November 27, 2003

Hart, Carl
[PSYC W2460] Drugs and Behavior

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

I did not enjoy this course. Each class Prof. Hart presents his entire lectures using power point slides. He doesn't make the slides available afterwards, so you have to copy them down word for word. And really, there's nothing much else to do because he just reads them aloud, usually twice, without adding much to his presentation. He gives weekly two question quizzes, the purpose of which is simple to force you to attend class. Reminiscent of high school? Then on the tests, he further punishes those who don't attend and rewards those who do by asking several questions that test ONLY whether you were in class, not whether you have a good grasp of the material. Some of the questions were only a step away from, "What color socks was the man in the video wearing?" I didn't think he did a good job of answering questions in class. Sometimes he would act irritated that people had questions, or just sort of restate the question asked, or say that it was a good question, but never actually address the question at hand. The textbook was geared towards a younger reader and really didn't seem like the appropriate choice for a level 2000 college psych course.
I think that this course could have been really good, and maybe it will be in the future. Perhaps as Dr. Hart comes to feel more comfortable lecturing (after all, this was his first time teaching this course), he won't have to rely so much on his prepared power point slides and he will be more confident in fielding questions. The class would be good if his lectures were more spontaneous, and he used a different textbook or at least incorporated other readings (we did have a couple primary source readings, but the bulk of the assigned reading came from the textbook), and did away with the his high-school-esque attitude that it's necessary to use coercive measures to get students to attend class. I was disappointed with this class; however, some of my classmates seemed to enjoy it, so I don't know if your experience will be similiar to mine.

Workload:

Easy. The reading is not really challenging/interesting, and you rarely have to think critically. Tests are multiple choice and short essay. Essays are graded somewhat arbitrarily by TAs. Weekly "pop" quizzes. Not that hard to do well if you read, attend lectures, memorize and regurgitate.