BL A347 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Spring, 2012 Assessment

 
Form in regular font, Comments, information and future plans 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"). There is a link to the assessment reports I have prepared since assessment was mandated at SLU:
http://starklab.slu.edu/CV/Assessment.htm
 
Here are the objectives of the course:
 
Students completing this laboratory will have their learning experience for Human Cellular Physiology, Human Physiology, or Exercise Physiology supplemented, reinforced and extended. Students will acquire and analyze data on neuromuscular, sensory, cardiac, endocrine, respiratory and excretory systems. Skills such as critical thinking, data analysis, library searches, and preparation of scientific reports will be emphasized. Specialized physiology hardware and software will stimulate students in their appreciation of changing technology. A substantial lecture component of this laboratory course will dovetail the interface between learning from lecture (and web resources) vs. hands-on components of learning.
 
"The course fulfilled these objectives."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.24
 
Comments
 
This course met all of my expectations, and the labs were great! 
 
This course followed the objectives with fun interesting labs that
helped me ounderstand the lecture material more thoroughly.
 
These objectives were reasonable.
 
The updated technology we have compared to what was described by Dr. Stark as previously used is much appreciated after taking this class.

 
 
"These objectives were reasonable."

1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.31
 
Comments
 
The objectives were reasonable
 
 "The lab "notebook," with step by step instructions and clearly spelled out exercises and data collection, allowed students to work well, independently and in their lab groups."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.47
 
Comments
 
The directions were usually very clear, thorough, and easy to follow.
 
The lab assignments were easy to follow and the questions helped me
reflected on the data being collected.
 
The lab materials made the lab run smoothly! 
 
Yes, I was able to compile notes and discuss would my lab group.
 
Directions were not always clear and often changed
 
Some of the iWorx steps probably need to be a little more clear, but other than that, the instructions were very helpful 

 
 "A unified web site, with postings of exercises, outlines, exam questions from previous years, and PowerPoints, helped to ensure that each laboratory went smoothly."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.24
 
Comments
 
The website was the best of any class I've ever taken
 
Thank you for providing so much information for us. 
 
The website is great! Thanks for the Podcasts, they really helped me study
 
 It was great to get a chance to see past data and exam questions as a way to study and prepare for lab each week
 
The website was really helpful and organized to know what to expect each week. Also, useful background information was readily available.
 
I felt that the website was extremely helpful. Everything that was needed for the entire semester was available the first day of class, and each student knew exactly what was expected of them, when every assignment was due, and had any data necessary to complete every assignment.
 
Having the outlines, power points, assignments, syllabus, etc. on a
website made it easy to find any information you needed. At first, I
was a little unsure about using this website because Blackboard is
more commonly used in the SLU community, but I actually enjoyed using
the website more and think it was extremely well organized.
 
Thank you for always updating the website to help us!
 
 In the beginning, I got a little confused as to which link actually was linked to the handout.
 

 "Timely postings of data and PodCasts helped to ensure closure on each laboratory's learning experiences."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.29
 
Comments
 
Recordings of lectures help when reviewing information.
 
I was able to review the lab right away because it was updated so frequently.
 
I like that all the material was up on the website since the beginning
 
Everything was posted within the same day which was great!
 

 "This selection of labs provides a foundation relevant to systems physiology and to the objectives of this course."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.24
 
Comments
 
Amazing! A lot of concepts in physiology made sense to me more now after this lab
 
Learned a lot and had a lot of fun!
 
We covered all the major organ systems throughout this course.

 
 "Topical mini-lectures delivered by your professor were helpful in keeping students with diverse backgrounds on 'the same page' and in orienting to each day's lab."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.35
 
Comments
 
I am currently taking Exercise Physiology and have not taken Human Cellular Physiology, so I appreciated the background information before experiments.
 
Some of the topics were ones I hadn't seen since MCB sophomore year so it was good to review them
 
definitely. I haven't taken a physiology course yet but I was still able to understand the concepts presented in lab.
 
 I have only had exercise physiology, so the lectures beforehand were useful for receiving information that I may not have heard before
 
 They were helpful to remind me of what I learned in Human Cell Physiology, so I was better able to remember what I learned and apply it to the lab.
 
Without them, I would've been a bit lost, especially for the muscles
 
The mini-lectures helped review the foundation of the material being
presented which in turn helped with understanding the lab assignments
more.

 
NEW 2012, undergraduate TAs who took this course last year practiced each computer application again before lab and gave orientation lectures so that iWorx on Mac laptops gave students a user-friendly appreciation of presently-available technology."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.29
 
Comments
 
Sarah knew what she was doing for sure, excellent TA
 
 iWorx usually ran smoothly and was fairly easy to use.
 
