This is a really interesting class content wise, and there is no homework or anything but the tests are SO HARD. I ended up PDFing it just because we cover so much material and the tests are unbelievably specific. Overall though I learned a lot, and Hart is a great professor.
A very interesting topic and manageable class; however, the emphasis on poor policy and lack of understanding of drugs amid even scientists themselves seemed to simply contribute to the hysteria he so ardently opposes. Takeaway from the class: nothing the media prints, no studies previously done on drugs are reliable and factual except his (even though in some cases only a handful of participants are studied). Every drug has predictable effects and so our basic understanding of drugs as a society is flawed. Just complete hysteria and exaggeration serves as the underlying current for the course and this to me went against the critical thinking he advocated so much for. With this said, lectures are engaging and the topic is interesting. He is also inspiring, as the light he shines on flawed policy and marginalization of minorities is extremely important and interesting. However, get ready to read his memoir and textbook written by his very own self and to regurgitate what is sad in lecture on the exams. For a professor who pretends he cares so much, he is unresponsive by email, which was disappointing. His celebrity status is important to him, in case you're curious.
WOW! His class is amazing and it really makes you realize that you know nothing about the true effects of drugs and the policies enforced. You will learn a lot from his class and the material will stay with you as the facts he says are extremely interesting. His classes are very interactive and interesting. He lectures from memory and from a power point presentation but does not post the lectures so you have to pay attention and write. He leaves each slide on the screen for a while and they aren't text heavy so it's very easy to listen and write at the same time. He requires a text book (that he wrote) and his autobiography. Might sound a bit pretentious but they are the best text out there on the subject without being bias. I rented both and ended up keeping them as I found them to be very interesting and helpful. Also, if you're planning on making this subject your career, knowing him will open many many doors. Plus, the videos he shows are hilarious and make strong statements. He uses Dave Chappelle and John Oliver. Take his class!!!
I loved this class! Even though lectures were at 8:40, I attended them all gladly because they were always super interesting. I thought Professor Hart was a great lecturer. If you're a psych major who isn't too interested in the brain/biology/neuroscience side of things (like me) then this is a great course too fulfill your neuroscience requirement because it isn't too heavy on that stuff. You will learn a lot and gain a lot of new perspective on drugs and drug use. However, I do have a couple of complaints... the tests were kind of ridiculous. He would give us these huge study guides and I would take hours going over all of the material on them, and then the test questions would come out of nowhere and I felt like I had wasted my time. I started working on the study guides at least a week in advance and studied for hours and got B's on all the tests. And I think B's were on the higher end of things....I saw a lot of grades in the 60s and 70s being passed back and one of my friends who also studied a lot consistently scored in the 70s. There isn't really a curve either, because I ended up with a B in the class. Second complaint is about the head TA Allison. I met with her to go over one of my tests and she was unbelievably rude and condescending to me. My friend had a similar experience. So if you want help in this class, definitely go to a different TA, even though she is kind of the one in charge.
I donâ€™t usually write reviews, but I felt a deep disgust in my stomach when reading the review below. The criticism against this class and the professor largely focuses on the â€˜boringâ€™ and â€˜stupidâ€™ materials taught in a â€˜severely anti-intellectual and mind-numbingly disorganizedâ€™ manner. But, this course did teach us about drug policies and pharmacokinetics. In fact, everything else taught was built upon these two major topics. Not only does Carl explain their effects on the public, but he also exposes us to the multiple methods in which the media and even researchers manipulate data to make any statement they want. Carl provides and inspires meticulous methods of reading research papers to demonstrate how the some conclusions made in the media such as the NY times are not demonstrated in the actual research, a problem which we need to be highly conscious of as thinkers. Carl integrates the â€˜easyâ€™ properties about drugs with the stupid politics of the real world to question our own deep-rooted biases against/for certain drugs. Therefore, people who believe this course is â€˜boringâ€™ and â€˜stupidâ€™ are either referring to the drug policies that exist today or to herself. But this course should not be criticized for making us more aware of our biases against drugs and aware of the 'stupid and boring' politics. Instead, this course should be praised for this enlightenment and the intellectual discourse concerning politics and drugs. Please remember that this course is not a chemistry or a biology course- this is a psychology course and its focus on politics is highly necessary to teach us the mental characteristics/attitude of a person/group. Politics exists in real world and plays a major role in psychology whether or not we like it.
