Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free File Renaming Software

Do you ever have a set of computer files, like photos or student assignments that you want to name similarly so that you actually know something about them before you open them again or can find them again when the time comes weeks, months, or years later when you won't remember much about the filename?

Well, I do.

The BULK RENAMING UTILITY is a piece of free software that I use all the time. I use it mostly for photos that I download from my digital camera. I want to take 50 or 100 photos and add "2008-PattonFamilyReunion" to all the "IMG_5678" names. Come to think of it, I'll just clip that "IMG_ " part of the filename right off all those same filenames. I can do that easily, with just a few keystrokes with the renaming program.

You might collect student assignments in the form of electronic files. You may want to add "Fall-08-Report-01-" to each filename that you've collected in your file folder. That way, when you need to go back and find something, you can. Or it's grading time and you know how fried your brain gets while your grading and you want an easy way to find all the files for Report 1.

To download and use this free software just click the link:

Don't forget to download the PDF manual and save it somewhere you can find it later. But honestly, it's so intuitive and easy to use that I've never had to open the manual!

Although the software is free . . . donations are welcome at the software website.

I'm assembling a list of free software at The A&P Professor website . . . please send me your favorite examples of free software that you use in teaching your courses!
Screenshot of the Bulk Rename Utility main screen.
There are a LOT of options in renaming files . . . prefixes, suffixes, character substitutions, numbering, and more . . . but you don't have to use them all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clicker Conference

Do you click? I do.

I never thought I would use student response systems (clickers). When I first experienced them in workshops promoting them, they were difficult to use. And frankly, nothing convinced me that they would benefit the learning process in my course.

That all changed when I read some information on i>clicker (a brand of response system) and how some science professors at the University of Illinois developed a system based on ideas generated by a study at Harvard that showed how they can be used to improve the level of engagement of students in a large lecture class.

So I tried it, and I'm hooked. I'm SO glad I did it!

I have a lot more to share on using clickers in A&P classes . . . and even some free resources for you to use (of course). That's coming up in a later post.

[NOTE: For those of you that use my texbooks, ask your sale rep about resources (clicker questions) and package deals for using i

But for now, let me pass on an opportunity to learn about clickers from the real experts. It's a whole day of best practices in using a clicker system!

It's all about continuing professional education here at The A&P Professor!

The announcement of the "clicker conference" is copied below:

Save the Date! Sign up Now!
"Classroom Response Systems: Innovations and Best Practices"

Hosted by the University of Louisville on November 15th, 2008

Are you using clickers right now and interested in learning about new ways to use them? If not, have you thought about using clickers but don’t quite know where to start? Join your peers at the University of Louisville’s "Classroom Response Systems: Innovations and Best Practices" Conference. This will be the first—and only--conference dedicated to the emerging role of classroom response systems in higher education.

As you may know, clickers have exploded in the higher education community as a tool to foster formative assessment, student engagement, accountability, and critical thinking. What makes clickers exciting is not the technology—it is the set of teaching practices and innovations surrounding their use. And this new, research-based conference is the perfect forum for examining existing best practices, as well as developing new ideas and models for the use of audience response systems in the classroom.

The Conference will feature numerous individual sessions (see ) and two keynote speakers:

Dr. Timothy Stelzer, Assistant Research Professor, Physics, University of Illinois. Professor Stelzer has been heavily involved with the Physics Education Group at Illinois. He has led the development and implementation of tools for assessing the effectiveness of educational innovations in the physics introductory courses and expanding the use of web technology in physics pedagogy. He was instrumental in the development of the i>clicker classroom response system and is a regular on the University's "Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students." Dr. Stelzer will discuss his experience with and addiction to clickers, their best pedagogical application, and a look forward to the role they will play in transforming the classroom of the 21st century.

