BL A347 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Spring, 2011 Assessment Report

Form in regular font, Comments 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 web blurb on assessment [] ("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:

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 with spreadsheets, library capabilities, 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 text book vs. hands-on components of learning.

"The course fulfilled these objectives."

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



The course clearly integrated the principle concepts from the lecture course and allowed us to gain practical experience in regard to the various experiments and use of technical equipment.

I took Human Cellular Physiology in the fall so I had learned many about many of the things we did in lab before, and the short lectures at the beginning of class served as a good review. I also enjoyed learning about things not covered in lecture such as the diving response. I think one thing that could have improved some of the labs would be having page numbers to the corresponding chapters in the lecture book in order to review the topics a little more throughly than the review lecture, and I think the review lecture itself could have been a little more thorough.

No one had the text book because we were not in the cell physiology course. Just something to think about for next year.

The experiments and lectures were helpful in examining physiology topics in real time and the lab reports helped me get a better idea about searching for and writing Scientific literature.

This lab definitely furthered my understanding of human physiology. It was awesome applying the concepts we learned to real human subjects (or mice). I loved it all!

lab exercises enhanced textbook learning through real-life applications

I think this lab definitely fulfilled these objectives and really helped reinforce what I was simultaneously learning in Human Cell Physio and Exercise Physio. I also enjoyed using the iWorks technology!

"These objectives were reasonable."

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



I felt that these objectives were very reasonable for the course level.

I think the lab was great for me since I already finished the lecture course, but if i were taking it at the same time I might have been kind of lost at times.

the objectives fit in with what we were learning and were reasonable to accomplish in the time allotted.

"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



I really appreciated the explicit directions and the lab notebooks did allow for some great group discussions and cooperation.

The lab notebooks were set up nicely, and then it was a great way to be able to study for the exams.

Sometimes the instructions were a little hard to understand. I found the instructions having to do with the computer software to be frustrating at times.

At times instructions were not clearly laid out in the
notebook and we needed help form the TAs to identify equipment/ help
us through the procedure. It was fine for the most part though.

at times it was hard to tell what was supposed to happen. it would be helpful to know the expected results so we could compare what actually happened to the numbers that we were supposed to see.

a little more detail in the instructions for the experiment would be helpful. there were a few labs in which the instructions were confusing or not specific enough and we struggled understanding how exactly to complete the tasks

for the most part, the tutorials were self-explanatory but some needed updating on procedures

"Postings of exercises, outlines, and slides, helped to ensure that each laboratory went smoothly."

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



I liked being able to have the information prior to lab to familiarize myself with the information. Also, the outlines and powerpoints were very helpful in emphasizing the information.

The postings were very helpful, and the slides and outlines were helpful in studying.

I liked knowing what was going to happen in lab ahead of time so that I could prepare.

The lecture outlines were very hard to follow, many of them were not proof-read.

Printing off all of these before lab was really helpful! It made sure that everyone knew what was going on before lab.

the online syllabus with hyperlinks to labs, powerpoints, outlines etc. made navigating through all the materials easy and allowed me to have access to everything without having to print everything out all the time

gave a good idea beforehand of what topics were going to be covered in each lab

"Timely postings of data, PodCasts, and exam questions from previous years helped to ensure closure on each laboratory's learning experiences."

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



These examples from old tests and the data was really useful as it allowed a holistic experience.

The podcasts were helpful, but it was a little time consuming to try and go back and listen to them, even though they are great to study.

I liked that I could review almost all of the lab afterwards online. It was very helpful to see the format of exams

Because the lectures and questions were not proof-read, it made them difficult to get through. The questions would have been helpful if the exams were more similar to previous questions.

the exam questions were helpful to know what type of questions would be asked on the midterm and final.

past exam questions really helped focus attention to particular areas of topics

"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



I felt that there was a great variety in the information presented and correlated really well with lecture material.

The labs correlated very nicely to what was being taught in class, and they were relevant to the objectives of the course.

I thought most of the labs were useful, but it seems that there were a lot that depended mostly on data recorded by the computer and sometimes we couldn't get the equipment to work right so we didn't learn much from the hands on experience, just from what it said in the lab procedure and outline.

The labs performed were very helpful in giving a relevant look into how physiology was studied in the past and how it is studied today.

it was very helpful to see the concepts we learned applied physically.

the labs were very relevant to what we were learning in the physiology course and helped reinforce the material in a fun way

past exam questions really helped focus attention to particular areas of topics

I genuinely liked every lab that we did, they were practical and interesting. I do think we spent too much time on various cardiac experiments, and I was really looking forward to the last lab which we ran out of time to do.

