December 20, 2012

Taylor, Kathleen
[PSYC W1001] Science of Psychology

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

There's a very wide range of experiences with this class. For instance, the lowest grade on the first exam was an 18% and the highest was like an 108% percent (with the extra credit offered only for that exam). I ending up doing well, but my personal experience with the professor and TAs was terrible, particularly as the semester progressed.

At first, I found Professor Taylor to be strict and no-nonsense, but a competent professor. She delivered organized lectures and kept the class informed about assignments and class requirements with her announcements at the beginning of every class. Taylor was also very understanding with the first assignment: a 5 point short answer question modeled after the exam short answers, to be submitted via Courseworks. Half the class had technical difficulties or was unclear about the deadline. She still gave full credit for late submissions, which was very nice of her.

However, as the semester progressed, I found the professor to be exceedingly rude and condescending. Once, a public safety officer walked in and waited for Professor Taylor to acknowledge her so that she could alert her to a potential safety concern in the building. The Professor arrogantly told her off for disrupting the lecture. Taylor also held office hours at 8 AM. I don't understand why ... she usually came late and appeared lethargic and unwilling to listen to students' questions. It was moments like these that made me loathe Taylor as a person.

I also didn't like the fact that her lectures often contradicted the textbook. In fact, people would often point out specific inconsistencies during the TA-led review sessions, and the TAs would openly say that the professor had been wrong.

Finally, the final exam was hastily written, as it was riddled with spelling errors. Even though this is an introductory course, the professor, lectures and TAs all failed to meet the standards I have come to expect from a Columbia course. I would suggest that you avoid Taylor for Science of Psychology.

Workload:

3 midterm exams - each is 30% of the grade
3 hours of participating in psych experiments on campus (5%)
Research critique (5%)
Optional final exam - you can drop the lowest midterm grade and count the final instead