BL A347 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Spring, 2009 Assessment

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 (BIOL 454) or Human Physiology (BIOL 260) supplemented, reinforced and extended. Students will acquire and analyze data on neuromuscular, cardiac, respiratory and excretory systems. Skills such as calculations with spread sheets, preparation of scientific reports, and image analysis of physiological data will be emphasized.

"The course fulfilled these objectives."

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

Average = 1.24


The course helped us to understand the actually implementation of the topics discussed in lecture. It corresponded well with lecture material. The use of the software extended my knowledge in that area, while the lab reports helped teach me how to effectively analyze and present data.

Yes, we performed all of the systems mentioned.

This was the best lab experience I have had at SLU.

"These objectives were reasonable."

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

Average = 1.29


The class did not demand too much from students, nor did it demand too little. It was informative and educational without being burdensome, making studenst truly desire to go and learn.

Yes they 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 = 1.59


The lab notebook was very well outlined and if there were ever questions, someone was always there to help!

Sometimes the notebook wasn't as detailed as I would have liked. Especially some of the instructions for data analysis in iWorx. I think one way to make those instructions a little clearer would be to include screenshots indicating where pertinent buttons are located. This could be included on the laptops as a pdf if adding it to the notebook itself would take up too much space. Overall though the notebook seemed pretty good.

It allowed us to work well together, but sometimes the directions were a little unclear and we had to ask for a lot of help on
certain labs.

The lab notebook was great. Each step was simplified and easy to follow.

There were a few instances in which the directions to work iWorks were a little unclear, specifically regarding calculations. Also, I think that better direction could have been given regarding the lab papers.

Sometimes hard to follow with software

I was impressed with the organization and the clearness of the lab notebook. It made it easy for me to keep track of my data and study for the lab tests.

Well written laboratory text, I just thought that sometimes the data collection/analysis was overkill. I think it would be more beneficial to talk about what results the class is supposed to get and why, and then do the data collection once (instead of 3 times, then avg).

"Timely mailings of data, outlines, .pdf's, and previous exam questions were useful."

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

Put your answer here:

Average = 1.24


On Dr. Stark's website there are several versions of Physio Lab, such as a Spring 06 lab page, and a Spring 08 page that I've found. If the url for whichever particular lab page would be most pertinent could be indicated, that might be helpful. While I know the website had been mentioned, after the midterm many students told me they were completely unaware of the website and the fact that previous exams were available. Perhaps including this information and the url on the first page of the lab book would help increase awareness.

Most definitely the .pdf's. EXTREMELY helpful.

I felt that the podcasts were especially a big help while studying for exams.

the podcasts were a big help along with the lab website!

The previous quizzes and lectures were helpful when studying for the test. I honestly did not use the e-mailed data unless it was the data necessary to complete a paper. But the tests were helpful.

Very useful

Podcasts very, very helpful!

"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 = 1.18


The labs definitely helped us to fully understand the information presented in lecture, while also being entertaining!

This lab conveyed this well.

The lab was well correlated with the course, although they are not tied together. It presented different systems in the body very well and gave me a clearer understand of the underlying processes.

labs connected well with lecture

The labs correlated extremely well with lecture and the labs picked out were relevant to what we were learning - such as teh EKG graphs of the different waves or the respiration lab with the different types of lung volumes and lung capacities. I thought it was neat to actually perform things in lab that we read about in our physiology book!

Some labs on respiratory system were unecessary

"Lectures 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

Average = 1.35


The lectures were great, well-prepared and helpful for each day. They also were a good way of solidifying what we had learned in lecture.

gave us the important information only

I loved how lab correlated so well with lecture. Lab definitely made studying for our lecture tests much easier and I was able to apply and understand the concepts easier!

"Overall, in the context of meeting the learning objectives, the basis of grading (tests, lab reports, completion of notebook worksheets) was acceptable."

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

Average = 1.41


I felt that the comments on the first lab report weren't always the most helpful. Also, since no rubric for the lab report was provided and what comments indicate loss of points and which are just suggestions for improvement. I think future classes would benefit from a rubric for the lab report and more specific criticism and indication of where points were lost.

The exams were hard. However the curve did make the grading reasonable.

more guidance on lab reports would have been helpful

I thought the grading of the lab papers, tests and notebook reports were graded fairly!

I can think of one or two questions from the test that I thought maybe shouldn't have been included, but in general, the grading was fair.

"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 = 1.12


Although it was difficult to understand at first, the iWorkx program was great in data analysis!

It was very confusing at first but easy once I got the hang of it.

The iWork on the laptops were interesting because it allowed us to visualize technologies that doctors use - such as EKGs and spirometry results. I was very pleased with these technologies and I have already recommended this lab to many of my friends. I honestly think that this lab was the most useful and interesting lab taken at SLU!

The only thing I didn't like about iWorx is the amount of time we spent on data analysis (zooming between cursors and measuring wave heights). I think it would've been more beneficial to do a more "conceptual" lab where we looked at the data we got and analyzed it comparatively. For example, when looking at EKGs, instead of measuring everyone single wave/interval/segmant of 5 different waves and then averaging, I think I would've been less frustrated, and learned more, if we just looked at one wave, and saw how it compared (subjectively) to other waves...

