May 21, 2005

Lindemann, Patricia
[PSYC W1001] Science of Psychology

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Lindemann is a kind person, but she was the most immature, unorganized, and unprofessional lecturer that i've had in my two years here. My main complaint? She cannot for the life of her present the material clearly. Laser-pointers endlessly confuse her as do HER OWN powerpoint slides: she wastes way too much time scratching her head trying to figure out "what [she] meant when [she] wrote that." Also, many of her powerpoint slide had errors -- not just typos but major mistakes and evidence that SHE DOESN'T KNOW THE MATERIAL that she's presenting (a particularly memorable example: she called circadian rhythm the circadium rhythm.)

Lindemann never knows what material is coming up on her powerpoint slides and ends up jumping all over. Because of her bad vision, she occasionally has trouble reading her slides on the overhead. And don't even bother raising your hand to ask a question--she'll never see you unless you're sitting in the front few rows.

The first half of this course is a total repeat of MBB (Mind, Brain, Behavior -- both courses are required for the Neuroscience major). Jennifer Mangel's fall MBB course was 100x better than this course. Even the TAs were better. My main problem with this course was that classtime was a total waste. Lectures would drag endlessly as Lindemann repeated the same concepts over and over. In 75 minutes, we never seemed to get through more than 10 slides -- hardly any material at all. Way too much time was wasted apologizing for errors on her slides and trying to unconfuse the class (and also trying to figure out how to use the laser-pointer--you think she'd learn...) In 75min, Mangel's MBB class would accomplish sooooo much more (covering about 3x the material in 3x as much depth). I'm not one to complain about a class being too easy, but covering too little material in Lindemann's class doesn't translate to easier tests -- we're still expected to cover about 200 pages of reading for each exam! If we covered more material in class, the textbook reading would be less painful and it would be easier to justify going to class.
On the positive side, the textbook (Gray's Psychology) is really great and covers a wide-range of material which will teach you about the real world. It also does a great job demonstrating how behavior/traits are useful in an evolutionary sense.

So to conclude, I really disliked this professor. Her fumbling mistakes might be acceptable for a first-time professor but Lindemann repeatedly teaches this course. To put such an unorganized and unprofessional professor in front of 150 students is unacceptable and I can only hope that no visiting students sat in on this class (they'd instantly lose all respect for Columbia).
It's a strange phenomenon (which i've confirmed with other neuro majors): all the science of psych professors suck and all the mind brain behavior professors are great. The solution? For people that want a good professor to teach them psychology (and neuro), take a Barnard intro psych course (unfortunately it won't count towards the psych or neuro major)

Workload:

See the below review. I should also mention that during the course of the semester you will be expected to read the entire textbook. Is completing all the reading necessary to do well in this course? I thought so.