BL A260 Human Physiology, Prof. Stark
Fall 2012 Assessment Report

 
Material from the assessment form that was administered is in plain text.
Student replies and material added during analysis is in italics.
 
My interpretation of the history of assessment
"Assessment" in Missouri spread after the mid 1980's "Value Added" program of Northeast Missouri State. It was originally intended "to reliably evaluate the quality of educational training." In April, 1998, SLU's Biology Department adopted a policy of having graduating majors take the Graduate Record Exam, interpreting "assessment" as "program assessment." On September 21, 2000, "each faculty member" was charged to "develop an outcome assessment tool." At this time, the interpretation was one of "student outcomes assessment." In December 2002, "course assessment" replaced "student outcomes assessment;" faculty were directed to collect information used to change or improve the course in keeping with SLU's policy ("Assessment results are utilized to improve courses and curriculum"). Here is a link to the assessment reports I have prepared since assessment was mandated at SLU:
http://starklab.slu.edu/CV/Assessment.htm
 
In addition to being useful to me for teaching this course in the future, BME (the Department of Biomedical Engineering) makes use of this information for its accreditation.
 
Here are the stated objectives of the course:
 
BIOL 260 Human Physiology was created in 2004 by chairs of Biology and Biomedical Engineering (BME). It is the third and final biology requirement (after BIOL 104 & 106) for BME students. BME majors successfully completing Human Physiology will know systems physiology (homeostasis, circulation, respiration, digestion, nervous system, etc.) comprehensively at a level that does not have those prerequisites (biological chemistry and cell biology) needed for biology students.
 
"The course fulfilled these objectives."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.27
 
Comments:
 
Good coverage of topics with appropriate detail for each
 
The course thoroughly covered all these objectives.
 
This course provides a great deal of information which is useful and is information that otherwise would not be received by BME students. 
 
The course covered the material in an organized matter. 
 
 I thought you did a great job of covering the large amount of info we had by picking the right parts to emphasize
 
We got to understand everything but I still feel a bit iffy about some of the topics being so broad. Also, perhaps taking a test after each body function would be easier to understand everything in detail then.
 
 The course did a great job of covering and explaining every relevant system in the body.
 
 I feel like there were times however where times where some of the material was not covered as in dept.

There was a huge amount of detailed information that was presented to the students.  Sometimes it was hard to distinguish what was the more important information but all of it was fascinating.

 
 
"I learned a lot in this course."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.36
 
Comments:
 
I was familiar with most of the material, but the detail was more extensive.
 
Learned a variety of information about the varying systems of the body
 
 I learned much more than anticipated and strengthened prior knowledge as well.
 
Not only did I learn material that has theoretical and scientific roots, but more importantly, I learned information that can be applied in a practical manner. 
 
just by the shear amount of stuff we had to cover I can say that I know much much more about physiology than I had before that's even with a good background in biology and a high school a&p class
 
I especially liked the in-class demonstrations like the EKG machine, Ptc test, and the UV light projection. They made the material more real.
 
too much info at once.
 
The sheer amount of information involved in this course will probably make it difficult to hold on to a lot of what I learned after this course is over. However, I think that it's taught me well enough that I will remember a good number of relevant details, and it'll require only a little review to get back up to speed and remember everything about a particular system or organ.
 
The textbook wasn't as useful as I was hoping since we didn't really go along with the chapters in the book.
 
Definitely a lot of new material that was engaging and interesting. 

This class presented some information that I knew, which was great to have a reference point, and then went far deeper.

 
 "The selection of topics, the level of the textbook, and the level of the lecture coverage were reasonable."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.71
 
Comments:
 
Textbook was essentially useless since each lecture covered material from several chapters and sections it was too difficult to correlate the text to lecture except for the occasional use to clarify a point made in lecture. However considering the price of the text the internet could have just as effectively been used to clarify these points.
 
Course could be broken down into more sections, leading to more tests.
 
The chosen topics were relevant and the course was designed in a way to make the material understandable and linked amongst the topics within. 
 
I really agree with the topics you decided to emphasize
 
This class built nicely upon my previous knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics.
 
we barely used the book if ever. Everything else was fine though
 
We never actually used the book, I feel like it was a waste of money. Maybe next year not require it?
 
The course did a great job of covering everything in detail without completely overwhelming us with knowledge.
 
Because we go through material at a rapid speed and sometimes skip over things in the book, it is hard to keep track exactly where we are when relating to the book
 
A few tangents were made throughout the course, although all relevant. 
 
The textbook seems unnecessary. However, it is a good referencee for
those that do not already have materials on physiology.

