BIOL 260 Human Physiology, Prof. Stark
Fall 2013 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:

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 = 1.11


All of the systems that were supposed to be covered were covered extensively and in an easy to follow manner, much more so than the coverage from BIO 104/106.

I feel I understand all that was taught comprehensively and thoroughly through your teaching style.

Course thoroughly covered systems physiology

I think this course definitely fulfilled these objectives and I learned a lot about biological systems that I didn't know from previous biology courses.

I think we covered a lot of material and sufficiently learned about each topic.

"I learned a lot in this course."

1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.26


Even though I took an Anatomy & Physiology course in high school, this course more deeply covered the functioning of systems in the human body, enhancing my prior knowledge

I most definelty learned a lot in this course. It was much more in depth that BIO 104/106, so having that background made the topics convered more familiar yet still interesting since there was more information.

Although some of it was review, the details that were covered after the intro bio material were new to me.

I feel that although I learned plenty, some was a repeat of material learned before.
We learned a lot but some details I thought were unimportant while we glazes over other topics.

I did learn a lot but sometimes it felt like I was just memorizing things, and I am not sure how long I will remember them.

"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 = 1.39


Course covered a wide variety of topics and not a minute was wasted during lecture

Nothing taught was unreasonable.

We covered a lot. It was a challenge but doable.

I think the selection of topics was very good, however I feel like it was too much information for each topic.

The textbook wasn't really used but the diagrams that made it into the slides were helpful. The details were not too overbearing and were easy enough to follow.

The textbook at time was confusing. But class lectures helped alot

I think it was best that the textbook was called an optional purchase. I, personally, did not use the textbook, and I do not believe that a textbook was needed for Dr. Stark's class since he covered the material thoroughly and provided his lecture notes on his website.

the textbook wasn't really needed. Infanct, I didn't even open mine. The lecture and listening to the podcast was way more useful.

The textbook was rarely used

I would suggest that you tell students ahead of time not to buy/rent the text book. I have done fairly well so far in this course and have learned a lot without opening the text book.

"Having outlines, test questions, PodCasts, and .pdf's of slides on the web worked well for you."

1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.0 (two students marked their score of 1 with a superlative)


the podcast was extremely useful. I would listen and pause frequently/rewind to take notes. Having the previous tests made it easier to prepare for the tests, and made them less intimidating since you at least had some idea about the format and topics on the test.

ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! Having previous years' test questions helped illuminate what kind of detail we needed to know on each topic, and helped illustrate what topics to really focus on while studying for his exams. The outlines were great for filling in pieces of notes you may not have gotten to write down in class, and the podcasts were useful for outside material Professor Stark discussed in addition to his outlines.

Especially having to travel as an athlete, these resources were extremely helpful and made catching up from missed classes much easier to handle.

Having the notes and previous tests online helped immensely.

Having these available made understanding the material much easier. I really appreciated the provided materials.

I didn't really use the podcasts but having the pdf's and outlines was extremely helpful. Having easy access on the web made things simpler and I could print them if I needed to or take notes on the computer.

These helped a lot with reviewing and studying.

Test questions were really helpful!

Using the online materials is how I have learned most of the material in this class.
The only suggestion for change I have is advising students not to buy/rent the text book.

They were extremely helpful for studying and reviewing. Having tegrity would have been better then we could see where you were pointing on the diagrams.

Having access to all of this information readily accessible was wonderful!

Maybe too well, focused a lot on previous test coverage and less on learning the material

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

All together

I felt that the tests challenged me enough to build my study habits and make me confer with my classmates. I had to take charge in class to obtain a grade that I wanted and sacrifice my time in order to do that.

I gained valuable knowledge from this course and the community at SLU.

All of SLU's dimensions were demonstrated within this course due to the widely applicable knowledge acquired, as well as the relaxed and inviting learning environment created in the classroom.

This class did not just focus on purely learning the material, but what were the newest questions on the material and how the material can relate to other subjects.

3-5 did really apply to this class. I think it would have been interesting to use 3, leadership and service and do a class/group project.

Itemized on the basis of each dimension

1. Scholarship and Knowledge

We learned more than I could have imagined about human physiology and gained a fantastic appreciation for the complexity of the body.

This class teaches us a lot about physiology. It also allows us to practice our study and communication skills through participating in class.

This course provided me with challenging material and enhanced my knowledge of systems physiology.

There were a lot of topics and new knowledge gained from this course.

definelty prevalent in this course. The class was well structured and organized, whether it was the the notes, PDFs, or the tests. It was up to you to take good notes and keep up with the material. The course was in depth and sometimes difficult, but Dr.stark have all the material required to succeed.
I like that all the information is very usable in our desired field of study.

an abundance of information was provided enabling us (the students) to obtain and share this knowledge with others.

Learned a lot

Learned a lot

2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication

Upon learning in this class it makes us ask other questions about how all the topics relate. For instance when you say that you are telling us the truth but not the whole truth we wonder how they will relate in topics to come. Or in studying for the final we will be able to see the big picture. This class also references communication skills such as writing emails to the instructor or studying with friends, and new friends. _

Questions were encouraged during class, were met with kindness and understanding from Dr. Stark, and were answered concisely and with expertise.

Professor Stark was always very excited when students asked questions on the material, and he communicated his ideas and information on the topics very thoroughly during lecture.

Review days encouraged questions and the Dr. Stark was easily approachable.

The tests were a little harder since it was all short answer. However, during the test this made you think about the biological processes instead of just memorizing.

I like that we have a day devoted to asking questions before the exam.

The information provide in the course detailed many facets of physiology and potential research avenues.

