BIOL 260 Human Physiology, Prof. Stark,
Fall 2014 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) has made 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 = 1.42


Dr. Stark was very helpful and encouraging. If I didn't understand certain material, he was more than willing to help

Thoroughly covered all the material that was supposed to be taught for this course.

Definitely met the objectives!

The course covered a lot of valuable physiology knowledge

As a student I learned a lot. The material was taught in a matter that allowed me to connect everything I learned. The course allowed me to better understand the human body and how it works.

It was a lot of new information and a bit hard to keep up with at times, but I can definitely say I learned a lot that I didn't know before taking this course.

The course covered the systems listed in the objectives in a thorough manner. The material presented was much more in depth than the coverage in BIOL 104 and 106.

All of the listed objectives were thoroughly completed

I agree that the course did cover systems physiology.

Not really much else to say but yes, it met the objectives.

While this course does cover systems physiology more in depth, it is not done in a very effective manner. I don't think I know the information well, partly because of the disjointed way the information is thrown at us.

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

Average = 1.46


I have learned a lot of in depth information about physiology. I took a course similar to this in high school and I am glad to have gone deeper in the topics covered in this course.

There is a large amount of material to be covered in this course and I think I retained a major amount of it for future use in my major.

I learned a lot and gained much insight into the workings of the human body from this course,
Loved the music videos too!!

Even the videos at the beginning of class are informative and a fun way to begin learning.

A lot of specific information was added to the known info learned in the intro to biology course.

The course went in-depth on its material

The material in this course was at a level such that students were able to grasp the vast amount of information presented to us.

Even though there is a lot of material given in this course, it allowed me to learn a lot more than I thought I was going to learn in this course. Again, even though there was a lot of material in this course, I was able to connect all the material due to the structure of the lectures and the textbook, allowing me to better understand the material itself.

Really useful info.

There was a lot of coverage in the lectures and a lot of small details to memorize but it was doable if you put in the time.

This is an understatement. The pure number of facts I learned in this class far outweighed any class I have taken. This is most likely because of the short answer tests.

I learned a lot of material over the entire semester. The only concern I have is how much of this material I will retain since the material was covered in a short period of time.

Again, I don't think I have retained much information. Despite studying for the exams, I don't think I actually learned this information because it is not taught in a cohesive manner.

I do not believe I learned in this course, rather, I memorized a large number of facts relating to systems physiology and had to remember a lot of content at once to do well on a test. Learning the material had nothing to do with doing well on a test.

"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 = 1.69


At first in the course, the amount of material was very overwhelming. However, because of this amount of material, it taught me to study as I go rather than studying just before the exam. Therefore it taught me a habit that I will probably use for the rest of my academic career. The textbook I thought was necessary, because it allowed me to learn the material in a separate way if I needed more understanding than given from the lectures. I also felt the textbook was necessary because it allowed for a summary of the figures given on the lecture PowerPoint. These summaries were very helpful when understanding the material as a whole.

Lectures were always interesting and engaging.

The amount of information for each test was well divided

It was informative and the PowerPoints from the lecture covered necessary material.

The topics and lecture coverage were great. As we were notified prior to the start of the semester, the textbook is not necessary for this course.

If one took the information bit by bit and studied for half an hour a day this was a very manageable class.

Textbook isn't necessary but REALLY helps!

Because often it wasn't apparent how specific our knowledge needed to be.

Some of the material was occasionally a little bit difficult to understand, but overall was a reasonable level.

The level was reasonable but the amount of information covered for the amount of time given was not reasonable.

It would have been nice to have the class structured around a textbook, but by no means was the material above a reasonable level.

I did not use the textbook, covered a lot of material in a short amount of time, was overwhelming at times.

I feel like there was so much information stuffed into this course. I think that it would be better in the future to have this course separated into 2 semesters so that there would be more time to focus on and completely understand each topic that was presented.

the topics and textbook level are good; the content level of lecture is not too high or too low, but it is somewhat boring and hard to follow at times - many times the information are merely long sentences separated by bullet points with some words missing. It is essentially the same thing as the outline in bullet-point format instead of being a shorter, more concise summary of the outline.