I really enjoyed doing the labs because they gave me practical knowledge of things that I will need to know in the future as a health professional.

"Lectures delivered by your peers, the undergraduate TAs, were helpful in supplementing the physiology lecture course and in orienting to each day's lab."

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



It was helpful to listen to the correlating information prior to the lab.

The lectures were nice, but it was very difficult to hear what was being said which made it hard to keep focus.

Having a lecture was definitely useful, I think the slides could have been explained better

The lectures were not detailed oriented, but the exams were. This made it difficult to figure out what to study and how to prepare for exams.

Sometimes Joey was a little quiet, but he presented helpful information which was similar to that presented in the Human Cell Physiology lecture.

lecture were not throughly explained

it was difficult to remember sometimes when we were a week ahead what we had talked about the week before.

provided nice brief understanding for labs

The lectures were good and provided a good, concise overview of the material from lecture, but I think the TAs could have presented the material a little better by speaking up and maybe preparing more beforehand so they could present it effectively.

Sometimes the lectures were not exactly "in sync" with the lecture class, which is understandable, but it would be even better if they always related to the material currently being studied in the lecture course.

"iWorx on Mac laptops gave students a user-friendly appreciation of presently-available technology."

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



Prior to this class, I had very minimal experience with Mac computers, so I thought it was a very helpful skill to have.

The iWorx was in theory very helpful, but many times the equipment did nit work properly and it was very frustrating.

When the equipment worked correctly it did, but when it ruined the whole experiment. I think it would be helpful to know what should happen during some of the experiments such as the dive reflex one, when the equipment doesn't work. I looked a lot of stuff up online after lab because I didn't know if our data made sense or not.

They were not user friendly. We had many problems with our programs.

when the computers worked correctly they were very helpful.

some of it was confusing mostly because the equipment didn't always work properly but overall it was good technology that aided in the experiments

I thought the iWorks stuff was very cool and a great way to get experience using advanced technology in research and lab settings.

There were a few times where the programs wouldn't work, but other than that they were great!

(2011 ­p; Making the mouse endocrine lab available to you this year 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



I really liked being able to use the mouse as it clearly helped establish the goals of the experiment.

This was the absolute best lab of the semester. Working with the mice taught me how to properly make injections and treat subjects.

I don't think I would have gotten the opportunity to work with animals like we did anywhere else.

Very practical and fun lab, good exposure for the future.

Dr. Shornick was great.

This was a very unique lab and great experience. I was very glad I could participate in this experiment because it helped me to see the effects of insulin and glucagon in real time.

it was so awesome! I had never given a shot before!

the mouse endocrine labs was one of my favorites from the whole semester. I was able to appreciate a new aspect of scientific experimenting with live animals which is something I have never done before.

really nice to have someone assist with handling the mice; reassurance we were doing things properly and correct

Although I was still a little uncomfortable with the use of mice in such a basic lab, I definitely understand the importance of getting that exposure, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity.

(Strongly agree!!!!!!!!!)This was by far my favorite lab!! I loved the opportunity to work with the mice and understand their physiology because it helped to understand my own, human physiology.

I really enjoyed Prof. Shornick's lecture

(2011 ­p; Having a visiting lecture from a practicing surgeon / physician was new this year.)

"Dr. Itoku's lecture offered a unique perspective."

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



He gave a great presentation filled with unique facts.

It was interesting to get the insights from someone who works in the field.

I really did like the physician presentation

Having a lab that is relevant to what many science majors want to do in the future is really beneficial. I think some of the labs will help me have a little bit of an advantage when I attend physical therapy school, and I think it will also help others that want to go into other health care professions.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Itoku's presentation. He was very knowledgable and funny.

his lecture was very interesting! definitely do that again next year!

He was an excellent speaker, very engaging and enthusiastic about what his career. It was very interesting and I really appreciated getting to hear him speak.

really enjoyed his lecture; great to have outside sources come into lab

Dr. Itoku's presentation was very good, it was informative, interesting, and entertaining.

He gave a great presentation!

I also really enjoyed Dr. Itoku's lecture as well

Dr. Itoku was a great presenter and should be invited back for the years to come

(2011 ­p; The graduate TA's PhD dissertation research project was closely related to one of the laboratory topics.)

"Stan Andrisse'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



It was really insightful to see the advances of our biology department.