Made me think alot and realize the dots of how stuff work

well taught

3. Community Building

This class is very small and personal feeling. The stories that are told make us all feel like one unit and inspire us to learn and work together in the process. _

Lecture was enjoyable to sit in on, and Professor Stark often input some stories on the topics we were currently covering, which made lecture seem more relaxed.

Class was fun and comfortable. I was never nervous to speak to Dr. Stark.

Those of us that attended class formed a pretty tight group because we saw each other in the class three days a week.

Dr. Stark's research on the Vitamin A in vision showed the application of what we are learning to something more substantial. This could be viewed as its impact in the community.

To one day be able to provide and share this knowledge in a meaningful and impacting way.
seminars were interesting

There is not much community building as it is an academic course, which is not a problem.

4. Leadership and Service

We can learn to lead from your example by taking this class. We can all see that you are dedicated and know what you are talking about. This makes you a good leader and speaker._

Service was not applicable, but Professor Stark always led lectures with distinct leadership.

Dr. Stark encourages research which can be both leadership and service.

Dr. Stark is a great leader.

Again using the knowledge to one day shed light for others.

There is not much a human physiology course can contribute to this I suppo

5. Spirituality and Values

My faith in God was actually strengthened by learning about how complex the body systems are and how perfectly everything fits together.

When the topics may get awkward or such you handle them very nicely. There is always a comment about how someone might not find stem cells, or whatever else it may be, not ethical and there is always a line in there showing their side too. In addition to that all the topics you say are displayed in a fair and unbiased manor and with attempted political correctness ( personally I find being PC very hard to do, due to its changing so often and how some are overly sensitive).

For me, I value studying hard and knowing the content more than just for test. That was most definitely encouraged in this class.

Not sure what spirituality and values have to do with this course. However, if I was to make a connection I would say that Dr. Stark was very unbiased when it came to controversial topics. He presented both sides when it came to topics such as evolution, the embryo and stem cell research.

To begin understand who we are within the world and the motivations we have in being apart of this world.

It contributes in helping us to learn tools we need to evaluate our own spirituality and values.

Not really applicable for this course.

What changes would you propose for next year?

I think this course is already well structured as it is. The website is fantastic since it has all the material you need, and it twlls you what we'll do each day and exactly when the exams are. Very well structured, something you dont see in anlot of college courses. I like that you can drop one test, all podcasts are online, as well as the notes and previous tests on the websites. It's really up to the student to do well in this class. If you pay attention and listen to all the podcasts and take notes you'll do fine. I noticed this when my grade slightly improved from the first test to the second test. Listening to all the podcasts really helps, and I plan on doing that for the last test. This is one of i most fair classes I've taken. I really appreciate Dr.Stark's teaching and grading style. He will give you half points if the test answer is partially right, he has in class review which most teachers dont do. He really wants you to understand the material and learn. Overall, I learned a lot in this course. And even more, I surprisingly enjoyed learning the material and actually looked forward to it. Finally, I believe that this course meets the objectives.

Keep doing what you are doing.

I honestly really enjoyed your class and your humorous stories. There isn't really anything I would change with the class. We all really like it when you bring stuff into class to help show your point.

The podcasts and old tests were very helpful. There isn't anything I can think of to change. I thought it was great.

None, it was my favorite class. I have really enjoyed your class, as well as the extremely interesting subject matter! I also greatly appreciate the resources available and your understanding with SLU Women's Soccer travel conflicts.

I have no additional changes that I could suggest towards this course.

I would have more hands on demonstrations as was done at the end of the year.

If it is possible to have more in class demonstrations (such as the bitter paper strips, tuning fork, and UV light ray), I think that would only help improve the course. I always found that the material that was covered was easier to understand and more interesting whenever one could physically see a result.
None! Maybe in podcasts, it shows what slide you are talking about

Have more lectures on your own research, the ones you did were really interesting.

I would suggest that Professor Stark emphasize that the textbook be optional for purchase; it is very expensive, and I honestly believe that since he provides so much additional material in addition to what the textbook already covers (as well as repetition during lecture), the textbook really isn't necessary.

The textbook requirement was already changed for us but maybe a reminder that some students did not touch it the entire semester.

Maybe have four tests during the semester and then a final because I think it would help students when studying to have to study less information for each test.

It would be nice if you could use a program like Tegrity so that we can see what slide you are talking about while listening to the lecture.

Do more in class hands on activities. Like the taste testing or the sound one.

More videos


There were 38 students. 26 were sophomores, there were 7 juniors, 1 senior, and 1 5th year undergraduate

All were Biomedical engineering (BME) majors, except one deciding, though it took so work on my part at the beginning of the semester to police this restriction.

In keeping with previous years, the course was curved generously (at 3.5 this year). For each test and for the course grade, the lowest grade was C- or D. The best exam scores were usually near 100%. The generosity of the curve is witnessed since the lowest exam scores were around 10% (!). 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.

Some comments

My initial reaction to the 5 dimensions, years ago, was echoed by some students' comments, namely that the last 3 do not apply to science courses. However, many students rendered some of their most heartfelt evaluations in reply to this inquiry. Does SLU still consider the 5 dimensions fundamental in assessment? If not, somebody ought to tell me.

Although some students indicated that they had such good backgrounds that there was a review component, the predominant comments were that they learned a lot

Changes proposed for next year

These comments (and scores) are very positive and so very few changes should be implemented

Students wanted even more demonstrations and I agree

More videos? Yes, I think I know what that meant and that request is doable

More lectures on my research? Maybe, but not to interfere with the flow of topics

Follow-up on previous assessment

Even though my welcoming e-mail stated "The suggested text is Fox, Human Physiology, and either the 13th (new) or the 12th (used) edition would be fine, some students thought the text was not necessary, so I am making it optional" there were comments from students about the book not being necessary, so I plan to make my statement stronger

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last updated December 19, 2013