BIOL 5800 Research Colloquium, Prof. Stark, Fall 2016 Assessment

Dear class - Please e-mail me your reply with your scores and comments, Thanks! ­p; WSS
p.s. as you see, most of this e-mail is my preamble, there are only a few questions to answer

This is the course assessment; perhaps you will receive a teacher evaluation from the department separately. Recently, the biology faculty have been guilty of a lot of confusion between program assessment and course assessment; this is a course assessment.

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"). Here 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 stated objectives of the course:

Students will be able to:
- prepare a research presentation
- deliver a research presentation
- judge the quality of research presentations

"The course fulfilled these objectives."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree

Average = 1.38
(not counting 2 people who itemized 3 scores, and the average for all 3 was `1.5)


Comments:

This course really gives me the confidence to deliver my presentation to the public, and judge the quality of other presentation.

I thought this class was very helpful in allowing students to practice talking more about their research to a diverse audience. The more you can explain your research, the better you understand it. It was also really helpful to have critical/honest feedback from other students and I enjoyed hearing about all the research that is going on in the department.

It was a great learning experience because I am an Internation student and have problems regarding speaking and delivering my work in English. It just helped me to grow my confidence in public speaking. Thanks

I felt the course fulfilled objectives that were listed.

We were given the opportunity to present our own research and critique the presentations of fellow graduate students.


Very useful course for graduate students, as presentation of your projects and data are essential.

I strongly agree that this course fulfilled all the objectives listed above.

I think while the course definitely met the minimum expectations of the course and the comments from the audience were generally very helpful

I think most students can fulfill these objectives at the beginning of the semester. Presumably we want to help them do it better.

Because I was not registered for a credit, I was not required to deliver or prepare a presentation.


What changes would you propose for next year? (Student responses in italics yMy replies in plain text)

I hope I was able to have an opportunity to obtain feedback about my research and presentation from you. So, I think it will be so helpful if student will have feedback from their instructor next year.
I thought this class was very helpful in allowing students to practice talking more about their research to a diverse audience. The more you can explain your research, the better you understand it. It was also really helpful to have critical/honest feedback from other students and I enjoyed hearing about all the research that is going on in the department.

Yes, I think I should give feedback

For the first year grad students who don't have to present, maybe they should write a 1 page summary or guideline on how they would present for the following year based on the presentations they saw

I appreciate this suggestion. My understanding is that next year, zero credits will not be allowed, and a more defined objective for first year students should be considered
.
It will be more fruitful if the question answering section would be more interactive.

Something must be done. Speakers often did not leave time for questions, and many of the presentations were so technical that hardly anybody could think of a question
I'm not sure what changes could be made.

I would suggest that the presentation comments/feedback be written in class on paper and submitted at the conclusion of the presentations.

I doubt that I can type paper comments to document them for feedback. Most evaluations were e-mailed to me by the time I checked my e-mail after class

I understand that there are time constraints, but I really enjoyed hearing talks from faculty; perhaps have a few more lined up for next year??

There were several comments like this, and I will try to harder to encourage diverse faculty to fill empty slots

no changes

I think instead of the facilitator presenting multiple times, we should invite more faculty outside of the bio department. its about presenting research, not really just biology, but we should see how other fields present their research.

There were several comments like this, and I will try to harder to encourage diverse faculty to fill empty slots

Face to face feedback

There are several comments like this. I doubt that I have the energy, time, or competence to do this on a regular basis, but perhaps I could do it on request

Have a meeting to review our powerpoint slides with you for more cosmetic/stylistic suggestions rather than just our mentors for content.


There are several comments like this. I doubt that I have the energy, time, or competence to do this on a regular basis, but perhaps I could do it on request

Have a portion of the evaluations of each presentation in which the presenter lists some things they thought they did well and didn't do well and have the rest of the class rate to what degree they disagree with what the speaker thought of their own presentation. I think this would be very useful as often times there are many things that I thought didn't or did go well during a presentation and when no one makes a comment about those things I'm not sure whether people felt the same way or not.

Very interesting suggestion

Spending more time on the proper way to construct and present a ppt would be a good addition for next year.

*There was a session (Aug 29) entitled "Who am I?, and what do I think about what makes for a good presentation," followed by a group discussion. Based on my attending all the talks and my reading of all the comments of each presentation, I can certainly do a better job on this next year. The group discussion was not very lively this year, but I think that, with n nudge from me, next year's second year students can lead a livelier discussion based on their experiences this year.

