The Case for Transparency
TAPP Radio Ep. 51 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 LISTEN button provided.
This searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I’m a member—maybe you should be one, too!
Episode 51 Transcript
The Case for Transparency
Kevin Patton: Mother Teresa once wrote, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway”
Aileen: Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with host Kevin Patton.
Kevin Patton: In this episode I talk about the importance of transparency, reveal AAA’s, new name, tips for serving students, and a few updates in neuroscience.
Smell and Taste
Kevin Patton: I have a quick update in the neuroscience of sensing. There was some research that came out a number of weeks ago that demonstrated that the gustatory cells, the taste sensing cells in our tongue also have receptors for olfaction. And that when presented with odors, they respond in ways that olfactory cells respond. Now exactly you know how that fits into the larger story of how smell and taste work is yet to be seen. But we are already seeing that odorant detectors are being found in areas beyond the nose. We found them lining the gut. We found them in sperm cells. We’ve found them in a variety of different areas, sometimes very unexpected areas of the body.
Kevin Patton: So what they’re doing there, are they providing information for just the sound or are they producing responses like they are in the cells that were observed in this most recent experiment? So there’s some fuzziness and some complexity that we didn’t know about before. I mean we already knew that smell and taste were closely linked with one another in many different ways. Functionally and anatomically and so on. Well, here’s more complexity to that. Don’t you love the human body? The story just gets more and more complex the more we look at it.
Old Gray Coat (Service to Students)
Kevin Patton: In the previous episode, which was episode number 50, I had a remix of classic segments. And one of those was from episode 21, where I talked about the idea that we can take some of the ideas and principles that are used in customer service in businesses, especially web based services. That is online retailers. Use some of those principles, and extract them and tweak them a little bit. And adapt them for using with our own students, especially in distance classes. Because as I said in that episode, in distance courses, we have a bigger problem with engaging with students and retaining students, and helping students be successful. Because it’s a different beast than we’re used to in a regular traditional face to face class. So there are additional skills that we need to develop. And I believe in that, and I want to talk a little bit more about that in this segment.
Kevin Patton: But before I do, I just want to mention something about my classic wonderful gray jacket, that I have been seen wearing at HAPS conferences. Matter of fact, I wore it at the HAPS conference this last may in Portland, Oregon. And when I was there during the poster session, I ran into my friend Tom Lehman, who I’ve mentioned in this podcast before. And one thing Tom is known for within HAPS besides being the tee shirt swap guy, other roles. One of his roles has been traditionally to take a lot of pictures and then share them with the rest of us. And we can relive the happy memories of past HAPS conferences.
Kevin Patton: So in the poster session, he had a big poster up of pictures that he had taken in the HAPS conference exactly 10 years before that. So this was the 2019 conference, so he had pictures from the 2009 conference. So as I stood there chatting with them, the both of us start looking at these pictures and pointing out different friends, and recalling different things that happened during that conference, and we were having a great time. And we came across a picture of me that Tom had taken, and I was wearing that classic gray jacket.
Kevin Patton: And I looked at the picture and I looked down at what I was wearing, and I was wearing exactly the same jacket. And I said, “Tom, do you notice anything about that?” And he looks at me, looks at my jacket and says, “Yeah, you’re still wearing the same clothes you were in 10 years ago, Kevin.” I’m like, “Well yeah. In a way I am,” and I’ve mentioned this in previous podcasts that I like to bring a sport coat or two to the HAPS conference because it’s generally called in the hotel venue. Even when it’s hot outside, it’ll be really chilly inside. So I bring the sport coat as a sporty extra layer that I can wear while I’m in the conference. And I was doing so, as I had done 10 years ago.
Kevin Patton: So yeah, that jacket is older than I thought and everybody has seen me in that jacket multiple times, probably 10 times since 2009 and 10 times before 2009. I don’t know how old that jacket is. But I do know that they don’t make it anymore. It’s from Penny’s. And I thought, “Oh yeah, that was a standard kind of jacket that they had and I bet they still make, and I can still get it.” No, no, nothing like it. And that’s because it’s so old. But it still works well. And I think part of the reason it’s held up so well is that I get it cleaned on a pretty regular basis.
Kevin Patton: So I took it to my dry cleaner after I got back from the Portland meeting just a few weeks ago really. And when I went to pick it up, they had miss pressed the collar. They messed it all up. So I thought well, they have these big pressing machines. And rather than try and fix it myself and try to overcome the pressing that they did with their big industrial pressing machine with my little iron, I’m going to have them repress it. That has happened occasionally before with various jackets. So I didn’t think it was any big deal.