For lack of a better word, this class was bad. By that I mean it was severely anti-intellectual and mind-numbingly disorganized. Professor Hart is a nice guy, but he doesn't know how to teach at all. His textbook (which he co-authored) is written for fifth graders, and his lectures are boring at best and stupid at worst. For a topic that is so inherently fascinating and a class that has so much potential, this class pretty much peed and pooped on it. I came into it being excited about learning drug policy and pharmacokinetics, and I left it feeling a deep disgust in my stomach that a class like this could count as an upper level psychology-elective. A study guide is handed out before every exam, and at the review sessions people pretty much ask the TAs for answers to the exam. This is pretty insulting for people who are actually interested in learning about this stuff and forming their own opinions on things. ALSO, his exams ask the most obscure dates and facts about people that has nothing to do with what we learned. Basically, this class doesn't teach you to think critically AT ALL, but merely to write down every word from his lecture and regurgitate it on the exam. Pretty disgusting if you ask me. But if you're looking for an easy breezy class where all you have to do is memorize, this class is for you. But it's not what I wanted out of my Columbia education. He also doesn't respond to emails ever. Just FYI. I regret taking this class.
Professor Hart is a great lecturer and has a great sense of humor. I loved the class when he lectured, but the TAs and guest lecturers were not nearly as good. The exams were not difficult if you studied for them and know how to take a multiple choice test, and the pop quizzes are basically free points to help you boost your grade. This class isn't easy by any means but it is really interesting and not too challenging if you put in the necessary effort.
This is by far the worst and most frustrating class at Columbia. Have low expectations.I also feel dishonest writing the Hart is the professor because he teaches half the lectures, doesn't respond to emails, doesn't post slides when he says he will, and creates exams that don't cover the material learned in class and focus on random details or %s from the book. Don't be fooled by sitting in on the class on the first day it is nothing like that!!
It is not hard to do well in this class. Like the previous reviewer said: read the book, go to class, study your notes, etc. I did just that and got an A. However, this is still hands-down the most disappointing academic experience I have had at Columbia. To begin with, Professor Hart is a total jerk. He is unbelievably pompous and condescending, both to his students (well, only to the ones who say something that goes against his ridiculously biased political views), TAs, and even guest lecturers. He only lectured about half the time, and the times he wasn't lecturing he was either completely absent, without telling his class, or sleeping in the back, awaking only to snap angrily at the poor TA. All in all, he is the most unprofessional faculty member I have encountered. He is also clearly only interested in politics, not psychology. Which brings me to my next point: THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE CLASS! It shouldn't fulfill the science requirement, shouldn't be in the psychology department, and It DEFINITELY shouldn't be a 2400-level class, since "neurobiology" is only mentioned as an aside and at a level that middle schoolers could understand. Hart includes big "scary" science words on his slides, but I saw right through it! He spends about 90% of the class time talking about social aspects of drug use, but this isn't a social psych class. I didn't pay to hear him preach about how misunderstood meth is, and I certainly didn't pay to hear the lawyer (not scientist) who fights for the rights of pregnant drug-users preach about the evil government.
I don't usually comment here, but the below comment was pretty misleading. If you do the reading, attend every lecture and review your collective notes you will get a solid A. Each exam is worth 100 points and he gives you 30 points off the bat by telling you what the essay questions will be and then allowing you to write them out and have them reviewed by the TAs (who do all the grading) beforehand. As for the bias: Professor Hart never encouraged illicit drug use. The course was based on reducing the harm of drug use in society and among individuals. Because this inherently involves exposing and collapsing some established social constructions and attitudes about drug users, Professor Hart's message might sound polemical. This, however, is a vulgar reduction of what was actually presented. Had the previous commenter gone to class and done the reading more often, he/she would have known this. (They also would have gotten a better grade, and wouldn't have felt the need to sh*t all over the class here.) I'm a junior political science major used to getting A's and I got an A in this class by showing up and doing the reading. Great class for the science req. Absolutely recommend it.
