BL A347 General Physiology Laboratory, Prof. Stark
Spring, 2013 Assessment Report

 
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 and these objectives were resonable."
 
1. strongly agree  2. agree  3. disagree  4. strongly disagree
 
Average=1.17
 
Comments

This served as a great introduction about Human Physiology, and we learned just the right amount about each system of the body which kept the class engaging and interesting. I am extremely satisfied that I took this course, and I have never before took such a well-integrated lab and lecture course. 

All of the objectives were clearly given at the beginning of the course, which helped a lot.

it did reinforce things I learned in other physiology courses
 

"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=1.53
 
Comments

The lab notebook was super helpful for comparing data between different group members and different groups after the experiments so that we could remember what we did, especially for doing lab reports.

The lab notebook was sometimes a little off, but the TAs made it clear when any changes were made.

I loved working in my small group, and it allowed each of us to equally contribute and work together efficiently.

sometimes verbal help was needed but pretty much we were able to complete the lab with the instructions given

sometimes the labs were a little antiquated and needed more clear instruction

The iWorx program was difficult to understand at times, even with the instructions, but the teaching assistants were very helpful in fixing all of the issues.

A little more detail would be helpful
 
"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=1.05
 
Comments

I ended up using the outlines along with the garage band recordings because if I missed anything during lecture it was always there. I also liked the multiple years of test questions.

The website was extremely easy to navigate.

It is a little hard to get used to at first, because most other classes use SLU Global, but this website is much easier to understand and is clearly outlined with what you need for that week. Having links within the schedule makes everything really easy to find. The past year's questions and data help with studying or the tests and writing the lab reports.

I really appreciated the easy to navigate website and previous exam questions!

the website was 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=1.44
 
Comments

it was a good introduction to the foundations of physiology

A couple of the labs had repetitive procedures (e.g. the EKG lab) but overall the labs were relevant, fun, and interesting.
 

"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=1.53
 
Comments

The mini-lectures allowed students who weren't as familiar with the material to catch up to other students. They were definitely helpful.

they gave a good background

The ones with figures and notes were really helpful. the ones with older equipment were a little hard to apply since things looked different. 

The mini-lectures were a great refresher, but I still feel like students who had taken more physiology classes had a more extensive background, that's just inherent in the fact that you are able to cover more in a semester than you can in a single lecture though. And most students had a similar background with previous classes so a refresher was all that was needed.

Having taken physiology the semester before, it was nice to have a little refresher for each of the different systems before we did a lab about them.

 
Please feel free to provide feedback for these contributors:

(Two students addressed one comment for everyone)

All contributors generally enhanced the learning experience and helped to reinforce the concepts of the lab.

The TA's and presenters also did a fantastic job

 
Dr. Beatty, Optometrist

I enjoyed getting to play with all of the equipment he brought in

many interesting hands-on demonstrations 

I thought all the tools and the fact that he had dilated his eye was really great!

It was interesting to see all of the different things that an optometrist does besides prescribing glasses.

I really enjoyed Dr. Beatty's contribution. His lecture was interesting and informative.

I liked the plane polarized light

Understanding this lecture would be better for me to hear after we covered the eye in the Nerve Cell class

 
Prof. Buchanan, Psychology

I liked the tie in with psychology. This, as well as my psych 101 and neuro class, has helped change my opinion about psychology. I didn't know much about the field previously, but I have found it to be very interesting.

was an excellent lecture and provided a psychological aspect intertwined with a neuroscience perspective. 

He was a good presenter

 
Prof. Shornick, Biology

My favorite lab was the Glucose control lab. Working with the mice was a very informative, and I enjoyed this application of the material.

really good to have her there - I wouldn't have known how to inject those mice!!

The rat lab was my favorite lab of the semester and the story of her undergraduate was inspiring for undergraduate researchers

I really enjoyed the lab that tested insulin and glucagon effects and though Dr. Shornick did a great job of allowing students to fully participate in the injections and fostered a good learning environment.

I really enjoyed the mouse lab she helped with and found her lecture very interesting

I really enjoyed Dr. Shornick's contribution. Her lecture was interesting and informative.

I enjoyed the injury lecture
 

Dr. Itoku, Urologist

The lecture on male circumcision was very interesting and engaging. It explored an issue that is debated in modern medical society and was an extra bonus to have during the urine physiology lab.

the lectures on male circumcision explored questions regarding protection from diseases and the pros and cons of the surgery.

Very good lecture. The topic this year as well as last year was interesting and fun to learn about. I learning a little about the history you two have shared.

something I had never really learned about before

very interesting!

I liked how he gave a presentation on the somewhat controversial topic of circumcision. Most professionals try to refrain from that, but he was open about speaking for both sides of the issue.

By far the most engaging contributor because of the material he taught!

MY FAVORITE PRESENTER, so interesting. Keep him coming!!