Kevin Patton: Well, it turned out to be a big deal. And I did tell this story, I’ve recorded at least most of this story before. But I noticed on the timer that it was getting way too long for a podcast episode. So I’m just going to tell you the bottom line. The bottom line was I dealt with at least five or six different people trying to find that jacket. They lost it, and they didn’t care. At every stage, it was like, “Well, it’s not in our system. What else do you want from us?” In my head I’m saying, “I want my jacket. That’s what I want from you. Why is this so hard? Isn’t that your job to keep track of clothes and stuff?” I did finally track down my jacket, but it is totally unbelievable the steps I had to go through to finally get the jacket, which apparently was where I told him it probably was from the very start.
Kevin Patton: So the lesson here is use good customer service skills. If that were one of my students and I answered them with short, curt answers, which gave them no answer, which was of no help to them. “Well I don’t have your test here, I don’t have your graded assignment. I don’t have it here.” Rather than taking some steps to help them, maybe go through some processes to see did I ever really have it? And if I had it, then go through some additional steps myself to see where did this stack of assignments go from this stage, to this stage, to this stage? And not necessarily a physical stack of assignments like you’d get in a class, but online. Where did those files go? Did I put them somewhere and didn’t find the student’s file? It could be any one of a bazillion things. My point is, is that we shouldn’t let our students walk away feeling like we really haven’t helped them in any way. Even if we don’t have the answer, “I don’t have the jacket right now. I don’t know where your jacket is.” I could still take that extra step of talking to the manager of the store, or asking advice from other employees and so on. And I do that a lot in my teaching.
Kevin Patton: I will ask advice of the people up the line. I most often ask advice from people in the next office or whatever. Or I’ll email my colleagues if I’m working off campus teaching an online course. So let’s do that. Let’s take that extra step. It really doesn’t take that much more. And if it means retaining our students, and more importantly to me at least, if it means that student becomes more engaged and more appreciative of us in our institution. The more likely it is they’re going to stick with things and they’re going to be successful. They’re going to be less likely to drop out of our course and drop out of college period, and they’re going to be more successful.
Kevin Patton: So it was a reminder to me of how bad, I mean really bad, the customer service can get. And how important it is. And yes, I know that colleges aren’t businesses, but we’re still providing service to our students. And we can have the attitude of nope, they’re on their own. Yeah, we do that and they’re not going to remain engaged. They’re not going to stay in our course, and I want my students to be successful. That’s the whole point of being a teacher for me.
Sponsored by HAPS
Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. I’ve been an active participant in HAPS during its entire existence. And there’s a reason. It’s because I get so much benefit from their conferences, resources, and networking opportunities. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps, that’s H-A-P-S. And I’ll see you at the next HAPS conference.
Brain Cell Comparisons
Kevin Patton: A lot of what we know about the story of how the brain works is based on experimentation that happens in animal models, particularly in mice. And a few weeks ago, some research came out that looked at how well the mouse model and human model align in terms of what’s going on in the brain. And you know a lot of brain research these days is down to the cellular and molecular levels.
Kevin Patton: So this study was looking at the cerebral cortex, and was analyzing the cells that are there. And comparing cells in the mouse cortex and the human cortex and found that yes, there are homologous cells in humans and mice. So that does support the idea of using mouse models when understanding or trying to understand human brains. But as part of their research, they also found out that even though the cell types might be the same, they might be differently, and their gene expressions might be a little bit different. As a matter of fact, even the structure, the morphology of the cells might be a little bit different between mice and humans.
Kevin Patton: So I don’t know. I think this is an important understanding as we’re looking at this research is that yes, it’s a valid thing to study mouse brains in order to try to understand human brains better. But we also need to start looking at exactly what comparisons we’re making because clearly, we don’t have to do to experiment to know that mouse brains and human brains are different, right? But now we’re starting to see the cellular and molecular level, exactly what the differences are. So that means that we’re going to be better at tweaking the story of the human brain.
Kevin Patton: In another segment, I mentioned that progress and understanding the structure and function in the human brain is often based on experiments done in animal models, particularly in mice. And that we have recently learned more about how to make better comparisons by really nailing down what some of the similarities are, and what some of the differences are between mouse and human brains, at a cellular and molecular level. And as I mentioned in that other segment, that’s where a lot of work is being done right, is at the cellular and molecular level.
T Cells Attack Brain Stem Cells
Kevin Patton: Some recently published research is shutting some light on a topic that has come up a number of times in previous episodes. And that is the idea of producing new brain cells in the adult brain. In this recent research found out when they were doing some studies of the different kinds of cells that are in a brain region called the sub ventricular zone, which is one of the areas where we have observed STEM cells making new neurons in other experiments that have gone before. When they looked at the subventricular zone, they found that in aging brains, that is in adult brains. The older they were, the more killer T cells they found that were bothering those STEM cells, and preventing them from being as active as in young mouse brains.
Kevin Patton: So this might be one of the mechanisms that lead to that part of the story that we’ve already talked about before that yeah, it looks like, the research is pretty clear now that new neurons are produced in the adult brain, and certainly in specific areas of the adult brain. But it also has seemed clear to us that the ability to do that decreases compared to when we’re very young in our developmental stages. And this might be one of the mechanisms involved, and that is the immune mechanisms of some killer T cells, sort of going rogue, if you will, and attacking some of those STEM cells and reducing the rate at which we’re producing new brain cells.
