Comment Class Term Character Count
This course is, without equal, the worst course I have ever taken. As the first negative course review I have ever written, I want to underscore how atrocious this experience has been. I'm not alone here either; look at the abysmal Q scores of previous iterations of this class to get a hint of the frustration. But the biggest issue, was the unprofessional treatment that some students received. This is not a story of a course experiencing growing pains; this is a course which has suffered due to the recalcitrance of its instructors to remedy fundamental teaching and operational issues, who instead insist on blaming the students' supposed inabilities. Verena's teaching ability is, quite simply, unacceptable. Simply taking some handwritten notes from previous years, and copying them onto the board while narrating it in some stream of conscious manner is not the hallmark of good, or even acceptable teaching. You may as well have just been given the notes since there was no value added from the lecture. Few efforts were made to actually engage with students and check their understanding. There was never any real sense of why she was doing certain things, or how everything fit together. Towards the end of the semester, the main lecture theatre had around 10 people left in attendance. I've never witnessed that level of attrition, and it certainly was not just due to student laziness. Just a few of the "highlights" from this course: - Assignments were often confusing and too far removed from the content being taught, all in the name of "challenging" students. Most labs needed to be devoted entirely to explaining the assignments in detail. When an assignment confused people (and even a capable TF) into making an understandable mistake, Verena's response was condescension and incredulity, noting "[w]e are talking about Shakespeare here." Didn't realise English literature was a pre-req. - Some students' assignments were lost multiple times due to a ridiculous system where names needed to be specified precisely in the file name before being uploaded to Canvas. As far as I am aware, no other course requires this. Then it gets worse: some students were deducted marks in the first marked homework because they had not put their name in the filename, because it apparently caused extra admin time. Rather than conclude their system is ridiculous, and they should figure out a more robust solution, the remedy was to deduct marks. The irony is the instructors' constant refrain that students needed to stop complaining about the teaching and harden up since this was graduate school, when they run the course like a primary school where students are penalized for not putting their name down. - The official site cites a strict page limit for the final project (worth 40%) which was changed to "not exactly strict" (whatever that means.) This change was communicated only on Piazza. Too bad if you didn't see it or couldn't make sense of it, because you'd be seriously penalised for not having enough detail (see the next point.) - For the final project, TFs worked with every group closely, read the submitted material and gave marks. Verena then decided to mark down a large proportion of projects. She skimmed through and marked them down significantly (up to 40% in some cases,) often citing a lack of detail. The comments revealed she had clearly not read the Ipython notebooks (supposedly also assessed,) nor had she really understood the reports in depth; it was not really possible for one person given the marking deadlines. If you are going to overrule TFs who had more opportunity to read the project, at least give proper care to the process. - After final project marks were released, there were obviously a number of requests for a regrade. Some were actually granted, some were denied, and (incredibly) others were told there was no regrading period at all for the final project. Suffice to say this process was completely opaque and unprofessional. [Evaluate the course overall.: 1 (unsatisfactory)] APMTH 207 Spring 2016 4173
DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE. This was hands down the worst class I have taken here, 0/10, almost no redeemable qualities. The psets are long and boring and take 20+ hours if you don't want to get killed by the curve. This is not because they are challenging, you will not be intellectually challenged at all in the course, most of the time is spent messing with syntax or making sure there isn't a single style mistake. Style is 25% of pset grades and each error pretty much reduced this by 5%, so if it isn't perfect, your grade is dropping.The first pset I think was too much to ask for people not already orientated with functional programming. Which is another problem with this course, it is not an "Introduction to Computer Science II", it is "Introduction to Functional Programming". Do not be fooled, this course does not teach you general CS concepts nor will it make you a better programmer. It will teach you functional programming. If you are a CS major and think this is interesting, go ahead and take it. If you just want to do CS for fun or on the side, do not take this. None of it is pragmatic, it does not increase your understanding of CS at large, or provide intellectual stimulation. It is full of dry material, annoying syntax, and lack of instruction. You have 1.5 hours of recorded lecture a week, which isn't too bad, but they are often pretty boring material-wise. Shieber is one of the few redeeming parts of this course though, other than his occasional addition of uninspired left-wing politics into instruction. However, there is also