Sometimes the amount of information was overwhelming but it was doable to learn it all.  I think that the topics were very applicable to what we need for BME.

 
"Having outlines, test questions, PodCasts, and .pdf's of slides (new 2012) on the web worked well for you."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.15
 
Comments:
 
all of the resources were very useful and easy to access
 
At any point in time a past lecture could be recalled. Very convenient
 
I wish the PDF slides were a bit more organized, ie. instead of just blips of ideas, whole phrases were used to better explain and elaborate the topic. So more like the lectures notes online, but organized into pdf slide format as opposed to the pdf being just discontinuous bullet points.
 
PodCasts were especially beneficial.
 
 The large volume of material becomes easier to understand when there are resources to cross-reference. 
 
It was very helpful to have various studying tools. Also, in case one is ill, then, she or he can catch up by listening to the PodCasts. 
 sometimes textbooks get tough to read, I loved all of the additional resources we had to get a better understanding of the material 
 
Having the .pdf was beneficial because I could make notes on the pictures that were projected. The practice tests were very helpful.
 
HAving the tests to look over was a big help but many students would use just that as their study tool(makes them perform worse)
 
Helped me study for all the exams!
 
Yes! The website has been extremely helpful in reviewing and preparing for exams.
 
I found it very helpful that for each lecture there were questions after and each lecture was recorded because even if a day or two of class were missed then we would have assistance outside of class.
 
The practice questions and answers were very helpful. I wish more teachers would do that. 
 
It was very helpful to refer to podcasts and outlines when studying for the tests.
 
The outlines could have been more clear on what was being said. Sometimes they just had related terms and ideas next to each other and never said the relation, which helps you learn the material better if you are able to edit.
 
I wished the outlines were more explicit and contains all the info of the subject clearly. Also, as an international student, I think that some of the slides do not make sense until I relisten the lecture.
 I really liked the questions provided on the site. I feel studying
those questions in addition to creating my own questions from the
lectures was sufficent to get an A on the test. The online questions
were better study materials than mine because they often asked about
details I thought were not that important. Without the online
questions I might not have learned those details.

I used all of these resources.  The .pdf's could be slightly confusing because related points or information continuing from the previous line was in a new bullet point so it wasn't clear that it was all 1 thing. However, I would definately use them again.

 
 
Make a statement about the relevance of SLU's 5 dimensions to this course and its assessment

Some students itemized their comments

1. Scholarship and Knowledge

This course has given me a body of new knowledge.
 
There was a lot of knowledge that could have been attained from this course.
 
a lot of information about human physiology covered


2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication

Questions are encouraged. 

Through assessment teachers can communicate with their student with what worked well and what can be improved and in the long run become a better teacher and help future billikens even more in their academic studies 
 
The professor communicated well with students and it was easy to ask questions.
 
learn to better decipher figures and graphs


3. Community Building

class attendance is encouraged
 
We students sought for help from each other outside of class
 
tell about the past and how about difference parts of the world face different problems


4. Leadership and Service

labs are discussed and encouraged in class.
 
The information from this class will be helpful when doing service in the community.
 
learned about research


5. Spirituality and Values
 
We all come together on test days; helping each other study and whatnot.
 
learn about diseases and the importance of health and awareness


Some students lumped their responses for all 5 dimensions
 
A physiology course can only focus on a few of the 5 dimensions without weakening the material in the course by trying to cover topics focused on in other classes (EX: a physiology course can't effectively cover spirituality and values but a religion course can and the two should remain separate to an extent so each can best focus on their respective topics) but the dimensions it focused on it succeeded in fulfilling.
 
This course touched mainly on scholarship and knowledge, and intellectual inquiry and communication.
 
This course achieves the first dimension of SLU. It provides knowledge that can prove to be useful in multiple settings which then can lead to the development of other dimensions. Although it may be hard to see the relevance of science courses on the 5 dimensions, if one looks at the impacts of the knowledge gained in these courses, the rest of the dimensions can come into play. 
 
SLU's 5 dimensions are very essential to this course because it is important to not only understand the material or gain knowledge, but to share that knowledge with others in order to continue the cycle of education.
Some of the aspects are present in this course but not all of them really have the ability to be fulfilled within the confines of the classroom
 
This course promoted scholarship and knowledge, and intellectual inquiry and communication were encouraged. Questions were always welcomed during or after lecture. 
 
This course definitely increased my knowledge about how body systems work, and the historical anecdotes often included in class have helped me learn interesting facts about intellectual inquiry throughout the past two hundred years or so. Because this is a lecture class, there hasn't been much opportunity for community building, but Dr. Stark's humor and the light attitude of the class has helped me enjoy the process and feel at home in the classroom.
 
