BL A347 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Fall, 2005 Assessment

Note, the form the students were handed is in plain type. Responses and comments added for analysis and interpretation are in italics. 12 students responded

Here are the stated objectives of the course:

Students completing this laboratory will have their learning experience for General physiology lecture (BL A346, the pre- or co requisite) supplemented, reinforced and extended. Students will gain experience in computer-based interactive physiology programs and inquiry-based learning. They will acquire and analyse 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 6 2. agree 5 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

If not, why not?

I ask you to rate the value of the Crayfish Q10 lab, newly added Fall, 2005, in the context of objectives.
1. High 5 2. Medium 6 3. Low 1

Comments:

It was just a lot of work to get very little
out of. Also, there was conflicting information about what
Q10 actually was, it was labelled differently in differnet
places, and never really made sense. It could be a good
lab, if it was just tweaked a little bit to be better to
understand. The worksheet was not hard, but was a decent
amount of work, a very good assignment.

this lab was better organized than most of the other labs
and doing the worksheet was much more beneficial than a lab report

Metabolic rates are an interesting topic and the experimental procedure
unlike experiments done in other labs.

I thought it was interesting, fun, and enabled us to learn first hand the effects of size and temperature on metabolism.

Although the calculation for Q10 was a bit
confusing due to the conflicting statements in the
presentation and the worksheet, I enjoyed seeing the change
in metabolic rate first hand.

I liked it a lot because it was a unique
experiment that allowed us to learn more about metabolism
and enzymes.

I think that we were able to learn how you are
able to measure oxygen availability and consumption very
well. I do not think that it really reinforced the ideas of
poikilotherms very well though.

It was an interesting lab. However, it would have been better if
we somehow recorded O2 consumption, and thereby metabolism, in humans somehow.

On the lab handout and on the power point presentation, the equation for Q10 was wrong, it says Q10= (k1/k2)^10/(t2-t1). The rate k2 corresponds to t2 and t2>t1. So, it should be changed to Q10= (k2/k1)^10/(t2-t1). So, my initial calculations of Q10 were erroneous. Plus, (I might have written the class data wrong) but the results did not match what was theoretically suppose to happen at all. Various different sources state, that ambient temperature increase should result in increase in metabolic rate of ectoderms, as their body temp. increases as well. The data I got, showed the opposite effect of high temperature, and was difficult to interpret. The worksheet asked for statistical analysis of results, which taught me how to make graphs, rather than gave me a concrete understanding of any one of the physiological systems. Measuring metabolic rate of ectotherms should be done in biology, not human physiology.


I ask you to rate the value of the lectures (by TAs, professor and lab coordinator), newly added Fall, 2005, in the context of objectives.

I have to say that the lectures done by the TAs were just
not that helpful and took up a large amount of time. It
would be much better to just put up the presentations online
as actual files so that we could look at at home. The
information is good, but their presentations just were not
that helpful. The problem was that they understood the
stuff about as well as we do, so them trying to explain it
to us doesnt really help. If you were to explain it to us,
you understand it a lot better than us, and can do a much
better job teaching it. They just read off of the computer
or a piece of paper, and I mean even a freshman that never
had the stuff before could do that.

the lectures were often rushed or had way too much information crammed
into them for the amount of time that needed to be spent on them to
fully understand that amount of material

Incorporating the text figures into the lecture was
helpful for studying for the lab as well as Bode's course.

With the exception of the very first lecture (old physiological tools), I
felt that the lectures were very useful. I liked having them the week
before the related experiment was done because it provided background and
allowed you to focus on the experiment the following week without getting
hung up on the details of the topic. The lectures put the labs in a useful
context.

I believe they fulfilled the objectives. My only complaint was that they were sometimes long and kind of boring. I felt that after getting a physiology lecture three hours a week as it was, the lab lectures were somewhat unnecessary. That being said, since the subject manner covered in the lectures was presented well before Dr. Bode covered it in lecture, it did help out when the time came to cover the material in class. I felt that I was much better prepared than those students who were not taking the lab.

2. agree- sometimes the presenters went too fast with too
much information so it didn't really sink in until it was in
print and I could read through it later.

I think the lectures were detailed but fast and no room for
questions were given. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry for
the vast amount of information presented. I also think that
slides based only on figures does not always target every
learning style. Some people have to see it in words and not
just hear it or at least part of it.