a 1.5-hour lab every Thursday which is mandatory and done with a random partner. This is not fun, nor very helpful because of its length. Instead of practicing some basic concepts from the week/lecture/pset, it is used as another for teaching, so it is long and difficult and done with a stranger. If you don't finish, you won't get the material unless you do it on your own time, in lieu of your 20 hr pset also due that week. There is no final, but don't let that fool you, there is actually a midterm the very last day of classes and a project due over reading period. So, starting on the project early is difficult, as you have other classes and a "midterm" to study for, though maybe other can organize time better than I can. As a result, you work on the long, boring project over reading period. I promise this is not what you want to be doing over reading period. The TFs are largely unhelpful, no one wants to be there because they don't like the material either, and the grading on psets is not constant, despite early promises of improvements from past years. I think they say this every year, they promise it will be better, but it will not be, do not be fooled. For example, the pset that took me ~40 hr, by far the longest of the course, also had a write-up due, which was poorly explained and graded arbitrarily. The TFs weren't very helpful, because it was the first time they had used it. So, if you do not like writing CS essays, skip this class. I will say that OCaml itself is kinda fun to program in, but the way it is tauhgt here will make you hate it. I would encourage for no one to take this class. If you just took CS50 and enjoyed it and want to learn some more CS, do not take this, you will hate it. If you are a CS major and you just want to be a good programmer, do not take it. If you are a CS major and just enjoy the theory behind CS, then you will probably like this class. For most people, I think boycotting this class is the best thing to do. There are around 200 people enrolled, that is way to high for a class this bad. People should stop taking it so that it slowly dies and the instructors decide to actually make it worthwhile. Also, the course title should be changed to the aforementioned title as to not confuse people about this course's purview (which I assume is intentional). If there is one thing I got out of this course, it is that I hate computer science. [Evaluate the course overall.: 1 (unsatisfactory)] COMPSCI 51 Spring 2018 4156
A preface: I learned something from this course. It was a terrible course, but I probably would still take it again despite the unacceptable and insulting shortcomings. This course needs SIGNIFICANT restructuring in ALL ways. As a student, I was honestly flabbergasted by the lack of teaching materials available to students, the poor homework design, and the lack of preparatory materials for exams, among many other concerns. To give one example, let's consider the case of how information about reinforcement learning was relayed in this course - the tangible ways in which the course can be improved should become self evident after reading. To start, the lecture about RL was very difficult to follow and is obviously not sufficient as a method of teaching the material - and there were no lecture notes, slides, or recordings. So as student, how was I going to learn the material? Shall I go to a textbook? Well, the helpful textbook - the one written as a senior thesis by a random student at some point stopped following the course many weeks back, so that was off the table. The Bishop textbook also didn't cover the material. There were no lecture notes, slides, or recordings, and the only section notes were blatantly unchanged from two years ago from when a different professor taught the course and as such not parallel to what was taught in class. In short, THERE WERE NO MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO EFFECTIVELY LEARN THIS MATERIAL. As a student, the lack of clear, streamlined, consistent materials was an insulting, unacceptable shortcoming of this course. Professor Doshi-Velez must understand the fact that learning is a process which needs to be supported with intent, consistency, and care. There need to be detailed, annotated lecture notes and slides, lecture recordings, clear textbook reading assignments that align precisely with lecture, section notes remodeled to parallel the important concepts from lecture, restructured homework assignments, new and more practice problems etc. etc. etc. -- basically everything that should be an absolute given in a machine learning class at the best academic institution in the world. And yet my peers and I felt that even if we wanted to learn the material well - especially in the second half of the course - it was totally unclear where to turn as there were no effective materials available to us and almost nowhere to practice the material, leading us to the feeling that while we sometimes learned, it was in spite of the course, not because of it. This lack of materials extended to many other domains as well. Homeworks were time-consuming, but were designed to tackle very niche topics in great depth and did not facilitate deep understanding of important concepts at all. Midterm review problems were meager and were copy-pasted from 2 years ago when different professors taught the course, with even the dates shamelessly unchanged from the 2017 course staff's work. Imagine the contrast to STAT110, where we are given access to pages and pages and pages of endless practice materials with representative problems so that we can effectively practice the material. We need that in this course, because as of now it seems that this course does not facilitate learning at all. The midterm and final were not actually that hard but because the material was so poorly taught and there were almost no places to practice the material effectively, the averages were ridiculously low. This is a direct result of poor teaching and does not reflect on the student population in the course. Course staff: please take these concerns to heart and act on them. Restructure the course, and please put time and effort into the new restructured course. Learning takes effort from the teaching staff, and it felt like as of now there was zero effort on the part of the professor and as a result it was a genuinely terrible learning experience. [Evaluate the course overall.: 1 (unsatisfactory)] COMPSCI 181 Spring 2019 4097