Sponsored by AAA (A New Name!)
Kevin Patton: This is when you usually hear me say that a searchable transcript and captions for the audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomists. At anatomy.org. But this time, I want to tell you about that name. That’s the last time you’re likely to hear me say the American Association of Anatomists, because we’ve changed our name. Yeah.
Kevin Patton: Over 130 years ago when AAA was first founded, it was called the Association of American Anatomists. And not long after that, they decided to change it to the name more familiar with, and that is American Association of Anatomists, and stayed that way for more than a hundred years. But recently, we changed it to American Association for Anatomy. Of course, it’s still AAA. So all that shorthand that we’re using will still work.
Kevin Patton: Now members, including me, voted in favor of the name change in January, 2019. And to clarify, I was indeed a yes vote on that. And then we began implementing it in August, 2019. So that was just a few weeks ago when the new name was revealed just as that big international anatomy congress in London was about to start. And now you’re going to start seeing it everywhere I hope.
Kevin Patton: Now the new name isn’t retroactive, which is good news for me because that means I don’t have to go back and rerecord all those previous episodes before I use the old name, or change the show notes or episode pages. Or throw away all those copies of anatomical sciences education I have on my shelves.
Kevin Patton: Well, this name change is important because it reflects the idea that AAA is not just for people we traditionally think of as anatomists. There are a lot of scientists and clinicians who don’t think of themselves primarily as anatomists, but they sure do anatomy, or use anatomy a lot. And yes, that includes us A&P teachers because we’re teaching anatomy among other things, we’re anatomists in this broader sense, right? And as we educators and others have become a bigger and more dynamic part of AAA, it just makes sense to change the name to be a more accurate reflection of an organization with a wide division for the science of anatomy and the teaching of anatomy. Oh yeah, there’s a new logo. You might be able to see it in the show notes for this episode, or you can see it at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org. Or better yet, just go directly to anatomy.org and see it there. The new logo reflects the holistic nature of triple a through the use of three separate parts coming together to form an abstract letter A in the negative space. Those three parts symbolize the three pillars outlined in AAA’s mission statement. Research, education, and professional development.
Kevin Patton: Now for those of you that had the idea that AAA is only about research, think about those three pillars and what it says about the reality of today’s AAA. Education and professional development are just as important as research. Now the triangle in the center of the new logo, that is the middle of that abstract letter A, can be interpreted as a delta symbol, representing the constant change occurring in the field of anatomy. I’m a member of the American Association of Anatomy. Why don’t you join too? And where do we go to find out more? Yeah, that’s right. Anatomy.org.
Transparency in Podcasting
Kevin Patton: Wow, what a summer. I feel like I’ve been on back-to-back trips all summer long. That’s because I’ve been on back to back trips all summer long, which is why you’ve been listening to remixes of classic content for a few weeks now. Now all those trips were learning experiences. Conferences, seminars, workshops, and so on, not vacations. And even though I’m exhausted from all that traveling and all that learning, and all that interaction and hubbub and mayhem that wears out us introverts. I’m also excited about getting back to my routine in a new academic year of chills, thrills, and spills.
Kevin Patton: The most recent conference I attended was the world’s largest conference for podcasters. Being as I’m a rookie with only very minimal formal training and podcasting related skills, you can imagine how much I learned there. Like the fact that there are a gajillion different microphones that are claimed to be the best one for podcasting.
Kevin Patton: One of the many diverse topics that I learned about was in a workshop taught by an attorney going over the laws regulating transparency in podcasting. I’m going to mention a few things regarding transparency related to this podcast. But like most new things I learned, I also found out that some of the underlying principles also relate to teaching. And I’ll be getting around to that in a few minutes too. But first, I want to talk about and be transparent about some things related to this podcast.
Kevin Patton: I learned that the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, likes you to put all your financial relationships out there. And not just out there but also up front, meaning that, well one interpretation of the FTC regulations would have me add a five minute disclaimer at the beginning of each episode. Sort of like those disclaimers in ads for drugs that list a whole bunch of potential side effects, and which usually end with the statement, “And may cause death.” Okay. I’m going to be transparent with you right now. I’m not going to do that long upfront disclosure in each episode. It’s okay. Because there’s another interpretation of FTC regulations that I better. It’s the one that lets me be upfront metaphorically, but not literally. Meaning I can do as I’ve been doing in spread it out, so that it’s less annoying and probably more helpful to listeners like you.
Kevin Patton: What kinds of things do I need to disclose? Well, like most legal stuff, that’s kind of muddy. But one thing is an easy call. It’s all those sponsorship messages I give in each episode. So in the interest of transparency, let me briefly clarify those for you. First is AAA, the American Association for Anatomy. To be clear, I’m a longtime member of AAA. I really believe that what I’ve gotten out of my membership is valuable to me as an A&P teacher. For me, mentioning them is a service to y’all to urge you to join and remind you of all the resources they offer.
