Revolutionary Concepts in Biology (Lecture)

Dec 2017

The class was fairly boring, though the professor is pretty sweet most of the time. You do have to go to the class because she does a fill in of the slides during class, and she gives more information than the readings. If you need to fill a requirement this course is super easy. If you're actually trying to learn biology just bump up to 1500

Nov 2017

Do not take this class. My other classmates and I find Heller ridiculously unhelpful and she has no idea how to answer questions asked in class. Her lectures are completely different from the reading, but of course her shitty lectures are what she tests on. She cannot explain basic concepts in biology well, and it's rather sad. Her exams are nearly impossible to study for because of the random questions she asks. I really regret taking this class and feel like I would've been way better off taking a 1500 bio class with a better prof.

Sep 2016

Ridiculously unhelpful, boring material, tests with irrelevant material. She called Africa a country.

Dec 2012

This is possibly the worst class I have ever taken at my time at Barnard (three years). She does not know or understand how to teach a course, let alone biology. I am better off skipping every class and teaching myself (which is what I do anyway). She does not prepare you for any test nor does she teach the material well. I leave lecture being more confused and angry than I was before I got there. She cannot explain any question asked in class well and once she even laughed at a girl who asked how we are supposed to identify an answer on the test. All she said was "practice more." I do not recommend this class to anybody. The tests are hard and the lectures are pointless. I did not learn a thing

Jan 2012

This class was downright awful. I took it because my adviser said that Bio 1001 was the best class for people who aren't "scientifically inclined" - such a lie! While Prof. Heller seems to be a nice person, she has no clue how to teach. When asked to explain something differently, she would say the exact same explanation, but slower. She never seemed to think that 25pt curve on every single exam might indicate that we didn't get what she was teaching. She would spend an incredibly long time on something as mundane and simple as Punnett squares, and then zip through photosynthesis in two lectures. Her exam questions made no sense and it was pretty much impossible to study for. I spent more time on this class than I did for the two classes I took for my major combined, and I still had to PDF to do okay. Ridiculous. I'm so pissed I have to take Bio 1002 next semester to fulfill my requirement.

Dec 2010

this class is NOT easy! she does not know everything about the subjects and it shows! she is not very approachable, but tries to be. her exams are all curved because the test is good for bio majors! it is impossible to leave all the studying for the night before the exams because they are HARD! thankfully she curves so the damage is not completely terrible! the final was very challenging because the cumulative portion has very specific questions even though she said it was going to be on the "big ideas." overall, i would recommend it if you are interested in the material because you do learn a lot, but it is not the easiest way to fulfill the science requirement.

May 2010

First and foremost, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS! If you need more convincing, read on… I’ve just finished up a full year of Introduction to Biology with “Professor” Julia Sable, and I’ve never had a worse experience. To start, the syllabus is ever-changing and never-accurate. She mentions no assignments until, at most, two days before they’re due—and they are anything but short. Therefore, if you had designated your Sunday for another assignment, and Professor Sable assigns you a massive assignment at 12:30 AM on a Saturday night due that Monday, good luck… and this happens regularly. She even assigned a ridiculous and absurd “Self-audit report” only a week and a half in advance and due the last day of class, which was a remarkable level of wasting time. Additionally, her actual class-time (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:00 AM) is a COMPLETE waste of time. Yet, you cannot simply skip and do something more productive, because she randomly assigns in-class assignments for participation points. To prepare for an exam, you must teach the entire subject to yourself. Professor Sable also manages to make this difficult, as in addition to assigning chapters in the textbook, she also assigns arbitrary articles and literary novels (for example, Barbara Kingsolver’s Vegetable Miracle). So when attempting to teach yourself all of the material for a test, materials are all over the place and difficult to place. Most importantly, Professor Sable refused to curve up the first semester, when the class average was a “C,” but curved DOWN the second semester. Professor Sable is by far the worst professor I’ve ever taken. She even announced in the second-to-last class of the second semester that only then had she gotten around to reading our evaluations from the first semester which were meant to correct her terrible teaching strategies for the second half of the year. If you’re considering this class to fulfill your science requirement, take anything else. Even if you already have credit from AP Bio, take two semesters of Environmental Science or Psychology over one semester with Julia Sable.

May 2010

I spent an entire year going to this class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9am and it was such torture!! Her lectures are totally disorganized, and she teaches mostly from power points that she didn't even create (she gets them from the book). So basically if you're in this class you have to learn the material on your own, she doesn't add much to it. She's completely unavailable in terms of office hours. Sometime she does little activities during class but they end up being more annoying than just sitting there. She has this thing called "participation grade" which she compiles from little assignments she asks for throughout the semester that are not graded for effort. But half the time she uses these assignments just to punish you -- she assigns them in class to turn in during class when she sees that a lot of people are missing. It's just plain mean! Her tests are pretty hard, but if you work hard and get a good grade, it's not rewarded. SHE CURVES DOWN! This semester to get an A- you had to have a 92%, to get a B+ a 91%. Below 91% was B. It's absolutely crazy. It seems like she doesn't care about her students, she just wants to get through her powerpoint and go home. In her defense, she was pregnant last semester and has a newborn this semester ... but it shouldn't affect her work as much as it does! Seriously guys ... if she's teaching bio and you're looking to fulfill your lab science requirement, consider taking another science!