I think that some of the lectures were very long and drawn
out. I think that is should be a general overview and then
specifics of what we are studying. The lectures did provide
a lot of useful information though.

The lectures greatly reduced my studies in certain areas for the lecture part
of the course. (4 out of 5)

Lectures were very helpful. Although, if you prepared for class a night before, lectures were not very fresh. The fact, that they were available electronically was a great help too.


Last two semesters, students largely approved of the other labs (such as muscle, kidney, etc.. "This selection of labs provides a foundation relevant to physiology and to the objectives of this course."
1. strongly agree 7 2. agree 4 3. disagree 1 4. strongly disagree

If not, why not?

I will say that I enjoyed doing these experiments more than any of my
prior lab classes.


Last two semesters, students largely approved of Interactive Physiology. Last year's were retained and one more was added. "In the context of meeting the objectives, the interactive physiolgy exercises were useful, and the number of interactive physiology exercises was appropriate."
1. strongly agree 1 2. agree 4 3. disagree 4 4. strongly disagree 2

If not, why not?

The IPweb stuff was a huge waste of
time. All of the information was in the lectures or in the
books and was a waste of a large amount of time. To
actually get through one IPweb thing took at least 2 hours.
It would get to the point that I was just clicking next
slide and not even paying attnetion anymore. The
information given was not even all that relevant or much
more in depth to what we were going over in lab. Just way
too much time to get so little out of.

they were useful but took up a lot of time

I agree that they were helpful in learning the material, but felt that they were a little too long and took a great amount of time to go through.

They were useful in visualizing the
content of each topic, however, it took too long to load
each slide and get through the information.

Tedious and largely a repeat of the
book/notes

They were helpful, but to spend 3 hours clicking to see
text that would be just as explainable by reading the book
seems unnecessary to me. It just reinforced what I read in
the text book. If you do continue to use them, I would
suggest to provide a blank worksheet as well as one with
answers so one can study off the worksheet.

I took the class and registered the book online last year.
I was not able to get to interactive phys. online unless I
paid a fee of around $20. The CD in my book did not have
one of the systems that we covered. I was at a disadvantage
for that. I got all of the material from the worksheets on
the website.

Interactive Physiology took a long time to actually
complete, and there were only a few questions total that required interactive physio
to correctly answer

I would not put so much emphasis on the interactive physiology. It's difficult to access the program especially if you do not have a computer, as I didn't for most of the semester. The program is not accessible at the library.

Did not have time to go through the lecture that went along with the book, complete the assignments and go through Interactive physiology. Definitely regretting that.

"Overall, in the context of meeting the learning objectives, the basis of grading (tests, lab reports, worksheets, quizzes) was acceptable."
1. strongly agree 1 2. agree 3 3. disagree 7 4. strongly disagree 1

If not, why not?

I was just not a fan of how things were
graded. The midterm was so confusing and had a few errors
in the grading. The quizes were graded too hard for what
they were sometimes. The lab reports were graded way too
hard for how much time and work was put into them. The
worksheets were also graded way too hard and points were
taken off for stuff that we should have never had to write
down, so it was a bit disappointing.

The syllabus kept changing with no prior notice (a
quiz added when there was none listed and a worksheet added at the end
that was not there previously. Students need to be able to rely on
the syllabus and not get surprised by extra somewhat tedious
assignments. I felt as though i was shooting in the dark with lab
reports...the TAs clearly had specific expectations about necessary
content but failed to make that clear to the students. We cannot be
responsible for reading minds. A rubric should be used.

Expectations for lab reports could have been made clearer. The quizzes
were reasonable. The midterm was much longer than it needed to be, a
sample of questions from the first half of the semesester (instead of ALL
the questions) probably would have served as well to demonstrate whether
or not we knew the material.

I didn't like the grading scale of how
the final grade was broken down into. It was hard to judge
how I was doing in the class based on the quizzes since they
were all worth differently. I also thought the lab
reports/worksheets were graded too subjectively.

I agree so far.

Grading was very fair except for the lab reports. In my
first reort my absract was very good (6/6 points), and my
second recieved only 2 out of 6 points. I followed my first
abstract and did the same basic outline in the second.
Also, I think that it should have been made perfectly clear
that the previous years data MUST be in the report. A
ruebrick would have been helpful in knowing what was needed.
I think that the same person should have graded the lab
reports. This would have given some continuity in the
grades. I believe I did a better job on the first report,
yet my grade is points lower that my second.