Hart emphasizes the need for students to be critical of what they read and hear and so I'll be most critical of his class. This is probably the most hyped up class in the psychology department and it only took me 2 class periods to realize the hype was unmerited. Not only was it unmerited, but it seemed to be due to the opinions of the tons of drones Hart seems to appeal to in his lectures. Hart is strongly against many of the drug policies of the government and how many of us view drugs. I didn't expect this to be a sociology class but this is what the class began as and I was slightly disappointed by the one sided opinions against drug policies and regulation that Hart emphasized. Even the TAs commented at points in their exam reviews that what Hart was looking for is for the students to agree with his opinions in their exam essays. Afterall, Hart presents hardly enough information supporting the positive aspects of current drug regulation or drug views for you to write an essay about them. Truthfully -- I can stand hearing biased opinions from professors all day long (after all, I do go to a Liberal Arts college), but what really got to me was the fact that everyone seemed to think Hart was this awesome lecturer. Truth be told - Hart did not end up lecturing, I would make an educated guess of, 60% of his classes. THIS IS INCLUDING BOTH THE FIRST AND LAST CLASSES. I can understand if he was busy, but the last class he even sat in the back of the lecture hall while the TA lectured us. Yes, when the TA missed something Hart would correct him. My question is: why didnt Hart just get up and lecture us himself........afterall, this was the last class and he did write the textbook we all were required to read. Furthermore, I didn't sign up for this class to here TAs and a bunch of guest lecturers lecture me about drug use. I want a tenured professor whose job it is to do that for me - I don't think thats asking too much. No I won't make any dispositional comments about Hart here, I'll leave that up to the viewers of this review. Other than that, Hart would also give surprise quizzes, making us attend each and every one of his lectures. Two of these quizzes were dropped so that was one of the saving graces of the class. I was initially fine with this pop quiz idea...it even allowed me to stay on top of the reading for most of the class. What I didn't like was the absolute absurd times he would give the quizzes: The day before Thanksgiving (most of the class was not present), the class after a midterm (seriously, give the class a break). His tests were not too hard, just remember to write the essays out beforehand (and make sure to fill them with evidence he gives you supporting his views!). The review sheets were good for some of the multiple choice and yet much of the multiple choice was from completely random lines of the text you had to be lucky to remember. Be on top of all the reading and you should be fine. In conclusion, I appeal to you potential Sci requirement fulfiller/ Psychology Major/ Concentrator: Don't take this class if you value yourself as a critical thinker. You will only become frustrated by each successive class period where an opinion of drugs is hammered into your head till you can't decide between which illicit drug you should try first (for the sake of making rational drug choices only, of course).
Carl Hart is certainly the worst and most pompous excuse for a professor I have yet to encounter at Columbia. The only reason people don't slam him is because he comes across with his "screw the government, drugs are awesome" message laden throughout the readings and his lectures. He is obsessed with meth as it is his area of study so do not even dream of mentioning on an exam that meth is a bad drug. A TA has directly told one of my classmates that they are not looking for your answer, they want Carl's answer. Despite the interest level of the material itself, I truly regret taking it. It is blatantly obvious that Prof Hart simply does not care about his students and at most did half the lectures himself. Firstly he has a policy about not replying to student emails which is absurd. He also designs study guides that plainly do not correlate to the material on the exam which is a dirty trick. The only upside is that he does tell you which essays may appear on the exams but you are still screwed for the multiple choice and short answer. He also has a heinous high school policy of pop quizzes which are mainly done to ensure attendance. Although he says he drops the 2 lowest grades, he schedules the quizzes at terrible times. For example, one was the day before thanksgiving break when people are on their way home and another was the class after our second midterm. Who does that? Only a prick.
Attend lectures. The pop quizzes occur at random dates. Also, take clear notes, since some information he provides will be covered in the exams. He likes to often stage a seminar-esq discussion among students. Questions like, "What is the best form of heroin treatment?" will be covered. Despite this being a large class, the practice rarely becomes awkward. The class covers both legal, social and (primarily) biological material. The multidisclipinary approach makes this a good choice for those completing a science requirement. It is obvious he supports reform of drug policy (usually some form of decriminalization). Since the readings often reflect this, and only information covered by the syllabus can be used in the exams, opponents to his view may be frustrated. But he is perhaps the most intellectually honest professor I have had at Columbia. If he makes a claim about the effect a drug has on the body, he will show us how well it is supported by existing research. If a student asks a question, and he doesn't know the answer, he won't be bashful about admitting it. He will say if a particular claim isn't well supported by data. Do the readings sooner than later. A lot of different drugs and neruotransmitters, etc, are covered in the textbook. Exams are all about memorization, so review often. My grade suffered because, at first, I didn't respect the difficulty of the subject matter.
Prof. Hart is a very admirable guy, because he is a successful academic and he advocates beliefs of his (about drugs) that don't neccesarily reflect those of the institution etc. He's a pretty good lecturer so his 9am lecture isn't too bad (oh, and there are surprise quizzes too). If you keep up with the lectures (take notes), reading and do the essays for the exam (given before hand) you'll get a the ave. grade, a B (his review sheets for tests are pretty good too). The only bad thing I have to say about this class is that it started to annoy me, so I started to resent it. About half way into the semester I felt like I was being spoon-fed information about the benefits of society would enjoy if we would just accept drug use. It's a good class, just try not to think too much.