This was definitely helpful
 
Sarah was amazing!
 
 We would definitely have been more lost if Nicole did not do a demo beforehand
 
Larry and Nicole were so helpful and knew exactly what was going on and how to help
 
iWorx would have been extremely difficult to manage without the presentation by the undergraduate TA. It was very interesting to use this technology. However, several times the data was skewed because the devices were not properly measuring bodily systems
 
It was super useful to have Sara there! 
 
The TAs really knew how the program worked and were extremely helpful
in assisting students with questions.
 
It seemed like the system never worked properly in orientation and we often had to ask questions because the outlines were different than presented by the TAs.
 

(Making the mouse endocrine lab available to you required us to overcome some unique difficulties.)
 
"Having one lab with vertebrate animals and an approved authorization, and Prof. Shornick's assistance, were appreciated."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.18
 
Comments
 
most exciting lab I've had at SLU.... and I got to dissect a shark!  so thats saying something
 
loved having Dr. Shornick there, she was so interesting
 
It was nice to work with the mice; while the experiment itself was not too engaging, it gave students an opportunity to appreciate the amount of time and work it takes to get vertebrate animals into a lab class
 
It was really cool working with live animals, and Dr. Shornick's lecture was really interesting.
 
I personally found this lab extremely educational. Testing on mice is one of the most common practices in scientific research. Getting first-hand experience on proper animal care, techniques, and application was extremely beneficial.
 
A fun lab, new experience!
 
Although, I will admit personally this wasn't my favorite lab, I do
think it was a great addition to this course. It really gave me
appreciation for how vertebrae animals are used in experimental
projects and the strict protocol one must follow when using them.

 
(Back by popular demand in 2012 ­p; visiting lecture from a practicing surgeon / physician)
 
"Dr. Itoku's lecture offered a unique perspective."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.12
 
Comments
 
His lecture was very interesting. It is always nice to get to listen to a doctor because pre-meds can get buried in studying and lose sight of their end goal.
 
Dr. Itoku was really informative and funny 
 
Probably my favorite lecture of the semester
 
He was so knowledgable and funny! Definitely bring him back
 
His topic choice was very interesting, and his presentation gave unique insight
 
It was really interesting to hear from an urinologist, as I never have met one before.
 
IT WAS VERY INTERESTING TO HEAR FROM A PRACTICING SURGEON. HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE SUBJECT MATTER AND HIS ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE IT WAS VERY HELPFUL
 
It is great to be able to see how the data we learn in lab is applied
to the medical profession.
 
I thought his lecture was really interesting!
 
I kept having to use the restroom, so it was a bit hard to focus on Dr. Itoku's lecture. Maybe we should have that lecture first?
 

NEW 2012 ­p; demonstrations by a practicing eye care professional
"Dr. Beatty's demonstrations offered a unique perspective."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.19
 
Comments
 
His demos were interactive and interesting. They helped to clarify some functions of the eye.
 
It was really cool to see that side of medicine in the lab
 
He was so nice and patient. He let us practice so many different experiments on him.
 
This lab was really interesting, and it triggered my interest in the possibility of becoming an optometrist.
 
His presentation was great and extremely helpful in learning the
material with lab. This was my favorite guest lecture of the semester.
 
The demonstrations were useful and practical

 
NEW 2012 a visiting lecture from a Professor of Psychology
 
"Prof Buchanan helped with the new introduction of the psychophysiology lab."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.41
 
Comments
 
I'm a psychology minor so I liked this perspective
 
Yes he was a good lecturer.
 
IT WAS INTERESTING TO HEAR THEY PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT OF THE BRAIN AS OPPOSED TO THE LIMITING ASPECT OF PHYSIOLOGY
 
Dr. Buchanan was hilarious.
 
I thought the slides were extremely interesting, but I feel like there should have been a stronger connection between his slides and the purpose of the lab that week
 
(2012 ­p; The graduate TA's PhD dissertation research project was closely related to one of the laboratory topics.)
 
"Larry Spears's lecture provided insights into the academic commitment of a professional scientist's career at the interface of teaching and research."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average = 1.71
 
Comments
 
Good to relate to as I'm a future grad student! 
 
 I had Larry for BIOL 104 as well, so it was really interesting to hear about how much his work has progressed since I last had him as a TA
 
MANY OF THE STUDENTS IN THIS COURSE WILL BE RESEARCHERS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IT WAS VERY BENEFICIAL TO HEAR ABOUT HIS RESEARCH AND WHAT GRADUATE SCHOOL WILL BE LIKE
 
Larry's lecture was relevant and interesting.
 
