December 26, 2009

Hart, Carl
[PSYC W2460] Drugs and Behavior

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

Hart emphasizes the need for students to be critical of what they read and hear and so I'll be most critical of his class.

This is probably the most hyped up class in the psychology department and it only took me 2 class periods to realize the hype was unmerited. Not only was it unmerited, but it seemed to be due to the opinions of the tons of drones Hart seems to appeal to in his lectures. Hart is strongly against many of the drug policies of the government and how many of us view drugs. I didn't expect this to be a sociology class but this is what the class began as and I was slightly disappointed by the one sided opinions against drug policies and regulation that Hart emphasized. Even the TAs commented at points in their exam reviews that what Hart was looking for is for the students to agree with his opinions in their exam essays. Afterall, Hart presents hardly enough information supporting the positive aspects of current drug regulation or drug views for you to write an essay about them.

Truthfully -- I can stand hearing biased opinions from professors all day long (after all, I do go to a Liberal Arts college), but what really got to me was the fact that everyone seemed to think Hart was this awesome lecturer. Truth be told - Hart did not end up lecturing, I would make an educated guess of, 60% of his classes. THIS IS INCLUDING BOTH THE FIRST AND LAST CLASSES. I can understand if he was busy, but the last class he even sat in the back of the lecture hall while the TA lectured us. Yes, when the TA missed something Hart would correct him. My question is: why didnt Hart just get up and lecture us himself........afterall, this was the last class and he did write the textbook we all were required to read. Furthermore, I didn't sign up for this class to here TAs and a bunch of guest lecturers lecture me about drug use. I want a tenured professor whose job it is to do that for me - I don't think thats asking too much. No I won't make any dispositional comments about Hart here, I'll leave that up to the viewers of this review.

Other than that, Hart would also give surprise quizzes, making us attend each and every one of his lectures. Two of these quizzes were dropped so that was one of the saving graces of the class. I was initially fine with this pop quiz idea...it even allowed me to stay on top of the reading for most of the class. What I didn't like was the absolute absurd times he would give the quizzes: The day before Thanksgiving (most of the class was not present), the class after a midterm (seriously, give the class a break).

His tests were not too hard, just remember to write the essays out beforehand (and make sure to fill them with evidence he gives you supporting his views!). The review sheets were good for some of the multiple choice and yet much of the multiple choice was from completely random lines of the text you had to be lucky to remember. Be on top of all the reading and you should be fine.

In conclusion, I appeal to you potential Sci requirement fulfiller/ Psychology Major/ Concentrator: Don't take this class if you value yourself as a critical thinker. You will only become frustrated by each successive class period where an opinion of drugs is hammered into your head till you can't decide between which illicit drug you should try first (for the sake of making rational drug choices only, of course).

Workload:

two midterms, final and pop quizzes.