BIOL 3470 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Spring, 2018 Assessment Report

Form in regular font, Student replies, 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"). I do not know what to make of a 2017 shift back to "outcomes" assessment as it relates to "program" assessment in the biology department. So I stick with what I have done in the past.

This questionnaire is also useful to me as a means to give feedback to other contributors to this course.

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, 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 and these objectives were resonable."

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

Average = 1.18


I do think that this course fulfilled the objectives set

Throughout this lab, we explored the many different systems of the body using fun and interactive experiments, which made the lab a lot of fun.

This lab was one of my favorites that I have taken at SLU. It was a perfect combination of fun, academically informative, interactive, and fair. Dr. Stark is an amazing professor with a love for what he is teaching and who he is teaching it too taking a personal interest in his students.

Being able to be hands-on with physiological concepts was very interesting and made this lab very fun and valuable to furthering my biological knowledge.

We learned a lot about critical thinking and data analysis.

great job, I learned a lot about the body.

These labs helped me to understand these topics in a way that was applicable to me. Also, the labs helped see these concepts in a practicle way.

The course fulfilled the objectives with fun and exciting labs. Great supplement course for physiology.

"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 = 1.29


It was nice the instructions were detailed and listed out step by step so that it was easier to follow the procedure and complete the experiment.

Yes the lab packets were very helpful, we were able to complete the labs on our own with very little help!

The labs were easy to follow and understand. In addition, they were very fun.

The lab notebook was ok, but sometimes we were told not to follow it exactly. I think what would have been most useful would have been for the TAs sot maybe do an example for us. Sometimes that is a lot more valuable than reading thought a lab handout

In the lab notebook, sometimes tables would be out of order relative to the instructions/procedure and would throw off my data collection, but besides this the lab notebook was good to follow. Also, some of the previous year's data posted on the website was confusing to look through (such as data tables were not labelled and/or were out of order in relation to the lab procedure).

Instructions were, on the whole, very specific.

The notebooks were very clear and helpful in understanding the lab.

"A unified web site, with postings of exercises, outlines, exam questions from previous years, data, PowerPoints, and PodCasts helped to ensure that each laboratory and your learning experience went smoothly."

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

Average = 1.18


I think the use of website is great. It provided me with everything I could need for this course.

It was nice to have those old resources to help guide the studying for the midterm and the final as well as having the powerpoints and data.

The syllabus and website were an invaluable resource for information in this lab.

Yes, all the information I would ever need from this course was available and easy to navigate.

Having past resources available aids in my learning.

I thought the website was very helpful

The inclusion of the data and exam questions was helpful. This is because it was nice to see the past exam questions not only to study from but also to learn the topics of the labs.

I would have liked a BlackBoard site rather than an independent site because it would have kept all my classes together.

"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 = 1.12


The labs covered a wide range of the different systems of the body and allowed us to explore each week with a lot of diversity

There was a good variety of lab topics (cardiac, nervous, respiratory, urinary etc) and they do a great job of covering the different areas of physiology.

We covered all the major body systems, which I think is important for a physiology lab course.

The course fulfilled the objectives with fun and exciting labs. Great supplement course for physiology.

Labs were relevant and good fun.

I thought the selection of labs covered a lot of different topics and was very good

Met objectives well.

"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 = 1.41


I really liked the mini lectures and this that they did orient us nicely for the lab of the day

It was nice to have those lectures to introduce background information regarding the topic for the week.

I feel that having background information is crucial in understanding the main point of the lab itself.
Lectures were great refreshers and not too detailed.

The information was helpful, but we have also learned some of it in other biology classes so it was a bit redundant.

some required more ample background knowledge than the majority has.

The lectures were helpful, becuase they refreshed me on the concepts we looked at for the lab.

Please provide feedback for your TAs:

Your undergraduate TA (Zach Doerrer) [am]

Zach- did a good job of clarifying technical aspects of the lab and lab setup

Zach is great at helping out with Labscribe and really know his stuff.

Zach was helpful with the labs especially when it came to LabWorks software

Very helpful and readily answered all questions relevant to the iWorx Software

Zach was very knowledgeable and helpful. Great TA.

very helpful this entire semester and able to answer questions during the lab.

undergraduate TA was great, very helpful in each lab.

