Save the date! The Teaching Section of the American Physiological Society (APS) will host its fourth biennial APS Institute on Teaching and Learning (ITL) in 2020.
What is the ITL? You can learn more about the APS-ITL by watching this short video.
After much anticipation and intense negotiations the APS Meeting Office has completed arrangements to hold the 2020 APS-ITL at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus. Details about registration and lodging will be coming in September – we will be staying in Centennial Hall and either single or double dorm rooms will be available; most of the meals will be included with registration. Additional information will be posted on the APS website in November.
For a sneak peek of the venue, take a look at the award-winning McNamara Alumni Center. The Institute is scheduled from the evening of Monday, June 22, until lunchtime on Friday, June 26.
We are planning a pre-conference workshop/boot camp for new instructors.
Now that we have the venue, we are organizing the schedule and inviting plenary speakers and concurrent session leaders. Although we don’t have all the details yet, we can promise an exciting, relevant slate of activities. More details will be forthcoming as they are developed – for now, mark your calendars! We hope that you will join us at the 2020 ITL and help us grow the Physiology Education Community of Practice.
Beth Beason-Abmayr is a Teaching Professor of BioSciences at Rice University and a Faculty Fellow of the Rice Center for Teaching Excellence. She earned her B.S. in Microbiology from Auburn University and her Ph.D. in Physiology & Biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She teaches multiple course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) as well as a student-centered course in comparative animal physiology. She is a co-PI on the Rice REU in Biomolecular Networks, PI of the Rice iGEM team and is a member of the iGEM Executive Judging Committee. As a National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences (2012-2020), Beth is co-chair of the American Physiological Society – Institute of Teaching and Learning (APS-ITL) and is an Associate Editor for Advances in Physiology Education.
Joann May Chang, PhD Professor of Biology & Director for the Center for Instructional Excellence at Arizona Western College Yuma, Arizona
I recently attended a training on Open Educational Resources
(OER) and what it truly means to offer an OER course. What is an OER course? If you offer a course that uses an e-text
with other content found on the web to supplement without costing the student
any money, this would be defined as being free of costs and not truly an OER
course. Why? That leads to the key
question Matthew Bloom, OER Coordinator for Maricopa Community Colleges, posed
to our group during the training: “How do you feel about sharing with the
OER has become a prominent topic in higher education to save
students on textbook costs, but also a movement in building high quality
accessible teaching materials for educators without being tied to a publishing
company. In a 2017 blog post by Chris
Zook, he provided infographics of data associated with the increase in
textbook prices that have outpaced inflation, medical services, and even new
home costs. [attached graphic 1 & 2]
As Chris Zook also noted, community college students are two times more
likely to purchase textbooks with their financial aid than four-year college
students which increases their financial burden to complete their degree. When faculty build OER courses, they can
decrease this burden and share their course content with others who are working
towards giving equal access to higher education.
OER is at the forefront of Arizona Western College because
it is an integral part of our institution’s strategic planning goals to make
higher education more accessible for our student population where the average
yearly salary is only $38,237. We are
a year into this goal with our first formal OER training taking place in June
2019. When Matthew first asked us if we
share our teaching materials, most of us said “Sure! We share with our colleagues
often.” But then he followed that up
with “How willing are you to share your developed content with the world?” And that is the difference between a free
versus an OER course. If a faculty
member develops open course content and licenses it under the Creative Commons
License, the material can be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and
redistributed (known as the 5R activities) by others. The creator of the open content can control
how their material is used with the different Creative Commons licenses.
[Creative Commons License gif] With the shared content, the OER movement aims
to provide quality teaching materials that can be used in an open creative and
collaborative manner while benefitting students in reducing textbook costs.
I did not realize the importance of Matthew’s question until
I started my search for OER content with Creative Commons Licensing for our OER
transitioning Anatomy and Physiology courses.
We will be using the OpenStax A & P textbook starting this Fall and
even though Matthew gave us some good starting points to search for open
resources that follow the 5R activities, it has been difficult finding pictures
and diagrams that can be used in lecture and activities. I have been able to find various posts to
labs, power point slides, videos, and open textbooks that can be used for
A&P. The most common issue is the
lack of quality science pictures or diagrams offered as open content, which I
have also heard is a problem from other colleagues transitioning to OER.
So, here’s my challenge question for you: Are you willing to
share your developed content, pictures, and diagrams with the world? If you are, please license them and share so
that you can be a part of this OER movement and others can also collaborate and
build that open content. Ultimately, this is about the ability to be inclusive
and provide quality higher education for our students without burdening them
with textbook costs.
If you are interested in this OER movement and are looking
for information or content, please check out the following resources:
This list is in no way inclusive. There are many other resources out there,
they just take time to find and to search through. I hope more of the scientific community takes
part in this OER movement and can provide more resources for everyone to use or
collaborate on. It truly makes a
difference to our students and their education.
Chang, Ph.D. is a Professor of Biology and the Director for the Center for
Instructional Excellence at Arizona Western College (AWC), a community college
in Yuma, Arizona. She currently manages
the professional development for AWC and teaches A&P and Introduction to
Engineering Design. When she’s not
teaching or directing, she is keeping up with her twin daughters, son, husband,
three cats and one dog. On her spare
time, she is baking delicious goodies for her friends and family.