It was hard to determine what the grading was based off of.

Do to the fact that there was no regular quiz on cardiac physiology, half of the midterm consisted of just that lecture, which of coure was the only one I didnít study. But, my point is that it was very unequally distributed between the lectures. Everything else was outstanding


About how many hours per week do you spend (outside class) on studying for and doing home work for this class?

I have to say on average that I spend around 4-5 hours
a week. The IPweb stuff takes around, or at least, 2 hours.
Then studying notes, studying the book. Studying old
quizes. Then when there is an assignment or lab that number
goes way up. Then on the midterm I studied for hours
everyday for a week in advance and then pulled an allnighter
the night before. So average about 5 hours/week.

I would say an average of four
hours per week.

3

3

On average, 4 hours per week.

6

4

6-10 depending on the assignments provided that week

Approximately 2-3 hours.

3-4

8 hours

3 hours

If you think this course should be changed from 2 credits to 1, put your justification here:

Definitely not.

No


If you think this course should be kept at 2 credits, put your justification here:

Because of the amount of work
that has to be done outside of lab, this course has to be a
two hour course. Other labs, the only work is really done
within the lab, and not much time is spent outside of the
lab. Those can be worth one. But this lab takes up so much
time outside of class time that it has to be worth two or it
would not be worth taking at all. If this was one hour,
theres absolutely no way I would take this. It wouldnt be
worth it. No way. Because of this lab I have not made it to
one pennies at humphreys on wednesday nights yet this
semester!

This class had more work than all of my three
credit courses. I was often annoyed that it wasn't worth more credits
considering how much time I spent studying for it.

This course requires a great deal of work and a large investment of time.
The lab reports, worksheets, and especially the interactive physiology
exercises are all done outside of class time and are quite time consuming.
They are valuable to the course and shouldn't be eliminated, but I feel
the work should be rewarded with 2 credits.

It is alot of work and we do
more than just meet one day a week. The work requires input
outside of the classroom.

I believe this lab required much more work than any other biology lab I have ever taken. Preparing for the quizzes each week, along with writing two labs, having a midterm and final, and numerous worksheets took on average four hours a week. Overall, this is more time than I spend on any of my three hour non-biology courses. In fact, I would say that I spent about as much time preparing for this class as I have for my physiology and genetics lecture courses this semester. Therefore, I believe it should be worth at least two credits.

I spent more time on this course per week than I did for
my actual physiology class.

I think all labs should be 2 credits. I
spend just as much time writing lab reports and studying for
tests/quizzes as I do for some of my 3 credit lec classes.

I spend more time on this class than any other. The
amount of information presented in the time allotted in this
class is significantly greater than in any other lecture
course I have ever taken. If you lower the credit hours
down to one then the work would also have to be cut and then
the students would not be able to study all of the different
systems as in depth as we have.

If the
University wants to base credits on time spent out of class
then some majors may never graduate. My non-science GPA is
magnificent, yet roughly 5% of my total study time for the
semester is put towards those classes. Lets face it,
science and math classes require time to study. They
require alot of time to master the fine details. I think
that this class is worth alteast 2 credits, if not 3.

I literally spent as much time on lab as I did on
lecture. I have an "A" in lecture, so I think 2 credits is definitely appropriate.

I put a lot of work into this class, and there was so much material to learn that it was at the level of 2 credits or even beyond.

Iíve spend considerably more time and effort on this lab(2c.hs.), then on the lecture(3c.hs.). Yet, Iíve maintained an A in lecture, while struggling to just get through this lab. This doesnít really make sense to me.


What would you like to say about the equipment available for this course?

The macs make things so much more
confusing. They are just so much more difficult to use than
a PC. Plus powerlab is a hard system to get to really
understand.

Some new equipment would be nice.

Overall, the equipment worked fairly well, although it would be nice to update a few of the apparatuses.

It still confuses me- our data always started off upside
down, out of range, or just completely different than what
it was supposed to look like. It was frustrating to keep
asking how to fix things so our recordings looked partially
correct.

A lot of the experiments did not work because of the
powerlabs. But most of the experiments worked.