"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 = 1.16


I especially thought the pdfs, outlines, and test questions were the most useful. The pdf's allowed me to concentrate on what was being said in class rather than having to write everything down that was on the board. This allowed me to also write and take notes better, especially pertaining to the figures in the presentations. The test questions allowed me to prepare for questions that might be on the upcoming exams. This test questions were also a good way to study or quiz myself at the end of each unit. Lastly, the outlines I thought were helpful because it explained the lectures more.

very much enjoyed having all of the info for the whole semester available from the beginning of the course, past tests were helpful study guides

They helped a ton!

Podcasts and old test questions immensely helped understand the material well

I felt that the lectures and old test questions were the most helpful. Not only did they make me think, but they also prepared me very well for the tests.

The test questions and podcasts helped me a lot outside of class. I liked to use the pdfs to take notes inside class.

It was nice to be able to go to the pod casts if my notes didn't seem to make sense that day or on a certain slide.

Having the pdf's along with the practice questions from the past were the most helpful.

Having old test questions available definitely helped in studying for the test, as well as having the lecture slides online

The outlines/test questions have been helpful for test review.

These resources were essential to doing well in this course. They allowed me to know what material we were responsible for learning.

Outlines were extremely helpful, as well as the pdf's

This outlines and PodCasts help a lot to study and be prepared to the exams.

The outlines were very useful in helping students organize the material needed for exams etc.

I appreciated having the online tools to study.

Best part of the class

The online material was my prime source of study.

Having all of these resources was extremely helpful. I wish I had to the time to look at all of these resources multiple times.

Made it easier to understand the material

I learned a lot from this class, however i thought the topics were sporadic and we jumped from topic to topic with little connection between each.

I appreciate being able to look ahead to next day's material and being able to look back at information I missed in class. However, I would highly suggest a better (i.e. more concise, with only relevant info) slide show for the notes.

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

All together

All of the 5 dimensions were relevant throughout the course.

They were all represented in the class and Dr. Stark is a laugh riot in class as well.

This class builds on the knowledge needed for a future career in medicine to give back to the community.
I believe that all 5 dimensions of SLU were met by this course, showing apple interrelated instruction in each one. Thank you

The material from this class has given me the knowledge to further my goal to achieve the career I desire. It has broadened my knowledge and helped me gain a higher understanding of the human body.

Through exploration into various research regarding different fields (in particular my favorite was electrophysiology) from Dr. Stark, a BME grad student, and other professors at SLU we were able to create a unique perspective in which not only course material was learned, but relevant in its applications.

This class required a lot time and effort in order to read, understand, and study the material. I have a learned a lot more in this class than in many other biology classes as it was a lot harder.

This course reflects all five of the listed SLU dimensions

I feel that the course incorporates the dimension of scholarship and knowledge, along with, intellectual inquiry and communication well. I think that this happens because this course is a science class that is information intensive. The other three dimensions are covered, but not as completely as the first two. I feel like these three dimensions are touched upon when presentations about research, prior involvement, and applications of the information we are learning about are made.

Only the first and second points were relevant to this course but that is understandable.

1 and 2 apply to this course by encouraging the further gain of knowledge; 3, 4, and 5 are not really relevant to this course and are not implemented at all.

This course reflected Scholarship and Knowledge and Intellectual Inquiry and Communication more heavily than the other three.

Itemized on the basis of each dimension

1. Scholarship and Knowledge

This course effectively demonstrates scholarship and knowledge. It teaches you to study as you go, making you form beneficial and studious academic habits.

This course taught me the value of studying and going over notes after each lecture.

This course made me utilize time more efficiently in order to successfully prepare for each exam.

Large amount of information learned and it required effort to do well.
This class went very in depth and I feel like I learned a lot.
I was able to be pushed and learn a lot about human physiology increasing my knowledge.

This dimension was extremely relevant, as knowledge was rg's primary focus of the class.
We learned a lot in this class.

Gained great knowledge on the complexity of the body

gained a lot of knowledge

Course increased my knowledge of the human body!

This course was one of the most demanding classes this semester.