The relevance between the circumcision and the lab was unclear, although it was very interesting 
 

Craig Hill, Biology Ph.D. student, Metabolism in the painted turtle

the lecture on the metabolism of the painted turtles gave a real life example of survival during anoxic conditions.

Having worked across the hall from Craig all summer, I had heard quite a bit from his research in conversation. It was nice to finally see him present it in a classroom setting. I was able to learn quite a bit from his lecture. 

I had never even thought of where the shell came from so this was really interesting. 

Also really enjoyed this, related a lot to other physiology classes

What a great guy haha

 
Stan Andrisse, Biology Ph.D. student, Glucose transporters

He was an entertaining lecturer and easy to understand.

It was interesting to learn about the way that exercise can alleviate Type II diabetes through a different mechanism of glucose metabolism.

Very interesting presentation on diabetes and glucose transport.  I had not realized the true impact of exercise on diabetes until his presentation.
 
I had a harder time following this presentation because it was more detailed

The presentation could have been simpler.


Your undergraduate TA

Emily Ferrara [am]

Emily was so nice and helpful, very approachable, even outside of class for help

Emily was really helpful with describing what was happening and easing stress about when it maybe didn't go the way it should have. 

I would have liked to have more involvement by both ta's to answer questions and not just say to read the lab handout


Ian Newport [pm])

Ian was really helpful in fixing problems with the iWorx program. It was nice to have him in class, because it is a lot easier to ask questions to someone your own age, and he was always willing to help in any way he could. 

Ian was a great help during the labs and was well prepared to demonstrate the experiments. His prior experience with the class helped give insight to how to approach the experiment most effectively.

Ian's explanations at the beginning of class were always easy to understand and straightforward. He was also quite helpful when any of the technology decided to do its own thing

Ian was extremely helpful!

Ian was very helpful and willing to answer questions.  Explanations were to the point and directly answered my questions.  He did a great job and was well prepared.

really helpful for iworx

 
Your graduate TA (Dustin Robb)

useful, especially during labs!!

Dustin was extremely helpful!

I think Dustin graded the lab reports fairly and he was always a good model (victim) for the lab demonstrations.

He was very helpful to me outside of class with the lab reports.  Thanks, Dustin!

not as helpful as Emily was

I wish he had maybe had a bigger role. I don't really have too much to say...

Dustin was very helpful and willing to answer questions.  Explanations were to the point and directly answered my questions.  He did a great job and was well prepared.

I would have liked to have more involvement by both ta's to answer questions and not just say to read the lab handout


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

(some students addressed all 5 dimensions in one comment)

This has been my favorite course throughout my undergraduate career. I have taken some lab courses and lecture courses in the past, but it was apparent that everything in this course could be integrated into my daily life immediately, and since I want to be a doctor in the future, it was nice interacting with all the guest speakers. This class was awesome!

I think the integrations of the 5 dimensions is dependent on each student's willingness to incorporate them into their learning. As mostly biology/premed majors, were were all their to increase our knowledge in the subject and most inquiry was due to genuine interest in the subject. We learned community building and leadership working in groups, many times with people we just met. Finally, values are hard to incorporate, but I think they could be measured by one's integrity in completing the labs honestly and with the right intentions of learning the material. 

This course was great about HAVING FUN. We really got to be interactive and get to know people through the course - so I'd say that it addressed community building and leadership the most. I also learned a lot, which addressed the first value.

I like our lab and think it fulfills these 5 dimensions

Scholarship and knowledge, and intellectual inquiry and communication are very relevant to this course. Topics are challenging and require knowledge, and the group work in labs requires communication.


(some students addressed the 5 dimensions separately)

1. Scholarship and Knowledge

The lab allowed students to gain knowledge about human physiology through a hands on approach. It engaged students and allowed them to have FUN throughout the learning process. 

I learned and relearned a lot of material in this class. The repetition definitely works. 

the use of the lab animals really promoted intellectual inquiry and a growing interest in research. 

This Laboratory course enhanced my knowledge of human physiology.

This class definitely increased my knowledge and interest in physiology.  It was also a great continuation of what I learned in Human Cellular Physiology.

The course was a good reinforcement of the knowledge gained in Human Cellular Physiology.


2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication

Having professionals come in and speak to us and allowing us to ask them questions was something that is not offered in other courses at SLU.

The various speakers allowed students to apply the concepts learned during the mini lectures and inquire about various topics. For example, the lectures on male circumcision explored questions regarding protection from diseases and the pros and cons of the surgery. In addition, the lecture on the metabolism of the painted turtles gave a real life example of survival during anoxic conditions. 

Working in a lab group can help one with their communication skills.

In science, one of the most important aspects of the discipline entails relying information to fellow scientists and peers via lab reports and novel scientific articles.  In this lab, we were required to write two lab reports which allowed me to hone my ability to communicate scientific data in a meaningful way.

I really liked having the current research presentations from other teachers and students to find out what type of applications and research is still going on in our own community. (also applies to community building)

Like I already mentioned, it increased my intellectual interest in physiology.