Kevin Patton: I received an education outreach grant from them to underwrite the costs of transcribing each episode for a year. I can’t use automated transcription that’s free, because it’s not good enough yet to figure out terms like, well, carbaminohemoglobin, or endoplasmic reticulum, or all those crazy newly invented terms. I report on from time to time. Like the phrase in fimo, a new term that I introduced to the preview to episode 35, that is a Latin phrase that means in poop, to describe experiments and medical tests done in feces.
Kevin Patton: Like many new words, I try to work that into conversations whenever I can, like I am right now. So that it stays with me and it’s easy to recall when I need it. To be transparent, I provide transcripts because it makes it easier for both you and I to do a search, and go back and find exactly when and where I brought up a particular topic like oh I don’t know, carbaminohemoglobin. Or a term like in fimo in a previous episode. So you don’t have to listen to a bunch of audio in order to find what we’re looking for.
Kevin Patton: I also use the transcripts to make the captions for the video audio gram version of each episode that I post on YouTube. Now that grant from AAA is about all spent, and it’s one of those grants that can’t be renewed. So I’ll probably be asking AAA for support in a different form soon. And hey, it sure would be great if somebody went to anatomy.org and let them know how much they appreciate the continued support AAA has for this podcast. It would be really, really, really great if y’all did that.
Kevin Patton: Now another important disclosure is affiliation with HAPS, the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. First, let me tell you that I have a strong relationship with HAPS. I was there from the moment the vote cast to incorporate as an organization was cast. I’ve had many roles over the years. If I listed all of them, it would add another 10 minutes to this episode, so I won’t do that. Let’s just say that HAPS and I go way back. I mention HAPS in each episode and state that they’re a sponsor of this podcast because we have an in kind swap arrangement. They put an ad for this podcast in three issues of the HAPS Educator for a year, and I mention them in every preview and full episode for a year. And there’s the HAPI program, the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction from the School of Health Sciences and Education at NYCC.
Kevin Patton: Besides having been a reviewer during the development of the HAPI program, I’m also one of the founding faculty, teaching courses and mentoring in the teaching practicum, which is part of the capstone experience at the end of the degree work. And to be clear, I get paid for teaching courses. The HAPI program has agreed to pay the monthly fee for the hosting service that provides the free Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire apps. And also, it sends out my podcast episodes to all the various podcast and radio apps out there, as well as to social media channels and to the A&P Professor website. And in exchange for that, they get a mention in every episode. Yeah, I know that mentioning these folks in every episode can be a bit annoying sometimes, but I really believe in these organizations, and I truly believe that there’ll be helpful to you or someone you know. If not now, then someday. And something else I learned at that podcast conference is that if you don’t repeat something over and over, it just flows into one ear and out the other without taking up residence in our memory. All right. I already knew that to be true as a teacher and as a physiologist, but I guess it really hit home that you’re not going to remember these great organizations or how to find them when you really need them. If I don’t keep repeating the message over and over.
Kevin Patton: But wait, there’s more. Yes, I have more to reveal. Every time you click on a link to a book or product, it’s probably an affiliate link from Amazon or somebody. Could be an affiliate link for Camtasia, or Snagit, or TextExpander, or my TeePublic store that sells A&P professor mugs and shirts and hoodies, and other cool stuff you can’t live without.
Kevin Patton: I get a small, and I do mean small revenue share from any purchases that you make through those links. And that helps pay for the expenses of this podcast too, like pens. It covers my purchase of pens. And in a good month, a few pencils. Erasers, not yet. That’s a future goal of mine to making from those links to buy erasers too.
Kevin Patton: Now all that said, most of the expenses of this podcast are paid by me out of my own pocket. And to be fully transparent, they don’t come out of my personal pocket. They come out of my business account.
Kevin Patton: As some of you know, I write several textbooks and manuals for anatomy and physiology, mostly with Elsevier and McGraw-Hill. I don’t generally mention my textbooks and manuals, except in passing on this podcast. Even though what I earn from them pays most of the expenses of putting out these episodes. I just don’t want this podcast to be focused on that, and I don’t do this podcast specifically to promote my books. Like textbook writing, I see this podcast as an extension of my teaching outside the classroom, and I view it as a service to my colleagues rather than as a promotion of my books. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with promoting one’s hard work for which one is compensated. You may promote your school, or program, or courses for which you’re paid. You might even wear their logo or other branding around town without disclosing anything. That’s a normal and ethical practice. I’m just trying to be clear and transparent that this work of mine does provide major support of this podcast. Even though it’s not exactly a paid promotion, it’s not really any kind of promotion. So the FTC doesn’t care about it, but well, I want to be transparent, right? Whether I’m required to or not.