2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication

Dr. Stark is excellent at communicating with the students and successfully relaying the information.
It was nice to have an approachable professor to answer questions regarding the material that was presented.

Professor Stark encouraged asking questions

This class called for several in class demonstrations which are great ways to communicate to the class.

The topics included in the course promoted discussion and provoked thoughts

This course taught me to ask more questions and go even deeper into a topic in order to understand it better.

This dimension was also relevant as we investigated many aspects of human physiology on a high intellectual level.

This course allows you to explore and learn characteristics about the human body, and it does it in a way that's understandable.

communicating with fellow students about material

This class led to much communication between classmates, more so than other classes I have taken. The communication took place mostly in the form of studying.

Can definitely communicate what I have learned to a greater the extent.

3. Community Building

Class was fun and everyone worked together

This course enabled me to connect to others in order to get a different perspective on the material.

This class called for many study groups.
Through the class, it has driven me to work with other students more to learn and work through problems together.

The course allows you to work with others in the classroom and outside of the classroom to better understand the material.

With the difficult material that had to be learned it seemed like everyone was on the same level of understanding. That made it easier to relate to classmates and build a class community.

I was able to study with and learn from my peers throughout this course.


studying with fellow students

Studying in groups has really helped.

We did not do very much community building.

4. Leadership and Service

The course allows you to become more independent and hardworking, all characteristics of a leader, in which can be used later in life when serving others.

The material covered various leaders and what they did to improve the medical field, and that's something I aspire to do._
Dr. Stark presents himself as a noble leader and worthy of follow.

Dr.Stark always led lecture as a knowledgeable leader, not much service needed in this course

This class taught us much about different diseases which makes us think.

With all of the diseases and disorders presented, I was reminded of how blessed I am to be studying to become a biomedical engineer. I am in a position to help others. What I am doing in college is important because I may be able to help solve some of these health issues someday.

It was interesting to see classmates that took the initiative to help over classmates understand the information. They were true leaders.

We did not emphasize leadership and service very much.

Not really


5. Spirituality and Values

This course made me appreciate attending such a wonderful private Jesuit institution.

Made us realize our body processes and the value of the mechanisms that keep us alive

This course allows you to expand on spirituality, seeing things in a different light.

Like I stated before, a lot of discussion on diseases made me realize how lucky I really am.

Throughout this course, I was reminded that God created all of the wonderful, complex processes that we learned about that our bodies do everyday. This course reminded me that life is truly precious and amazing!

In such a large classroom with only two moderators it would have been relatively easy to cheat on the tests, but everyone stuck to their values and chose not to do so.



We did not focus on this aspect much.

Not really


What changes would you propose for next year?

I honestly cannot think of any changes. Dr. Stark is one of my favorite teachers at SLU. He is always very welcoming and encouraging. Thank you Dr. Stark, I have truly enjoyed this class this far!

no changes come to mind; this is obviously the consequence of a well put together course that has been continually improved

Nothing, everything was great about this course

No changes

Nothing as of now.

I would not change much about the course. I thought it was a good chance to learn a lot of applicable material!

Course as a whole is well taught and doesn't need much improvement

Nothing much, class is challenging but useful to learn this stuff!

Overall, I really enjoyed this course. I learned a lot and I struggled a lot. I feel like there is so much to learn in this course that it might be better if it presented in 2 semesters. Dr. Stark was a great teacher. He seemed to really know, and also enjoy what he was talking about. But, for someone that has never taken a course like this before, it was definitely a struggle. I know that the biomedical engineering curriculum is not very flexible, but all of these topics are so important for us to know, therefore, I think that this option should be considered. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts!

This course is set up fine besides the free-response tests which are quite difficult.

More jelly beans, as well as more information on the immune system.

I propose that there are more in class demonstrations whenever possible.
Maybe have study guides highlighting the most important points/topics

Changes for next year could encompass a more structured review session. I was thinking that maybe if the review sessions were more structured then more people would attend. These structured review sessions could include half questions from the students and the other a half a general summary of everything wrapped up.