(2009 - 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

Average = 1.12


I really enjoyed this lab. It was great to be able to see how glucose and other substances affected the metabolism of the animal.

I think this was one of my favorite labs. Working with the mice and using the blood sugar testing strips to observe how blood sugar levels changed in a living organism depending on glucagon and insulin injections really helped reinforce the concepts taught in lecture. I think future students would benefit greatly from this lab as well.

If vertebrates are to be used again, I think the lab should demonstrate something a little more profound than the effects of insulin and glucagon in the body. These effects are pretty well known and I didn't see anything profound about the lab findings to compensate euthanizing mice. I might consider future use of vertebrates if the physiological phenomenon that was found was of greater worth.

I think I will remember this experience forever. It was the coolest lab I have been part of. Injecting the mouse with insulin and glucagon was especially fulfilling because we got to see them in action immediately. Awesome lab!

it was great to work with live animal systems.

it was my favorite lab and i wish that everyone in our physio. lecture could have done it.

I was surprised that we were able to do an animal lab in the Bio department! I enjoyed this lab ~ but did feel bad that we all had to sacrifice 5 mice in the 11am lab. I thought it would have been better if we had larger groups to lower the number of mice being used..?

Great experience

Dr. Shornick was great! Please invite her back!

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

I think that all five dimensions were covered during the course in one form or another.

Scholarship was strongly reinforced in this lab through our learning of physiology and community building was promoted by working with our lab partners on data collection and analysis. Finally, intellectual inquiry and communication were fostered through our independent investigations for our lab reports.

I think the course applied well to the scholarship and knowledge and the inquiry and communication.

This course definitely brought out the 'community building', 'intellectual inquire and communication' and 'leadership and service' aspects of SLU's Jesuit Education. The experiments required not only team work and good communication between students in their lab groups but also required leadership from all individuals to guide their group and figure out how to best complete the lab procedures. Physiology lab was very enjoyable!

I think it fullfills all of the dimensions in one way or another

I always think the Five Dimensions questions are a bit ridiculous for science courses, but I can say that I did learn a lot, so scholarship/knowledge-wise, this course was in line with SLU's Five Dimensions. (As far was leadership, social justice, spirituality, ect... I'll just have to say Not Applicable)

What changes would you propose for next year?

The only thing I can possibly think of is to state more clearly how grading is broken down. For example, state somewhere how much the papers and exams are worth. That's all I can really think of, though.

Maybe requesting a smaller amount of data for the dive lab. Multiple trials may have led to skewed data if it was performed too quickly (while the subejct is underwater).

The muscle lab didn't work out so well, the sarcomere length never changed much. Otherwise I felt most of the labs worked well. A rubric for the lab reports would be nice though.

The diving response was a difficult lab because with all the commotion it was hard to properly hear and measure blood pressure, so maybe propose digital monitors for that lab.

I think it would be helpful to have the answers to the labs posted after they are due or to go over them in class.

No changes necessary. Dr. Stark is a must for this lab! The guy is an absolute genius and very funny. Excellent course!

I thought this was a great lab. It was a comfortable working environment and allowed students to have some fun while learning.

Tests were somewhat harder than expected for a laboratory and given without announcement of test format and types of questions. Sometimes too much emphasis on little details.


As of now, I reallly cannot think of any changes. Everything ran smoothly and I was impressed by the procedures we accomplished!

More thorough explanation for purpose of labs.

It would be nice to have the answers for the questions at the end of each lab section to study for midterm/final. Sometimes, I wasn't sure about the correct answer.

Go over the lab instead of just lecturing before.

Wonderful selection of labs, I really enjoyed them all a lot. Just two things that I didn't love about the course. 1) The amount of data collection/analysis, which I explained earlier, was overwhelming at times, and I would've learned just as much if we looked at the data from some labs qualitatively, instead of quantitatively. 2) The research papers, which I really do think have value and merit in lab courses, but I've always thought that using outside research to back up out data was a ridiculously useless and overwhelmingly difficult requirement. The amount of time it takes to find a paper that has something to do with the topic is exorbitant and for really only finding one quote that has to do with the paper topic, seems kind of pointless. Since most of the research that we need to back up our findings was done in the early 1900s, finding a recent article on the stuff we're doing is pointless. Instead, I propose that secondary sources (i.e. the textbook) should be sufficient for use in our background data. Another way of doign this is giving us the resources up front so we could use the research provided. For example, you might look up and find a recent article and require the class to read it and use it for the research paper. This saves us the hours of seraching through PubMed for articles that only provide the abstracts, and still helps us learn the material.

Anyways, thanks for a great semester. I truly enjoyed this Lab and will highly recommend it to underclassmen. Have a great summer!

Some summary comments

I was delighted to see several endorsements of the PodCasts (new this year)

I was surprised to se criticism of the web site since there was no web site; e-mails of links were used instead

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

Plans for future years

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

As always, we will strive to make improvements, and all of the comments will be taken under advisement

Possibly we should post the correct or expected answers after the students have done their notebook entries.

Perhaps we should make part of the lecture be a summary of the lab manipulations for that day

I am on sabbatical Spring semester 2010. If a substitute teacher is hire or assigned, I will call the results of this assessment to that person.

Return to Stark Assessment Page

Return to Stark Home Page