Dr. Doug Duncan, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences of the University of Colorado and Director of Fiske Planetarium, is a national leader in presenting the excitement of scientific discoveries to the general public; he has appeared on BBC television and on the National Public Radio Program All Things Considered, and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution. He is also the author of one of the first books about teaching with clickers. His book, "Clickers in the Astronomy Classroom" (published by Addison Wesley) is publishing in a second edition in late 2008 and shows evidence of its impact on student learning and attitudes. Dr. Duncan is a frequent speaker on the power of classroom response systems as a teaching tool.

For conference information, go to

Please promote this opportunity to others in your department and/or institution by forwarding this e-mail. Thank you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just in Case (Study)

I've found that sprinkling my course with case studies has greatly improved the learning in my A&P course! I think they do a great job in pushing my students upward with Bloom's taxonomy!

And in our courses for A&P teachers at HAPS Institute we frequently use case studies!

I just received the following announcement about a Case Study Teaching conference coming up in September. I've never been to one of these, but I work with colleagues who have . . . and it has transformed their teaching! And their student's learning!

I'll be busy with the Using Cadavers course that weekend . . . but if you go, drop me a line and let me know all about your experience there!

(Note: I'll be sharing more on using case studies in A&P in later posts!)


Interested in Case Study Teaching…Learn from the best! Dr. Clyde (Kipp) Herreid, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, is our conference leader.

Register now for our upcoming 2-day fall Case Study Teaching conference September 26th and 27th, 2008. The conference is open to anyone interested in science education including high school teachers and international teachers. See below for a full listing of the conference sessions which includes beginner and experienced tracks. In addition, we will be holding a poster session and would be pleased if you submitted a proposal.

Please pass this announcement along to colleagues of yours who are not on our listserv.

Early-Bird Registration Deadline Extended to September 6, 2008!

My regards, Nancy Schiller

Co-Director, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science

University at Buffalo, State University of New York



Presented by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, State

University of New York at Buffalo

DATES: September 26 & 27, 2008

VENUE: Ramada Inn & Conference Center, Amherst, NY


-to submit a poster session proposal: August 29, 2008

-to reserve a hotel room at the special conference rate: September 10, 2008

-to get the early bird discounted rate: September 6, 2008


The aim of our annual fall conference is to bring together people who are interested in teaching science using case studies. The conference features plenary speakers (Teaching Without A Net: A Few Lessons About Discussion Teaching That I Have Learned from My Students Rita Silverman, Professor of Education, Pace University, and Learning About the Nature of Science with Case Studies Kathy Gallucci, Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Elon University), a poster session, and a number of mini-workshops organized in two tracks - one for the beginner and the other for the more experienced

case teacher. It is your choice which sessions you attend (mix and match).

Beginner Track Sessions:

What Is a Case? / Different Types of Cases Kipp Herreid

The Discussion Case Method Kipp Herreid

The Interrupted Case Method Kipp Herreid

Team Learning Using Cases Kipp Herreid

How to Write a Case Kipp Herreid,

Experienced Teacher Track Sessions:

Active Learning Strategies in the Science Classroom Christa Colyer

Using Cases to Help Science Teachers Align Curriculum to State and National Standards Rita Silverman

Assessing Critical Thinking in the Science Classroom Paula Lemons

The Mini Research Project Christa Colyer

Committed to Cases: Integrating the Case Concept into your Course Eric Ribbens

The conference also includes breakout sessions on:

Case Studies in the Life Sciences Moderators: Eric Ribbens, Paula Lemons, Kathy Gallucci

- OR -

Case Studies in the Physical Sciences Moderators: Christa Colyer, Frank Dinan

Early bird registration (before or on September 6, 2008) is $425. Regular registration (after September 6, 2008) is $475. We are also offering a special student registration rate of $225. Registration includes buffet lunch, and morning/afternoon coffee breaks on both Friday and Saturday, as well as the Friday evening reception & banquet. A full buffet breakfast is available to those staying at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center, compliments of the hotel.

