Kinesiology students pose with professor Dave AndrewsDave Andrews worked with a group of kinesiology students to design new lab activities for his courses in functional anatomy. In addition to having a paper published in the International Journal for Students as Partners, they presented their work at the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Revamping lab activities a creative endeavour, say kinesiology students

If you think no one considers getting graded fun, you’ve never met kinesiology student Sophia Boucas.

Boucas considers the lab activities in the two required Functional Anatomy courses a highlight of her first year in the Faculty of Human Kinetics.

“My favourites were the Jeopardy and Bell-Ringer labs,” she said. “It definitely made it feel less like work because it was fun. You were playing a game rather than writing a test.”

Professor Dave Andrews revamped the lab activities with input from undergrads who have taken the classes in the past.

Dr. Andrews and six students — Kalina Georgieva, Bradley Mangham, Rebecca Misiasz, Megan Murtagh, Claudia Town, and Robbie Oates — partnered on a project to find more engaging and meaningful activities. They came up with a variety of individual and small-group activities that can be delivered both in-person and online.

They presented their work at the 2022 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education conference, and their paper about the experience was published in last month’s edition of the International Journal for Students as Partners.

“Creating these labs was a refreshing experience where I could explore more creative endeavours with faculty and students than I was able to do as a student in the course,” said Mangham. “For example, I was able to focus on the content that I really enjoyed when I was in the course, such as the unit on bones, and develop labs related to it. This motivated me to develop creative activities.”

Andrews and his students undertook the project during the pandemic. Andrews — winner of a 3M National Teaching Fellowship, which recognizes excellence in post-secondary teaching — called it “an amazing gift” to work with this group of students on the project.

“I learned many things, many small and impactful things, about what students find important, what things really don’t matter, and what things really do,” Andrews said. “Several times I got feedback about features of the courses that I had stressed over before that I thought were critical, but that they said were not. They also helped me to see the implications of some of the decisions I had made about my courses in the past from the students’ perspective.”

Read the team’s article, “Developing lab activities for an introductory anatomy course: Reflections and recommendations from a student-faculty partnership.”

—Sarah Sacheli

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