The worst class ever!! If you're not a PSYC major, don't bother taking the class (all my colleagues in my major + others did horrible when it came to final grades B- and lower). I did all the required readings, journal entries, aced the presentation, and still wasn't appreciated. What a Loser!! Oh well, we all live life to learn, good luck to all!!
What a great professor Dr. Hart is! His lectures are always interesting due to both the subject matter and his charisma. This class is not difficult to do well in, you just have to attend every lecture and read the very easy, short readings. He has a couple of guest lecturers come in and speak throughout the semester, which breaks up the class nicely. Yes the class is held early in the morning (9:10 AM) and the pop quizzes can be annoying. However, the pop quizzes are a 'gift' to those students who do the work because they are very easy questions. If you need a science requirement or if you are a psychology major and need a neuroscience requirement, I highly reccommend this course.
I was very enthusiastic when I first started this class. He's a young professor, the subject material appeared to be pretty interesting, and it seemed as though he had chosen to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the class, in which we examined various subtopics from both a cultural and more scientific angle (or about as "scientific" as this class got). However, my enthusiasm considerably waned as the semester progressed. Carl Hart reads his lectures off the lecture slides--often making grammatical and spelling errors galore--and was one-sided to the tee, as some other reviewers have pointed out. In an effort to expel common drug myths and appear fair and liberal-minded, he adopted the other extreme; I half expected him to bring a joint or two to class to pass around. He did not bother, for instance, to even briefly mention the potential destructive effects of drug addiction on the family and individual--to do so would be to brand drugs as "evil", which he made clear was stupid and foolish. He often spent an inordinate time on scientific studies that were far from fascinating, and never offered satisfying responses to questions posed by students. I actually found some of the guest speakers he invited to speak to be more compelling and informative than he. All in all, I don't think that Carl Hart's class was bad, persay, I just simply expected more. Hart may initially seem like the hidden gem of Columbia, but this "hidden gem" has a lot to work on.
I think the previous reviewer didn't realize that Prof. Hart likes to joke. I studied from the review sheets for both midterms and did very well. And if a professor realizes he doesn't have the time to complete every single chapter in the textbook, shouldn't he focus more on what would be more interesting for his students? THis class is great. The material is really interesting, and Prof. Hart is a great person to be teaching this course. You have to (gasp) study for the exams but if you do they are actually really easy.
The only reason everyone thinks this guy is "amazing" and that this is "the best class ever" is because he's totally pro- drugs and alcohol. In the lecture on alcohol, he spent 20 minutes discussing the benefits of alochol consuption, whereas the discussion on alcohol poisoning consisted of--i kid you not--a clip from the Simpsons. That's it. It was a complete joke, when that should have been a much larger focus of the lecture since college students certainly drink enough to risk alcohol poisoning! It's a completely biased class. I feel like the kids in the class who were actually on the drugs we talked about did better than the kids who had to study.
I currently have this professor. For the first exam he gave us a four page list of things we needed to read about, then said "if you know everything this list calls for really really well, you will get a c". Our second exam is this coming Wednesday. Two days ago we were, as per usual, supposed to go over the latest chapter of the textbook - a chapter which we will be tested on in the exam Wednesday - but he decided that "Over the counter drugs....uh... it's fascinating, but in recent years, I've become bored with it". So he decided not to lecture on it. I think that pretty much sums him up.
Carl Hart, what a guy. I took drugs and behavior with Prof. Hart last semester and thought he was interesting and a decent professor, but in this smaller seminar I really got to know him. In the typical seminar-style, much of the class is student discussion, so Hart doesn't exactly teach, per se, but rather encourages a certain type of thinking. The atmosphere is very personal and Hart knows everyone's name. Class is 2 hours but really flies by. Just a fun time. The class focuses on a different drug every year, so it's fun to learn about a single substances really in depth. Although, if you think you'll be bored by reading about rats every week, don't take it...because that's the majority of the reading. Yet, the discussion in class is interesting enough to make up for any boring-ness of the readings.
Carl Hart is the man. Drugs and Behavior is a joke. It is interesting stuff, but the whole class is essentially anti-drug war propaganda. If you can make it to the 9:10 class, you'll stay awake through it, just dont expect to learn much more than the pros and cons of different preperations of marijuana.