I'm wasn't really that sure about what he was studying. I also wish the glucose transport lecture was had a little more background, I think I learned some of that stuff in MCB, but I didn't remember a lot of it.

it was cool to see how the lessons we learned can be applied to research in the lab.

material was a little deep and went beyond what I knew about the topic but it was interesting to hear about current research that he is doing and how it applies to what we were studying

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

I think this lab did a great job assessing the various dimensions as we focused on education, expanding our knowledge, promoted scientific assessment, and worked in groups.

Apart from addressing the dimension for spirituality and value,
through the labs we did in this course, through communication with
fellow lab students and TAs, through lab lectures examinations, we
addressed the dimensions of Scholarship and Knowledge, Intellectual
Inquiry and Communication, Community Building, and Leadership and

I feel that the course fit well into the 5 dimensions

This lab really did incorporate parts of the 5 dimensions by encouraging and developing students' intellectual inquiry as we examined the various physiological systems in the body. We also formed lab groups which allowed us to work with other students we may not have interacted with otherwise.

This course had strong relevance to SLU's 5 dimensions because it required scholarship and gave us extensive knowledge and by working in groups we addressed the other 4 dimensions.

Scholarship and Knowledge: I learned a great deal about physiology and saw it in action within the experiments.
Intellectual Inquiry and Communication: Communication among group members was essential in order for each experiment to run smoothly.
Community Building: Resembling communication among group members, community building occurred as the lab went through the year. The more we all got to know each other, the closer we all got.
Leadership and Service: During each experiment, various tasks were needed to complete each lab. Each member of a group entailed leadership in fulfilling each of their tasks. One was the subject, one performed the tests on the subject, another was the computer guy, and a data recorder.
Spirituality and Values: During the blood glucose lab, values of animal care was presented and practiced while handling the mice properly.

Most were accomplished, although some on a minimal level.

What changes would you propose for next year?

I would not change anything for next year.

I really did like the physician presentation, so if more of those could be interspersed throughout the course of the semester, I think it would be great.

-A more in depth lecture on digestion because this lab is the only time anyone learns about it

-Fewer labs using iWORK

- keep lectures and labs relating to each other on the same day so it
is easier to follow

Thank you for a great semester Dr. Stark, I really enjoyed taking
this lab and it was well worth my time.

Update the questions and provide the students with a more organized way to study for exams. Having to learn about multiple physiological systems for one exam when not in a lecture course on cell physiology was extremely difficult and the details asked for on the exam were not indicative of the way materials were presented in class. Either have a more detailed oriented lecture, or give students were direction on exams. The labs were great, but some were too long to try to cram in.


I would just suggest more review for the exams or what to expect on the exams, also that if a TA gives a lecture, he or she knows what to emphasize more for the exams. Over all a great class!!

let us keep the mice after the lab is over!!! :)
The lab was awesome! I have recommended it to my friends.

I really enjoyed this lab. I thought the hands on approach helped me to understand what I learned in physiology lecture more. It was really fun! Best lab, and most relevant lab that I've taken!

I think after this year's lab, we have a better idea of how long each of the labs take, so it would good to balance them out so that we don't have some days where we finish an hour early and other days where we run out of time to finish the lab. Also, I would have liked to do the last lab, so maybe take out one of the cardiac or muscle labs since there were multiple.

Other than making the lectures "in sync" with the lab


Maybe more thorough instructions for the iWorx - sometimes it was difficult to understand what to do.

This was by far the best lab I have taken in my years at SLU. Everything was great! Do not change a thing!
Thanks again for the great semester Dr. Stark!

More vertebrate lab experiments, less lecturing time, make the tests more relevant to the experiments rather than to "lecture physiology."

- i would recommend keeping the course basically the same as this year, there were no areas that I feel need improvements. On a few occasions the computers were hard to work with or make sense of but that was a minor difficulty that the TAs handled very well. I enjoyed the course and would hope that you could perform the Mouse lab and have another visiting MD come to speak to the class the way that Dr. Itoku did for ours.

Plans for future years

The course is evaluated more favorably each year, and so only minor changes should be made.

I was delighted with all the complimentary comments!

Every single "criticism" was well-meaning and useful for future improvements.

As I expected, comments on whether the course addressed SLU's 5 dimensions ranged from the opinion thet the 5 dimensions did not apply to science course all the way to rationalizing how this course fulfilled some or all of the dimensions

I was on sabbatical Spring semester 2010, and the lab was not offered. As a result, the undergraduate TAs had not taken the course before. Furthermore, there was a turnover in lab coordinators. Next year, we will hopefully have a more experienced team to address the criticisms.

Particular ideas:

(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

This page was last revised 6/17/11

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