Nita Kang

Jul 2006

PLUSES: The content was pretty engaging. The very readable and study-friendly textbook contained nearly all the material for the course. The instructor summarized each chapter well and presented the summaries via Power Point; these were well put together and a good study tool as well as a handy reference for the future. The instructor was pleasant (if slightly smug) and made an effort to have in-class activities to help us learn certain concepts and for review. The paper (30%) was a good test of how well we learned various theories and can apply them to a clinical subject. MINUSES: Working like a fiend MIGHT get you a high B/low A. Attendance (10%): Since 95% of the material covered in class could be learned just by reading the book and the lectures were posted on Courseworks, the 3hr mandatory lectures were sort of a drain on reading/study time and often did not enhance understanding of the material. (For those who choose not to read the book, just go to class and you'll learn most of what you need, but the picky details required on tests are NOT in the PowerPoints.) The instructor explained some things very well but on the other hand was often hesitant about the examples she gave and did not seem confident about her understanding of some of the theories she covered. ***Certain students seemed to think that droning on and on with time-consuming and irrelevant comments would improve their attendance grade - there was NO time for this in a packed summer course with a lot of material to cover. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS!*** Presentation of article (10%): Should be worth more since most people spent quite a bit of time on it and a short paper is required along with the presentation. Final paper (30%): 15-18pp. A good assignment and one of the more enjoyable papers one can write, but we just barely learned some of the material that had to be discussed in the paper a few days before the paper was due. [Another option would be a shorter paper due earlier and only a test on the rest of the material.] Tests (1st 15%, 2nd 15%, 3rd 20%): The tests seemed designed to find out what we DIDN'T learn (picky and often irrelevant details) rather than to elicit what we DID learn (the main ideas of each personality theory - it is a 2000 level course, not a 4000). The instructor requested feedback about the tests and the class overall but did not quite implement the feedback until compiling the slightly more relevant but still tricky & picky third test. She had to add 11 points to every test score on all 3 tests to get most of the scores into the A-D range! Otherwise there would have been no or few A's on tests at all, it seems, and there were some very hard-working students in the class (along with a some who read magazines or IM'd most of the time). The tests should really be based on what was covered and designed to emphasize important ideas; if something only rates 1 sentence in the book, it should not be on the test. Since a lot of points needed to be added to bring test scores into the A-D range in a 2000 level class, the tests and/or the focus of lectures should be improved/changed significantly. A one-point extra-credit assignment is not enough to make up for the bad fit of the tests to the material.

Jun 2006

I must agree with the review that has been posted (all except the class title and number of tests). This professor is listed as Jan Kang and Nita Kang. Anything you learn in this class will be negated by the frustrating test experiences and average-busting grades. The professor merely reads from power points that are available on courseworks, so the only reason to go to class is the attendance sheet that has to be signed by every student. If you want to take this class, wait for a semester when Professor Mischel is teaching it. Even though the test grades are curved with a curve that would strike out Babe Ruth, more than half of the class could walk away with a C. This Professor pretends to care what students think, she sent out an email asking us for our thoughts on the class - but only after she told us why she thought the class was good and why her tests were more than fair.

Jun 2006

The Good: Professor Kang is extremely well organized. Her power point presentations are comprehensive and parts of her lectures are easy to follow. The text book is interesting and an easy read. Kang seems nice and approachable. The Bad: There is way too much information presented in this course. Sometimes the professor does not even have time to complete her own lectures resulting in marathon speed lecturing during the second half of class. The Ugly: Tests can only be prepared for by massive rote memorization of factoids. Kang is one of the pickiest graders I have ever seen (think TA with inferiority complex). If this were one of my first psychology courses I would be turned off to psychology forever. If this was my first experience with a class at Columbia, I would be turned off to the University forever.