I'm only writing this review because I saw the most recent post and I disagree. Not completely, because I can see where the reviewer's point is coming from, but at the end of every class Hart does emphasize that ultimately we should just be more wary of all the information we hear. I never, ever felt like I was getting fed propaganda and anyway, his opinions are only expressed in the first third of the semester, then afterwards we got into dealing with different classes of drugs specifically. Good class, great professor - 9am class but surprisingly I didn't miss a single one... and believe me, I've missed a lot of classes throughout these years.
Those who think this is a hard course must have been smoking up before the tests. A lot. This is an easy course. Read the book. The tests are multiple choice and you get the essays ahead of time. Come on. And there's actually not that much science involved - dopamine has to do with a lot of things. That's pretty much the extent of it. At first, I thought I found the perfect easy/semi-interesting class to fulfill the science requirement. For example, I learned about some disturbingly racist drug policies and media trends. But then I began to realize that I was getting an entirely one-sided perspective, and it bothered me. Whenever we learned about a study that proved something negative about a certain drug, we would go through it and critique all the methodology. We never did this for studies that proved a certain drug was not all that bad. I felt like Prof. Hart thought if he presented too much negative information about drugs, we might think they were "evil." But a more balanced perspective could only have helped him make stronger arguments. Instead, I felt like I was being fed propaganda. And I had nowhere else to turn, since Prof. Hart also wrote the textbook. This sums up the class: On one of the quizzes, he asked us to give two reasons for or against medicinal marijuana. He claimed we could argue either way. But since he only presented one reason that could be used to argue against medicinal marijuana, how could we present two? Don't get me wrong, I support medicinal marijuana. All I'm saying is, don't pretend you're giving us a balanced view when you're not. Some people have said that they feel confident getting in discussions with peers about drugs. I do too, but only in the sense that I can regurgitate the information I learned in class. I don't feel confident, however, that this information is correct or comprehensive. Prof. Hart is young and enthusiastic and this is all that made the class bearable for me.
Absolutely inspiring class. I'm biased. I have a huge interest in drugs, but before this class I was only moderately concerned about drug policy. Carl made claims that many would consider radical regarding the War on Drugs, but these claims are not radical at all if you talk to people and family members influenced by the drug war, listen to experts (such as Prof. Hart), analyze the data, listen to people's concerns about the policy. Hart was not militant in his approach, but rather facilitated honest discussions, putting aside all of the rage that can be summoned by thoughts of a million in jail for getting high and understanding that it takes care to change people's ideas. I feel that this class is very important and that, if you find the subject interesting, you will inevitably dig deep into the social issues and be confident in arguing the subject with others who have little knowledge. The psychology aspect was also interesting. I wish that we had been able to cover the section on hallucinogens which is always fun. Hart stresses evidence, which is great concerning so many of the governments decisions are based on no/faulty evidence, however it sort of cuts away at the mystique of drug use which is one important factor for drug use. I'm partial to mystique, so i guess i had it coming. Take this class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll be shocked about how much you thought you knew you were in fact wrong about, and how strong an influence the WOD has on individuals, society, economy... The few times i overslept the class I kicked myself in the ass- I looked forward to it that much,
Requires both copious memorization and actual understanding of the material-- interesting to some, certainly, but don't take this just to fill the science requirement. That's what I did, and my GPA does not thank me for it.
TAKE THIS CLASS! It's one of the most interesting classes I've taken at Columbia. As an English major who hates the science requirement more than life itself, I can't explain how much I enjoyed this class. Dr. Hart is great, his lectures are clear, concise, and easily relatable. This class is definately NOT an easy A (especially for non science majors), but with some work, you can pull off a B. If you're overly concerned about your gpa, this class is tricky but it's extremely rewarding and possibly worth the risk. I would highly recommend this class for people who want to avoid intensely sciencific classes. It's more socially/culturally oriented. You will learn so much.
Carl Hart is one of Columbia's hidden gems. I don't know where to begin praising him...he's an incredibly intelligent, articulate professor who peels away all the BS associated with drugs, giving you (no pun intended) the straight dope. It's science, history, and sociology in one class. You'll learn about how some drugs (and drug users) have been unfairly demonized by the government in particular. He works at the NY State Psychiatric Institute, so he knows all of this from first-hand experience. Yes, the tests can be deceptively hard, but don't worry about the pop quizzes because most of them were open-note anyway. Furthermore, Professor Hart is just a genuinely nice person. He makes himself very available outside class, and will discuss just about anything with you. He tolerates all sorts of questions in class, and while sometimes that may be annoying if the students just want to hear themselves talk, it's great to know that he cares enough to hear students' concerns and straighten out their misconceptions. This is a great class to take to fulfill your CC science requirement. Maybe not an easy A, but you'll learn loads. Even at 9 AM, he had the ability to hold my attention. I wish I had professors like him in every class...I would learn a whole lot more than I currently am.