Kevin Patton: Now to round out, and yes finally end part of the discussion, I want to mention that I may be experimenting with other perhaps better ways of clarifying paid support of this podcast. For example, I may put a disclaimer at the end of each episode, and I may ask folks I interview or other contributors to be transparent. In the preview episode that proceeds this full episode, my friend Margaret Reece made a transparency disclosure in her book recommendation. In her recommendation, she stated that she had a relationship with the publisher of the book that she was recommending. And I hadn’t even mentioned this idea of transparency to her. She did it because she thought it would be helpful to you to know that relationship, and to interpret her recommendation.
Kevin Patton: And you’ll know why I’m doing all these disclosure things when I do them. How will you know that? Because I’m being transparent about it right now, and perhaps you’ll even be motivated to check out the services provided by our sponsors. Right? And mention to them that you heard about them here. Oh man, that would be so great if y’all did that.
Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
Kevin Patton: Demand continues to increase for college instructors who are specialists in both anatomy and physiology. Besides being thoroughly trained in the most current instruction with theories and practices. NYCC’s Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction, the HAPI program. The first and only one of its kind, was created to satisfy that demand. It’s a fully online program meant for working professionals who already have a graduate or professional degree. Yep. It’s meant for you. I teach in this program, and continue to be amazed at how much our students get from it. Find out more at nycc.edu/hapi that’s H-A-P-I. Or click the link in the show notes or episode page at theAPprofessor.org.
Transparency in Teaching
Kevin Patton: In a previous segment, I discussed financial transparency and podcasts. Now I want to discuss the kind of transparency that our courses can have. A kind of transparency that I believe helps our students learn. I think the learning environment works better when we’re transparent about our teaching strategies. Our course policies and practices, and about most things related to our courses.
Kevin Patton: Now obviously there’s a few things we’re going to have to leave off the table. For example, information that’s protected by privacy laws and related regulations. Things like individual grades, required learning accommodations for special needs and stuff like that. But that leaves a lot of stuff on the table that we may forget to be transparent about or perhaps think we should not be transparent about. Many of these things left on the table revolve around course policies and practices. In our syllabus, we often lay out our rules and policies and such, but give little or no explanation or rationale. I’m not so sure that’s the best approach.
Kevin Patton: Let me give an example. Deadlines. How often do we state deadlines and perhaps spell out consequences of missing deadlines without a single word about why deadlines are important? In a blog article at theapstudent.org called Why Deadlines Are Important, I spell out for students and why they’re important. And I link to that article in my courses so that I’m transparent in my course. That blog post, for which you can find a link in the show notes or the episode page at theAPprofessor.org, mentions how it can really mess up the workflow of the instructor, not giving them enough time to grade student work properly. It also spells out how it helps students develop good, professional habits. Including respecting the timelines of their supervisors and peers. There’s more which you can read in the post. But the point I’m making here is that I’m explaining why deadlines are important and will be enforced in my course.
Kevin Patton: Here’s another example. Attendance policies. I have required attendance in my course. And yeah, that looks different in face to face courses than in hybrid or online courses. But attendance of some sort is always mandatory, and I explain why. Federal regulations require it. It’s mostly a financial aid thing that helps prevent the kind of fraud that’s gotten a lot of colleges in trouble. So much trouble that some of them don’t even exist anymore. This idea that we’re doing it because we’re required to do it is important I think. Aren’t our students going to have all kinds of regulations they’re going to have to adhere to by law in their future health professions? Sometimes we got to do things a certain way because well, we’re required to do them that way. Whether we think it’s a good idea or not.
Kevin Patton: But I also explain how regular engagement in learning activities is really the only effective way to learn. Yeah, it’s a legal hoop to jump through, but it’s more than that. It’s something that makes their time and effort, and tuition money worth it, by ensuring that learning takes place. And it’s another one of those practices that helps develop good professional work habits.
Kevin Patton: I’m even transparent about the choices I make regarding teaching and learning strategies. For example, I explain up front that some of their test and exam items are going to be hard to answer. They won’t be a simple recognition of the meaning of a term, or repetition of a memorized fact. Some items will be combining learned concepts in new ways. Or learned concepts are going to be applied to situations that are new to this student, or they’re going to be problems that can be solved using the information they’ve learned. We talk a little bit about the different levels of understanding, and the importance of being able to apply the knowledge they’ve gained. If I just hit them with those hard test items, they often rebel and resist and get upset and ways that block learning. But if I do that preliminary explanation I just mentioned, they’ll be less likely to resist them on a surface level, and more likely to see them as a puzzle to solve, so that they can achieve a level of mastery that will serve them well in later courses, and later on in their professional work.
Kevin Patton: I tell my students that they are not trick questions, which is what they call these items. They’re thinking challenges that help students become the experts that they want to become. The experts that they need to become. The experts that I need them to become so that they won’t kill me when I’m rolled into the hospital unit they’re going to be working in someday.
