after maybe far fewer hours than I would spend in a A&P course, I come out with real demonstrable skills that have been assessed in some way. If I then maybe apply for a job or apply for a promotion, or maybe want to get a consulting gig or a speaking gig or something, and I want to have some kind of documentation that yes, I have spent time in a focused way that has been assessed, learning how to use ChatGPT in an A&P course, how to use it in my teaching. I want something to prove that.
I need a credential, but it’s not a big credential like a course on a transcript or a degree. It’s a micro-credential. I offer micro-credentials for every one of these podcasts because, well, the content of any one of these podcasts isn’t enough for a course or a degree, certainly, but you learn something even just by listening. By the way, to get the micro-credentials for the podcast, it’s not just listening, you do have to write out a very brief little assessment that says, “Well, here’s what I learned. Here’s what I got out of it.” That’s micro-credential. I think we’re going to be seeing those incorporated more and more in the traditional context.
I offer micro-credentials in my pre A&P course for every major set of concept. There are 10 units altogether, 10 modules really. Each one of them, if they are passed with 85% passage rate on the assessment, then they get a badge that says, “Yeah. I know something about protein synthesis,” or, “I know something about how tissues are organized.” Yeah. Those are micro-credentials. Now, you put them all together and they constitute a course, but any one piece of those can be shown to someone and say, “Look, I have evidence that says that I know something about whatever this topic is, or whatever these concepts are.” That was prediction number six.
Oh, man. I debated about leaving this on the list because it is just so sad, but I think we’re going to see some of this, and that is the DEI, diversity, equity, inclusion, those efforts are going to stall at least somewhat. People, I think, are going to saying, some people are saying this that, well, we can’t just accommodate everything. That’s just ridiculous. Well, I don’t know, maybe we can’t, but shouldn’t that still be our goal? Shouldn’t we try to include everyone. Shouldn’t we do our best effort in trying to include everyone. Well, among the naysayers, I think they’re going to gain ground this year or at least try to gain ground.
One thing that really saddened me, this happened just right before I was ready to record this episode just a couple days before, I saw an article. I’ll have it linked in the show notes at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/132. I saw this article about model legislation for blocking DEI progress is out there. Now, if you don’t know what model legislation is, there are a lot of organizations and various think tanks that what they do, or at least part of what they do, is they get together and say, “You know what? There ought to be a law about this thing that we’re interested in. You know what? Let’s write a law. Let’s write sort of a model piece of legislation, a model legislative bill that states can use.”
Then what often happens is that model piece of legislation then is distributed to people of like mind in all 50 states, maybe even around the world, but certainly within the 50 states and in the US legislature, the national legislature or whatever country you’re listening to this in. They get that model legislation. Somebody, one of the legislators says, “Oh, wow. Yeah. I believe in this.” They sort of cross out where it says your state in putting right in their state. Then they submit that as a bill and then it goes through the legislative process. There are a lot of laws on the books throughout the country, that’s how they got there. Somebody wrote model legislation and now 19, 20, 45 states have almost exactly the same law.
What I’m saying is, is that there are a couple of think tanks, at least a couple that were identified in that article that have developed model legislation that is trying to block DEI progress. For example, one that I remember reading in the article is to ban positions in colleges and universities that are focused on DEI, like a diversity officer or vice president of diversity or vice president of inclusion and so on. Those are going to be banned in certain states if this model legislation is accepted. That is already starting to make its way through the states. We’re going to see more and more pushback against all kinds of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, some of which have already been successful they’re going to try and push them back.
I’m saying we got to stick with it. Those of us that support diversity, equity, and inclusion, I know it’s me and I hope it’s you, we need to be active in that. We need to strongly resist anything within ourselves that has us give up or sit back and rest, and also push back against people trying to stop these efforts and this progress that’s been made, because it’s not enough progress yet. That’s number seven.
Number eight, I think that there’s going to be an even greater emphasis on core concepts in A&P and other disciplines too. Now, that’s been bubbling for a long time. That’s not just a hope. It’s continuing to happen. I think it’s really going to take off sometime this year or early next year. Greater emphasis on core concepts.
Number nine prediction on my list is failure of educational leadership is going to be recognized more widely. You know this about me, I scan what’s going on in the news about colleges and universities and what’s happening there. I listen to a lot of different colleagues from around the world about what’s going on in their institutions. I think that there is a failure of educational leadership to … I think the biggest failure is to break out of the molds of the past. This kind of gets back to my previous prediction, number three, which says, we have to stop trying to relive the olden days. This isn’t the olden days. Colleges and universities need to be much more nimble than they are.
You know what? I don’t think educational leaders have the experience being nimble. I don’t think they have the skills or the training in being nimble that they need to have. What’s most important is they don’t have the mindset of being nimble. It’s not just presidents and vice presidents and deans, although it certainly includes those people, but also the various boards of directors and trustees or whatever they’re called at your institution. I think many of them just don’t have what it takes to be nimble. I’m not saying that that is a personal failure on their part or a character flaw or anything like that. I think the whole institutions, the whole community and culture of higher education has been built that way. I think it’s only the people who are able and willing and see the need to break out of those cultural constraints of that traditional, classic restraint.