I believe that it would be more helpful if the lecture outlines elaborated points, rather than just listing relevant terminology and concepts, but that is just my personal opinion. Other than that, class structure is solid

Possibly more detailed power points or diagrams
A change that I would propose is taking attendance (maybe with clickers) so more students are apt to absorb more material that is vital to their future careers. (ex. it would be scary having a BME/doctor without thorough knowledge of the circulatory system)
The outlines pdfs and podcasts available online were perfect for studying. However, the only thing I didn't like was the lack of homework. It sounds crazy to say, however, the lack of homework made it easy for some students to either not come to class or put off studying until the week of the exam. It made it too easy to procrastinate. Or if not homework, at least participation in class/ points awarded for doing so, giving students more of a reason to come to class rather than wait till the weeks of the exam to take an interest in the class.

I think it would help to somehow ask for more involvement from the students during lecture to increase participation and focus. Whether it is through worksheets, quizzes, or other activities.

quiz opportunities to make sure the right material is being focused on

For next year I suggest that this course have points for homework such that the final course grades are not solely based on exam scores.

Provide some sort of homework or out of class activities to facilitate learning process.
Optional homework to help students stay on track between exams.
If possible, move the final test further away from the final exam
I would say this course can be improved by having some more interactive class sessions. Close to all of the class sessions were lecture based, but I feel that if once in a while (maybe once a month) there was an interactive class session (in addition to the review sessions before the test), the class would be a little bit more engaging. Thank you.

I recommend trying to prepare the tests so that they don't always follow the same outline as all the tests from years past.

Some of the test questions where worded a little strangely.

More detailed slides with pictures

more organized format .
too many concepts on each exam.

Try preparing less scatterbrained lectures. They were hard to follow as you would try to teach in a logical manner then go off on a tangent about something interesting but nonsensical to the tests.

Some lectures were unorganized and hard to follow. The material from slide to slide did not connect with one another.

I would propose a different format/lecture approach for the class. I would have more explaining/visuals/elaborating done in class rather than lecturing/giving out facts. I would also have the tests be multiple choice.

I think better note slide shows would help tremendously. By this, I mean that slides aren't filled with 7 bullet points that each say a different part of one sentence. I would suggest that Dr. Stark change these slides to have more concise, relevant information (not so much history, dates/years of discoveries, side comments, etc.). I also think Dr. Stark, while very intelligent, needs to realize that his students will not immediately understand everything he's teaching and that it's hard for us to see the correlation between things or the reasons why he teaches certain things together. Many of the questions on the tests are worded very poorly, and it's frustrating to waste time deciphering them when that time could be used on actually thinking of the answer. I would suggest that Dr. Stark show the test to another faculty member for question clarity before giving it to his students.


63 students completed the course, one was a freshman, 44 were sophomores, 13 were juniors, 4 were senios, one was a graduate student registered in a readings class, (four dropped after the first exam),

All were biomedical engineering (BME) except one "no major associated," one "deciding" and one biology

There were 3 tests (50 points) and a final (75 points), all short answer
Test 1, average=28.25, high=44.5, low=2.5
Test 2, average=31.71, high=44.5, low=7
Test 3, average=35.66, high=48.5, low=6
Final, average=44.57, high=69, low=16.5

Course curve was generous, 3.34, as in previous years

That the top scores were near 100% proves that the material can be mastered. The fact that the low scores were about 10% shows that the material was challenging.

Some comments

Does SLU consider the 5 dimensions fundamental in assessment? If not, somebody should inform me. Even though some students thought only the first 2 (or 3) applied to a course such as this, I received meaningful and heart warming comments in reply to the dimensions

40 students replied to the survey, 25 did not (in one call, one reminder, and one final reminder). Only one student was seriously negative to the course on the basis of comments.

Changes proposed for next year

The comments were positive and only fine tuning is required

There is a consensus that some participation, quizzes, homework, etc would help, and I think the most useful suggestion was to have more review and to have review be orgainzed

Follow-up on previous assessment

Last year's comments about whether the text was necessary have been solved

There were more demonstrations, and they were appreciated, and yet more might be desired

There was a video before every lecture, and some students expressed their appreciation

Return to Stark Assessment Page

Return to Syllabus

Return to Stark Home Page

this page was last updated 12/18/14