Hm, well I am not at all surprised that people so far either like him or hate him. You will hate him if 1. You think you're going to get an A in the class 2. You think you know more about drugs than him 3. You like classes that you don't have to attend the lectures or 4. You hate assclowns (people who like to hear themselves talk during large lecture classes). If any of the 4 describe you, then don't take this course. This course integrates neuroscience, psychology and sociology in a fascinating way. Yes, you must attend class. Most of the exams are based on his lectures. Don't be full of yourself when learning the material though. It's harder then it looks, and his points are subtle, but well thought out. If you go and copy his powerpoints word for word, then you may have a hard time reviewing them because they don't explain every detail - you need to add in stuff he says in class when he explains his powerpoints. So yeah, he expects you to listen to him, and no, its really not that unreasonable. People who think they had to memorize the text didn't go to class and didn't realize that the study guide for each exam pretty much tells you what sections of each chapter you should read. Once again, not a science class really, but not a sociology class either. Its just a class about drugs. Many people think he has ulterior motives when teaching - and that's true. But what professor doesn't? I tend to think that because he teaches about drugs, which has a lot of misperceptions and stereotypes that other people have a hard time getting rid of, people tend to get all angry and up in arms about what he suggests or says. He likes it when you question studies or argue with him, even if it pisses off the rest of the class (i personally think it makes the class entertaining and stimulating). He's also funny and engaging. He has the personality of a 20 year old, but he's about 20x as smart.
I want to say this was one of the best courses I have had at Columbia and I am appalled by the amount of negative reviews of this professor. Professor Hart was one of the best lecturers I have ever had. I am not a morning person by any means and I looked forward to every lecture, they were always interesting, and he found a way to make them all fun. I think the majority of people don't like the course because few people got As- 28%. Yes the course requires some work, but no one should graduate with a degree from this school without actually doing anything. The work you will do is interesting and relevant. The quizzes are a fairly easy way to boost your grade and it forces you to keep up with the reading. The textbook isnt the greatest, but Prof Hart makes up for what it lacks. I think the most off target review Ive read is someone saying that the two countries involved in the opium wars is irrelevant to anything in this course. On the contrary one of the major themes in this course was how political decisions have colored the way we approach all drugs in this country. All in All, Very interesting class with one of the coolest professors you will ever have the priviledge of taking a course with.
Wa, wa, wa! Columbia students only know how to complain! And what are you even complaining about in this case, anyway? That it was too easy? That it was too much regurgitation? Give me a break! It was exactly both of those things, and that's why it was great. Although 9 am can suck in general, Carl Hart always found a way to make his lectures interesting. If you're complaining about having to go to class (because of the pop quizzes) then too bad, you should be going to class anyway. You definitely did not have to memorize the book for this class at all, just do and memorize the STUDY GUIDES and you will be fine. This class was easily one of the best classes I took last semester. A great way to finish the core.
To sum right before the final Hart stood in front of the class and said "as long as you studied the study guide you will be fine on the final" alas the final bore no relation to the study guide. This class is good only for those willing to read and memorize every single stupid fact in the textbook and who are willing to attend every lecture as prof hart is known to ask such questions as "what was the name of hte article that I handed out in class?"
A GREAT CLASS!! I recommend it to anyone! It was the best course that I have taken at Columbia. Professor Hart is also one of the best instructors I've had. The class is fun and I learned a lot. It is relatively easy to do very well, just study and attend the lectures.
Despite the 9:00 start, Professor Hart's lectures were always fun and interesting. He taught us a lot of material but did it in a way that was fun (Sienfeld clips flawlessly weaved into his powerpoint presentations, etc.). The three tests he gave were very fair because he gave us study guides for each one. The weekly quizes were fair too, if you did the reading. Most of the other reviews for Professor Hart were negative, which was suprising because most students seemed to really like him. For instance, on the last day of class the whole class (100+ students) gave him a standing ovation, which is something I have never seen at Columbia. Bottom line, take this class or anything Professor Hart teaches!
