Alan Jenks Teaching ePortfolio

Teaching the Next Generation

Teaching Goals/Responsibilities

My passion in health care is teaching biochemistry and physiology and the last 9 years I have been able to teach a variety of topics from biomechanics to diagnosis. How the body works and what we can do to make it feel better summarizes really what I love to teach.

Completing my PhD has provided me the opportunity to reflect back as a bachelors and masters student exploring the freedom that university offered. I enjoyed the opportunities to choose and learn at my own pace. I want to be that stimulating lecturer again that really sparks your interest in current topics.

I remember the intensity of the deadlines, those final hours before the exam, the last minute rush to print off an assignment. Yes, the disorganized student doing everything last minute not being prepared until that very last moment. I wonder how I managed to get through my degrees, but somehow I did. It seems silly now that I wasn’t prepared better, but there was also excitement in it. As a teacher I want to provide the structure, system and the time for the students to do well, yet leave it to them to put it all together in the final moment, supporting them every step of the way.

As a graduate student, I enjoyed the freedom to create my thesis but felt safe that I always had my supervisors and mentors if I was having problems and enjoyed the freedom to ask for help. There is a lot more freedom as a graduate student, but it also requires a different set of skills. Being flexible to help the individual student at whatever level they are and provide the necessary challenge for them to realize they can succeed.

We all have those experiences of “That” teacher that inspired us, but I still think of the experience of the lecturer who I hated listening too. The lecture where everything is listed on the powerpoint, and in a monotone voice they just read what I could have done myself at home. Going to class at university is a choice and I want students to be inspired to come, feeling lost if they miss a class because there was an experience they missed. I enjoyed when the lecturer entertained and at the same time was able to inform and allow us to learn and grow.

I was in my first month of chiropractic school when we had a lecturer who was the head of research at the university of western states (Mitch Haas), I still remember how excited he was about two research projects he had just started and was outlining what they would be doing and how that would help the profession. That passion always left the idea that one day I would love to combine the doing of research with the teaching of ideas.

My current goals as a teacher were developed from my experiences as a learner, a teaching assistant and a teacher. In my classes, I strive to enable every student to develop their own strengths and interests. To me, students are independent thinkers who fruitifully bring their individual and diverse backgrounds to the subject matter. Therefore, my teaching is guided by the following four goals/principles:

  1. Learning is a creative and multi-layered process.

Not only do I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction in teaching, but I am constantly amazed by how much I can learn from the act of teaching. I value student learning, and so in my teaching I reflect on student feedback. I feel that learning should be the focus, rather than teaching, and that as a teacher my role is to create an environment where learning can take place.

  1. Create a learning environment that is respectful, valuing students as individuals.

Not all students are the same and a great teacher easily adjusts to the student needs. Creating a learning environment that is respectful of each individual student is important if we are going to get students to learn with passion.

  1. Encourage students to critically think and self-analyze.

I want to help my students develop a combination of basic skills necessary for a higher level critical thinking and creative skills that allows them to assess difficult topics yet be able to easily think through a solution.

  1. Linking theory and practice.

Having worked 20 years in clinical practice, I am constantly aware of the need to not only learn information but understand how it applies in clinical practice. Health related studies are tough subjects as you have a lot of information you need to know but how to apply often gets missed. I want to be the teacher to bring both theory and practice together.