tl;dr: The class isn't great; I was hoping for so much more. It's not anything what I imagined bio engineering to be - it's sketchy mathematical modeling + human physiology that gets never tested. You will become a master of mindlessly plugging and chugging from formulas to solve problems. The labs are fun but the software is from the last century. Furthermore, the grading is not ideal. Exams are questionable at best since its a matter of how fast can you do easy problems in a given time. Generally you put in a lot of time in the class and you don't really get much out of it. Explore other concentrations if possible. Content: If you're excited to learn about what problems are facing medicine and physiology, and the engineered solutions for them - well this is not the class for you. I was hoping we'd systemically go through the different body systems and: learn basic anatomy and physiology, common ways that homeostasis is disrupted in these systems, and how to design and engineer solutions so that we can try regain homeostasis. What it ended up being was spending 80% of the time covering physiology and then mathematically modeling select systems with many many assumptions in the remaining 20%. Lectures: Not very engaging. It was mostly the professor reading off the slides. Content was usually anatomy and physiology. There was no appropriate cross-reference to the sections in the textbook so it was very disjointed. Sometimes, we spent whole classes deriving equations which was a huge waste of time since we never returned to them and only ended up plugging and chugging them in future problems. We rarely did problems in class, which was unfortunate since exams and p-sets were 90% mathematical problem solving with plug and chug. Most of the time, the material was way too easy. However, the moments when concepts were really hard and didn't make sense - they were rarely clarified upon. Questions from class often sidetracked us and we ended up wasting time. Labs: Labs were fun to do. They were interactive and using your own body as a model was really cool. However, the software is from last century (i'm not joking, literally pre windows xp) which was a pain to work with. The labs were overcrowded and the room was super tiny. The write up was a huge pain since most of the time we were clueless as how to analyze the data. You got to learn MATLAB really well though. It was hard to see the immediate connections to the material in lectures. Then we'd spend 10+ hours on the report and end up with a questionable grade. At least we learned collaboration skills. There was just a general sense of confusion everywhere. Problem Sets: Are really fun to think about and solve if you know what general direction you're going in. However, for the most part you are vastly unprepared from lecture to solve them. You use your intuition for plugging and chugging formulas to solve the problems. Then you realize the gap is too huge and have to go to office hours and have to be fed answers from the TFs just to do well. Also, problems were literally just plug and chug which was really annoying at times. You never got to be creative and really use your brain to try solve interesting problems relevant to bio-engineering. Grading of the problem sets were arbitrary. I'd say compare with like everyone in the class and check with the TFs to get a good grade. Exams: oh boy. hahahahaha. There are two ways to drive down the average: give hard problems or give insane numbers of problems that physically can't all be solved in the time given. The class chose the latter. Midterms were 10 pages (~5 questions per page) with around 50 minutes to solve them all... Call me old fashioned but I think exams should test problem solving in unfamiliar situations with known principles; not just regurgitate the p-set as fast as you can. In general, it was just a sad experience. [Evaluate the course overall.: 1 (unsatisfactory)] ENG-SCI 53 Fall 2017 4088
Expos is presumably all about the process. If students glean the tools they need to write a good paper, the process itself can be replicated forevermore down the road. The real paradox in this class, however, rested not in public health but rather in the way Jerusha expected us to hone these skills. Deadlines were too tight, resulting in almost every student completing assignments last-minute and with little care/thought. Students have other classes and simply cannot afford to commit the time to Expos that Jerusha was suggesting/demanding. So with everyone half-assing the assignments, very few people (if any) fully developed the writing skills Expos is designed to teach in the first place. They were too busy keeping their heads above water. An example of this phenomenon: students were expected to have a complete outline of their Unit 3 research papers (requiring that most if not all the research needed to