I must disagree with the other reviews of Dr. Hart and his Drugs and Behavior course. This class was extremely interesting, fun and was also one of the best classes I've ever taken at Columbia. Furthermore, Dr. Hart is one of the best and most knowledgeable professors I have had the privilege of having at Columbia. The workload is fair and he gives review sheets for each test, which are very helpful. I studied them hard and received no lower than an A on all of the exams. There are also weekly quizes that insure students will go to class, which seemed to bother the other reviewers--which makes no sense to me because you are supposed to go to class. At least, that's why I'm here. Anyway, the other reviewers seemed to be attacking Dr. Hart on a personal level and their comments seemed to be aggressive and spiteful. I imagine because they did not go to class, did not study enough and therefore earned bad grades. I recommend this class and Dr. Hart to anyone.
STAY AWAY FROM THIS CLASS. Despite having attended every class, reading the entire book and completing every so called "comprehensive study guide", I still managed to received the lowest grade I have ever received in my two years here. Prof. Hart's explainations are unclear and he expects the students to memorize useless facts (such as;' Between which two countries was the Opium War?' I mean, is this a history class or a psychology class???) If you enjoy memorizing text books, have fun in this class but make sure to attend every lecture. The annoying daily quizzes basically have no impact on your final grade and have turned out to be a huge waste of time. Prepare to learn nothing about psychology or drug use and behavior and receive a crappy grade in the end.
I didn't enjoy this course at all. Professor Hart is a horrible lecturer and his respose to every question asked by the students was "thats a good question" even if the question was as inept as the color of the sky. Most of the time he would never answer the student's questions. Why? Who knows. He claimed his review sheets covered 70-80% of the exams, which was not the case at all. It was more like 30-40%. As said by another post, the reading material was written for a tenth grader. Only reason we were reading it was b/c Hart was plugging his old Profs he studied under. Nobody should be forced to go to class in college, we are not in high school and Hart did this by giving pop quizzes. With the pop quizzes, the meaningless review sheets, Prof. Harts Highschool like teaching abilities, and his retarded test questions I felt like I was reliving 9th grade again. I am emarrased to say this class was part of the Columbia curriculum.
Carl Hart's class has a decent level of entertainment value, but he's a pretty terrible teacher. His explanations aren't that clear, he mispronounces key words, and his tests and quizzes tend to be worded pretty awkwardly. The material is interesting, and the text is user friendly, but Professor Hart likes to contradict the book in class and expects you to understand him-- easier said than done. Really the whole science requirement is a waste of time, if you're thinking of taking this class to fulfill it, be smart and go to brasil or the dr instead.
I have to second the first review of this class. (1) The book was very babyishÂ— a lot of material you aren't going to be tested on written in a moralistic tone (2) The tests are multiple choice tests made up by Dr. Hart and have some very arbitrary questions on them. I went to every 9 a.m. class and still had trouble with them, though I wound up with a good grade in the class (3) The material is presented with a very real biasÂ…medical marijuana is goodÂ…there are too many people in jail on drug-related charges. On a positive note, Dr. Hart did provide review sheets for the midterms and final. These were helpful but by no means comprehensive, and you really need to study your notes very closely and pay attention in class to do well. I also thought Dr. Hart's lectures were well-organized and clear. His power point slides did not have tons of information on them and he went at a good pace. Finally, Dr. Hart did try to make the class entertaining. He showed several videos and film clips that made the material more real. Overall, I would say that if you are prepared to go to every class and study inane details for tests, you'll do fine.
