August 08, 2007

Canbeyli, Resit Silver_nugget
[PSYC W1001] Science of Psychology

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

Prof. Canbeyli's (pronounced "JAHN-BAY-LEE") primary strength as a lecturer is, with a few exceptions, his deep knowledge of the material he teaches. He is quite adept at giving a two and a half hour lecture without straying from the main topic much or covering too much material too quickly. He provides many examples in class for the theories he discusses, and they genuinely helped to increase my understanding of them.

He is particularly knowledgeable about neuroscience and neuroanatomy, given his background as a chemical engineering major while an undergraduate at SEAS. His knowledge on this topic is occasionally stifling, however, as he often goes in to more detail than necessary (or at least more detail than the textbook does).

Toward the end of the course when the material starts dealing less and less with anatomy and more with social psychology and behavior, Professor Canbeyli acknowledges that he is not as well-read in those areas, and it certainly shows in his lectures. His weakest lectures by far were on the topic of linguistics, a weakness he had in common with the authors of the textbook.

His tests are quite comprehensive. My only criticism of them is that he stressed "not memorizing, but understanding" and yet tests were impossible to do well on without memorizing quite a lot of the material. We had three midterms and no final, and each one required you to know just about every aspect of the theories and terminology in detail in order to do well. Tests consisted of fill-in-the-blank (with no word bank, quite difficult), true or false, matching scientists to their discoveries, drawing diagrams, four short essays chosen from six options, and one long essay chosen from two options.

The only other complaint I can make is that he is a bit soft-spoken when lecturing. Sit close to the front if possible. On the whole though, a very well-paced course from a knowledgeable and engaging professor. Knowing everything I do now, I would sign up for this course again to fulfill the science requirement.

Workload:

Very manageable: perhaps 40 pages of textbook reading over three chapters per test. His tests certainly require you to know the material backward and foreward, but he does provide a list of terms well before each test.