Please note: A limited block of hotel rooms is being held at the Ramada for our group at the special conference rate until September 10, 2008, so plan on making your hotel reservations early.

For more information, including how to submit your poster proposal, see the conference website at:

Questions about the conference can be directed to our Conference Coordinator, Carolyn Wright, at or (716)645-2363 x111, fax (716)645-2975.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Brain Research

It's here!

I just received my copy of the print version of the FREE annual journal The 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research published by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

This is an interesting book that each year summarizes breakthrough research and conceptualizing in the fascinating area of brain research. I especially appreciate that it's written in an easily accessible style . . . I don't have to pretend to be a neuroscientist and get out my science dictionary to wade through layers of jargon. Nope. Instead, it's written in plain English and a clean style.

Every year, an essay by a prominent neuroscientist is featured. This year there is an essay from Michael S. Gazzaniga on the strong links between the arts and cognition.

There are also interesting updates in neuroimmunology, senses. neuroethics, movement disorders, stem cells and neurogenesis, and much more.

There's also a piece on Thinking and Remembering. I think. Can't remember for sure.

You can access the contents FREE online at The 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research. You can also register to get a copy of the print version of next year's issue.

Check out my list of free journals at The A&P Professor website for more FREE journals related to human anatomy and physiology.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Anatomical art source

It's not exactly free, but pretty darn close!

As you probably know, art created by the "old masters" such as Leonardo, Albinus, etc., are not protected by copyright or royalty because, well, they're just so darn old that they've outlived any copyright protection even if had existed back then.

I find that these pieces are usually accurate and wonderfully represent anatomical concepts and structures that I am trying to teach. Because I don't want my students to memorize the particular illustrations in their textbook and lab manual--and because the text and manual can't contain all the various ways to represent structures--I want some other sources I can use ethically (and legally) in my course.

One great source is the CD image collection available from Dover Publications titled Great Anatomical Drawings by the Masters CD-ROM and Book.

Click here for an example of the art from this work (but do it soon because the source page at Dover will soon expire).

I use such images in PowerPoint slides, online test questions, and in my course lecture outlines (provided to students). In an upcoming post to this blog, I'll walk you through some of the easy ways to alter the art to fit different teaching and learning scenarios.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Terminologia Embryologica

The current edition of PLEXUS, the newsletter of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomy (IFAA), reports that their Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FICAT) is hard at work on a new list of anatomical terminology called the Terminologia Embryologica (TE).

The FICAT will be meeting next month in Romania to continue work on the TE, which is a standard list of anatomical terms related to embryological structures.

As you may know, the FICAT has already published two previous lists of anatomical terminology in an attempt to standardize usage worldwide. The lists attempt to eliminate eponyms where possible in favor of clearly descriptive terms. Each structure is listed by number, Latin name, and English name. (UK English is used in the lists.)

The first international list of anatomical terms published by the FICAT was the Terminologia Anatomica (TA), which lists the terminology of gross anatomy. The TA was then followed by the TH or Terminologia Histologica, a list related to microscopic anatomy. Both lists have a comprehensive index and guide to eponym equivalents. The lists are organized by location in the body, duh-uh.

In our textbooks, we have attempted to follow the available international lists as closely as possible. Where appropriate, we've also included synonyms--including eponyms--commonly used in many regions of the United States. Ian Whitmore, the FICAT chair, recently told me that he is encouraged that we A&P professors have taken up the cause of standardizing our use of terminology because it is only by doing so at the introductory level will it eventually filter upward and outward to the entire world of anatomy.

See the article on International Terminology at The A&P Professor website for more discussion on this topic.

What do YOU think about this attempt to standardize terminology? Click the link below to add your comment!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hip Logo

For the hippest of websites, why not a hip logo?

Some of you may have noticed the addition of a new logo for the The A&P Professor website that serves as a companion to this blog.

One dictionary includes this definition of hip:

"Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments."

