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- mandatory attendance in person
- 2 hour long lectures broken into two 1-hour blocks with 5-10 minute break in between
- super boring lectures
- easy homework assignments from the required textbook
- open note/internet exams -- large time window given, heavily reliant on lecture content
As much as I wanted to enjoy this class, I found Professor Tramo to be very unclear and, personally, the content was boring to me. The exams are all online and he gives you a ton of time to do them (midterm you had like 2ish days to do it and final was 7-8 hours), so that was nice to not have in person exams. In particular, I found the final to be confusingly worded and quite unclear, especially when it came to the brain anatomy identification, so that was frustrating. I would just make sure you understand what the graphs in his slides are saying as that tended to show up a lot of his exams. Overall, the class was alright for a science GE. I think it's easier than some of the other science GE's you could take, but definitely not the most interesting, which is exacerbated by the fact that the discussions and lectures have graded attendance.
Easy GE! Professor was nice, but content was not very interesting.
Lectures: Professor uses slides during lecture. Attendance is mandatory and is checked through a google form link that is posted through a QR link in the lecture slides. Lecture content was pretty boring.
Discussion: Attendance is also mandatory for discussion and is checked in the same way (through a google form link and QR code on the slides). TA Rachel Scott was very caring and helped keep the material actually engaging.
Homework: There is weekly individual homework that consists of questions from the textbook. Very easy and took maybe 10-15 minutes to complete each assignment.
Paper: Since there are no exams, the biggest assignment is the group paper on a topic of your choice. The paper is supposed to be a bit long, and my group members waited until last-minute to complete their parts of the paper, so it was all a bit disorganized and stressful. There are a few group homework assignments leading up to the paper, which are fairly short.
This is an easy A, because the requirements are very low. Otherwise, I didn't learn much. The grading was very soft, and there are no exams. Through the course, I felt nobody cared about anything. The assignments are only there so grades can be assigned.
The downside is that you won't get any type of response from anyone. This is the worst since there is also a group project for a 7000–8000 word paper. There was no syllabus until 2 days before submission. Nobody cared if someone on your group decides to not show up and do work.
Our group had 4 people, and the situation was absolutely bad. One dude just decided to write 1000 words with no claims and be done. He doesn't do any more work, and the TA and Professor absolutely have not cared. After the submission, when I checked Turnitin, I found that almost an entire page of stuff written by another group member is filed with plagiarism! At last, it only seemed that the TA cared even less and gave us a solid grade.
Two takeaways: this class is an easy A but very boring. Participation is required (you have to attend 40/50 hours of lectures and discussion to get 100%) and Tramo is not the greatest lecturer. The first hour of every class is spent repeating what was covered last time. He plays videos and audio clips at an ungodly volume level, even though part of the class covered how loud noises damage our ears. Even more, he will try to talk during the videos, but nobody can hear a word he says, even from the front row (keep in mind, he's yelling into a microphone at this point). Fortunately, there are no exams, so you can get through the class without ever taking notes. The real learning happens in discussion sections (shout out to Rachel Scott, amazing TA). Be aware that 50% of your grade is a group final paper and everyone gets the same grade. The paper has to be 7000-8000 words, but it's split among up to 5 members. The rubric is very straightforward and it's easy to get a good grade as long as your group members do their part. The weekly assignments are straight from the textbook and are pretty easy. There are also readings from a book called Musicophilia which are actually pretty interesting.
This class definitely has upsides and downsides. On the ups - it's an easy A as long as you show up and put a small amount of effort in. The TAs were SUPER lenient with grading, it was split between attendance/participation, homework sets, and a final paper. The homework sets are from the textbook and super straightforward. As someone who learned zero (0) things from the class, I still had no trouble faking my way through the homework lol. Downsides - Professor Tramo was really brutal in my opinion. He is completely disorganized, he would frequently send out homework a few days before it was due at random (sometimes on a Monday due Thursday, other times on a Friday due Tuesday morning - very inconsistent). There's no assigned reading or assignment schedule included in the syllabus, so it really felt to me like he was making it up as we went. And, it made it a pain to do homework only when he assigned it, I found myself annoyed with not knowing when I would need to dedicate time to this class. Attendance is also mandatory. He does not record lectures. He does not post slides. He is VERY strict about this and I found that to be extremely frustrating (especially during COVID). I actually had to leave town for a death in the family and he refused to give me the slides from the class I missed and made me send "proof" of my family emergency to get credit. I found this to be insensitive... I understand he needs to do due diligence and make sure I'm not lying, but he went about it in an extremely rude. Prof. Tramo is also so unclear. I would go to lecture and literally not write a single thing down because I didn't even know what he was talking about or what to take notes on. You can get an A in this class without listening to a single lecture (because the final paper is based on a topic of your choosing, very broad), BUT you have to be there anyway so I really just felt like I was wasting my own time by taking this class... But we did have some dope guest professors (like the guy who did surgery on John Mayer's vocal cords, etc.) and that was entertaining. All in all it isn't horrible and is a good GE to take especially if you aren't looking for heavy science concepts, but be prepared to be frustrated/annoyed.