The small molecular details were a bit confusing and hard to follow, but it did provide help us understand how research worked

 
Make a statement about the relevance of SLU's 5 dimensions to this course and its assessment
1. Scholarship and Knowledge
2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication
3. Community Building
4. Leadership and Service
5. Spirituality and Values
 
The lab cultured within each of us a greater desire for knowledge in physiology, our lab groups taught better communication and leadership values.  Seeing the respect Dr. Stark has for following the regulations and rules of the department exemplified his own commitment and values and exposed him as a true role model for many of us aspiring scientists. 
 
1. Scholarship and Knowledge: applicable component to the class
2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication 
:applicable component to the class
3. Community Building : applicable component to the class
4. Leadership and Service 
: not as heavily emphasized in class
5. Spirituality and Values 
: seen through the discussions of research protocols, such as the vertebrate one
 
1. Scholarship and Knowledge- We learned more in-depth knowledge of physiology. 
2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication- Have team members in a group required communication.
3. Community Building- Working in lab groups helped with community building. 
4. Leadership and Service- Made me want to become a TA next year.
5. Spirituality and Values- Using lab mice helped show the value and importance of research.

1. Scholarship and Knowledge: KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTION INCREASED
2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication : FREQUENTLY QUESTIONED THE ACCURACY OF DATA AND REASONED FOR ITS VALIDITY
3. Community Building
: HAD TO WORK SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH A GROUP OF 4 PEOPLE FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER
4. Leadership and Service
:DR. STARK IS A LEADER
5. Spirituality and Values
: GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE HUMAN BODY, VALUE THE BODY MORE
 
Overall, I believe this course follows SLU's dimensions
 
I think this course touched on all 5 of SLU's dimensions.
 
This course required me to work collaboratively as a team while learning about systems of the body.
 
3. Community Building - we got to socialize with our bench mates
 
For this course SLU's 5 dimensions were not that relevant. The only dimensions of the 5 that were applied were the first two. 
 
I think that this class mainly focused on the first three dimensions of SLU's 5 dimensions.
 

What changes would you propose for next year?
 
Nothing, I enjoyed every lab.  Thank you for everything Dr. Stark.
 
 No changes, very reasonable, relevant course.
 
I loved this lab overall. It was so informative, and I enjoyed the atmosphere and knowledge that Dr. Stark creates and possesses
 
I feel like the labs were well thought of this year and that they really did help reinforce my knowledge. I don't think there should be changes.
 
No changes! My favorite labs were the kidney function and mice lab. It was really fun!
 
I wouldn't change anything about it!
 
I really enjoyed this class and I can not think of any structural
changes to make to it for next year.
 
There are a few things that I wrote down about the labs, that if I became the TA for next semester I would try to change or alter slightly to allow them to run more smoothly. However, for the most part each lab went well.
 
the urine lab wasn't my favorite
 
The notebook questions could require more knowledge of information from slideshows and other presentations rather than just about data to prepare us more for the exams.
 
The iWorx system didn't work very well for some of the experiments and it was very difficult to obtain usable data that made sense.
 
If possible, address what will be on the midterm and final a bit more specifically to lab based and lecture questions and not the intro material of things that we did not use like photoshop, etc.
 
I WOULD ORGANIZE THE WEBSITE A LITTLE MORE/ UPDATE IT FROM TEXT ALONE. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE FEWER LABS ON CARDIAC FUNCTION AND A FEW MORE ON ENDOCRINOLOGY OR METABOLISM
 
It would be helpful if the TA's were better
 
To refine the lab procedures, to avoid getting poor results.

Information

Grades were based on 2 lab reports (50 points each, averages of 45.6 and 47.3) a midterm exam (50 points, average = 38.7) and a final exam (50 points, average = 29.8). The grading curve was 3.63 (A-) , consistent with previous years AND VERY GENEROUS, since it would have been a C- curve based on the percentages posted in the course's syllabus.

I really appreciated the superlative comments like:
"The website was the best of any class I've ever taken"
"Everything was posted within the same day which was great!"
"Amazing! A lot of concepts in physiology made sense to me more now after this lab"
"most exciting lab I've had at SLU"

REPORT ON IMPROVEMENTS BASED ON LAST YEAR'S ASSESSMENT

I proposed the following improvements
(1) Find the places where the computer programs and instructions posed difficulties, and improve them
(2) reduce or consolidate cardiac labs
(3) put in the psychophysiology lab that was skipped because time ran out
(4) coordinate lectures better with labs

and I am happy to report that all were implemented and greeted with enthusiasm.

Plans for the future

Only fine tuning is necessary

(1) make use of the available trained undergraduate students to come up with exam questions that better relate to the exercises
(2) put into the web site specific instructions gleaned from the TA orientation lectures

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last revised 8/29/2012