Course Instruction 

  1. Pre Masters Methodology III
    1. I assisted teaching this class in the fall of 2019. The students in this class were all working in a health profession and were back updating coursework prior to completing a masters program. My role was to bridge the gap between practice and understanding the use of statistics in interpreting the data into practice.
Lesson Plan: Pre Masters Methodology III
TeacherAlan Jenks
DescriptionAn introduction to using health statistics in research
Prior KnowledgeStudents have had a prior statistics course in their bachelor’s coursework
MaterialsLaptop, powerpoint, SPSS v 26, excel, word
Learning GoalsLearn how to decide which aspects of care to collect data and which statistics you need to calculate and how to interpret there results
Lesson numberThemeLearning GoalActivity In/Out ClassTesting/Reflection
4Research SetupUnderstand the steps to set up a trialIn: LectureIn: Have the class plan my older adults low back pain observation studyReflex on how each group choose different steps
7Mean difference & Effect sizesInterpret mean differences & effect sizes and apply them to daily practiceIn: LectureOut: find an article and interpret the effect size results and hand in for peer reivewGo through two recent papers and have class explain the results applying it to a rehab practice
  1. Epidemiology and Biostatistic III
    1. I helped co-teach and reorganize the Biostatistics III course in the department of health sciences. This course needed a reorganization to be fully online via zoom.
Lesson Plan:
TeacherTrynke Hoekstra, Maarten Kok, Alan Jenks
DescriptionThe final of three courses on interpreting statistical results with a focus on understanding  the full results of a research project
Prior KnowledgeThese are 3rd year bachelors students who have already completed Biostatistic I and II
MaterialsPowerpoint, SPSS v26, Canvas for student documents, Word and excel to prepare final assignment
Learning GoalsHow to critical interpret scientific papers with a focus on understanding how to interpret the results into practice
Lesson numberThemeLearning GoalActivity In/Out ClassTesting/Reflection
3Analysis planHow to write an analysis planIn: Lecture on constructing an analysis plan Out: Assignment create an analysis plan by 3rd week **class struggling with online environment and what  is expected with assignment
9Vaccination controversyLearn the current state of the vaccine controversy In: LectureOut: Find an anti vax article and describe if the facts are wrong and whyThe use of canvas peer review worked well for this assignment
11Peer reviewUnderstand the process of good peer reviewIn: Lecture Out: Discuss on discord if the paper we found on pubmed went through PR**students really engaging well on discord app now
  1. ICAK Basic Course
    1. A continuing education course offered to chiropractors, physiotherapists, dentists, medical doctors. It was a 3 day, four weekend course that focused on treating the body from a systemic to local approach.
Lesson Plan: ICAK Basic Course
TeacherAlan Jenks & Jim Townhill
DescriptionFull basic course curriculum of the ICAK Basic Course of Instruction
Prior KnowledgeStudents have graduated from a professional degree program in health care
MaterialsLaptop, powerpoint, 10 treatment tables, laser pointer,  disposable gloves, pelvic blocks, nutrition kit, pens, workbooks, 
Learning GoalsLearn a systematic way to know what to treat first and what to treat last in patients presenting with health complaints
Lesson numberThemeLearning GoalActivity In/Out ClassTesting/Reflection
Weekend 1Introduction to AK and Systemic structural problemsLearn when and where to apply therapy localization, challenge and how to identify a functionally inhibited muscle. Learn to identify and treat systematic structural problems with therapy localization and challengeIn: Lecture/workshopping 1hr lecture 30 min workshopping between topicsLecture & Workshoping
Weekend 2Systemic biochemistryUnderstand prostaglandins, homocysteine and histamine production and how to nutritionally treat it In: Lecture/workshopping 1hr lecture 30 min workshopping between topicsLecture & Workshoping
Weekend 3Acupuncture/OrganHow and when to use acupuncture, how to and treat organ dysfunctionIn: Lecture/workshopping 1hr lecture 30 min workshopping between topicsLecture & Workshoping
Weekend 4Extremity and local problemsLearn to examine extremity issues and local symptom problems and how to correct them with origin/insertion, facial flush and strain counterstrain techniquesIn: Lecture/workshopping 1hr lecture 30 min workshopping between topicsPractical Exam for Certification
  1. Assessing Afferent Reflexes
    1. A two weekend course in London, UK for osteopaths focusing on the assessing and treatment of dysfunctional afferent reflexes.
Lesson Plan: Afferent Reflexes in Practice
TeacherAlan Jenks
DescriptionIdentify areas to treat the body based on responses from basic reflexes
Prior KnowledgeStudents have previously completed the ICAK Basic course of instruction
Materials
Learning Goals
Lesson numberThemeLearning GoalActivity In/Out ClassTesting/Reflection
Weekend 1Muscle TestingLearn how to test and treat abnormal reflexesIn: Lecture and Workshoping
Weekend 2NutritionIdentify common nutrition problems for complicated symptomsIn: workshop various access points
  1. Physiology I
    1. A temporary position to teach the first physiology course of the physiotherapy program. This was a one course contract to fill in for the instructor on maternity leave.
Lesson Plan: Physiology I 2021 Academic year
TeacherAlan Jenks
DescriptionPhysiology I course for first year physiotherapy students
Prior KnowledgeThese are first year physiotherapy students who have had basic physiology in highschool science and only require to understand the basic themes of physiology
MaterialsPowerpoint, usb with prior instructors collect video demonstrations, kaltura for recording lectures
Learning GoalsCourse content includes introductory cell physiology and all major organ systems to prepare students for Physiology II in second year
Lesson numberThemeLearning GoalActivity In/Out ClassTesting/Reflection
Week 1Intro to physisologyExplain the concept of homeostasisIn: LectureOut: Take home quizMost students in first full year of english based course work was speaking too fast.
Week 2Role of the cell in physiologyIdentify the structure and transport functions of cell membrane including diffusion of water and solutes, carrier-mediated active transport systems, ion pumps and channels, origin of membrane potential and the basis of membrane excitabilityIn: LectureOut: Take home quizStudents are liking the visual lecturing, find ways to add more visual home assignemtns
Week 3How the nervous system worksExplain the structure and functional organization of the human nervous system and its subdivisionsIn: LectureOut: Take home quizPeer review: draw the different pathways of the nervous system
Week 4Cardiovascular physiologyDevelop a comprehensive understanding of cardiovascular physiologyIn: LectureOut: Take home quizSuggest the physiology colouring book as a way to study
Week 5Pulmonary physiologyDescribe the basic anatomy and functions of the pulmonary systemIn: LectureOut: Take home quizmidterm exam
Week 6Electrolyte physiologyKnow the role of kidney physiology in blood pressure, electrolyte, and fluid homeostasisIn: LectureOut: Take home quizSubmit favourite cardiovascular physiology video for viewing next class
Week 7Organ physiologyKnow the fundamentals of gastrointestinal development, physiology and pathophysiologyIn: LectureOut: Take home quiz
Week 8Hormone physiologyKnow the physiological relationships between endocrine organs, distributed endocrine tissues, and their target tissuesIn: LectureOut: Take home quiz
Week 9Final ExamHold a review classIn: Lecture review of last 8 weeksFinal Exam

