James Erickson

Jun 2003

I slept through every class, didn't read the textbook, learned little to no genetics, and still got an A in the class. Really, Erickson is boring, and the fact that this class is taught on Tuesday/Thursday night didn't help much either. There were no graded problem sets, so the workload was fairly light. Tests not too bad either, and I managed to do well on all of them. BUT, if you want to actually learn genetics, find yourself another class, or at least I hope you're a hell of alot more motivated than I am.

Jun 2002

Honestly, this course sucked unless you were a good little student and did your genetics every night. I came to this course as a senior, and so I had a good amount of previous knowledge from my other bio courses. But the material was explained so badly, and important concepts glossed over so quickly that it was a nightmare. Add to it the unavoidable stupor that comes with listening to incomprehensible gibberish, and you are a strong, courageous soul if you manage to keep awake. Of course, I noticed that all the nerdy-types in the class who understood the material enough to ask intelligent questions had no problem staying awake and would even whisper to themselves the answers to the professor's rhetorical questions. It was obvious that these were the students who actually did the optional (but highly recommended) questions at the back of each chapter. All in all, the only reason I mention these things is to give some of you hope. Although I barely studied for this class, and got the mean on each midterm, somehow the curve gave me an A after the final. In any case, don't take Chalfie's version of Genetics. Erickson is much more approachable (although his answers to your questions will probably leave you just as confused anyway).

May 2002

Fairly organized lectures. class gets progressively more difficult. this is not a class for non science non biologists. class attendance is a must to understand the exams.

Nov 2001

I tried to convince myself that I loved this class, until, half-way through the semester, I realized that I had NO idea what was going on. Erickson is a really nice guy and is fairly organized with his lectures, but unless you have an extensive genetics background, prepare to feel very lost after the first midterm. Although there is a textbook (a really great one, actually), his lectures don't follow it, and often contain material not found in the textbook (ie if you don't understand it from the lecture -- and you won't! -- you're screwed). The exams don't really correspond to the lectures, practice problems, or text, leaving you wondering what exactly it is that you should study.