Professor Loike was great! The class was discussion based and the workload was very manageable. I am not sure what the issue is with the reviewer below is, but I felt the class was a blast. The class was pretty straight forward and although he challenges you to speak up and participate in class, he acts more like a moderator steering the conversation towards some sort of conclusion. There were several guests speakers who offered creative and interesting discussion points for us. Professor Loike made the class enjoyable and helped us probe in depth some very ethical issues facing the scientific community. The class is an easy A/A-. Show up, do your work, and offer solid feedback every so often and you will take home an A. Well worth the time and a nice break from the rugged science track we take. I wish that he had more course offerings, hopefully if I get into Physicians and Surgeons I can take one of his courses.
This class was great. I'm not sure what the previous post takes an issue with? Maybe they had their feelings hurt for not getting an A. There are no gimme A's here at Columbia, so that is what I think the problem below is; they got an A- and wanted to vent because they didn't get the slackers A they thought. The class was great, the conversations were great. We dealt with real Bioethical issues and worked them in a variety of ways. Dr. Loike poses the issue and essentially moderates the discussion. Don't get your feelings hurt because he steers the conversation in another direction, there is no ego in Science. The textbook is inexpensive and easy to follow. If you read and actually have meaningful input, you will get an A. He is not out to hurt your grades and just don't shovel garbage at him and you will do well. The grades are not subjective, he gives you plenty of opportunities to earn the A. So be it, you are a slacker, you pull down an A-. I just find it hard that in the Bio world to come on here and talk poorly of a Professor who encourages you to really think and utilize critical thinking skills. The science we discussed was all cutting edge advancements and really pushed the boundaries of ethics. Keeping in mind that this is largely a discussion class, if you are an introvert, do well on the assignments and when you do speak up-offer crisp and insightful feedback and you won't have to worry about participation being an issue.
I'd first off like to point out that this class had plenty of potential. There are some very relevant bioethical issues that need attention, and discussion on these topics could have been really eye opening and engaging. Professor Loike was able to bring some of these topics to light, but handled them very poorly. During class Loike was very egocentric; he held class by asking a question then interrupting students until he got the answer that he was looking for. He did have some speakers who came into class, some of whom had nothing to do with biomedical engineering and some of whom were not knowledgable. One such person was not able to answer questions about how her work was pertinent to our studies. However, he did have a few interesting people come in, including representatives from the FBI. While these guest speakers are here, Loike leaves, is on his cell phone, or falls asleep. The assigned textbook for this class is written by him, and he requires that we all purchase it. I regret dropping $40 on this text that I only read twice because I though I should give this class some effort. (This money and effort did not translate to any returns on investment.) This was a fairly easy class, but I think my brain melted a little while taking it. *I did the same work and participated as much as other people in the class, and we received different grades. So keep in mind that the grading is largely subjective
Despite the negative things said about Professor Holmes, while some may be true, I actually find that I get the most out of his classes. Ethics was great. He encourages different thoughts, opinions and viewpoints, and the discussions are engaging. Just be sure you eat and nap before the class, so that you're attentative and awake during the long hours. Holmes definitely knows everyone's names in the class, and he actually takes attendance while he's up there...so don't skip the class. I pass him in the hall the day after I skipped one class, and he asked me if I was able to get good notes from a classmate because the topic discussed that night pertained to my final paper! He's got a really good memory, so don't fall asleep or skip the class.
Contrary to most ethics courses, Prof. Holmes managed to keep a class of burnt-out BME students (plus some grad and med students) awake on a Thursday evening. He likes to play devil's advocate on various issues and likes it when people argue with him in class. This is a discussion type class. The material is pretty interesting and the issues discussed could be used as "ammo" for medical school interviews. The key to getting a good grade in this class, especially if you're not very comfortable talking in class of 60 is to sign up for the debates. There aren't many so make sure you sign up early. Oh, and don't sleep in class, Holmes knows, trust me! The grading is based on attendance (10 sessions), participation (3 points max), and the written assignments (3 points max). You are allowed to miss one class. If you sign up for a debate, you'll get one point for participation, while others need to speak-up in class several times before getting a point.
Don't be decieved by Holme's engaging lectures. He is NOT a nice person. Granted, the class is really interesting, but Holmes' emphasis on the importance of participation lulls unsuspecting students into the mistake of actually participating. Those who participated on a regular basis actually got LOWER grades than those who said nothing, I'm guessing because he only noticed when the opinionated people had a quiet day. On the other hand, I loved this class up until the arbitrary grades showed up (and you get NO feedback until grades are posted). So if you want to, or have to, take this class, put extra effort into the writing assignments and be careful not to speak while attending every class: there are no excused absences (holmes won't tell you this up front).