2014 was a notable year for physiology education: APS launched both the Institute on Teaching and Learning (ITL) (1) and the Physiology Educators Community of Practice (PECOP) (2, 3, 4, 5). Since then, the ITL has become a regular, recurring meeting (2016 and 2018), attracting a growing attendance.
Similarly, PECOP has grown in both depth and breadth:
- supporting more than two dozen PECOP Fellows and Thought Leaders to attend the 2014 ITL and develop a strong foundational network;
- holding regular networking sessions at the ITL and Experimental Biology;
- engaging the PECOP community in writing more than 70 blog entries on a range of education topics in the Life Science Teaching Resource Community (LifeSciTRC);
- promoting research collaborations among PECOP participants; and
- engaging physiology educators in leadership roles (6, 7) such as:
- PECOP Blog Coordinator – Barbara Goodman, Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota;
- PhUn Week Blog Coordinator – Patricia Halpin, University of New Hampshire at Manchester;
- LifeSciTRC Community Review Editor – Lynn Diener, Mount Mary University;
- ITL Program Committees led by Barbara Goodman and Thomas Pressley, Texas Tech Univ. Health Sciences Center School of Medicine.
PECOP was supported initially by a one-year planning grant from the National Science Foundation Research Collaboration Network-Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) Incubator program (Grant No. 1346220). In 2018, APS plans to submit a proposal for a five-year RCN-UBE grant to grow the PECOP network and activities. This growth will be guided and driven by the PECOP network of educators so we need to hear from YOU about what the PECOP community should do in the coming years. We have gathered three major ideas from previous PECOP networking sessions and ITL meeting discussions:
- Help new educators get a good start.
At the 2014 ITL, we pilot tested a new APS Professional Skills Training program, “Becoming an Effective Teacher.” Results were excellent and, using our new Schoology LMS for online professional development, APS staff can adapt these excellent materials for online use. However, this would be a community-driven program that needs experienced educators to share their expertise and guide new educators onto the “evidence-based teaching” path.
2. Help experienced educators use “evidence-based teaching” more effectively.
Many of the ITL sessions and articles in both the PECOP blog and Advances in Physiology Education focus on using teaching methods that have strong evidence of their broad effectiveness. Other articles describe studies that compare methods or assess the effectiveness of methods in new teaching scenarios (diverse students, institutions, and courses). How can the PECOP community help colleagues who seek to increase the “evidence-base” of their teaching? The PECOP Fellows program helped a number of educators start on this path. Should we continue this program?
3. Help educators participate in scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL).
While we are often adept at designing (or helping students design) experiments at the bench, we are often genuinely perplexed when designing an experimental study involving the uber-tricky subject, the classroom student. Students differ widely so what can serve as the “control” group for my class? How many subjects do I need? What IS the unit of study? The student? The class? The course? What should I measure? Is that measure reliable? Is it valid? And what are the appropriate statistical tests to use? A good way to being engaging in SOTL is the same way we learned about bench research…we collaborated with and learned from someone with greater expertise. Our PECOP community has already fostered research collaborations among members. How can we grow the number of research collaborations in our community?
These are just THREE of the many goals we could set for PECOP. Now share YOUR thoughts! How should PECOP support the growth and development of the physiology education community in the coming years?
Reply to the discussion below or send your comments (by December 15) directly to me. Join us as we grow the PECOP community and support physiology educators!
Barbara E. Goodman, Marsha Lakes Matyas, Advances in Physiology Education Jun 2016, 40 (2) 239-242; DOI:10.1152/advan.00045.2016.
Marsha Lakes Matyas, Dee U. Silverthorn, Advances in Physiology Education Dec 2015, 39 (4) 272-277; DOI: 10.1152/advan.00093.2015.
- How do the Institutes on Teaching and Learning (ITLs) nurture the members of the Physiology Educators Community of Practice (PECOP)?
Barbara E. Goodman, Advances in Physiology Education Sep 2017, 41 (3) 354-356; DOI:10.1152/advan.00050.2017.
Jenny McFarland, Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, Advances in Physiology Education Dec 2016, 40 (4) 473-476; DOI:10.1152/advan.00141.2016.
- The Physiology Education Community of Practice (PECOP) wants YOU!
Goodman, B. (2014, November 1). Retrieved from: http://www.lifescitrc.org/resource.cfm?submissionID=11213.
Marsha Lakes Matyas, Advances in Physiology Education Mar 2017, 41 (1) 145-148; DOI:10.1152/advan.00200.2016.
Thomas A. Pressley, Advances in Physiology Education Sep 2017, 41 (3) 454-456; DOI:10.1152/advan.00083.2017.