Based on 21 Users
This class sucks. Karen has us watch prerecorded lecture videos in addition to watching her in person lectures. A lot of the lecture videos she made us watch were made by random dev bio YouTubers. We also have exams scheduled right after Halloween and thanksgiving. She also made us take an exam at the end of week 2! When we were taking the exam, she realized that she forgot to print two pages of the exam. She yelled across the lecture hall at a TA telling him to print the missing pages. It was so hard to focus on my exam amidst all the commotion she caused. Her temporary solution was putting the missing exam questions on a projector, but it was impossible to see since so many questions were missing. When Karen realized that this wouldn’t work, she had us walk to the front of the room to look at it until we finally got the missing pages with 10 minutes remaining. She decided to give us an extra 30 minutes, but we had to finish the exam outside. There were literally 240 students sitting on the ground taking the test in their laps. She also has no office hours and is never available to speak with students outside of class. She gave me a BS excuse to get out of speaking with me. Avoid her class, and her in general!!!
Overall this class was very interesting and challenging. The class consists of three exams that are non cumulative. There is a lot of content to learn between exams and can be challenging to study for them. I found studying early and understanding the vocabulary helped me prepare well for the exams. Discussions were relatively easy points (just easy worksheets we’d turn in). We had a group project at the end of the course that was a bit challenging given the last minute changes due to the strikes but that was overall pretty manageable. I definitely recommend taking this class with Sears! She tried her best to accommodate us all through this rough quarter. The course material is really interesting and has been my favorite material learning at UCLA.
Exams are basically just memorization of lecture content (random genes and what they do, obscure details from guest lectures). Prof. Sears definitely tries to help you learn and get you engaged in the class, but ultimately falls short in her attempts. Not a horrible class, not great either.
I came into this class thinking it would be manageable after reading the previous reviews. However, I was completely shocked and frustrated at how different this quarter was. To begin, the tests were ROUGH. The first one was decent but definitely not easy by any means. The second one was one of the most difficult and confusing exams I've taken in college. It included so much content on guest lectures, which was difficult to make sense of. The third one got moved online due to the strike, so it was manageable. The lectures aren't necessarily bad, but the exam questions are so much more complex than her slides. On top of that, the discussion section activities were time-consuming and not useful in my opinion. I was hoping the final presentation would make up for all the difficult assignments, but I scored lower than I had hoped. We have no way of knowing why we received the grade we did on the presentation as well. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this class unless it goes online or something of that sort. It was very stressful and there wasn't much of a curve to compensate for all of the difficulties (both inside the class and on campus) this quarter.
This class was very interesting and engaging. I really enjoyed the material and the guest lectures were always informative and always sparked my interest in the research the professor was doing. Class had 3 exams instead of midterms or finals. I really liked that because none of them were cumulative. Instead of a final there was a group project that was simple and straightforward. Despite the strike and one hectic midterm, the professor was accommodating. She went online and even made our group project digital instead of in person. Overall, the class was on the easier side and I would recommend it to anyone who wants an interesting and easy upper div. The other reviews should not be a reflection of the class. I think they need to have a bit more self reflection themselves.
The strengths of this instructor were that when I spoke with her, she seemed like a nice person. Also, her own powerpoints were organized and clear. However, it was hard to get a hold of her at the beginning of the quarter. Her office hour times were unclear/not available until the middle of the quarter. Something I did not like was how she uses lectures from other developmental biology youtubers. I would get it if the class was still taught online, but we are back to normal, especially since she makes us take in person tests. It was always so hard to know what to write down for those youtuber lectures because I did not know what she would quiz us on. Therefore it took 2-3 hours to watch one 30 minute youtuber lecture. Also, she makes us do too much busy work. The deep dive paper she had us write took too long. The group presentation also took too long. They both do not enhance the course material, it just feels like busy work. Also, the tests were a mess to say the least. The questions were not reflective of the actual material, you had to think about what she would think. Completely arbitrary. During the first test, she forgot to print out the two last pages for my version of the exam. She made everyone with that version go to the front of the classroom and look at her projected slide for the question. It was completely ridiculous. She was also yelling to her TAs across the hall to print out more pages. The TA ended up getting the pages at the end of the class. She let us stay for an additional 30 minutes but we had to take the exams outside the hall while sitting on the ground. The sun was also very bright and it was hard to see the paper. She ended up giving us 1.75 points of extra credit for one multiple choice question she thought was unclear. This is despite the fact that she created a chaotic environment so it was very hard to focus. The second exam was better but she was not even there to proctor. I had to ask the TAs questions and they did not seem to understand the logic behind her questions. It was so bad. She needs to stop making test questions so arbitrary since these tests are back to normal and in person.