Let's begin with the exam guides. Before both of the midterms and the final, students are given a list of topics discussed either in Mr. Hart's dazzling lectures (which are read verbatim from powerpoint slides: "Corrective actions to deviant behavior are sometimes informal (joking, shunning, communicating displeasure) or formal (civil penalties, criminal justice system, treatment/rehab)," abundant misspellings and grammatical errors ommitted) or from a text intent on speaking to you as though you're pals at a NORML rally. While the questions included in these guides do admittedly inspire reflection ("Know the eight states that have laws protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail, and understand how this is accomplished"), what I realized as I looked around at the other twenty six people sitting around me in the Butler lounge passionately reviewing the exact same answers to the exact same questions the night before the final was that my job was not to grasp the concepts I had learned over the course of the semester, never mind to think critically about drug issues, but to demonstrate that I could listen, nod, and know a few useless facts like the back of my hand. As if to engineer some measure of justice into the equation, the five questions on the exam that were not going to be drawn from the study guide would be the ones that some of us would miss and others would get right, and it would be these that determined the difference between the mediocre and the great student in this class. I would like to give Professor Hart the benefit of the doubt in this matter, in that he is probably trying to make things easier for students by providing a study guide but drawing from it, but, alas, the truth is that studying for the exam is excruciatingly hard in that one must know every detail of EVERY ANSWER from the guide (a challenging task insofar as it competes with reading a technical manual for eight hours straight) and that one must hope to luck out on the few questions that we didn't see coming from a mile away. I mean, essay topics were distributed in advance and entire essays (no more than a page in length, which might give you an idea of the maximal depth in thought allowed by the course) were memorized beforehand. Did the professor or any of the T.A.'s ever stop to consider simply giving a test without -gasp!- a rattle and pacifier, or, better yet, requiring an investigative paper? In truth, I don't think that Mr. Hart ever paused to think critically about this study guide situation or teaching actual concepts or even about his area of expertise, save to confirm academia's supremely irritating notions about drugs which were shoved down our throats every Tuesday and Thursday and during nightly readings: illicit drugs do not cause problems in modern society, our current drug laws are founded on every politician's conviction that every African-American male deserves to go to jail, and heroin users are wholly innocent victims of the trauma that is life. I might admit that my criticism is a little harsh, save for the fact that there seemed to be a substantial proportion of students sitting at every class (which we were required to attend thanks to coercive methods, i.e. quizzes) who actually ate up this philosophy without pausing to inspect it, but who, at the same time, were given no opportunity to demonstrate that they had ever had an original thought in their lives anyways. The text is written for a teenager, the quantity of facts and absence of analysis is insulting, and the conclusions reached are absolutely inane. "Accurately defining the types of drug use that concern us facilitates precise communication and helps to ensure that appropriate interventions are implemented"? No sh*t, Sherlock. In short, if you came to this institution to conduct any form of insightful analysis or edifying scholarship, stay away, but if you're at Columbia to tell your friends that THC takes 5 to 8 seconds to reach the brain from the lungs as you pack your third bowl, you'll probably fit right in.
I disagree. Drugs and Behavior was easily my favorite class. Although it could get annoying when he allowed questions - c'mon, its a 100+ lecture class and at 9:30 in the morning NO ONE asks reasonable questions - he presented the lectures in a well-articulated lesson. Yes, he basically reads off his powerpoint, but I thought it was helpful in taking notes - and he does allow enough time to jot down everything from a given slide. Pop quizzes personally kept me on track, and I think that its a positive reinforcement for you to go to class. As far as those really odd questions pertaining to lectures... once again I think that its just another reason to go to class - after all, you're here to learn, not just to download notes off Courseworks. The big benefit which has not been mentioned is that Hart doesn't only stick with psychology (although a good amount of each lecture focuses on neuroscience) but he also looks at sociology and history in his lectures. Great class, lots of fun, its a Must-Take, regardless of your major.
I did not enjoy this course. Each class Prof. Hart presents his entire lectures using power point slides. He doesn't make the slides available afterwards, so you have to copy them down word for word. And really, there's nothing much else to do because he just reads them aloud, usually twice, without adding much to his presentation. He gives weekly two question quizzes, the purpose of which is simple to force you to attend class. Reminiscent of high school? Then on the tests, he further punishes those who don't attend and rewards those who do by asking several questions that test ONLY whether you were in class, not whether you have a good grasp of the material. Some of the questions were only a step away from, "What color socks was the man in the video wearing?" I didn't think he did a good job of answering questions in class. Sometimes he would act irritated that people had questions, or just sort of restate the question asked, or say that it was a good question, but never actually address the question at hand. The textbook was geared towards a younger reader and really didn't seem like the appropriate choice for a level 2000 college psych course. I think that this course could have been really good, and maybe it will be in the future. Perhaps as Dr. Hart comes to feel more comfortable lecturing (after all, this was his first time teaching this course), he won't have to rely so much on his prepared power point slides and he will be more confident in fielding questions. The class would be good if his lectures were more spontaneous, and he used a different textbook or at least incorporated other readings (we did have a couple primary source readings, but the bulk of the assigned reading came from the textbook), and did away with the his high-school-esque attitude that it's necessary to use coercive measures to get students to attend class. I was disappointed with this class; however, some of my classmates seemed to enjoy it, so I don't know if your experience will be similiar to mine.
Professor Hart has not taught an undergraduate course at Columbia and this semester (Fall '03) will be his first. However, I happen to know him and some things about the course as I am one of the TAs. He is a relatively young guy and is very energetic and excited about teaching. He has said that he wants the class to be lots of fun, but he also stresses that you should not come to class expecting to talk about how much you smoke or your own drug histories. This class has not been taught at Columbia for some time, if ever. And I think it promises to be a good one.