Molecular and Mendelian Genetics

Mar 2016

Professor Morton is wonderful--you can tell that he really cares about his students and he makes himself very available for questions, both in his office hours and by email. This class is hard, but it's definitely doable, especially if you make use of the great app he makes for it. You should definitely go to lectures because he manages to cram an absurd amount of information into each one, and it will also help you know what you do and don't need to study within the app. The problem sets can take some time but they're great prep for the exams. Start going to office hours early in the semester if you are confused about anything because it can be a hard class to try to catch up in since it is so information-dense.

Dec 2014

Professor Morton is a great professor. Like others have said, his tests come entirely from lecture and he has made an app that is basically his lecture written down in an organized fashion. The class is definitely challenging - especially the second half where you memorize some 100 proteins. But you should 100% go to every lecture, because sometimes things written in his app are not covered in lecture, and therefore not necessary to learn. But again, reading the app is super helpful if you miss some things he says in lecture. All-in-all Morton is a really sweet person and will help you as much as you need. He will gladly make time for you outside of office hours if you need the extra help. He learns everyone's names immediately which I thought was insanely nice. I would recommend taking this class with him!

May 2014

Mansfield is a really great professor! She's SO nice and really loves to challenge her students. Take Genetics with her if you can help it! She makes this relatively dry subject interesting and really knows how to engage her students. It's not one of those read the whole textbook and all's fair kind of classes (thank goodness). She puts all that you need to know on her slides and even posts them online! You can tell she really cares a lot about her students. Only thing is is that her problems sets are really difficult. I recommend going to office hours and working on it with friends. Otherwise, the class is really interesting and crucial to your understanding of all other biology courses. Mansfield rocks!!

Mar 2014

Brian Morton is one of the kindest, most caring, and willing to help people at all of Barnard and Columbia. He is always willing to help and immediately responds to all emails and questions. During his office hours he is extremely helpful and answers all of your questions thoroughly. There is no need to use the book, his lectures cover all material. PLUS, he made an app that offers practice questions, definitions, and outlines all processes you need to know. Basically, he just wants you to succeed and does everything in his power to make that happen. In terms of grading, Professor Morton is GREAT about giving partial credit and returns problem sets and tests by the next class. He also manages to learn every single person's name and is eager to get to know his students. He cares about his students' lives outside of class and would be happy to sit down and just talk. Advice: go to lecture!!!! Don't read the book, look at the app. Print out slides, especially during the second half of the semester. In all, Professor Morton is just a genuinely wonderful human being and a great professor.

Dec 2013

When I took this class I was worried because of previous reviews. I usually don't write reviews but I feel like this one is necessary because I don't agree with other reviews. I am just going to list good and bad things about the professor and this course and you can make the judgement in the end. Good 1. His lectures consists of power point slides which are mainly pictures from the book which he explains in great detail. Each powerpoint has enough slides for the next few lectures and Morton just goes along them at a pace where he can explain everything, meaning he does not rush through to squeeze a specific amount of information per lecture. This is organized because if you follow along you will know what is going on and what you should expect in the next few lectures. 2. He is open to questions and tries to explain the best way he can, even if the explanation takes an extra 10 minutes of class time. 3. Unlike the chem department (Magyar), Morton responds to emails fast, GRADES EXAMS AND HW REALLY FAST (next lecture you get it back), and is open to meeting with you any time. I did not go to much office hours during semester but made use of them towards the end for the final. He stood there for 2 hours explaining questions that me and other people had without any judgement or frustration. He really wants you to understand the material. A huge plus for me was that again, he grades everything before the next lecture. The final grade was posted 3 days after the final. Honestly, he is a great guy and is really approachable. 4. He follows the book so if there is something you really do not get you can read the book. 5. Exam comes from lecture material ONLY! For me personally though, I needed to read the book and take notes because I am someone who learns better by reading. I did not really understand all the information from lectures only. Other people did though. Depends on you. I do recommend reading the book though in addition to going to lecture. 6. He does curve. People in that class really studied for the exam (look at #4 for bad comments) Bad 1. He is not the most dynamic professor; lectures can get a little boring sometimes. Not that bad though. 2. The problem sets are pretty hard- I hated them with all my passion, maybe though because I am just not good with probability 3. The second exam was much more difficult than the first one- you really need to study for at least 3 days. I studied my ass off for 4 days for the second test. 4. Most people in the class really study for the exams also, so unless you out study everyone, the curve will not be in your favor. A week before the exam girls were coming in showing off how much flashcards they already made and sometimes complaining over who studied more. That was so annoying so be prepared to study a lot. 5. Attending lecture is a must! If you don't go, you will not know what you have to know. The book is way more detailed than lectures so if you think you can follow powerpoint with book and not go to class, it is a really bad idea. 6. Tests are very detailed, especially the second exam. You should know every detail. Final was pretty good though. There were many really easy questions, some intermediate, and a few hard ones. You had a lot of time. The final does not have much new information on it because you take the second exam a few weeks before the final. Don't worry about the final much. 7. The book has so many details that it can get really confusing.

