Based on 10 Users
This is a review for EE BIOL 100 since the page isn't listed. She covered the animal behavior half of the course. Dr. Larison is a very approachable person and she is conscious of students' learning needs, especially with the strike this quarter. She was accommodating and made the final online, which I appreciated, and made efforts to answer students' questions on the discussion board with the absence of TA-led discussions. The quizzes were all online in her half of the course, which made everything a lot more manageable. She posted all recorded lectures, and her detailed slides with notes, so participation isn't mandatory. She also posted learning goals each week to organize study, which was great. No textbook needed, only incredibly dense weekly papers that you have to present on one week.
Dr. Larison seems like a very talented researcher and scientist, and I admire her vested interest in animal behavior. However, she is not the most engaging lecturer. Each presentation is 80-100 slides long, and organized in a difficult-to-follow manner. She includes a lot of examples with minute details and random bird facts (and you can bet they will be tested on the quiz/test). She did an entire lecture on why zebras have stripes, which was cool and all but I didn't know how that related to animal behavior or if it was the best topic to cover given how much time we have in a quarter. Studying for the class's exams was honestly a pain because it was so many dense slides to go through, and so many different studies on salamanders, damselfish, and other animals. The final was also more difficult than a lot of students expected (harder than the quizzes for sure). It was 40 questions MCQ, each worth 10 points. It wasn't excessively hard, since it was open notes, but some of the questions and answers were worded in a tricky manner (think along the lines of LS 7 series type questions) and you had to read carefully and study the material thoroughly beforehand.
To be completely transparent, my opinion may be affected by the previous professor who taught the latter half of the course (on ecology), whose lectures I found a lot more engaging. All in all, although lectures aren't very engaging and the content is dry at times, this class is reasonable in terms of workload, difficulty, and pace. But if you're genuinely passionate about animal behavior, want to be inspired, and pursue this study further, maybe another professor would be best.
Dr. Larison is a fantastic teacher who is eager to share her enthusiasm for birding with her students. While this is not necessarily an "easy" class (there is a pretty good volume of information to learn), her birding field trips, approachability, and willingness to teach made this my favorite class at UCLA. I picked up birding because of this class, and it is a hobby that I've really enjoyed these last few years.
This was by far the worst class I have ever taken at UCLA, an extremely stressful and disappointing experience. Larison is extremely, ridiculously unorganized (to the point even the T.A. was confused about the class most of the time) and not clear at all about anything- it was like trying to understand a foreign language with her (she would never directly answer questions and would want you to figure things out yourself. For example- students would ask a question in class, she would give a vague answer that no one understood, ask a clicker question about what she just asked, and the "correct" answer was the one least chosen by students). Her quizzes were stupidly nit-picky, and her first midterm was just a copy of those quizzes. So once I felt that studying the quizzes was enough for the final, what do you know- she actually puts in effort and makes a final not based on her quizzes and screws everyone over. Overall awful experience, I have literally gotten my first grey hair thanks to this class. Whatever you do, avoid this class and especially this professor at all costs- this single class felt like taking 8 am classes 7 days each week for the quarter.
Overall, the class was alright. Not gunna lie though, the class was a lot of work. But this is the type of class where the work put in pays off. I attended all her office hours, and they really helped (so go)! She also went over my midterm with me and gave me a few points back. The class was a bit unstructured at first, but she was willing to change things around in order to accommodate for us. The class will be focused more on Animal Behavior than Comparative Psychobiology. Also, there is a lot of reading quizzes, so be sure to read if you want to get an A. Her exams were based off her lectures slides only, so don't focus too much on the book. I personally wouldn't take the class again (because of the workload), but I learned a lot and made some friends. It's not impossible to get an A. You got this!
This class is not really worth it unless you truly, deeply love birds and already know a lot of background information on them. Most people get a B.
Mainly I took this class so I could go on the camping trip, but everything else was not worth it.