May 2010

I have found that most professors at Columbia engage in a form of reverse snobbery by asking you to call them by their first name rather than "Dr. Whatever" because it's just assumed you have a doctorate. Dr. Sable reminded the class frequently that her phD was in science education rather than biology. She should really stop because it's terrible PR for her program. I had her for intro level biology and she seemed to assume she was teaching a roomful of 5th graders. Honestly, the activities she had us do during class would probably be great in a fifth grade classroom. But a room of 18-22 year olds doesn't want to move around the room at 9am pretending to be water molecules. Now, I enjoy an easy class. Who doesn't? Unfortunately the tests are not at the 5th grade level to which the class is taught. On top of all this, she seemed to think it was acceptable to send out assignments with practically no notice. I went away for fall break and, when I returned, discovered that she had assigned homework due the first day back. I understand assigning work due right after break, but don't assign it DURING break when people might not have email access. The two semesters I have spent in her class were a complete headache and I would advise others to avoid her class if at all possible. And I just received an email from her, noting that the class curve was skewed to the right and she adjusted to that. That's right, folks, she CURVES DOWN. My A minus is now a B.

Dec 2008

She goes way above and beyond in caring for her students - putting on tons of Q & A sessions, learning EVERYONE'S names (unbelievable for an 80 person class) and having extended office hours. She often runs out of time to cover all of the slides, but she does cover everything (and if she doesn't, she won't test you on it). Also, she posts all of the slides with her notes on them online - you really don't need to go to class... I missed two weeks and I still understood everything. That said, it's not that bad of a class, but it's a ton of memorizing of processes and definitions..

Dec 2008

Professor Shepard is enthusiastic and makes the class as lively as it can be. Overall, I think that if you study you can do well, although it isn't an easy A. She has great office hours and is really accomodating. She is there for her students and one should take advantage of the Question and Answer sessions as well. Every class she hands out slides that are identical to her powerpoint, which is obviously helpful. Down side is that it does take her a long time to grade the midterms, but if you can deal with that, it is a good class to take to satisfy (the first half) of the science requirement.

Apr 2006

the reviews were right--he's a great guy really--just need to put up with some mumbling and illegible handwriting---don't miss a day of class otherwise you'll feel even more like an idiot than the idiot's guide he makes you read- makes you enjoy....but he's really nice....just not worth spending your money on but what else can you do when its the only course that easily fulfills a requirement?

May 2005

I can't say too much about her lecture styles since I hardly went to class. She was quite popular among students though so it'd be safe to assume that she's not a horrible lecturer. The readings aren't much for 4.5 credit course at all, and she posts a bunch of questions related to the lectures on the Courseworks, which is more helpful than anything else. Print out the questions and know the answers to all of them. That's what she wants you to know. If you do that, you might pass this course with a decent grade like I did even without having to go to a single class.

Jan 2005

This intro-to-bio class is, contrary to popular belief, requires a lot of dedication and studying. It proved to be much harder than I anticipated. The course covers a LOT of material in a semester (everything from 'what is a cell?' to the future of genetic engineering to plant physiology). While the course is never boring, students who are not particularly interested in a future bio-orientated career should really consider whether or not they want to duke it out for grades with other science majors, people entertaining the idea of going premed and people with a lot of high school/AP bio experience. Lab is pretty typical (doing experiments, short quizzes, etc), but does not always directly pertain to lecture. If you're up for the challenge, bio is a fast moving and interesting course. Professor Shepard, is in general, very good. She clearly understands the material she's teaching and manages to tell students what they need to know without going into complicated detail. While her fault lies in taking random and pointless questions during lecture, her forte lies in her willingness to see students at almost anytime and help them understand. Around the midterms and finals, she often gives Q&A sessions that illustrate her desire to see students understand. What no one told me is how important Courseworks is to Professor Shepard-she posts review questions and extra readings, links and her lecture notes on Courseworks. Its really worth looking at on a regular basis is you're taking this class. All in all, Biology 1001 with Professor Shepard is challenging to say the least, but not impossible.

Nov 2004

Kristen Shepard is a very good professor and makes all the material interesting. I disagree with the other reviews that claim she answers all questions; I think that's her one flaw, that during class she often receives questions from students with the response, "ask me after class" or "we'll come back to that later." I don't care about this but for the students with the questions I'm guessing it is a bit annoying, especially if you don't have time to stay after class. But this is a very minor fault, and otherwise, this is a good course. If you're taking it for the requirement you'll find you have to do more work than joke science courses like astronomy, but the upside is you learn things about Bio you'll remember in the end.

Nov 2004

Professor Shepard is absolutely adorable, very sweet, take the time in the first few weeks to learn everyone's name in a 80 person lecture hall class. She takes time out to answer questions, and there it is so funny when she get really excited about plants. Perfect Biology prof for people who don't like bio--shes organized, makes things as painless as possible, and is a real sweetheart.

Dec 2003

Professor Shepard is the first science professor I've had at Barnard, but I'm sure she's one of the best. Every lecture is on Powerpoint, but also printed out and posted on Courseworks - in both PDF and Powerpoint files. She takes time out to answer every question in class, and is always ready to make an appointment with you if you don't understand something or just want to learn more about a topic. She is genuinely concerned about the students and their knowledge of the material, and it is easy to tell that she puts in A LOT of time preparing for each lecture.