Sep 2011

Shepard was a pretty good professor. It's biology, so what do people expect? She tries very hard to make sure we learned everything. The first exam was pretty easy for me because probability and math comes naturally to me. However, on the second midterm I did pretty bad because I just can't remember and memorize facts-- which is something you have to deal with in any bio class. The final was reasonable. Her multiple choices were a bit annoying. In terms of the problem sets, they were okay. if you got stuck the TA sessions were helpful. I really enjoyed that class. It was very interesting; particularly the stuff we learned.

Apr 2011

Don't be fooled by the silver nugget next to her name or the reviews below that rave about her. Kristen Shepard is just not a good professor. However, (unlike now) there were no true reviews of her ability when I took Genetics with her. I guess when she was teaching Bio BC 1001 she was easier on those students since they were mostly freshmen and it's a course for people who don't have a strong background in bio, but she was HORRIBLE for Genetics. First of all, she is very rude and for no apparent reason. It's nice that she gives you a print out of the slides she uses in her presentations and that she tries to learn everyone's name, but I would much rather prefer good teaching over both of those things. The clicker questions were thrown at us in class as we were being introduced to the information and if a large percentage of the class got it wrong she would say things like "how she didn't understand why we don't understand" and then would tell us to talk over our answer with the person next to you, which wasn't very helpful because most of the time, they guessed too. The problem sets were hard and there were so few questions that getting 3 wrong would give you a C. The tests were ridiculously difficult and LONG. Expect to be in the middle of a problem in the last 2 minutes. I also spent a majority of the test trying to figure out what she was even asking and got a lot of points off because I only included 1 part when she expected more, despite the fact that it was inconsistent with the problem sets (which were also written in a strange stringing together of random words). I also had to teach myself a lot of the material because she rushed through most of it and sometimes would forget to include important slides of mechanisms we would be tested on! The one saving grace is the fact that the TAs are really helpful and hold sessions almost everyday. In general, this class was harshly graded and really unclear. I came out without a real knowledge of genetics. The course started off really interesting and has some great potential...if someone else taught it.

Jan 2011

So I took this class because I love molecular biology. Really, a big fan. But now, I hate it. I really don't like Mendelian genetics because of the way Shepard taught it. I can't say probability comes naturally to me, so just reading it in the textbook and being hit with hard clicker questions in class is not the best way to learn how to figure out the probability of someone being color blind, blood type O, and have hemophilia. She is very disorganized, has typos all over her slides and largely unclear about everything she says. She tries hard. She really does. But for some reason she ends up confusing us even more. The TAs are helpful and her office hours are helpful. But she's not always so welcoming. So really push your question to be answered even if she turns you away. You'll probably have to take Genetics to take any other Biology class, but luckily, she probably won't be teaching it anymore. Her tests were difficult especially when the wording of the questions was even more confusing than her lectures. Most questions were backwards english so it made it nearly impossible to understand what the question was asking. Problem sets had just the same problem. Oh, and for any class she teaches, don't expect your assignments or exams returned to you within two weeks of handing it in. She's slow with grading. Overall, I think the class was unfairly taught and graded.