Now, there’s a lot we can learn from the olden days. Don’t we all do that in our own professions and even in our own personal lives? There are things that we carried forward with us because they’re true and they’re beautiful and they’re kind, and so we hold on to those. Even those things, we tweak them because times change and cultures change and history changes and things happen. We just haven’t been doing that in higher ed. We need to do that. And colleges are failing. I mean, we see universities shuttering, universities merging together as a last ditch effort to stay alive as an institution. This kind of relates to my previous predictions about the rise of authoritarianism. When I say previous predictions I mean last year’s predictions. Remember that other prediction from last year political interference, which we just talked about political interference with the progress of DEI efforts. It’s also our general failure to realize that the world has changed. Not only has the world changed, we have changed. All of us have changed, even just in the last few years.
Institutions that are trying to get back to 2019 and don’t we see that all the time, they are the norm and they will fail, sometimes miserably. As we learn more about truly effective evidence-based leadership strategies and styles, we won’t see much of that playing out in institutions. We’re going to learn how to do it. We’re going to develop ways to keep institutions alive and vital and helping students. You know what? Institutions aren’t going to do it. The leaders aren’t going to do it. Leaders who are effective, they’re going to move from one institution to another as they become disillusioned and pushed out by less effective peers or superiors, or both.
The people who really can make it happen, they’re not going to be allowed to make it happen. They’re either going to be constrained where they are, or most likely pushed out. They’re going to be optimistic and say, “Oh, I can do it over here,” and then they run into the same kind of thing. Then, oh, maybe I’ll try it over here. No. Well, maybe I’ll start my own college, I’ve said that a few times in my career. Well, if I started my own college, then we wouldn’t have to worry about this or that. You know what? It just isn’t going to work out, because there aren’t enough of those people and there are too many challenges, I think, at least in the short term. I’m hopeful that eventually someday we’re going to get past that set of challenges, but I think this is going to be really rough the next year or so, maybe longer.
That leads me to prediction number 10, which is faculties start to crumble this year. I think, again, we’ve already seen some of that happen. There are departments that are falling apart and becoming chaotic and people are leaving, and so then they’re mushed together with some other department. Now, that’s always happened in higher ed, but it’s going to become widespread, I think. It’s going to really add to this general failure of higher education institutions, I think, as departments, divisions, whole schools are going to be in disarray, I think much more than they have been. We’re seeing that ramp up already. I predict that’s going to get really bad this year.
Prediction number 11, which I moved down from a higher position because I didn’t want to end on this really awful dystopian note, but I didn’t want to leave those dystopian things off of there because, unfortunately, I think we need to watch out for them and try to deal with them. The one I push down here is a lot more neutral, maybe even one could say happy. This is certainly something I’m happy to put on here and that is I think we’re going to see more use of podcasts in education. Now, this is a podcast for faculty. It hopefully is giving some useful resources and information and just bouncing ideas among educators. That’s great. I think we’re going to see some more of those. I hope we see more of those, not only in A&P, but in other disciplines as well. The more of those we get, the more voices are out there, the more we’re going to learn from that. There’s that.
I also think podcasts are going to be used much more in teaching, where we’re going to be seeing more and more instructors create podcasts just for their course or just for their students, not for A&P students in general, although those are great. There’s already been some out there, some really good ones. There’s probably going to be some more good ones come out too. What I’m talking about is podcast used by an instructor or group of instructors in an institution for their students, to either teach the content of the course, or to provide some kind of coaching in how to learn or some other kind of coaching. Maybe clinical skills or who knows what. Maybe just personal skills, coping skills, things like that. How to deal with uncertainty. I think we’re going to see more and more use of podcasts in that realm. I think we’re also going to see more and more podcasts being assigned as assessments or as learning projects where students are assigned to do a podcast explaining how the kidney works, or … Boy, that’s a challenge, isn’t it?
Yeah. Okay. They can plagiarize some things and maybe use artificial intelligence like ChatGPT to help them with part of that, but there’s a part of that that really has to be them doing it. I think that might even sort of merge into this whole change in attitude toward assessments that we’re doing more project based stuff, and podcasts are an option, presentations are an option, podcasts are an option, creating physical models are an option, all kinds of things. We’re going to see podcasts take a bigger piece of that pie or a bigger spot on that plate. Let me see, how many metaphors can I use in one sentence? I think we’re going to see podcasts take a bigger role.
Those are my 11 predictions for 2023. If I’m still around next year, then we’re going to go through those and see if I was kind of off the mark or way off the mark.
In this episode, we looked back over the last year of this podcast by reviewing some of the topics we discussed and the people that we talked to. I reviewed the predictions I made last year and made some new predictions for the coming year. Well, of course, we thanked our awesome sponsors. Hey, don’t forget, please, please, please drop them a line to thank them yourself. I’m serious about that. If you don’t see links in your podcast player, go to the show notes at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/132 where you can explore resources related to ideas mentioned in this podcast. While you’re there, you can claim your digital credential for professional development that you earned by listening to this episode.
Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s make this upcoming season of The A&P Professor podcast the best one yet. You can do your part in that by calling in with your questions, your comments, your stories, your anecdotes, your poetry, and your ideas at the podcast hot line. That’s 1-833-LION-DEN or 1-833-5465-336, or send a recording or written message to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. Thank you so much for your support this year and for sharing this podcast with your friends and strangers. I’ll see you down the road.
Aileen Park (01:06:55):
The A&P Professor is hosted by Dr. Kevin Patton, an award-winning professor and textbook author in human anatomy and physiology.
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Patton, K. (2023, February 7). Review a Year. Preview a Year. | Debriefing & Predictions | TAPP 132. The A&P Professor. https://theapprofessor.org/podcast-episode-132.html
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