Only the first two disciplines really applied to this course. 
 
This course content definitely contributes to 1 and 2. The open ended environment (although never fully utilized with questions) fulfilled 3 and 5 (specifically values) because of open discussion and education of science behind ethical issues. Being able to keep up with course and work independently served to 4 (leadership) for building an individual's leadership.

This course incorporated all 5 of these dimensions with the wealth of information presented.  It was also inspiring to see the people who discovered all this information and that all their hard work helped them receive a Nobel Prize.  I didn't know that Doisy got a Nobel Prize! So cool!  Dr. Stark was also very good at covering the topics of contraceptives, stem cell research, animal research, etc. He presented the information fairly and also showed laws President Bush passed, church views, and regulations for animal studies.  I loved learning about the diseases, what causes them, and what still needs to be done.

Only the first two apply to this course and i did learn from this course as per the first dimension but there wasn't much inquiry or communication, it was pretty much a straight lecture. 


What changes would you propose for next year?
 
Keep doing what you're doing.  Very well organized class and topics were relevant to BME.
 
None. Good Course.
Organize the PDF slides
 
More exams and more classroom participation.
 
One possible change for next year, although it might not be possible, is to turn the course into a two semester course. This could allow for further development of topics and would allow students to have a firm grasp on a variety of different topics and applications. 
­p; In terms of studying tools, another program I would recommend is Tegrity. It is very similar to PodCast in a sense that it is a recording program, but it does show the individual slides while the lecture is happening.  
 
 The test problems would be the best solution. Also, use the book a bit more? Over all though, this class was great and I think your teaching styles are great! 
 
Perhaps make the exams partially multiple choice, its a bit difficult to memorize so much.
 
Having a few smaller quizzes after every couple of sections might help students retain more of the knowledge from lectures, rather than having to go back and do a comprehensive review to prepare for each test.
 
The tests seemed to be extremely hard and for some reason I never completely understood how I was to study for the test. Perhaps next year change the formatting of the tests? Short answers seem to be very difficult because what we write isn't always what the teacher is looking for. 
 
I really enjoyed the small demos in class and wish there were more of them. 
 
Online homework or a group projects
 
Nothing
 
Keep it exactly the same. No changes.

I would edit the pdf slides to make them a little less confusing and put all the information pertaining to one piece of the information under 1 bullet point.  This was a fascinating class!  Thank you!

For next year, i would propose that the proffessor tries to use the tegrity program for his lectures instead of podcasts because its easier to follow along and take notes with the slides.

Some comments

Decade after decade after decade after decade (yes, it has been that long), I get comments that the tests are too difficult from some students while some other students get 100% (or close to it)

Likewise, I hear that there is too much information from some students while others say that there is some new information while most of it they already knew

Amazingly I still get comments from students who claim not to know how to study for the exams while many state that the exam questions posted were really helpful [every exam question asked in 8 years since I started teaching the course in 2004, all 8 years, along with the answers]

Attendance. Many people stop coming after the first exam. This includes students who do well as pnes who not so much. While I admit that the web postings are sufficient for a good student, I still contend that paying college tuition and not going to class is like buying live concert tickets then staying home and listening to the CD

The replies about SLU's 5 dimensions were interesting, and they said more about the diverse nature of students than about the course. On the one hand, many replied that the first 2 were the only ones that applied to a science course, and that probably would have been my response as well. However, others found ways they saw the course fulfilling the other 3 dimensions, suggesting that they had a richer fulfillment from the material I presented.

Information
 
There were 47 students, nearly double the enrollment of last year. 19 were sophomores, there were 7 juniors, 1 senior, and one with no degree or level.
 
All were Biomedical engineering (BME) majors
 
In keeping with previous years, the course was curved generously (at 3.42 this year). For each test and for the course grade, the lowest grade was C-. The best exam scores were usually near 100%. The generosity of the curve is witnessed since the lowest exam scores were around 10% (!). It is not my intention, while teaching a service biology course for BME students, to grade in a way that has a negative impact on BME retention. Importantly, the fact that some students have low scores indicates that mastery of this course material is challenging. That many students do well consistently indicates that this challenging material is presented so that it can be learned.

Plans for next year

(1)
It is clear that only fine tuning will be necessary and these comments are useful.
 
(2) The most obvious criticism was that a book was not necessary because the lecture and postings stood alone sufficiently. I will consider suggesting rather than requiring the text

Follow-up on previous assessment

I did split the endocrine lecture and consequently received no negative comments on that topic

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last updated December 19, 2011