Considering that's a goal of this project, I think "hip" is the appropriate concept to symbolize it.

Click this link to learn more . . . hip logo.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Body Painting

Introduce body painting into your A&P class?!

I don't know . . . I'm not so sure this would be a big hit in my rather conservative community if word got out that our students were doing body painting in class!

But an article in the current issue of Anatomical Sciences Education (ASE) titled Body painting as a tool in clinical anatomy teaching has me thinking that maybe it's a good idea. The author, Paul G. McMenamin used body painting in his anatomy class to help his students learn about muscles, nerves, dermatomes, joints, bone markings, and surface projections of various internal organs by using this method of instruction.

McMenamin allowed students to work in single- or mixed-gender groups and gave them the option of working behind a screen. He found that gender and cultural issues never seemed to be an issue with his students.

He found that these exercises were very effective, and were perceived by students as being effective, in learning anatomical concepts. McMenamin cited the multimodal and interactive aspect of this method as probable reasons for the demonstrated success of body painting as a learning tool.

Click this link Body painting as a tool in clinical anatomy teaching to access the abstract of this article FREE of charge. (See note below for access to full article.)

Have any of you tried a similar method? Share your experiences with the rest of us by clicking the Comments link at the end of this article. (Or send it to me and I'll post it here or on The A&P Professor website if appropriate.)

[NOTE: Wiley InterScience, publisher of ASE, offers the journal FREE to institutions for a limited time during the journal's inaugural year. Click here for information to pass on to your college library to get the journal FREE!]

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More on Doping

Those dopes!

Just two weeks ago, I ran an article on Doping here in The A&P Professor blog. As we run up to the 2008 Olympic games we're seeing more and more in the news about doping in Olympic athletes.

I told ya so! And here's my next amazing prediction: there will be more!

For example of the recent coverage, see:

Science News ran a great feature article in their August 2, 2008 issue on genetic doping called Finding the Golden Genes. I've just added a link to this article in my own expanded Doping article at The A&P Professor website. And there, you'll find a link to a cool Flash animation of one potential type of gene doping--a great resource for a discussion in your course.

Science News is a great resource for science teachers and although they are a print magazine, much of their content is FREE on the web. See my previous post or go here in The A&P Professor website for more free sources.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cadaver scholarship

Remember that course in USING HUMAN CADAVERS TO TEACH A&P that I told you about?

Some of you were asking about funding and scholarships!

Yes! It's true . . . we now have scholarships available for HAPS Institute courses, thanks to Morton Publishing.

For information on the scholarships, go to and click the link to the Grants and Scholarship page (FYI, it's in the members-only section).

What better way to use it than for that Using Cadavers to Teach A&P course I told you about yesterday?

You can use this scholarship for other HAPS Institute courses instead.

We're still arranging the schedule of our other courses. Make sure that you subscribe to the The A&P Professor Newsletter to stay informed about the HAPS-I schedule! Or subscribe to the HAPS-I Update Google Group.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cadavers, anyone?

People are DYING to get into this course!

Some of you already know that I'm the Director of HAPS Institute (HAPS-I), the professional continuing education program of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS). This program offers graduate biology courses in flexible formats to A&P professors just like you!

I'll explain more about HAPS-I in later posts, but right now I have urgent news:

We're offering a repeat of one of our most popular courses SOON!

(3 credits, Univ of Washington)

This is for anyone who is using cadavers, wants to use cadavers, or is just curious about using cadavers in their undergraduate program. You'll go back with a lot of great photos of organs, etc, that you can use in your own courses plus plenty of great tips on how to implement cadaver use at your institution. I sat in on last spring's course and it was GREAT. I picked up a lot just by OSMOSIS. Think how much more you'll get by actually PARTICIPATING!

The course begins September 8 with online readings and discussions.

