BIOL 415 Nerve Cell Mechanisms in Behavior
BIOL 615 Neural Bases of Behavior
Prof. Stark
Spring, 2007 Assessment

The assessment form is in plain text, student replies and other comments are in italics.

This is the course assessment, not the teacher evaluation - those are given on line. Please fill in below.

For your information
"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 the late 1990's the Biology Department at Saint Louis University discussed assessment and decided, April, 1998, to have majors take the Graduate Record Exam. In the subsequent two and a half years, the SLU administration did not obtain data from that adopted policy. Instead, on September 21, 2000, "each faculty member" was charged to "develop an outcome assessment tool." Even at this time, the interpretation was one of "student outcomes assessment." In December 2002, "course assessment" replaced "student outcomes assessment," and faculty were directed to collect information used to change or improve the course.

Here are the stated objectives of the course:

For students contemplating or beginning graduate study in neuroscience, this course should orient them. For students going to medical school, this course should offer them the opportunity to take better advantage of several courses in their academic years. For graduate students already engaged in neuroscience research, as well as graduate and undergraduate students in other areas, this course should present a comprehensive survey of the entire field of neuroscience.

"The course fulfilled these objectives."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.54
Comments:
It was an intense course but I learned a lot
I have a much better understanding of neuroscience



"These objectives were reasonable."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.73
Comments:
(none)


"The selection of topics for emphasis was reasonable."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.64
Comments:
Focussed primarily on neurobiological factors, giving a wonderful basis for all we learned back in Psych 101


"The level of the textbook was appropriate."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.64
Comments:
I liked the emphasis on diagrams in relation to outlines
The textbook was a little confusing and in depth
Excellent textbook



"Outlines on the web were an important resource."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.45
Comments:
I felt the level of lecture specifics was in no way near the specifics on test
Very helpful in highlighting the important information from the book, well organized
Very helpful for understanding (book alone too dense). Helpful for studying.
The outlines on the web were an invaluable resource
I believe notes and outlines on line are essential, however the notes that were posted were unclear in this class



"Consolidating chapter and web figures and outline portions into Power Point presentations improved the lectures" (new 2007)

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.64
Comments:
Would have been nice on a handout. With picture at hands grasp
I like that you didn't just post your slides online. Helps to pay attention and stay focussed



"Having the last two year's applicable test questions on each outline was a useful study aid."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.09
Comments:
Can't emphasize "strongly agree" enough. An absolutely invaluable resource for success in this class
Allowed students to focus on the topics of importance and be exposed to the format of the test
Helped focus on relevant material
However, it seems new questions are way more specific because of last years questions could be seen
Definitely helped focus and improve my studying



"Having stories from recent and landmark literature was useful."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.7
Delete? Keep? Add more?
Add more!
Keep
Delete some
Not so much useful, but interesting
Add more, Helps add a modern context when recent research is presented
Keep most, but maybe cut back a bit
Keep. Enjoyed them. Could go look up the citations for more info- I appreciate learning up-to-date knowledge




"Having links to Nobel lectures is an interesting resource for the web site."

Circle one:
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Average = 1.78
Comments:
Didn't affect my view of the course
It was interesting but rarely viewed



Make a statement about attendance.
I think you should do more to encourage/require it or at least in some way record those who actually came to almost every class. Didn't seem fair that some people never attended a single lecture & could still pass class!
I was always there. I feel it is not fair to tell people you will pass them. People don't show up, put in no effort, get awful grades and they still pass -> that is absurd
Attending helps performance on exams significantly
Attendance was very poor. Perhaps incorporate points for attendance into the grade
The lectures are a little confusing because there is so much information
Should have attended class more often, but I appreciate your respect for upper class students by not including a detrimental attendance poliicy
Attendance was important. Skipped one class during the semester
The attendance policy is OK as it currently is
Helps because it's like I already read the outline there. Pure memorization though





Are there any topics you would like to be added to the syllabus in future years?
Liking everything so far
Cancer neurology
OK as is
No
Perhaps de-emphasize some earlier topics so there would be more time for extremely interesting topics in the last section




Are there any topics you think should be reduced or eliminated?
no
Whatever needs to be done to spread info out a bit. Although I enjoyed the first 1/2 more and am glad we spent more time on it, I still can't be expected to cram & understand the large amount of info in before the last test
no
nope
The last test has a lot of difficult information & a lot of different topics. Got very confusing for students


General comment
This was an extremely interesting class & I especially appreciated all your personal stories!

Suggestions for future development.

In general, the course was met with approval. Thus, in terms of changes, only fine tuning is suggested.

Informational comments

In faculty evaluations (received 3/8/07), the chair stated, "... I am requiring all faculty ... to develop course or lab assessments tfor delivery online like our evaluations...You will need to have your assessment questions for you and your courses completer for your by March 23 and submitted to Stacy Ingram in a digital format for review by the assessment committee and sumbission to ITS for implementation in online surveys." I asked the class if they had been given an online assessment, and, after they replied in the negative, I gave this form in paper form during the final exam and received anonymous returns from all students.

Information on this year's course

There were 10 undergraduates (415):
5 biology majors, 2 psychology, 2 invest med, 1 history
7 seniors, 2 juniors, 1 sophomore

There was 1 graduate student (615):
in Integrative and applied sciences

There were 3 tests of 65 points:
1 - high=52.5, low=21, mean=35.6
2 - high=47.5, low=17, mean=29.8
3 - high=48, low=12, mean=27
High scores indicate that the material could be learned. Low scores indicate that the material was challenging (also that some students do remarkably poorly despite their seniority and declared interests.

The course was curved at 3.09.

This page was last updeate 5/180/07

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