Kevin Patton: Here’s another example. I’ve used clickers a lot in face to face lecture and lab classes. The first time I used clickers, I explained how to use them, but I didn’t give the rationale for why I was using them in our course. I failed to be transparent with them. It wasn’t long before I started hearing that many of my students believe that the sole reason I was using them was to take attendance. Yikes. I did use them for recording attendance because it was easy and it didn’t disrupt the flow of each class session. And I did mention that they’d be counted as absent on days they didn’t use their clicker. But I never told them that that was the reason I was using them in the first place. But then I realized, that’s about the only thing I told them about the clickers, so no wonder they thought what they thought.
Kevin Patton: So then I start explaining that I was using clickers for some really good strategic reasons. I wanted even the quiet students to participate. I wanted to make things more active, and more engaged, and more fun. I wanted to give students the opportunity to fail and then work together to find the right answer. I wanted to give the opportunity to tackle those trick questions. I mean, thinking challenges, that they’d see on their tests and exams. And all the other many reasons I had for using clickers. I think giving that rationale not only dissuaded them of the idea that clickers were merely an attendance recording tool, but also got them thinking about how clickers could help them learn.
Kevin Patton: And I think that kind of gets to the core of why I think we ought to be transparent in these different ways with our students. It gets students thinking about how they learn. It’s an entry point into the metacognition, the thinking about thinking that needs to happen for students to really embrace learning and be effective learners. If we give rationales for how the choices we’ve made for our course helps them in their learning and to prepare for their future professional lives, they’re more likely to consider the processes of learning and how they as individuals learn best. They’re perhaps a bit more likely to make that awareness of their own learning processes a natural and ongoing part of their consciousness in everything they do as a student. As an added bonus when we do this is that students may shed a bit of that resistance to the teacher and school when we explain our rationales. I think a lot of students see our job as teachers as mainly setting up random barriers to climb over and hoops to jump through. For no good reason other than that’s how schooling works.
Kevin Patton: What a great thing to finally see past that simplistic and destructive mindset, and begin to see us as their helpers and coaches, rather than as the enemy trying to find ways to destroy their chances of success. And to see their A&P courses as a way to build a strong foundation for future success rather than as an arbitrary obstacle on their path toward their professional career. Transparency. It’s one of those things that helps us get there.
Kevin Patton: Hey, don’t forget that I always put links in the show notes and at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org. In case you want to further explore any ideas mentioned in this podcast or if you want to visit our sponsors, there are many ways to stay connected to this podcast and get new episodes as soon as they’re released. So just go to theAPprofessor.org/listen to explore the many ways you can do this. And you’re always encouraged to call in with your questions, comments, and ideas for the podcast hotline. That’s 1-833-LION-DEN. 1-833-546-6336. Or send a recording or written message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow this podcast in Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the handle @theapprofessor. I’ll see you down the road.
Aileen: The A&P Professor is hosted by Kevin Patton. Professor, blogger, and textbook author in human anatomy and physiology.
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Preview of Episode 52
Kevin Patton: Hi, there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode 52 of the A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio diorama for teachers of human anatomy and physiology.
Kevin Patton: I have a lot of different topics to discuss in the upcoming full episode. The featured topic is going to be using case studies in teaching anatomy and physiology. And I’m also going to bring up an issue with trying to map out the human brain in precise regions. And I’ll discuss a claim that the body’s biological age can be reversed. And I’ll ask the question, have we found the genes for left-handedness? And I’m not only going to ask the question, I’m going to answer it. Well, I’m going to give an answer. It may not be the answer, but I’ll give an answer nonetheless. And I’m also going to spend a little bit of time talking about how we respond to individual student questions outside the classroom. That’s something that is often perceived to take a lot of our time. Well, how can we shorten that? I’ll have some tips and shortcuts. And all of that and more will be in the upcoming full episode number 52.
Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by The Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction, the HAPI degree. I’m on the faculty of this program so I know the incredible value it is for A&P teachers. Are you looking to power up your game in teaching A&P? When’s the last time you had a thorough review of all the core concepts of both anatomy and the physiology, or comprehensive training in contemporary teaching practice. Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi, that’s H-A-P-I, or click the link in the show notes or episode page.
Kevin Patton: Well, I have quite a few word dissections this time, so let’s get going here. The first one is not exactly word dissection because it’s not made up of multiple parts based on Latin, it’s just a single word based on Latin, and it’s an ordinary English word, the word “case” as in case study, like a case study item we might ask our A&P students to solve. And it comes from an old Latin word “casus”, C-A-S-U-S that literally means a fall or an accident, but can also mean an event. And I think that that literal meaning is useful especially in the sense of a fall or an accident because the case studies that we often use in teaching A&P do involve maybe literally a fall or an accident, but at least some kind of bad thing happening to someone, that is a harmful thing happening such as a disease condition or something like that. Not always, but sometimes our case study items involve some kind of clinical abnormality.
