professor
Travis Riddle

Dec 2013

Hakwan is on his way to another University, but I figured I would leave a review anyway. This class had plenty of pros and cons. In the spirt of actually conveying useful information, I will do my best to do justice to both. For full disclosure, I am currently averaging and hoping to retain a B+. General: No text book. Every week there is a quiz on an assigned scientific paper. There are optional papers that are not necessary but immensely helpful. 3 exams A few guest lectures. Decent lecture notes are uploaded just before class so you can follow along. Positive: As many people have pointed out, Hakwan is obviously brilliant. It is especially clear when the lecture focuses on topics that he is personally involved in. There is no text book. You only read relevant scientific papers. The 10 quizzes are split in to two "grades". Only the top 2 from the first half and the top 2 from the second half are counted. There is a review session for every exam and mock exam questions are provided. Travis was a super helpful TA. He helped review quizzes, explained complex ideas clearly, and was easy to get in touch with for help. (I find the previous review to be completely unfair. Especially because it was left after 2 weeks of class.) Exams were scaled. A bit. Good/Bad: Guest lectures. The guests were excellent researchers doing interesting things. However, their lectures are technical, do not come with notes, and are included on the exam. Very interesting, but also hard to retain and study from. There isn't actually all that much lecturing by Hakwan. Half of Mondays are consumed by quizzes. Review sessions happen during class time. Throw in two guest lectures and the final being on the last day of class, and the total number of hour lectured by Hakwan himself, are pretty low. You may find this good or bad. Negative: The exams are hard. Probably the hardest exams I have ever taken. He will tell you this upfront. Even with the study guide and mock exams, they are still really hard. The papers are pretty complex. Most of them at least. The class will certainly teach you how to read and critique scientific papers, but mostly by way of sheer volume mixed with trial and error. Hakwan is a brilliant researcher. He is a mediocre lecturer. (and would probably admit it if you asked him) He gets the job done. The lecture notes help. In summary, I would say that this class is structured a bit more like a scaled up seminar than a regular undergrad class. It is hard, but manageable. The resources are there if you exploit them. If you are looking for an easy A, look elsewhere. If you are interested in, or think you might be interested in, learning about attention and perception from a world class researcher with a good TA to pick up the slack, it's a good class.