be done) by the Monday after April midterm weeks. How were students supposed to devote the appropriate time and effort to research when they're studying for (often) multiple midterms? None of my friends had as early a deadline. Over spring break, Jerusha held us accountable for a major paper and hours of extra work. Meanwhile, she emailed us the Friday of break explaining, “I won’t be too reachable over the break.” Never was there a greater double standard. Whether she was traveling to a relatively inaccessible area or was simply treating spring break like a—wait for it—BREAK, not allowing us to do so was once again reflective of the overall irrationality of the class. Sometimes, the documents for the assignments, especially those assigned on Wednesday and due on Monday, were not even posted to Canvas until Saturday or Sunday. By failing to upload these documents, Jerusha shortened the window in which we could complete the homework. That simply is not fair. We are students with other class obligations and extracurricular commitments. Budgeting our time wisely is how we complete all of these obligations, and this class would not let me do that. This class represents the glaring flaw in the Expos Department: the course is the only mandatory class in the undergraduate experience, and this being the case, you would expect the greatest university in the world to muster a more consistent curriculum (in terms of workload, grading scale, and overall enjoyability). Instead, many students get arbitrarily placed into a section—one that never piqued a single iota of interest—and are forced to deal with the course regardless. For this reason, students seldom feel obligated to prioritize Expos, which leads to a general aura of bad attitude and apathy toward the work. Paradox in Public Health particularly aggravated these sentiments due to its irrational assignments that forced students to pay the class unwarranted attention. Much of this feedback would have been helpful for Jerusha and the Department to hear during the term. Unfortunately, genuine feedback on Expos classes never comes during the semester, but rather at the end, when q-eval anonymity is supposedly ensured. Mid-year, we had multiple unit feedback surveys. These are a great idea. Alas, surveys were done on Canvas non-anonymously, so genuinely criticizing the course was grade suicide. Because of this proverbial gun-to-your-head experience, these surveys, therefore, devolved into students trying to brown-nose their way into better grades by writing rave reviews about elements of the course. Jerusha would then use these superficial comments to bolster the course documents with “Advice from past Expos” and affirm the importance of various assignments. This is literal deception! If the course isn’t good, change it; don’t dig your heels in and resist improvement. Make no mistake: this is not a grudge-filled rant inspired by poor grades in this class; in fact, I anticipate fine marks. [Evaluate the course overall.: 2 (fair)] EXPOS 20 Spring 2017 4081
Instructors: Prof. Glaeser, Head TF Wei Huang. Ec1011a presents engaging, sophisticated material in a way that may not be the most conducive to learning. Oftentimes, the course is difficult and demanding simply for the reason of being so. Students looking for a challenge will find great reasons to take it despite its shortcomings. Breaking it down: CONTENT: A rigorous overview of microeconomic theory. Mathematically derives all results you learn in Ec10a from fundamental principles and assumptions. First analyzes how firms behave, then how consumers behave, how both interact in a market, and ends with a few miscellaneous topics like game theory and asymmetric information. Likely teaches economics in a way that far outclasses similar classes at other universities. That said, such a strong emphasis on precision and complexity may mask the underlying intuition to an extent. LECTURES: Professor Glaeser speaks in an expeditious and elaborate manner that exhibits incredible focus and raw intellect. He effortlessly references historical, cultural, and empirical details, inspiring students to appreciate what it means to study under the world's brightest minds. However, the effectiveness of his teaching leaves much to be desired. Glaeser expects so much of his students that he leaves most of the class confused about the underlying concepts. Students often read through the (already fairly confusing) lecture slides beforehand in order to follow his ridiculous pace. Lectures give a jumpy overview with extraneous details and sloppy equations rather than deliver the core material in a clear and concise manner. I conjecture that the course may be deliberately taught in this manner in order to force students to decipher the material themselves, either as a misguided way to force students to think more critically about the material, or to weed out less talented students and maintain a reputation of being obnoxiously difficult. MATH REVIEWS: Professor Glaeser holds extra lecture sessions, typically weekly on Fridays, to go through more practical problem solving methods. This demonstrates clear effort on his part to promote learning, but these are also often too bogged down in lengthy math. Too much emphasis is placed on algebraic manipulation rather than the overall concepts and procedure. Other classes have demonstrated that similarly complex material can be taught clearly--the instructor considers how much information students can take in at once and strategically emphasizes the critical concepts to sympathize with students who many not keep up with all the details. Overall, this class fails to do this, favoring