Introduction to Sociology

Dec 2008

This is a fairly good introductory class. The reading material is very interesting, but it all stems from a liberal viewpoint. It exposes you to a lot of societal problems that you may not be familiar with. As for the class itself, it's fairly boring: Olvera basically reads off of her powerpoint. You can print out the powerpoint from courseworks ahead of time. Her idea behind this is that students will be able to listen and add supplementary notes instead of rushing to copy everything down, which is nice. However, Olvera doesn't add much supplementary info, but the occasional anecdote she does add is usually interesting. Olvera encourages class discussion, but a class of 100 people doesn't usually make for great discussions. The same few students usually speak each class. Attendance is 25% of your final grade and is taken every class, so its not a class you can cut all the time. Overall, a good introduction to the study of sociology, but not an amazing class in itself.

Feb 2008

Olvera's class was boring and participation counted 25% in an Intro lecture course with over 100 people, which was ridiculous. She also misquoted Marx, which is a sin at Columbia. The classwork itself was relatively easy, but her expectations for papers were poorly defined and nobody seemed to understand her assignments. However, the readings were generally interesting. Overall- a mediocre class.

Dec 2007

Olvera is a pretty good professor, but she does tend to preach her point of view fairly vehemently. This is a good Intro Soc course (at Barnard) and will give you a solid background in the subject. The work is certainly not excessive and the weekly readings are generally very interesting (and short).

Jan 2007

Professor Murray makes this the worst class I've ever taken in either high school or my three semesters of college. Almost no classes started on time (usually ten to twenty minutes late), and we were constantly behind schedule. There are assigned readings (out of one textbook), which we then "discuss" in class. By "discuss", I mean Professor Murray puts up powerpoint slides with several-hundred word quotes from the text, and students debate whether or not sociology should actually be an acadmic field. Professor Murray is disrespectful in his lack of organization. He would frequently stand before the class and quickly read over whatever assigned reading we were supposed to review that day, clearly not having done so before hand.

Nov 2006

Professor Murray is a really young and inexperienced professor. He's really funny and nice (although kind of awkward at times) but he simply cannot lead a productive class discussion!! He also often brings his own politics into the classroom and his mocking of Bush and conservatives is sometimes a little over the top. He is also an incredibly easy professor. The class is turning out to be a big waste of time in my opinion.