Joseph Esdin

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Easiness 2.9/ 5
Clarity 4.3/ 5
Workload 3.1/ 5
Helpfulness 4.3/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2020 - If you're reading this far into the future, this information will probably/hopefully be applicable to you. For those of you that are taking LS7C in summer or fall 2020, good luck. Esdin was a wonderful professor. He always explained everything thoroughly, gave us time to think about questions, and never failed to answer any question during office hours. You've likely taken LS 7B so you know all about the Launchpad, participation, difficult exams, etc. As for the changes made during this quarter due to remote learning: Lectures: Unlike Khankan, Esdin decided to prerecord his lectures and post them on CCLE instead. This prevented us from asking questions during lecture, but this was fine because there was so much material to cover this quarter that all the questions probably would have slowed us down. On the other hand, Esdin still wanted to simulate an actual class environment so he would stop talking for a couple minutes during each clicker question. This was kind of awkward, but didn't bother any of us much, and I just fast-forwarded through the waiting time after I had worked out the answer. Participation/Clickers: Since we couldn't physically all be in the same class, we took a VERY short (like 2 questions) multiple choice quiz on CCLE after watching each lecture that day. The quizzes opened 50 minutes after lectures were posted and closed at 10:50 PM that day, so you had to watch lecture to answer the questions. I'm pretty sure it wasn't graded on correctness, but we were still given two attempts. Launchpad: Identical format to LS 7B. Points come from the small quizzes and PEQ. Just power through it, because each week is about a new body system and there's A LOT of information. You got this!! Discussion: Each discussion session was on Zoom, and we had online worksheets through Gradescope. We would split up into breakout rooms of 4-5 to work on the assignment. Some of the worksheets were super short, but sometimes they took the entire time to finish. It all depends on your TA and Zoom breakout room of course. CLC: Since everything was online, I took advantage of my time and went to a CLC session each week. This was particularly helpful for the midterm (and would've been for the final). We would just screen share and work on the worksheet shared to the group, and we worked in Zoom breakout rooms. Midterms/Final: The first midterm was a little challenging, because unlike LS 7A&B, we were introduced to free response questions on Gradescope. We were also given 50 minutes to do 6 FRQs which was not enough time. We had about 30 multiple choice questions on CCLE with 1 hour to do them. It was difficult to finish the free response, so we were given a full hour during the second midterm. If you studied everything from Launchpad, your notes, discussion worksheets, and CLC as much as you can, then you should be okay, just don't freak out if confusing questions arise. You should know by know that's just how the LS series rolls. Due to the protests and just the general chaos of the world, the final was an automatic 100% for everyone!! Thank goodness, because genome browser during the last three weeks of the quarter was stressful and I was burnt out by that point. ESDIN: As a lecturer, Esdin always took his time to explain everything, which was helpful of course. I ended up speeding the video up 1.5x just as a personal preference. I didn't go to Esdin's office hours often, but when I did I always learned something new and it was a pleasant vibe. Course topics/studying tips: There was so much information to cover that you have to read Launchpad thoroughly to fully grasp everything though. This isn't like LS 7A; you have to prepare for concepts. I took IB Bio HL 2 in high school and honestly the topics were VERY similar so I feel like that preparation helped me and encouraged me throughout the quarter. A full list of information we went over includes: cell communication, nervous system, endocrine system, motor/muscle systems, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, excretory and digestive systems, immune system, and another three weeks of Genome Browser stuff. What I did to maintain my sanity each week, stop myself from drowning in stress, and just to organize information so I could remember everything was: doing the pre-class worksheets posted on CCLE each week, making flashcards of all the learning objectives with diagrams and detailed info, doing Launchpad early/basically as soon as it was posted so I had time to study and absorb information without rushing it the night before, taking thorough notes of definitions and new info and adding to them during lecture, and checking campuswire and groupme for updates and questions.