speeding ahead and trusting that students will catch up through pained struggles. SECTION: Section partially mitigates the problems described above. The quality of sections depend on the TF. The head TF this semester performed fairly well at clarifying and organizing material glossed over in lecture. PROBLEM SETS: The clearest manifestation of the course's unnecessary complexity. Problems are annoyingly tedious, often dealing with absurdly complex algebra to no benefit of learning the material or developing economic intuition. The completion-based grading policy can push students to just give up. PROJECTS: Modeling projects involve constructing an economic model of a real world policy or fictional situation. They reinforce the material and may allow for some creativity, but occasionally degrade into tweaking terms and equations to get ideal results. Their greatest flaw is that TFs (at least in this semester) didn't seem to read through them particularly carefully, often providing nonsensical feedback that makes students feel like their efforts were wasted. EXAMS: Of tolerable difficulty, but requires incredible speed to complete all the questions. Typical mean is 40-50%. Felt pretty reasonable. [Evaluate the course overall.: 3 (good)] ECON 1011A Fall 2015 4059
I’m scrolling through the comments students have left for this course in the Q, and so far not much is ringing any bells. Comment #12 advises future students to take the class if “you’re prepared for a 2pm naptime.” #38 warns that “the books are boring, unmanageable.” #21 rejoices that the class for her was “easy, easy, easy.” Did I take the same class as everybody else? English 168d: Postwar American and British Fiction (Spring Term, 2013), right? Taught by the eminent Professor Oak? Listen up. Professor Oak is the man. He gives you six starting Pokemon and lets you out into the grass for your own adventure. On this adventure, you meet, battle with, and capture wild Pokemon. You learn to love them, to nurse them. And as you travel with them, they evolve and your heart celebrates. On this advntr, you walk through grass with your Pokemon. Swim across water. Pass whirlpools. Explore caverns. Move boulders. Even shoot up waterfalls. You learn you are a magician. You learn your Pokemon are wizards. You experience new things. You discover the lyrical, the majestic, the impossible. You expand your world. On this advntr, yes, you visit near-by towns you’ve been to before, for vacation or for carrying bags for mom from their supermarket. But with your new party of Pokemon, all looks different. You notice the hospital Chansey. You spy Pokeballs at sale in the market. You see hunched trainers keeping their cheeks up with the hands, breathing heavily, anticipating news, bad news, horrible news, news no parent wants to hear, as the soothing Chansey smiles at them. You begin to wonder what is behind that smile, for the Chansey must see death and disease each day. Is it a mask to disguise its own torment? When you were a child, Mom had told you stories of these towns you now go to, and she mentioned Pokemon many times. But not like this. Not like this. On this advntr, you meet other trainers. They have their own Pokemon (many, identical to yours), and they are on their own adventure. You fight with them. And you fight in gyms, too. What’s different on this adventure is that there are only four gym leaders. Curious world. In most video games I’ve played, there are 8, maybe16. Also weird is that the Elite Four is an Elite Two. (You may faint to the second one if you’re not well-prepared.) Yeah, I know. But-what can you say? What can you do? New world, new rules. New rules, but Prof. Oak helps you out with them. I mean, he gives you six Pokemon. Two for me were female; the rest, male. All sort of similar. Half from Johto; the rest from elsewhere. (I preferred those from Kanto—they reminded me of home.) I got dragon-types, ghosts, and flyers. They were strong Pokemon. They were Oak’s favorite Pokemon, he told me. Why does he prefer DRG, GHT, and FLY-type Pokemon? Where are the electrics? The WTR? The NRM? Anyway, I got those I got, but I’m not sure if you’ll get the same Pokemon. Which makes me think, where does he get these Pokemon from in the first place? Will he tell you the ones he gives you are his favorites, too? Will that matter? He gives you a Pokedex. This Pokedex tells you your Pokemon’s information. Height, weight, sex, size, cry, and spawning locations—that stuff. It tells you each Pokemon’s evolutions. On the topic of who it’s mother is, where it’s parents are, and how Prof. Oak got a hold of these Pokemon, however, your Pokedex drones in silence. Professor Oak, in a way an ash-elm-maple-birch-spruce man himself, asks you on your progress and gives you advice. He congratulates you on beating the Elite 2. But he never forgets that this is your adventure, not his. And under his guidance, you remember that you had these sacred adventures as a kid, had them in home, in v. games, had them in school, had them killed by school. With your new Pokemon, you have them again. [Evaluate the course overall.: 5 (excellent)] ENGLISH 168D Spring 2013 4023