Zach was a good TA. Sometimes I wish the TAs were more involved in what we were doing and like looking around to make sure that our data was looking right

Your undergraduate TA Rachel Patterson [pm])

Rachel was a great TA! She was always helpful, nice, and very knowledgable regarding the labs procedure and the background information regarding the lab.

Rachel is incredibly knowledgeable about the course. Every time we had an issue with a procedure she knew exactly how to fix it. I'm surprised she has only taken the course once for how much she knows the ins and outs of everything.

Rachel Patterson is really helpful and always answers our questions.

Rachel was helpful during lab and very knowledgable of each weeks topic.

Rachel was very helpful and really knowledgable about the iWorx system.

She was always prepared, helpful, approachable, and knowledgable.

Rachel was very nice and was always quick to help. Also, she was a great resource to go to looking for help understanding the concepts in the lab.

Rachel was very helpful!

Your graduate TA (Shannon Kelly)

Shannon was a great TA! She was also very helpful and knowledgable about both the lab and the background information regarding the lab, which helped add to the learning environment in the lab.

Shannon is a lot of help when it comes to needing help understanding a concept better and she knows her material very well.

Shannon Kelly is really helpful and always helps us out with our questions.

Shannon was very knowledgeable and helpful. Great overall.

Shannon was very helpful and gave great feedback and help on the lab reports.

very helpful this entire semester and able to answer questions during the lab. Shannon provided clear expectations and feedback for the lab reports so that was very appreciated as well.

She laid out the grading expectations clearly.

Fair in her grading and gave informative feedback

She was very helpful when it came to the lab reports.

Graduate TA was great, very helpful in each lab.

Shannon was helpful during lab and very knowledgable of each weeks topic.

She was prepared and knowledgable.

I suggest writing out instructions, guidelines and clarifications on the board or have it printed out, because sometimes she spoke too fast.

I had little interaction with her- she's obviously very knowledgeable about all practices. Grading is too harsh for an undergraduate lab course.

I just wish we got more comments on our papers cause I missed more points on the second than first for format when I got full points on first one.

Shannon was also a good TA. I would have liked for Shannon to look around more. I wish that Shannon provided us with more information about what she is looking for in the lab report. Some things she marked wrong on my first lab report I felt could have been prevented had I known better what she was looking for.

Please provide feedback for these contributors:

Dr. Beatty, Optometrist

Great lab, was very fun and interesting. Enjoyed the lecture and learned a lot about the optical system.

Having glasses myself, it was cool to see the workings behind what happens in the eye. Plus the dissection was fun.

Dr. Beatty was a great addition to the classroom. He was very easy to talk to and gave us fun examples to learn from

Dr. Beatty was an engaging presenter and helped us learn a lot when doing experiments with him!

Dr.Beatty was great escepcially when we were able to see how the nerves of the eyes work when on is disconnected.

Very interesting demonstrations, and cool to see the perspective of an optometrist

Very upbeat and knows a lot of information. Great lecture

His lecture was very interesting and I learned a lot about vision and how it can be affected.

I really liked this speaker, he gave interesting demonstrations.

Dr. Beatty was really good in explaining and helping us out with the lab

great guy, really knowledgeable and answered a lot of my own questions in great depth.

Loved playing with his gadgets!

very interesting and it was nice to have someone from the different fields come talk to us.

He was very helpful! I really enjoyed all the hands on experience.

very interesting and mixed up the class dynamic.

Very interactive.

Prof. Shornick, Biology Professor

Prof. Shornick was knowledgable regarding both the mice experiment and different guidelines regarding the ethics of experimenting with animals in the lab. It was cool to see this aspect of the lab experiments.

She was helpful in the rat lab because it was interesting to learn the process of how we get permission to use live animals.

Explained how to do the lab well, and knew her material.

Very fun lab and great experience working with the mice. Lecture was very interesting and relevant.
I really like Dr. Shornick. She was great to have in class.

Her lecture was also interesting and it was eye opening working with mice.

I had her for Bio and she is just as delightful. She answered so many of my questions

I liked Dr. Shornick's talk, she is very knowledgable.

Thankful for the experience we had working with the lab rats.

Professor Shornick was really helpful

The mice experiment was fun!

Presentation was really well organized and easy to understand

great demonstrations, I really enjoyed hearing about her personal research.

very interesting and it was nice to have someone from the different fields come talk to us.

very interesting and mixed up the class dynamic.