The workshop will be at the cadaver lab at Grand Rapids Community College (downtown Grand Rapids MI) on Sep 26-27-28. We'll have a session Friday evening in the hotel following an optional pay- your-own welcome dinner. Then all day Saturday on campus in various sessions in and out of the lab. Saturday optional pay-your-own dinner in Grand Rapids. Then a Sunday morning wrap-up session on campus until 11am.

Then you'll discuss things and work on your learning object through the end of November.

Accommodations at $89 per night are available at the nearby Days Inn Hotel (a few easy blocks from campus). Call (616) 235-7611 and ask for the HAPS Institute rate.

The enrollment form, syllabus, faculty, course details, and so on, are posted at

THIS COURSE FILLED FAST last time and HAD A LONG WAIT LIST so if you are interested, you have to ENROLL NOW to ensure a spot. Last time there was crying and wailing when we had to shut the door . . . don't let that happen to you. Those on the waiting list from last year are mostly already in the course (we're almost half full already!).

Free Journals?

Yes! FREE journals you can use to supplement your teaching of A&P . . . or simply keep up to date.

I mentioned in my previous post that I would come back to the idea of free journals. I want to bring up the fact that as A&P teachers, updates we glean from the journals not only increases our own understanding of human biology but also gives us something to bring to the classroom. When we can say that we "just read an article that" questions, disputes, or further clarifies what is the textbook then we bring active science into the classroom. We demonstrate that scientific understanding is dynamic and not static . . . that it evolves through dialog, debate, and continuous experimentation and observation.

Another way to bring the latest publications to the classroom is to provide links to students. Such links could be used simply as a way for students with an interest--or a question--in a course topic to easily find more to chew on. Or they could be used as optional or required assigned readings. Or could be used in conjunction with case study activities.

If you have other ideas for using links to free science journal or magazine articles in an A&P class, then hit the "Comments" button and let's here them!

I'm building a list of free journals related to A&P on The A&P Professor website, so now you have a place to start!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Trust Hormone

Trust me on this . . .

I've been seeing a flurry of recent articles in a growing stream of new information about the hormone oxytocin (OT). The classic view of OT spotlights its functions in triggering contractions of myoepithelial cells within mammary glands that "let down" or push the milk in to lactiferous ducts and in amplifying labor contractions.

OT is now being nicknamed the "trust hormone" because of its supposed effects in promoting social bonding between a mother and her nursing child and perhaps even between sexual partners. You probably already know of the central role of OT in the human orgasm--which explains why orgasms sometimes trigger milk-letdown in lactating women and why nursing infants sometimes produces feelings of orgasm. Some have even proposed that OT acts as a pheromone! For that reason, upcoming editions of my textbooks will mention some of the expanded functions for OT.

Scientific American has run some great articles on OT in print and online that summarize some of the recent breakthroughs in understanding the functions of OT:
To Trust or Not to Trust: Ask Oxytocin
July 15, 2008 – Mind Matters - By Mauricio Delgado
Hormone Spray Elicits Trust in Humans
June 02, 2005 – News - By Kate Wong
Affairs of the Lips: Why We Kiss
January 31, 2008 – Scientific American Mind - By Chip Walter
Bonding Hormone
February 01, 2006 – Scientific American Mind - By Jamie Talan
One of the Public Library of Science journals recently ran an article that uses computational analysis to reveal the dynamics of OT secretion that promises to lead to greater knowledge of the regulation of neuropeptides in general.

Unless you are really into computational biology, the Author Summary (follows the Abstract) is the best way to get the gist of this most recent breakthrough. Note the cooperative role of endocanniboids, which are marijuana-like transmitters in the human nervous system. (After my colleague at St. Louis University's Physiology Dept., Dr. Allyn Howlett, made her breakthrough discovery of cannaboid receptors in the human brain, I always wondered why we have receptors for weed . . . now we're getting some more answers to that question!)

In a post coming up soon, I'll tell you about some FREE journals to help you keep up to date! Really, I will. My word (and my oxytocin) is my bond!