Innovative Course Development 

Epidemiology and Biostatistics III – As part of my university teaching program I assisted one of my PhD supervisors to update and change the course content to reflect the delivery of the material in an online format. With the university only providing an online learning environment for the 2020/2021 school year, we needed to adapt the course. The course normally was focused on small workgroups and we had to find innovative ways to use the small workgroups online. We found ways to use breakout rooms on zoom and add the use of the Discord app to engage students only between lectures. We also developed an internet based scavenger hunt focused on articles that we discussed in class.

Thesis Supervision

Since 2019, I have been the supervisor of 4 Bachelor and Master Theses.

Working with students on their theses is one of the most rewarding activities for me. I enjoyed that initial meeting helping them deal with the work needed then guiding and helping them submit the final thesis. When reading the final 4 papers I was always impressed at the level of effort and detail in their work. The satisfaction I get watching them succeed is something that can not be explained.

The following list of the theses.

  1. “Can chiropractors predict when a patient will improve”
  2. “Predictors of high costs of health care in older adults with low back pain” 
  3. “Predictors of recovery in older adults with low back pain”
  4. “Which older adults recover from low back pain” 

Administrative and committee work

While at Vrije Universiteit I was a member of the PhD Health Sciences Committee providing and supporting the management team in the department of health sciences with the needs of the PhD students. I also assisted the management team with organizing a move from the faculty of science building to the medical sciences building in 2020/2021. 

I have also participated as the PhD student representative within the Amsterdam Movement Sciences Institute helping solve logistic issues with how to embed PhD students in the institute from different faculty and departments.

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