Prof. Buchanan, Psychology Professor

Dr. Buchanan's lecture was very helpful. I liked the examples provided.

Prof. Buchanan was an engaging and innovative presented. I enjoyed how the presentation was interactive, and students were involved in the presentation.

I had Professor Buchanan as my professor before for my neuroscience class. His lecture was familiar to me from his previous class. But it was still a great lecture.

This was a very interesting talk, I learned things I never had before about the brain!

Professor Buchanan explained the concepts very good

I had him for Neuro 2 and I love his lectures. He gave a very interesting one this time too!

rad person, he just gave my capstone project an award so he gets an A+. Interesting lectures.

very interesting and mixed up the class dynamic.

He has an engaging, informative lecture!

very interesting and it was nice to have someone from the different fields come talk to us.


His presentation was not memorable.

Dr. Itoku, Urologist

Best presentation. Was intriguing to see the real life medical field related problems for me because I am interested in med school.

Dr. Itoku was awesome. He had a good sense of humor as was good at teaching things about urology without making everyone uncomfortable.

Dr. Itoku was a great and engaging presenter who was very passionate about his field. It made me excited to learn about Urology, and he taught me a lot from his presentation.

His lecture was one of the more intresting and lively presentations. I liked how he was able to inform us about the possible diseases of the renal system.

He was really funny! I really liked his lecture and want to shadow him one day.

Very enthusiastic and presented an awesome lecture. By far my favorite speaker

very interesting and mixed up the class dynamic. My personal favorite lecture was Dr. Ikotu

This talk was very interesting and nothing I had ever heard before! Dr. Itoku is very engaging.

probably the best guest lecturer, very clear and interesting.

His presentation was graphic yet very informative. I learned much more about what surgical urologists deal with daily.

His lecture was very interesting. I learned a lot and saw many disturbing images.

I learned a lot from this presentation. Thankful he took time out of his day to come talk to us!

Very interesting lecture. Nice of him to field questions about medical school, etc.

very interesting and it was nice to have someone from the different fields come talk to us.

Dr. Itoku had a very good lecture

Engaging presenter.

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


1. Scholarship and Knowledge

we learn a lot of new techniques and applications that will help in medicine

facilitated by hands on experience

Learn about the principles of Physiology

2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication

we are allowed to express our ideas and voices_

facilitated by working in tables

Group work on all our labs.

3. Community Building

we work with a group of students and learn from each other

facilitated by working in groups

Class gatherings of data to see how similar and different we are from each other on the systems of the body.

4. Leadership and Service

we are encouraged to take charge during the labs

facilitated by volunteering to be subjects

Opportunity to be the test subject in labs is like the leader of the group!

5. Spirituality and Values

we are taught about how to treat animals the right way when working with them

not as much of a focus_

Learn about the processes of the human body and its connection to the real world.

As one statement

This course contained a lot of scholarship and knowledge regarding the different systems of the body. Through exploring the different body systems through experiments, we used intellectual inquiry and communication with our lab groups. Through collaborating with our 3 lab partners, we practiced community building. We practiced leadership by using all of the leadership skills of all the lab members to best complete the labs. We practiced our spirituality and values by treating our lab members, TA, and Dr. Stark with respect and kindness. We also practiced our values when respecting different test subjects in the lab.

Many of the concepts brought up through this lab were review from the physiology lecture course, but there were many real-case scenarios and doctors' talks that I was able to further my knowledge of physiology. It was a good course to be curious in and communication between lab partners, professor, and TA's was very well handled. Often times one person from each lab group took the initiative to keep the lab progressing smoothly and equally between all lab partners, which showcased good leadership skills. From the diabetic mouse lab, we learned a great deal about the efforts put in to allowing this lab to handle live animals, which had a discussion about possible issues facing animal handling in lab setting and how procedure and strict guidelines are valued.

The general physiology lab course touched on all 5 of SLU's dimensions by working in groups to learn, inquire, and lead.

This course included all 5 of the dimensions. While values such as service and spirituality were not directly included, leadership and values were exercised in the lab.

I think that this lab strengthened many of the five dimensions listed, most notably community building, leadership and communication

This course really helped me increase my knowledge in physiology which will be useful for me down the road. In addition, it increased my confidence in my abilities to write good lab reports and also of being a confident leader in our lab groups.

