professor
Ken Light

Dec 2018

I took Psychology of Learning lecture and lab with Professor Light. It was his first time lecturing the course and it was terrible. His lectures were complicated and incoherent. He spent a large amount of lecture going over random experiments, which he would brush over, but would then come up in large detail on his tests. A large amount of the course required me to learn the material myself from the textbook. There isn't that much work, but the exams are incredibly difficult and overcomplicated. The lab, however, was much better. The actual lab class was usually interesting and very interactive. It also usually finished early- it never lasted the full 3 hours. There is not really content to learn for lab, so was ok having Professor Light teach them. Professor Light is a harsh grader though and is very particular, so I found it hard to do well on.

Apr 2018

Prof. Light is a really nice guy, but his lectures are incredibly boring and often give borderline inaccurate or just unscientific information. I've previously taken psychology in high school and don't consider myself super knowledgeable in the field, yet I find myself getting frustrated as he misexplains concepts like reinforcement schedules and the difference between a dependent and control variable (very basic stuff!). Although the class is technically easy, it's definitely not worth the tedious lectures and assignments and sheer frustration at how this class somehow qualifies as science

Jun 2017

I only had Professor Light for lab lecture, not lab itself. But his lecture is incredibly boring. I often wondered what the point of the class was. He took roll so everyone had to show up, but it was essentially a class on the scientific method, which I would hope Barnard students already know. One lecture was learning how to format an APA style research paper. He could have just put a sample on courseworks, but instead we spent an entire 1 hour and 15 minute class going over which headings to bold, where to indent, etc. It was an easy A, but you honestly may want to take a more interesting lab if you're doing this to fulfill your science requirement.

May 2017

I really enjoyed this course with Professor Light. He is a dedicated professor and knows a lot about the psychology of learning. I went to him when I didn't understand something and he was always willing to help me. He told us exactly what he wanted for the assignments and made his expectations super clear. He is a fair grader.

Dec 2016

Took his class last year and still remember the way he suggested he'd read all the CULPA reviews, bad ones of course. So I am here to do him some justice. To be clear, I've taken 2 psych lectures and 2 labs and hated ALL of them, not because I wasn't interested in psych but because they were unnecessarily time-consuming. That being said, Prof. Light really taught me a lot and prepared me well for the more "advanced" psych lab. He always stayed late after class to answer questions and really hoped everyone to acquire the skills for basic psych research.

Oct 2016

I took this class last semester and am currently three weeks into an upper level psych lab with a different professor, feeling nostalgic and compelled to leave Professor Light a review. While, like other reviewers have suggested, I didn't find the course itself to be especially interesting (it is an intro course after all, so it's mainly about beginning how to conduct an experiment, use excel, write a paper (etc), I definitely learned the necessary skills and am now appreciative of that. I really think Professor Light was a great professor. It was clear he cared about what he was teaching, which helped, and was willing to meet with students outside of lab / genuinely cared about students doing well, and unlike what other reviews say, knew that a 1.5 intro lab wasn't anyone's first priority. While the workload did seem to be quite a bit at times, I'd say it was pretty fair overall. As I'm now taking psych lectures/labs with other professors, I realize how great of a person he was in terms of how he treated his students and how much he cares about the material and about teaching it; unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be a combination most professors have. Professor Light contributed in part to my decision to major in psych–– something I thought I would NEVER do, as I took this with the sole intention of fulfilling my science requirement. And last but not least, I'll forever remember his iconic April Fool's joke.

Jun 2016

AMAZING PROFESSOR!!! The class itself is boring, but he really teaches you what you need to know. If you have no experience with writing papers or running experiments, take this class. I will say that it is a bit of a workload, but if you apply minimal effort, you'll get an A. He also is super open to meeting and helping as much as possible.