I honestly think the discussion sections were just excuses to add more work to this already difficult class. The discussion section did not expand on the course. Instead, it felt separate. The assignments were too long and difficult. I spent way too much time on them. Hayden going on strike did not help things. I understand that he wants more money, but him going on strike really affected my learning. I do not feel like I am able to learn as much because I cannot ask him questions and KAREN does not answer my questions either because she is too busy for me or something. I think the strike was a disservice to us students. Hopefully the teacher realizes this and gives us some extra credit.
The only real strength that this professor has is that she made this class online in the end (but exams were still in person). She did have many weaknesses. First of all, she had us watch random developmental biology YouTube videos and expected us to understand every aspect of the videos. She also invited guest lecturers to speak to the class and the topics they talked about were way above everyone's heads. Despite this, her exams contained a lot of questions related to these guest lectures. Her normal lectures were just meh for the most part. She was also never present to answer questions. She would always take forever to respond to emails, and sometimes she would just not respond period. The exams were difficult and I felt like the questions asked were too specific for an undergraduate class. Her conduct during exams was also poor. For the first exam, she forgot to print pages and had us all go to the front of the classroom to see the questions. She wasn't even present for the second exam and I couldn't ask questions. She also has a weird obsession with in person exams. It's really weird. She needs to change the way this class is taught.
The TA Hayden has a lot of weaknesses, chief among them being that he decided to go on strike in the middle of the quarter and never spoke to us again. It's a disservice to us students, especially considering that I pay a lot of money to go to this lowly state school. I wish I went to Cal.
DO NOT take this class. Professor Sears is honestly the worst Professor I have ever taken out of 4 years of UCLA. If you are looking for a good EEB class to take, please look elsewhere. This class is literally the worst and so disorganized. She makes us watch pre-recorded lecture videos in addition to attending lecture 3 days a week which is a lot of f*ck*ng content. She also has us watch videos on youtube by people other than her because she is too lazy to lecture on the content herself in a more digestible way. The pre-recorded lectures are from previous years too, more lazy behavior and shows she doesn't actually care about the student's success. AND on top of that she has guest lecturers come in the present their research and for 50 minutes straight they spew a foreign language at us and she expects us to have understood and memorized everything that they have done in their research including methods of experimentation and details about their findings. She has 6 multiple-choice questions on the second exam pertaining to these guest researchers and I'm pretty sure people who worked FOR THE RESEARCHERS wouldn't even be able to answer these extremely specific questions. You can also read through other reviews regarding the most chaotic first midterm experience where she had missing pages and came up with the most ridiculous and unhelpful solutions. And on top of allllllll that, she gave us ONE (1) point back on that midterm because she said "well the midterm average was high so I didn't feel like it affected you all very much" like HUH. She has messed up and continues to mess up everything for this class but doesn't want to take accountability for her actions and fix her mistakes because she is too prideful. This class is going to cost me my 4.0 GPA that I spent 4 years working towards. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY STAY FAR FAR FARRRRRRRRRR AWAY FROM THIS CLASS. (Unless of course you wish to hate your life.. then by all means)
I made an account just to write this review. This has been my worst class at UCLA so far, and I'm a senior. I have never performed so badly on an exam. The first exam was end of week 2 and it was pure chaos because pages were missing from one version of the exam. I couldn't focus with all the commotion. She decided to give us extra time but it meant we had to sit on the floor outside in the sun trying to finish them up and I was sweating so bad. She ended up giving us all 1 point extra on that exam because "one multiple-choice question was not clear". The second exam was really tough. She expects us to know content she lectures in class, content she posts online (which is usually a video by some other professor or random YouTuber), content from discussion sections including scientific articles we have to read for those sections, and finally content from guest lecture presentations, which are not the easiest to understand due to all the scientific jargon. She really had 6 multiple-choice questions on the exam from the guest lecture presentations, and they weren't even simple but required critical thinking. I think it's not fair that half of the content we are responsible for is on stuff she doesn't even lecture, and then most of the time she doesn't even have office hours so we could ask her about them and doesn't respond to emails. Also, she says that she doesn't usually give out practice midterms (I guess so we can think she is nice) but the practice midterms she gave us suck ass. The questions on there are so straightforward and nothing like her actual exam questions, which require deep thought and integrating info from different lectures (something she doesn't do, by the way - the online lectures rarely relate to the in-person ones and she doesn't make a connection between them or rarely references them in class so the info just seems so random). If you're going to test us on our UNDERSTANDING of the material (ie, critical thinking questions and not just pure memorization-based ones), then our brains need to PRACTICE those kinds of questions. And if those kinds of questions aren't offered as practice, then it's gonna be difficult to actually do well on the exam. Also, discussion sections are useless. It was just a way for her to throw more content at us. I think the paper that we have to write based on one of the guest lectures is also just a bunch of busy work and really isn't necessary.
I currently have an A in the class but I had to write this review because I believe the reviews written during COVID tell a different story. Perhaps the exams were easier online when you can use your notes etc, but I do not recommend taking this class at all.