This may not be your hardest class in college, but it will certainly be your most time consuming. You need to be prepared to take this course in order to get the most out of it--that means knowing how to branch and checkout various versions of your code on git, navigate a massive 600 file+ code base with ease, step up and down the stack in gdb like a boss, and be comfortable reading lots of code to find an answer instead of asking (because no one else will know the answer/is asleep or unreachable). If you are not already a seasoned developer, don’t worry because by the end of assignment 2, you will be. But the more time you spend learning the tools, the less time you spend designing your OS, and trust me you can never spend enough time on design. If you are not prepared or are not ready for a very painful accelerated lesson in real software development, save yourself the trouble. Drop your ego and know why you are taking the class because if you take it for the wrong reasons, it will not be worth it whether you admit to it or not. You have to complete 4 assignments. A1 is writing the synchronization primitives (lock, semaphore, and cv) that you will need for the rest of the course and the tests for them. Starting with A2 you get a partner and 3 weeks. Choose the smartest, most hard working, and DETERMINED partner you can find. 161 assignments take not just skill, but outright stubbornness to finish. You spend the first week writing a design doc. This is unlike any “design doc” you have ever done--it will take as much time as most CS psets, and even then you will realize that your design doc is a piece of sh*t and sometimes outright incorrect once you start the implementation. You will then inevitably spend the most of the last 2 weeks debugging your code. You will get countless 1 line bugs that cost hours, days, or even a week to find. Write your code slowly and make sure you really think through all the synchronization cases. A2 is implementing a bunch of system calls, processes/threads, file descriptors, and a scheduler. A3 is implementing virtual memory with paging and swap space (this is the most difficult since even gdb depends on your memory system). A4 changes from year to year, but ours was to implement journaling for the existing file system. Despite all of this, this class is not about OS. At the beginning of the term, you are given a staggering amount of God-Level code. It's (almost entirely) designed The Right Way (tm) with The Right Abstractions (tm) by David Holland that will instill you with a new appreciation for C. The only skill more valuable than designing perfect programs is debugging imperfect ones. The beauty of this course is that you are given parts for a perfectly crafted, perfectly machined gun that happens to be missing a few pieces. You hack away with play-doh and legos and just maybe you'll manage to blow off the foot you were pointing your Frankenstein-monster at. I cannot understate the importance of diving right into the code full force without making dumb mistakes. Sounds difficult? It is. That being said, that's all the class is. Margo is brilliant and looks for the right things, but the lectures are completely unhelpful when it comes to your assignment. The gap between idea and implementation is just too large for a topic like OS. This course is actually a course on designing things and coding (ie debugging) them. This class will not necessary destroy your semester, but it will certainly be your semester. It will take away your social life, make you do worse on your other classes, and will compete against your girlfriend for your attention... and it will win. But don't be misled--for most who choose this path, it will be the best class you will ever take. It was the best class that I ever took. Even as a senior. [Evaluate the course overall.: 5 (excellent)] COMPSCI 161 Spring 2013 3998
Alright Ec 10, you've given me a full year of your sections, lectures, and problem sets. I'd like to separate my review of the course into two parts: the first addresses potential students, and the second addresses whoever is in charge of Ec 10. Let's start with the students. First, this class has fewer lectures than, well, anything. This is not a lecture class. It's taught mostly in section, and the lectures are a sorry afterthought to what you learn in section. Logically, then, your experience with Ec 10 depends on which section leader you get. Not only do you NOT get to pick what section leader you get, you don't really get to switch out of the one you're assigned to. Why would they do that, you say? Well in my experience, it's because the quality of section leaders in this course is below the standard of other courses at Harvard (I'm looking at you, CS 50). I loved my section leader, so this is not even a personal opinion. When you have 20 students in Lamont Cafe trying to finish a problem set and 3/4ths of them can't figure out what the question means because their teaching fellows either (a) didn't explain the material properly or intelligibly, or (b) didn't teach the material at all, you know there's a problem. It's really unacceptable. But I'll get to that in a few paragraphs. There are other ways to get some substance out of this course. The "Helpful Hints" online are pretty good. But this course really shines in David Johnson, the head TF. If this course was taught in lecture by him, I would give each of these ratings a perfect score. He somehow communicates ideas with ease and clarity. His review sessions taught me more in an hour than my section leader did in a week. That's what is unacceptable. There is such a disparity between TFs that what you get from this class depends on who teaches you. It doesn't affect your grade much--your grade is normalized across section--but the administration of this course has repeatedly said that this course should help you with real life, with understanding real events. Speaking of which, let's have some more lectures please? Professor Mankiw, I love you. I really do. But we either need to see you more often in Sanders Theater, lecturing us with your nectar-like wisdom, or you need to put David Johnson on a pedestal and