New Online Hub to Provide Resources, Community for Members
The American Physiological Society recently launched the Center for Physiology Education, a site designed to be the one-stop shop for resources physiology educators need, as well as a place to congregate and get their questions answered online.
For years, members of the American Physiological Society have asked for more resources related to physiology education. As part of the strategic plan APS created two years ago, the group decided to act on that feedback. About a week ago, that work culminated with the launch of the Center for Physiology Education (CPE).
“The impetus really arose from an unmet need within the society for those APS members who saw themselves primarily as educators,” said CPE Advisory Board Chair Terrence Sweeney, Ph.D. “We worked on developing a brand-new community within the society that would really focus on the needs of educators, build that community, and allow them to help one another more easily.”
APS used input from more than 500 physiology educators and researchers to develop the CPE site, which focuses on resources across five themes: evidence-based teaching practices, inclusive teaching, teaching and learning integrative physiology, physiology education research, and curriculum development
“The website that we’ve developed for the CPE is to really curate all of those resources that are out there and assemble them in one place, so that an educator can come and find something related to the question that they’re asking,” Sweeney said. “They’re going to get help finding their answers, not just from static resources, but from interacting with other members. We’re building discussion boards. We have online modules that are video-based, and from those, we’re going to have webinars and online town halls and discussions.”
While the new site has many resources already, it’s still in its early stages, Sweeney added.
“We’re really just at the beginning,” he said. “We launched the website and the [learning management system (LMS)] with its first elements in there. It’s really going to at least be a one- or two-year rollout before we can really build all the elements. We’re trying to make it clear to people to come back often because we’re building in more of these elements.”
Some of the elements they’re building include the discussion capacity. Sweeney offered an example of what that online community will look like as the site evolves.
“Today, I heard from several people that are interested in evaluating their undergraduate curricula in physiology and [comparing theirs] to other ones across the country,” Sweeney said. “So, we’ll build a group that can share their information on this and build best practices for assessment of curricula.”
Right now, the bulk of the CPE website is free, but elements of the site that reside in the group’s LMS—such as a course recording—require APS membership to access. The organization is exploring different options for the future.
“We are considering other mechanisms, such as institutional subscriptions to the CPE and things like that,” Sweeney said. “We hope to broaden the accessibility.”
Finally, APS hopes to bring elements of the online community together in person in the future.
“We are going to have an annual in-person meeting that is specifically dedicated to these issues of best practices in education, teaching, and so forth,” Sweeney said. “So, we hope that will help build the community.”