I think that some of the equipment is
very hard to use. I am not very computer savy. It was hard
to get the experiments to work correctly.

I would say I have a strong disliking to Mac's, but everything else was
usefull and interesting

The equipment is out of date and with equipment sometimes not working, it was hard to get proper results from the experiments. However, old doesn't necessarily mean bad. For example, equipment like the spirometer do still serve their purpose well.

Itís very beneficial; there is no question about it. However, I was very unfamiliar with most of it, which made this lab even a greater challenge.


What changes would you propose for next year?

Lectures should be done by Dr Stark and should not be
so long. Quizes should be worth more of the grade. Lab
writeups should be taken out because its a lot of time for
something that does not really do much. More assignments
for points. I would say do an assignment for every lab
done. It is a good way to make sure that people have to pay
attention to actually doing the labs, and a good way to earn
points if quizes are killing you. Plus it is a good way to
get prepared for the exams. Also, IPweb should be taken
out, takes up way too much time outside of class.

-make better use of time in lab...the quality of lab is not in the
quantity of time spent but the quality of time spent.
-don't make changes to the syllabus without notification far in advance
-don't assign lab reports over breaks (fall break and thanksgiving
break)
-make expectations for lab reports clear
-the midterm was the length of a final in a lecture course. i would
make it shorter.

I think the time spent on writing papers would be better used if the topics
were chosen on the basis of how appropriate the experiment and data set were
to the scope of the course instead of how they happened to land on the
calendar. The hormone report had so little data that it was hard to find
things to talk about and the diving experiment has an unweildly amount of
information. Something intermediate, like the metabolism or respiration
labs, would probably be more appropriate.

None, besides possibly shortening the lectures and/or the interactive physiology.

Less interactive physiology- or assign worksheets to go
along with them that can be taken home instead of quizzes.
It would be better motivation to listen carefully to the
interactive physiology if I knew what parts to focus on.

Don,t test
on student,s ability to use computer programs. It has
nothing to do with physio. Especially since you have macs
and most people were raised on IMB.

A syllabus that extends beyond the objectives and the
schedule. I would recommend a rubric or grading criterion
or what is expected out of me as a student in this lab.

I think that shorter, lectures showing what happened in
years past, and giving good background on the subject and
specifics about what is being studied. Overall, I really
enjoyed the class, it has been one of my favorites.

No Mac's, and give more of an
explanation on how to do lab reports (mostly on results)

maybe multiple choice questions on the quizzes or essay format are the best instead of one or two word fill in the blank. I would have more lab reports. They are the best way to learn and remeber the information that was taught. The reports require the student to look at the information that was learned in the lectures and incorporate it into the objectives of the lab experiment. Additionally, it's a good way to visualize the results of the experiment, using graphs and excel spreadsheets.

Get rid of the Crayfish please!!!!! Watching their eager O2 consumption was far from exiting and the results didnít really make sense. Thanks to this crayfish lecture/lab/worksheet, I can calculate Q10 with my eyes closed and defiantly an expert on ectotherms, but not so much on human physiology. Extreme fans of this lab should take marine biology instead (just kidding).
If the material was a little more coordinated and correlated with the stuff thatís talked about in lecture for the same week, the objectives would be easier to meet for both courses. However, covering endocrinology in lecture, while doing the lab on cardiac physiology the same week, makes you go through two physiological systems at ones. Then, the work you do in lab is somewhat beneficial to the lecture, but the information we get from lecture, doesnít directly apply to this weekís lab. Why donít the two classes reinforce each other?

Comment
Professors are constantly revising and improving courses, and most of this effort is irrespective of student feedback.. Where "assessment," in this present interpretation. fits in is that it allows us to also consider student feedback.

Plan for next year
(1) We are fortunate in that the Biology Department purchased new equipment. Building a whole new curriculum around incorporating this new apparatus must dominate my effort.
(2) The labs are largely fine, requiring only minor revision.
(3) Students have finally seen through the broken promise of the interactive physiology tutorials, and efforts will be made to decrease or eliminate reliance on them.
(4) The newly added lectures were accepted as useful, and only minor adjustment will be needed.
(5) Although none of the student comments about grading were addressed to the usefulness of quizzes, tests, lab reports and worksheets to meeting the objectives, the dissatisfactions should be addressed as best as possible.