Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New look for the newsletter!

News flash
Those of you who subscribe to The A&P Student email newsletter, you have already noticed the sleek new look of your newsletter.

For those of you who don't subscribe, why not?

The newsletter is a FREE weekly summary of the latest blog entries from The A&PStudent blog. It's an easy and convenient way to keep up with what's going on in your favorite forum for study tips related to the easy, efficient learning of human anatomy and physiology.

To subscribe, use the form here:

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If you want to preview the new look of newsletter, click this link: The A&P Student Preview

The new look sports a new banner similar to that seen in the blog site.

It also features summarized blog entries so that you can quickly scan through the entries to see what's there at a glance. That way, you don't have scroll through (sometimes) long articles just to see what the main stories are for the week. And there's no worry of clogging up your mailbox with huge files.

In the weeks ahead look for expanded content in the blog and newsletter, too!

[Some forms and other features may not appear in the feed or newsletter form of this article. Go to The A&P Professor blog to see these features.]

Introducing terminology in A&P

Here's an introduction to learning the new terminology of your A&P course.

As I've mentioned several times before, learning terminology is an important first step in understanding the essential concepts of A&P.

This is the first of several videos that I'll be sharing with you to help you understand the terminology of A&P. This introductory piece explains the basic principle of word parts and how they are combined to produce a term.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What to do on Spring Break!

Most of you do not need any advice on what to do to fill your time during spring break.

But for folks in A&P courses, spring break could be a vital time that affects your overall success. That's something that should not be taken lightly.

Here are some things to think about:
  • You do need time to rest up a bit from your hectic semester, right? Right! You'll come back to school refreshed and ready for more if you take some some time during your break to relax. Take time for yourself as well as for friends and family who are now wondering what planet you've gone to since you started taking that darn A&P course.

  • You'll come back relaxed if you take some time to catch up with studying goals and assignments. If you've let things pile up, your break is a good time to get those stressful items off your plate so you can "start fresh" upon your return. (But don't use up all your time catching up . . . you should still relax a little, eh?)

  • Reassess how your study plan in working for you. Try to be realistic about which things you're doing that seem to be working to help you understand what you need to understand in the course . . . and realistic about which things have turned out to be a waste of time. Need help finding good study tips? More things to try? Advice on reducing study time by increasing efficiency? Try my Study Tips & Tools section of the Lion Den.

  • Do NOT use this time to get help from your professor. Hey, we need a break, too! OK, if your professor invited you to ask for help, then go ahead. If your college library or learning center is open during spring break, this might be a good time to visit without the usual flurry of activity.
You may be immersed in a big adventure in some exotic locale and are reading this after your return. Great! Hopefully, you'll be reinvigorated and ready to pick up where you left off.

For those that go out adventuring . . . or have some other interesting Spring Break experience . . . share it here by using the "Comment" link at the end of this article.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finding others for study groups

One of the best ways to succeed in learning A&P is by participating in a study group.

Study after study shows that if you study with others, you increase the efficiency of learning . . . that means that you learn more in less time!

There are a variety of ways to connect with others in your course to get a group together for studying . . . such as getting lab partners to study with you, approaching people in your lecture course, finding folks in your college study center or library, rounding up folks in your dorm or neighborhood.

But there are many other ways that you may not have thought about. These are especially useful for those who are at a distance from their school, who have a heavy extracurricular schedule (family, work, etc.), or who are simply a bit shy.

One method you may not have thought of is finding folks through "virtual networking" techniques.

You might want to think about finding or forming a study group by posting a message to your course's course management system (CMS) . . . that is, through WebCT, Blackboard, ANGEL, Moodle, or whatever system your course uses. This can be done through posting on a discussion forum or emailing others in your course.

Your school may also have some sort of "online community" function at their website that would allow you to find others for one study session together . . . or to form a regular study group.

You can take that idea a bit farther and find or form a group on a social networking site such as Facebook, MySpace, NING, and so on.

Once you've identified some folks to join you in a study session, the next trick is to find a time when all of you can meet. Here are a few FREE online tools that can help do this easily and efficiently . . . and therefore painlessly!

Check out each one. It'll only take a few minutes . . . they're simple and straightforward. Then decide which one will work best for you.

Your teacher may also have additional ideas for how you can find some study partners.

The cost of A&P textbooks

In these hard economic times when so many are returning to school to retrain themselves for a new career, the cost of textbooks becomes especially important.

Did you know that there is a difference of $45 between the list prices of some A&P textbooks compared to others? For the same size, scope, and quality in the A&P coverage!

Most professors aren't even aware of these prices differences. You may want to ask your A&P professors whether they look at the "bookstore prices" when they are considering the adoption of textbooks for their A&P course.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Using the Clear View of the Human Body

If you are using any of my textbooks in your A&P course, you have probably already seen the nifty Clear View of the Human Body . . . a set of opaque and transparent overlays that allow you to peel away layers of the body in a sort of virtual dissection.

My tip for today is . . .

DO NOT FORGET that the CLEAR VIEW is there!

A lot of students look at it when they first get the book and are thumbing through the pages marveling at all the interesting artwork and photos (and trying to size up how interesting or difficult the course may be). But as they get involved in the learning process, many students forget that the Clear View is there . . . and miss out on using this valuable tool.

Why use the Clear View? It's a great way to develop your concept of the spatial relationships of the body . . . that is, how all the organs "fit together."

The typical anatomical illustration gives a rather flat view of body structures. The Clear View lets you peel away layer after layer, showing the anterior structures, then deeper structures, moving finally to the posterior structures. Then it reverses the direction, and takes you from posterior, to deep, to anterior! Because each layer is partly transparent and partly opaque (not transparent), you are able to see both organs on the layer you are looking at, and some of the organs in deeper layers.

The best way to use the Clear View is to play with it regularly. It's fun . . . go ahead and play! By doing so after or during your study of every chapter, you'll soon become very familiar with the 3-dimensional nature of the body.

Of course, dissecting fresh cadavers again and again throughout your studies would be a better way to achieve an understanding of how all the body parts fit together. But the Clear View isn't a bad alternative!

Check out this short (6-minute) movie clip showing the Clear View.

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