May 2016

Ken Light is boring, but that isn't the problem. The problem is that he takes himself way too seriously and threatens to fail you for the smallest of reasons (or, more importantly, for your missing class for RELIGIOUS REASONS. THAT IS NOT OKAY.) In my mind, that disqualifies you as a qualified professor. Period. Don't take his class, especially if you're religious in any way. He will not understand.

May 2015

The below reviews are, quite frankly, ridiculous, and clearly written by students who didn't put any effort into the class. I think we can all acknowledge that Intro Psych Lab is not the most enthralling course that Barnard has to offer. All the same, it teaches the fundamentals of lab work in psychology, a skill which an alarming amount of people simply don't have upon entering college and are in desperate need of learning. Professor Light is, simply put, a brilliant professor. His specialties are in behavioral neuroscience and intelligence. Have a one-on-one conversation with him (that is, if you're not the typical "I'm only taking this to fulfill the requirement" students who probably doesn't give a damn and shouldn't be allowed in the already scarce psych labs, anyway) about his research and you'll be floored by his knowledge and inspired to take more upper-level psych courses. I've heard great things about his Learning Lab, and would encourage anyone who wants a hands on experience to try it. He does a damn good job of trying to make required material as interesting as possible-- a nearly impossible task, which Light does with humor, wit, and the occasional 80's or early 90's theme song. The workload is reasonable and entirely manageable, and Professor Light is incredibly approachable and a very funny, interesting guy if you actually take the time to get to know him. Unlike many Columbia and Barnard professors, Light cares about what you have to say, is incredibly available to help with assignments and explain material, understands that his is not the only course you're taking, and sets reasonable requirements and goals for coursework. Showing even a modicum of intelligence and effort (increasingly a rarity at this school, I'm sorry to say) will set you on the right track to success. Put in the time and effort and you will see the results (as all courses should be). I couldn't recommend Professor Light any higher.

Apr 2015

The worst professor I've ever had. The worst lecturer, cares waaaay too much about his class, nitpicky, critical, dry and uninspired. He finds joy out of forcing his students to sit through his monotonous lectures for three hours. He makes you do group projects that take weeks to complete. He needs to chill. I don't know why he hasn't been fired yet.

Apr 2015

Avoid him at all costs. He will harass you and threaten to fail you. He tries to find a reason to get you in trouble and will make one up if he has to. His classes are unnecessary and tedious. A total waste of time.

Apr 2015

Ken Light is probably the most well-intentioned professor one could imagine. Yes, learning the very basics of APA style and how to graph on excel can be boring at best, Prof Light is ready and willing to help you every step of the way. It's unfortunate that the class is 3 hours once a week because it's hard to remain engaged from week to week. At the end of the day, he's really there because he wants you to succeed. He's very available via email and in person, to answer any and all questions. He writes very clearly on the board, which is almost unnecessary, but honestly very appreciated. If you're ever confused about anything at all, he's willing to explain. Also, as another reviewer said, he's really helpful about getting you into a section. At the beginning of the semester, he has everyone fill out a form with their top choice sections so that he can get everyone (or everyone he can) into a section that fits their schedule. I didn't get into the section I was originally on the waitlist for, but then he accidentally put me in a section that didn't fit in my schedule. When I told him, he was very apologetic and actually asked another girl to switch into my section so that I could still take the class because he did have a space for me. Very, very accommodating guy who just wants you to learn about the nitty gritty of psych rules and succeed in the class. If you put in the effort, show up on time, and turn in complete assignments, you should do well in the class.

Apr 2014

Although Professor Light's course was limited by the demands of a 3 hour lab (i.e. they're always kind of tedious), I honestly think that it was the best way I'd have wanted to be exposed to experimental psychology. The best part about the class was having such a supportive and genuinely good person as a teacher. Professor Light is always interested in and excited about the material and enabling students to understand and enjoy it. He's responsive to class emails and questions, and was flexible enough to allow me to change lab sections in the very beginning of the course, when I had to attend an event that was really important. And while the lecture is (too) long (I sincerely don't understand why departments actually feel the need to institute 3 hour labs in the first place), his genuineness makes it enjoyable and you really do learn. My advice: participation is graded in class anyways, but my particular class this year tended to be very (sometimes overly) participatory. Paying attention and asking good questions made the experience more rewarding for both Professor Light and for us -- Definitely stay involved!