The exams are HARD. You legit have 300+ slides for each exam. Like about 5-6 Powerpoints that are 70-100 pages each. Each have random diagrams, experiments, vocabulary, random bird facts, paragraphs, and you are expected to memorize EVERYTHING. If there is a random microscopic photo of a feather on ONE slide out of 300, that might be on the exam and worth 10% of your grade.
Some classes have a lot of slides/info, but the professor provides guidance on what to study, like a study guide. Larison does not provide anything. You are left guessing on what to study. You can ask her, but she will provide vague answers and you are left guessing what vocabulary and diagrams are important (answer: all 300 pages of it are important to her.)
Furthermore, she switches things up without telling anyone. The midterm focused on vocabulary and diagrams, and there were no questions on the experiments in the lectures. So studying for the final, I chose to focus on vocabulary and diagrams and skim over the experiments. What was on the final exam? 90% OF THE POINTS CAME FROM EXPLAINING EXPERIMENTS IN GREAT DEPTH.
She seems like a nice lady, but honestly, I would not recommend taking this class or another class with her. You work very hard for little pay-off. This was one of the EEB classes I've studied hardest for and I got a B-. Judging from the grade curve from past quarters, she does not seem to like giving A's.
I really enjoyed my time taking this class! I would definitely take this class again even though I do agree with the person below me that it is a lot of work, but I do think Dr. Larison is fair with her tests and she is very kind to her students.
Very light, you only have to post on piazza and reply to 1 post for participation. You also have a presentation on 1 group project but most people did very well on this. She also lets you miss 3 lectures, and she drops your 3 lowest quizzes (or keeps them, whichever gives you a higher grade).
There are 3 out of class day field trips (one during a Saturday) which are fun and one 3 day camping trip. You are allowed to make up these field trips if you can't make them! To make up the camping trip you need to do a whole day birding trip (7-8 hours) outside of the LA county and another half day one that can be in LA.
Were fun with Dan! The practical was harder than I thought and consisted of birding, bird relationship with their ecosystems, etc. but he did offer a 10% credit for uploading your birdlist on eBird which was very generous.
The midterms were difficult in the sense that there was a lot of information in all the slides and you should memorize everything, but she will focus on certain slides more than others and those are the ones that you should really focus on (i.e. diagrams). The midterm was easier because it was just terms and definitions. If you go to office hours and ask her if you should know ____ she will tell you so you know what to focus on!
The final was definitely harder than I expected in the sense that it focused more on the experiments of the items went over in lecture and the specifics of the experiment however the slides mainly focused on the experiments and in lecture she spent a lot of time on the experiments and not so much the definitions and so I went over the experiments.
Study what she focuses on in class! This class is doable and it's possible to get an A- you're just expected to put work in. It's a really fun class and worth the effort!
I dreaded going to this class every week. The lectures were super dry and I always struggled to pay attention. Larison gave really unclear and boring lectures. Also, attendance was mandatory because of clicker questions.
I was only able to do well because she uploads her slides with her notes and her notes are better and way more helpful than her lectures. Avoid this class if you can.
I was really excited to take this class based on the title, as I had really enjoyed the animal behavior section of EEB 100. Unfortunately, Professor Larison's boring lectures and poor class setup made it very difficult for me to enjoy this class. She taught mainly based on the textbook that you were supposed to read, making her lectures dry and boring. Additionally, there was a group project where you had to make a video of an animal behavior topic, which really didn't serve any usefulness in learning more about the subject, and instead everyone just completed last minute. As boring as this class was, if you have decent critical thinking skills, you can study the slides a few days beforehand and do pretty well on the midterm and final. The rest of the grade is just a couple of in-discussion quizzes on papers and clicker, besides the video. But overall, I wish I had taken a different class to fulfill my requirements my last quarter at UCLA.
Professor Larison is the most incompetent professor I ever had in my entire UCLA career. She can't teach. She doesn't communicate with her students. She messes up so much and expects her students to do well. She doesn't even care if her students do well because she rarely answers questions posted to piazza. The TA does more work than she does. If you're able to take this course with a different professor do so. Professor Larison should be your last resort.