have him teach a chapter a day (seriously though, he could do it). But your segmented way of teaching Ec 10 using untrained TFs who teach different things at different times is NOT okay. Freshmen: you'll probably take this class. But I think you'd get more out of this class if you just bought Mankiw's 218th edition textbook and taught yourself (the textbook is very well-written) than if you toiled through 9 or 10 AM sections for a year, potentially learning little in the process. If you do take it, do your best to learn the material, and don't rely on the course itself to teach you anything. If there's anything that shocked me into college after coming from high school, it's this class. Leaders of Ec 10: you need to change some things. Yes, there are a few cute freshmen who are SUPER interested in Economics. They're the ones who stick around after lecture to chat with the speakers, or visit office hours. But if you want to keep your spot as one of the most popular courses at the College, you need to get your house in order, and fast. Take a few pointers of CS50. Aim for the highest quality TFs--and here's a tip: SMARTER TFs does not mean BETTER. There are people I had for unit tests who explained concepts better than my section leader. You need to get people who can eloquently and clearly explain these concepts for people who have NEVER taken the class before. You need to teach the lowest common denominator. If you can please the person who takes this as an elective, you might be able to actually teach some students some quality economics. And give David Johnson a raise. And make him a lecturer. Seriously. He's Ec 10's last samurai. ECON 10 Spring 2011 3994
I've been in RCS since freshmen year and have dedicated my entire college life to this choir and this organization so it's no surprise when I say RCS has truly been the most life changing experience I've had at Harvard. If you join RCS with an open mind and a willingness to take advantage of all its opportunities, then I promise you will have an incredibly fulfilling time. First of all, the music opportunities are endless. RCS is very in unique in that it is the only chorus that gives you the chance to experience singing both SSAA (soprano-alto) and SATB (mixed voices) music as we not only do our own interesting/challenging/meaningful repertoire but we also collaborate with the other choruses quite often. You will be part of a rich history and legacy - RCS was founded by the president of Radcliffe College and is one of the only organizations who still bear the Radcliffe name today. However, I want to note that we recently went gender-neutral in an effort to be more gender-inclusive while still honoring our history so we welcome any sopranos and altos regardless of gender!! You can meet amazing composers and professional musicians. You can travel around the country and the world (in Jan 2020, we're going to Norway, Denmark and Sweden!!) and interact with diverse musical communities. You can join our Holden Voice Program, take subsidized private voice lessons and participate in voice recitals, museum performances, etc. You can join our New Music Initiative and be a student composer for professionals. You can join our contemporary a capella subset group, arrange and conduct. Our conductors Andrew Clark, Meg Weckworth and TF Liz Eschen are just some of the most passionate, wonderful, funny, genuine people you will ever meet. And if you ever get the chance to hear Meg and Liz sing, prepare to die on the spot. Beyond the musical opportunities, you can learn how to run a 501(c)3k non-profit organization by joining our Executive Committee, an empowering space for members to take on leadership positions, to grow and thrive, to participate in conversations and decisions that have significant implications for the choir. It truly is an amazing experience to work with a team of really smart, dedicated, inspiring women leaders who all just want to support and encourage each other. And when you join RCS, you not only join a choir but a really empowering, supportive, loving, fun community. You'll hear a lot of us say that we met our best friends in the choir. You'll hear a lot of us say that we never thought we needed to be in a female-empowering space until we joined RCS and experienced it. You'll hear a lot of us say that this is one of the few places on campus that truly feels like a genuine, supportive community where we want to lift each other up rather than compete. I recognize that it's easy for us to say that because we've been in the choir for a long time. And for new people, you might be a little hesitant upon hearing that and you might not believe us. Give us a chance to change your mind. Give us a change to change whatever stereotypes you've heard about SSAA choirs. Give new experiences a chance. Isn't that what college is about? And if you're someone who's never been in a choir before or who doesn't have that much music background or who gets audition anxiety, please do not let that stop you from auditioning. I was that person (like I had really bad performance anxiety and didn't even know how to read music) and RCS took a chance on me and I have grown so much as a musician, as a leader and as a person. I mean, 3 years later, I've sung multiple solos in the choir and a capella group, participated in multiple voice recitals and even managed the entire choir for a year. And even if after all of that, you are not convinced, just know you get to take choir for credit up to 4 semesters (and as a 5th class as a freshman) which means you can take less classes junior/senior year :) so there's that. MUSIC 16A Fall 2018 3988
By Michael Wornow, 2020