3. Community Building

Working in lab groups together taught students the importance of team participation in order to induce an effective experiment. 

Learning about physiology can help you learn how to heal people. Being in a community full of ill people wouldn't be great, so learning how to heal others could be considered community maintenance.

Since most of the labs entailed group work, this laboratory helped to develop team skills.

Due to group interaction, it allowed for community building between the students and teachers in the class.

All of the labs required group work and cooperation from all group members.


4. Leadership and Service

The lab groups taught each other the importance of communication and decisiveness. 

Students can use knowledge gained from this course to serve others. If one becomes a doctor, they may help others directly. If one decides to become a researcher, their discoveries can help others as well.

NOT applicable. 

The class encouraged leadership because it involved group dynamics.  It provided students with the opportunity to assume group leadership if they so desired.  As for service, it facilitated public awareness of certain health conditions.  This would be beneficial not only for the student, but also for any person to whom the student described what they had learned. 


5. Spirituality and Values

The lab groups taught the importance of selflessness. 

Learning about the protocols necessary for performing experiments on animals helps one learn about the values necessary for practicing humane experiments.

NOT applicable. 

using the lab animals and talking about how to get permission and whether anyone was uncomfortable with it explores values to a certain extent 

I would say that it didn't really alter or influence the values that I already possess.  That being said, I did have some interesting conversations relating science to religion that I found beneficial.  It was refreshing to have an opportunity to discuss that connection in non-hostile environment where a neutral debate could be conducted. 



What changes would you propose for next year?

I loved this course, and truly did have a fun time learning. On a regular basis I recommend this class to all of my friends who are biology majors, and I have often bragged about some of the labs that we do. Thank you for all of the hard work that you have put into making this a valuable and interactive class!

None!  Maybe a more certain curve but that is really about it. This class ran smoothly and I had no problems with it! 

A different lab notebook check might be helpful. The undergraduate TA can take a quick glance at the post lab questions every week.

NONE.

There is not much I would change. I really enjoyed the class. Thank you very much! 

I would get the graduate TA a little more involved and maybe double check the directions. and the dosage of anesthesia for the mice. That was really sad. 

I really enjoyed the food labs, so I would recommend more of those.  I would also recommend more guest speakers, if possible.  It was nice to not only learn about a particular mechanism of physiology, but also hear about real life clinical and research applications.  However, overall, I wouldn't change much.  I would definitely consider this lab course to be my favorite simply because it was more personally engaging. Thank you for an awesome semester.

I don't see much room for change in the course, I enjoyed the way it was structured and thought the work load was appropriate.

Sometimes there was a lot going on in terms of demonstrations and presentations and it was hard to know if you had missed something, so a numbering or lettering system for each group and each task would be useful. Generally I had a really good experience though!

Maybe offer a study guide for the midterm next year so that students know exactly what material to focus on. Other than that, this course was good!

I did not enjoy the diving reflex lab, and I do not think it contributed as much to my knowledge of physiology as did the other labs. Also, I think it should be made clearer what material will be covered on the exams (i.e. specific lab exercise procedures or background information, etc.)

Daily participation points, weekly assessments 

I also think adding feedback to the questions from the lab handout either at the end of lab or at the beginning of the next lab could be helpful.

Information

Grades were based on 2 lab reports (50 points each, averages of 47.07 and 47.22) a midterm exam (50 points, average = 40.67) and a final exam (50 points, average = 41.85). The grading curve was 3.79 (A-) , reflecting better performance than last year on the final exam.

I really appreciated the superlative comments like:

"
I loved this course, and truly did have a fun time learning. On a regular basis I recommend this class to all of my friends who are biology majors, and I have often bragged about some of the labs that we do. Thank you for all of the hard work that you have put into making this a valuable and interactive class!"
"This has been my favorite course throughout my undergraduate career. I have taken some lab courses and lecture courses in the past, but it was apparent that everything in this course could be integrated into my daily life immediately, and since I want to be a doctor in the future, it was nice interacting with all the guest speakers. This class was awesome!"

Participation in assessment:
I was disappointed that, with 3 reminders, only half of the students replied to the assessment

5 dimensions
Even though many students feel that only the first two apply to science courses, I was impressed with how many comments eloquently rationalized how the course fulfilled all 5 dimensions

REPORT ON IMPROVEMENTS BASED ON LAST YEAR'S ASSESSMENT

(1) As planned, I was able to get the undergraduate TAs, trained in the course and sympathetic with the students' attitudes, to contribute to exam questions, and students performed better on the exams than in the previous year

(2) The web site, and printouts from the web site, were used to assist in the orientation for each lab as promised

Other improvements...

...were made extensively to the organization of the web site, and previous years' exam questions were easier to find

Plans for the future

Only fine tuning is necessary

Attention should be devoted to the lectures and to the lab notebook

Last revised 6/11/2013

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