My knowledge increased by the lectures and hands-on work. I was able to communicate with my groupmates. I built community with my groupmates in and out of class. I felt like a leader when I was able to showcase the things I am best at and my groupmates worked to their own skills as well. It affected my values because I learned about how to interact with animals used in research.

The course perfectly encompasses all the qualities and dimensions stated above.

This course helped me live out three of SLU's 5 dimensions, scholarship and knowledge, intellectual inquiry and communication, and community building.

The first two dimensions were very well established in this course.

This class excels in intellectual inquiry and communication. In additon, the course also does a great job in the area of scholarship and knowledge. 3-5 do not necessarily apply to this course.

What changes would you propose for next year? This question may be particularly important this year because a different professor will be in charge next year after I retire.

I wouldn't change a thing.

To be honest, I really enjoyed this class and currently can't think of any propositions for next year. Thanks for a fun, educational semester!

I think doing example simulations of the lab at the beginning of class would be helpful for some of the labs and it would only take a few minutes. Just to see what data we should be looking for.

I honestly wouldn't change a whole lot for this class. The only thing I can really say is maybe give students a little more help preparing for the tests.

- more example papers. other than that i love the class as is! thank you for a great year!

Overall, this was a great lab course exploring the different systems of the body, and I learned a lot! The only thing that I would suggest for changes would be to include the changes in procedure/experiment for the week in the lecture slides just so the students can have a visual of how the experiment may be different.

While the lectures were nice to listen to, it seemed as if sometimes the topics did not exactly relate to the immediate lab. The lectures were much more broad than the lab at hand.

I would make the labs that will have a report written about them clearly mentioned on the first day of class, so students are better prepared to pay attention to details as they perform those labs.

Have lectures tegrity recorded and the exams can be more focused on lecture material and human physiology.

I really liked most aspects of this lab course. The only thing I would propose is that during the Blood Glucose lab, since we are not actually able to handle the mice, maybe just have one mouse as a demonstration because having the mice just sit on the desk was not as interactive as the other labs.

One change would to do tegriety videos instead of podcasts.

Make midterm and final multiple choice

MORE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR LAB REPORTS (caps for emphasis). I was often confused about what was wanted from me in regards to the lab report and had to ask many questions with little specificity in return. There needs to be proactive expectations made about the reports instead of just tearing them apart after they are graded. The reports cannot be graded so harshly if the requirements are so vague (completely absent except for a rubric). Other than that I greatly enjoyed the course. The guest lecturers kept me interested and the labs were always entertaining.

It might be nice to have the class website linked to Blackboard and to have the lectures on tegrity instead of a podcast. It integrates with the rest of SLU's interfaces more.

The midterm and final exams are very overwhelming with the vast amount of information we are required to study/memorize. Maybe give study guides in the future that are based on the information presented during each of the labs.

Provide a better outline of what is needed to know during each lecture.


There were 2 tests of 50 points each:
Midterm exam: Mean=43.34, High=49, Low=28.5
Final exam: Mean=43.1, High=50, Low=29
There were 2 lab reports of 50 points each:
First lab report: Mean=45.44, High=50, Low=37
Second lab report: Mean=46.09, High=50, Low=31.5
Credit was given for the lab notebook and all students earned 50 points

The grading curve was 3.7, same as last year, but more generous than previous years.


In one request, one reminder, and one final reminder, I obtained replies from 17 out of 40 students

Sometimes it seems to me (and to many students) that the dimensions were handed down by an anonymous administrator, fluent in drivel, who did not know that there were science courses in the college. However, there are some heartwarming comments based on all five dimensions. There was definitely a time when an assessment such as this needed to answer how the course addressed the five dimensions. Is that still the case? I don't know, and nobody has told me.

Plans for next year

Leticia De Souza Soares is scheduled to take over the course as I am now retired with Emeritus status. She sat in on and discussed many of the labs Spring, 2018. To the best of my abilities, I will provide necessary information and materials.


For biology program assessment, faculty were told that our assessments should include "direct measures of student learning include artifacts such as written assignments, research papers/projects, lab reports, case studies, posters, powerpoint presentations, pre- and post-test measures of knowledge, embedded exam questions that relate to a specific learning outcome, and student portfolios." In my opinion, this shows a confusion of student outcomes assessment for courses, course assessment, and program assessment. We did have lab reports, but they are not archived.

this page was last revised 7/9/ 2018

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