Dec 2013

I took this class last year, and while I didn't particularly enjoy this class while I was in it (a 3 hour lab in the morning can do that to ya), having moved on to more advanced psychology courses, I have come to really appreciate Ken and his teaching. Ken is extremely supportive, approachable and organized. His class prepared me (even over-prepared me) for future psychology classes. I still use his APA formatting guides and data analysis guides for a refresher when I need it. His lectures were very clear and comprehensive. He really wants you to do well, and understands that this is an intro class, so he's very accessible if you need help. Is a 3 hour lab class (often with a 1-2 hour lecture) going to be the most interesting use of your time? No. But Ken will really help you build useful skills, especially if you will be going on to other psychology courses.

Sep 2013

Ken Light is a really great teacher. He is very specific in his directions for labs/ tests and always available through email and in person. Yes, we all know that three hour lab classes can be monotonous, but Ken does his best to mix up the class period with lecture, discussion, and lab experiments. The time flew in most class periods. I recommend Ken Light's labs 100%...you will gain and retain important knowledge that you will use throughout your college career.

Apr 2013

This man is terrible. Avoid all his labs. You can do the work and get through with a good grade, but don't expect to be even mildly intellectually stimulated. Everyone is browsing the internet the whole time. Ken can be totally fine, just way too stuck up about the "policies" of the psych department. The 3 hour-long class could easily be condensed into 1 hour, 1.5 tops, but he drags on and makes you suffer. He also feels the need to email you 100 times throughout the week with essay-length instructions and "clarifications" on things. It's like, no one cares man, this is a 1.5 credit requirement. If for any reason he feels like you are not making an "earnest" effort to complete your "science requirement in order to graduate from barnard" he might be out to get you. Watch out. And do not hesitate to contact your Dean or the Psych department to sort it out for you. I have a feeling this has happened to him more than once. Good luck, Kennio.

Dec 2012

So when I signed up on the lottery Intro to Psych Lab, I signed up for Professor Pham's class. Barnard, instead, put me in Professor Light's class. This was the first time that this lab was taught at Barnard with a new professor, so I guess we all needed to be a bit lenient. But I kind of expected the road to go both ways. I found the class very very structured. We come in. We take a quiz. We do some debriefing/after discussion. We do a lab. Done. And we didn't stray from this path all that much. Fine. I'm good with structure. But at the same time, I didn't really feel that I learned much or felt as passionate about psychology as I did with the intro lecture class. Here we were in a small forum (made very small do to the lottery) and I hardly knew any of my classmates. We did not have class discussions, and I did not feel compelled to converse outside of class because I didn't feel there was anything stimulating to talk about. Even the group work felt very detached. And all the papers that we learned from were quite dull. This was meant to look like a survey course of all the different areas of psychology, areas that are very interesting. This lab made them all look uninteresting. As for Professor Light himself... He was a 6/10. And it is not because of his stutter at all. He was pleasant and a good guy and seemed to legitimately like his subject and be willing to help where he could. But I could tell the students in Professor Pham's class were enjoying their time more (I had a friend take her class). Just a small example of that was the ending paper. I heard that Professor Pham's class got a little bit better of an idea what the ending paper was supposed to look like, whereas I felt I was on my own, trying to ask the professor and TA the right questions about what the final product was supposed to look like rather than having a legitimate step-by-step structure (we had an excerpt that told us what we were supposed to do, but even with that outline, I was lost). I guess it was because I didn't have any previous history in writing scientific papers. I was also annoyed that we were not able to take our papers/homework home with us. I understand why they were doing it, but still. We signed an honor code at the beginning of each exam. Isn't that enough for you?