Perhaps one of the first class dates could include a lecture that goes through some of the most common mistakes of new presenters (text too small, too many words per slide, lack of visual appeal). This could include an interactive discussion of a few sample slides, and maybe an assignment that is a simple, 3 slide presentation and each student should "improve" it.

See * above

I would propose trying to get more faculty to participate next year to fill in the empty slots

There were several comments like this, and I will try to harder to encourage diverse faculty to fill empty slots

A possible change would be to maybe make it so that so that students present earlier in the semester to leave more time at the end of the semester to go over anonymous comments and to see if we lived up to the expectations of "what makes a good presentation" as discussed on the very first day.

A session for closure at the end of the semester would be useful

Perhaps a pre-set evaluation sheet for everyone to fill out for each presenter, since this will help to generate ideas. Maybe this doesn't foster creative thought, but might help students to keep in mind things like eye-contact, how fast they are speaking, reading off slides, etc.

A suggested set of issues to address would be useful

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

Only a few replies that had itemized replies folloows:

1. Scholarship and Knowledge

Shared scholarship and knowledge with each other
Agree


2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication _

covered this in this course
strongly agree


3. Community Building _

Build community within the bio grad students
Agree


4. Leadership and Service _

agree

5. Spirituality and Values

neutral

The rest of the replies covered all the dimensions answered in one comment

I think that this course fulfill the first three dimensions very well. There was definitely scholarship and knowledge and then presentation of that knowledge in either a talk or in critically assessing the presentations of others. It helped students understand what others were doing and offered a way to engage others in their research which could fit values 4 and 5.

SLU's 5 dimensions impacted this course. Scholarship and Knowledge and
Intellectual Inquiry and Communication _were regularly displayed in our interesting presentations and discussions. The class also made each student feel a part of the educational community. Leadership was evident in the way different students participated in and led discussions. Spirituality and values were not specifically addressed, but were obvious in the comments of the students.

The research colloquium course was a great environment that exposed us to the most current researches in the field which helped us to increase our knowledges. In this course, we were able to share researches with a friendly audience whose comments and questions assisted to build the presentations and research skills. Student offered guidance, and encouragement to each other. Subsequently, all these things will give us the chance to serve others. What is more important is that this class taught us the core values of preparation and communication skills that will assist us in future career.

This course allowed students to broaden their knowledge about other areas of research and to practice talking about their research to a wide audience that is intelligent but also uninformed. This facilitated thinking about who the audience was (what they might know/not know) which is key in communication. Students were also able to share their ideas about what makes a good presentation/critically analyze presentations which enhances the overall quality of the research community in an environment that trains students to be leaders in research while also working within the boundaries of ethical scientific work.

I think this course helped us to acquire knowledge, communication building and made us curious about scientific inquiries.

This class allowed me to build my knowledge on other research areas in the department, communicate my own interests and research, and build community with my peers by listening to and acknowledging their feedback.

I have no idea what I would say about this. We communicated with each other and learned about each others research would cover 1-3. I don't know about how to make a statement about 4 and 5.

This course helped to bring the graduate students together for intellectual inquiry, as well as sharing knowledge.


I think this course definitely fit within the first three of SLU's 5 dimensions. It facilitated a learning by experience environment with cooperation from peers.

In this course, we practice and hone our communication skills (D2) by sharing our scholarship and knowledge (D1). The course also builds our Biology Department graduate student community (D3) as it is one of the few courses in which most of the students to meet together.

This course was very relevant to SLU's 5 dimensions, except for perhaps not pertaining to spirituality and values.


I felt the course reinforced all of these. We worked together as a team to improve our speaking skills.

Summary and plans for next year

Despite the perception by many that the last two dimensions do not apply to science courses, this item on the assessment questionaire did draw some very thoughtful replies

Assuming I am still here and still assigned to BIOL 5800, the replies I gave to the suggested changes for next year should improve the course considerablu

Information

24 students were registered for this course. 9 were registered for zero credits, presumably first year graduate students. 15 were registered for 1 credit, presumably second year graduate students. There were 16 presentations by students since one first year student wanted to present. There was one presentation by a faculty member, Allison Miller. I gave one full seminar plus 3 presentations that were short and hurried due to short time. I led two group discussions.

All students were given an A

Go to Stark home page

Go to Research Colloquium Syllabus

Go to Stark's overall assessment page

This report was posted on 12/28/2016