department
eeeb

(Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology)
Apr 2021

If you're not a sustainable development major or minor (who are required to take this course) I really don't recommend it. It's not terrible, but it is pretty boring, only touches on surface level of all topics covered, and barely touches on issues of equity. For those majoring or minoring, this class shouldn't stop you from doing so: it's boring, but not terrible, and it is extremely easy. That being said, if you're not a major or minor, find yourself a more interesting easy class.

Apr 2021

If you're not a sustainable development major or minor (who are required to take this course) I really don't recommend it. It's not terrible, but it is pretty boring, only touches on surface level of all topics covered, and barely touches on issues of equity. For those majoring or minoring, this class shouldn't stop you from doing so: it's boring, but not terrible, and it is extremely easy. That being said, if you're not a major or minor, find yourself a more interesting easy class.

Jan 2021

Professor Olsen is extremely knowledgeable in the field of paleontology. His class isn’t too intense, and he doesn’t seem to really care about grades. I never went to office hours, so I cannot comment on that. He speeds through his slides in the lecture (which have little to no words on them), and this is a bit unsettling at first. However, you realize that it doesn’t really matter whether you got everything from the lecture since there isn’t a vocabulary/term/memorization final exam (at least in the virtual environment we exist in now). The research paper + homework assignment were time-consuming, but they were graded leniently by the wonderful TAs (who don’t seem to know that much about the course, either). They facilitated questions via the Zoom chat in class. The material is actually quite interesting, and I think the class could be great if it were slightly restructured and a bit more organized. I never knew where we were in the “the history of life when we talked about different animals within a cladogram. I wish there was a master cladogram that we could refer to so we could better understand the class’s overview. I took this as my science requirement, and it was worth taking for that reason. I don’t think I would take this class otherwise, but I did enjoy it (though a bit less than I thought I would). This class is more about evolution as opposed to dinosaurs (which is what I expected). I did well in the class, and I think you will too if you put the time in on the assignments. TLDR: This class is a good one to take to fulfill the science requirement, though I think it could be so much better if there were more organization and a clear structure to the syllabus.

Jan 2021

If you take the lab, you are pretty much good for the final exam and the term-paper. Labs were very annoying to do (so much research, drawing, and reading), and forget about finding somewhat direct answers online. I have spent nights researching some crocodilian's skull and hindlimb structure. It's probably just extra during covid because we cannot go to AMNH. With this being said, every time I submit, I have no clue if my answer is right or pure BS. But god bless the TAs giving straight As as long as you show effort and do the format correctly. Plus, they answer all your questions at light speed (especially Ben!). Didn't really fall in love with dinosaurs but for sure did with the TAs.

Jan 2021

I am shocked by the silver nugget Prof Shapiro has on culpa. Admittedly, the caveat is that I took Shapiro's class entirely online, but that said, I found her class to be boring, tedious, and it took away some of my passion for a subfield of science that I find exciting and important. For context, I took Prof Shapiro's class for a science requirement, albeit as someone who has a great interest in evolutionary biology and the origins of humans. I came in knowing (from previous reviews and word of mouth) that the class would be a lot of work, more so than ordinary science reqs. What I did not know was how thoroughly uninterested I would be throughout every lecture, and even the exams; this was the first class I have ever taken in which I was genuinely bored writing an exam. Rather than focusing on the interesting aspects of human origins, we spent class after class learning (and later memorizing) literally hundreds of anatomical features of various pre-human species, while barely scraping the surface of the bigger and more interesting questions about what it all means for our evolution. In addition, while Shapiro was clearly very passionate for the subject, she crammed her lectures with far too much unnecessary detail, and was ridiculously particular about completing assignments and taking exams. In sum, even if you are interested in the subject matter, I would definitely not recommend this class to anyone who doesn't have to do it. And to put this review into perspective, I ended the class with an A. But I do not think I've ever been more disappointed by a class at Columbia, particularly given the high expectations I came into it with.