Kevin Patton: The English dictionary definition of case might also be helpful to look at. Now there are several different definitions for the word “case”, but there are two dictionary definitions that sort of overlap one another and really do apply to the word “case” in terms of using it in the longer term case study. The first dictionary definition in this case, I hate to use the word “case”. I didn’t mean to do that, but it just came out. In this case, the first of two definitions we’re going to use is instance of the occurrence or existence of something. In other words, there’s something that may occur or may exist and we’re going to look at an instance of that. The second dictionary definition that I think applies here is sort of a more specific application of that first definition and it states a particular or specific occurrence that is studied or investigated.
Kevin Patton: So it’s a specific occurrence, it’s sort of what definition number one is saying, but it adds on that idea that we’re going to look into it. And I think that applies especially well to the case studies that we’re going to be using in teaching anatomy and physiology.
Kevin Patton: Now, the next word to dissect is a little bit more dissectible in it’s one that you’re likely to have already dissected for your students, but it’s good practice to look at this. The word “hypercalcemia” is going to come up in the full episode. And if we break that apart, we have the first word part “hyper”, which means excessive or exaggerated. And then “calc”, C-A-L-C, that literally means lime, which is calcium oxide. But in this case it refers to the element calcium, or actually in this case the ionic form of that element, the calcium ion. So that’s calcs.
Kevin Patton: And then -em, so our word is hypercalcemia. So we discussed hyper, calcs, now the -em part is your shortened form of the word part “hemo,” which means blood. So it’s derived from a Greek word that sounds similar, “hemo” the word part means blood.
Kevin Patton: So so far we have hyper, calc, and -em. Now the -ia ending means condition. And if we take those last two word parts, -em and -ia, that’s I-A, and put them together, we get -emia, and that’s usually how we break apart the word part. But really as I just showed you, it can be broken down twice. So it means blood conditions. So the -em is blood, -ia is condition. So putting it all together, it’s where we have excess calcium ions in the blood. It’s a condition where we have excess calcium ions in the blood, hypercalcemia. So let’s look at the word parcellation.
Kevin Patton: And I will be honest with you, I never heard the word parcellation until I read it recently in a article that I’m going to be discussing in the full episode. So bless your heart if you are already familiar with the term parcellation, but I wasn’t. So even just for my own edification, I wanted to dissect it so that I could understand it better and be more likely to put it into my longterm memory and really own that term.
Kevin Patton: So parcellation starts with the word parts, parce and -el, which make up a regular English word parcel. So the parce means part and -el, E-L means little or small. So a parcel is a little part, a small part. So that usually refers to a small package. It can also mean a small plot of land, like on a map or a deed or something like that. So parcel.
Kevin Patton: But the whole word is parcellation. So what does that mean? Well, the -at that comes after parcel in this word parcellation is a shortened form of the word part that we see in a lot of different terms, which is -ate. And -ate goes back to an old Latin usage that literally when you add it to a term it means the office of whatever it is or holding the office of whatever that is. But it can also mean the condition of, or the state of. So if you parcellate something, you put it in a state of a small part. And parcellation is the process of parcellating hidden. And so that -ion ending or -tion ending a makes it a process. So we put it all together, and parcellation is when we divide something up into smaller little units.
Kevin Patton: So now it makes sense, right? I mean it’s a simple concept, but parcellateion, I don’t know, if that ever came up in the crossword puzzles I regularly work on, I think I’d have to solve all the other clues around it before I came up with that.
Kevin Patton: The next term is another one that really doesn’t need to be divided up, but it’s a term that comes up in a couple of different ways when we study anatomy. And that is the word “atlas.” And I’m going to be using it in the full episode in the sense of a bound collection of maps or tables. And we use that term “atlas” when we’re talking about … Or let’s say a lab atlas, which is a collection of maps or tables or images that we might use in the laboratory for the students to help themselves find the parts of a dissection specimen, for example, or the the parts of a bone or the parts of the whole skeleton. So that’s an Atlas.
Kevin Patton: So that’s an anatomy atlas, could be a dissection atlas, could be an A&P laboratory atlas, bone atlas, it could be a histology atlas, all kinds of different atlases. And that is named for, as many of you know, a figure in classical mythology who was one of the Titans. He was the brother of Prometheus and Epimetheus, who were also Titans. And Atlas was condemned to support the sky on his shoulders. And that sort of came to be imagined as Atlas holding up the entire world on his shoulders. And when we start imagining the world as being a globe, then we start imagining Atlas with the globe of the earth on his shoulders. An early geographic atlases often pictured the mythological Atlas holding up a globe of the world. And so that was a collection of maps, right? So the term “atlas” became synonymous with a collection of maps or tables.
Kevin Patton: Now of course, we also use the word “atlas” to name one of the bones of the vertebral column. And that that would be the first cervical vertebra, which is holding up, in a way, it’s holding up the skull, which, use your imagination, that can be sort of like the globe of the earth. So yeah, that’s an apt name for a cervical vertebra number one. So that’s the word “atlas” going back to its origins, not really dissecting it, but going back to its origins.