Easiness 2.7/ 5
Clarity 4.4/ 5
Workload 3.1/ 5
Helpfulness 4.9/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2022 - Esdin taught the third and fourth modules of PHYSCI 111A, which spanned weeks 7-10. Weeks 7-8 are motor circuits (lower and upper motor neurons; interneurons; cerebellum; basal ganglia) and weeks 9-10 are auditory & visual systems. I had him Winter 2022; all lectures were still on Zoom due to COVID-19, but discussions were in person. I had Esdin for LS 7C too and so sort of had an idea of what to expect. This year he taught lectures at a slower, calmer pace than previous years, and as a result we had to skip a lot of topics that were supposed to be taught (I didn't really mind it, after all less content taught meant less content to study for the final). Overall Esdin is a really nice and caring teacher. He wants to challenge us as students, but I think he also felt bad because our instructors for the first two modules of PhySci weren't the greatest and he sensed everyone was really tired. He made a ton of modifications to make our life easier, including keeping the all quizzes for his module online and open-note even though discussions had gone back to in-person, and his final was all T/F questions that were mostly extremely straightforward. He asked a lot of questions about experimental designs, so take good notes on the main experiments he presents in class. Discussions are mostly the same across all modules. There will be two quizzes and two critiques in his part of class. I wrote down some tips for writing critiques in my review for Ketema Paul, who taught module I of PHYSCI 111A, if you need guidance on how to write them.
Easiness 1.4/ 5
Clarity 3.4/ 5
Workload 1.7/ 5
Helpfulness 3.4/ 5
Most Helpful Review
*Course: LIfe Science 2.* Spring 2012. Bok/Esdin. I really enjoyed having Prof. Esdin! He seems like a good guy and he lays out the material very nicely in lectures. In my first year at UCLA, he would definitely rank in my top 3 favorite professors. I would definitely recommend trying to get into his class. I wish I had gone to his office hours and, according to my roommate, he is very helpful if you come prepared with good questions. I had both Bok and Esdin for LS2, so the first midterm was all of the intro/basic bio that I was really familiar with that Bok taught, but then the second midterm was four chapters of material that Esdin taught. I would say that both tests were fair, but I did a lot better on Bok's test, even though I found his lectures to be boring. The final was not cumulative. If you take Esdin, he writes the questions so that you truly have to understand the material AND can apply it to a situation that you haven't necessarily thought of before. For example, we were asked on the final something like: what are the effects of hyperventilation on the body? After studying the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, we were supposed to connect the dot and apply the various concepts to the question. You should give yourself plenty of time to study for LS2, regardless of which professor you get. I took Biology Honors and AP in high school, which helped a lot, and made it more like a review in the beginning, but the is still a TON of information to be absorbed in 10 weeks. Do not let yourself fall behind, especially if you haven't taken advanced biology in high school. The take home message for doing well in LS 2 is: ---learn the material based on the lectures. (Esdin will only test what he lectures on- its a good idea to print and bring his lecture notes to class) ---Use the lecture schedule as a tentative study schedule, so you don't end up cramming right before the exams. ---*RECORD* Esdin's lectures!!! (this is very, very important. He does NOT podcast, at least during my quarter, so bring a lap top/ recording device. The lectures go FAST, so take notes in lecture, then re-listen and take notes in a different color at home... I did this before the final, and I generally only got down half of what he said during the actual class. The exam questions are detail oriented, so definitely listen to his lectures again) ---Try to go to discussion prepared. (I think you probably will get more out of it if it feels like a review...and that way you can ask your TA questions. I really liked my TA, Brian Mullen. I was in his third discussion of the day, so he always had coffee by the time we got there, but he does a great job condensing the material) --- Figure out a study method that works for you, and do it. (This may seem obvious, but if you don't do so well on the first midterm or whatever, do something differently for the next exam) --- Try to find a good study group... Even though asking question to the prof and TA is great, if you find a couple fellow classmates to digest and review the material, it will help a lot. I know I liked studying the material first on my own, and then talking through everything gave me a good grasp on the details.
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