Kevin Patton: Now the next term I wanted to dissect, we are going to actually chop this one up, and it’s epigenome. But before we do that, I want to go back to a word dissection that I did in episode 30 or the preview to episode 30, when we were looking at the word epigenetic. And epigenetic is made up of the word part “epi”, E-P-I, which means upon and “gen,” G-E-N, which means make or create. But in this case it refers to genes. And then the -ic ending means relating to. So if we put that all together, epigenetic means relating to something upon the genes. And in actual use, what it refers to is a kind of inheritance.
Kevin Patton: Epigenetic inheritance is not transmission offspring strictly by way of the genes, but instead by some factor that’s operating upon the genes. Upon the genes, that’s epigenetic.
Kevin Patton: So epigenome then is sort of an altered version. Another word that’s based on these word parts and it has that O-M-E ending, the -ome ending, which we’ve seen before. And you’re probably familiar with the idea that -ome means an entire collection of something. And so the epigenome is the entire collection of epigenetic markers in the genome. So it could be your genome, or it could be my genome, or it could be the mythical human genome, or mammalian genome, or whatever. So that’s epigenome, and that’s going to come up in the full episode as well.
Kevin Patton: So wow! That was a lot of word to dissections, wasn’t it? And that’s all for today.
Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, The Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS a theAPprofessor.org/haps, that’s H-A-P-S.
Kevin Patton: You’re probably wondering, does he have a Book Club recommendation for us this time? And the answer is yes. Yes, I do. And it’s a really great book. It’s one that I’m not quite finished reading, but I’m almost there and I’m really loving it. It’s called Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar. Now Jauhar is a practicing cardiologist, you can occasionally read in the New York Times or here on public radio, and he’s in a bunch of other media places as well. So you may have already heard of him and he’s got a couple of other books out that were very popular, so you may have already read some of his books. The title of this book, Heart: A History, seems like it would just say it all and it kind of does, but it’s a bit different and a bit better than I first thought by just reading the title.
Kevin Patton: What it is is an interweaving of Jauhar’s personal and family history. From his grandfather’s early death from a cardiac episode through his cardiology training and his clinical experience as a cardiologist with his patients. And with the story of how all of humanity has understood and related to the heart, both metaphorically and as an organ. And it’s fascinating to read about the people who made great breakthroughs in visualizing the heart and measuring its functions. And some of them broke some really strong taboos about what we can or should be doing with the heart surgically and medically or some of them just simply overcame the fear and reluctance to make bold experiments and develop some of the common life-prolonging cardiac procedures that we see and hear about and experience today. And he also uses that background that he weaves to discuss the limits of health technology and the role of our own life choices and heart health.
Kevin Patton: So it covers all kinds of things and draws them all together to give us a deeper understanding of the heart and in deeper understanding of sort of what has led us to our current understanding of what the heart is, how it works, what can be done when something goes wrong.
Kevin Patton: Now this kind of book could potentially be dry and yes, boring. I’ve read some of those, well I read the first part of them at least, but this one truly is engaging. Frequent listeners of this podcast know that I love a good story and you know what? Sandeep Jauhar can tell a great story.
Kevin Patton: For anyone teaching the biology of the heart, that is anyone teaching anatomy and physiology, this book is not only an enjoyable entertainment, it’s a great resource for enriching the stories of the heart that we share with our students. If you want to know more, just go to theAPprofessor.org/bookclub, bookclub is all one word, theAPprofessor.org/bookclub. and besides an affiliate link where you can find out more about the book at its Amazon page, there’s also a link to a brief video where the author walks us through an angiogram and how it works. Something you might want to share with your A&P students.
Kevin Patton: Now this is one of my recent favorites among books of interest to A&P professors. You’ve got one too. You have a favorite, right? Or maybe several favorites. Why not share your discoveries with the rest of us? If you do that now, you’ll likely be one of five that will be in the drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 10 tablet. There’s still some open spots in that group of five, so please record or write a book recommendation for the A&P Professor Book Club and send it to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. It’s really easy. There’s a voice recorder right there on your smart phone, I’m sure. And if you’ve written a book, you think A&P teachers might be interested in reading, even if it’s not all that recent, contact me so we can get you on an upcoming episode to talk about it.
Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomy at anatomy.org.
Kevin Patton: Well, this is Kevin Patton signing off for now and reminding you to keep your questions and comments coming. Why not call the podcast hotline right now at 1-833-LION-DEN. That’s 1-833- 546-6336, or visit us at theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.
Kevin Patton: Paid sponsorships and affiliate links help to fray podcast expenses. I sometimes receive compensation for teaching courses, consulting, speaking, telling stories, writing educational content, and other activities mentioned in this podcast.
Last updated: June 2, 2021 at 20:37 pm