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Any good BSCI 1510/L profs to recommend for fall 2017?

TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
^ See title. thanks.
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Replies to: Any good BSCI 1510/L profs to recommend for fall 2017?

  • fdgjfgfdgjfg 440 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 475 Member
    I feel like the professor you take intro bio with doesn't matter a whole lot because they are just big weedouts that are pretty heavily controlled by the department so that they all give the same distribution of grades/curves/etc., but may have slightly different teaching/testing styles. Graham/Patton are generally considered "better" and their class gets filled up by all the sophomores who get to choose first, but when I took it with them I didn't feel like they were hugely better. All lab sections are taught by Baskauf and TAs so there's no choice there.

    I would probably go with whatever fits in best time-wise with the other classes you want to take.

    @bernie12 might have more opinions on how the testing styles differ, and what personality type is best adjusted for each style.
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Thanks @fdgjfg for always coming to the help!

    The earliest time that a freshman can register for class this year is June 6th, will it too late to get into Graham/Patton's session with the sophomores having the priority? I saw one person already signed up.
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  • AnnieBotAnnieBot 266 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 273 Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    It would definitely be too late for Graham/Patton. Heck, half of the sophomores who register right at the registration window don't even get a spot in that class. If I were you, I would sign up for Borenstein/Friedman over Broadie/Zwiebel. While I don't have experience taking Biosci 1501 with them( and neither would anyone else; this is the first time both of them will ever teach the class as Singleton, the previous teacher, is retiring this year), I've had Friedman for Genetics, and she was a excellent instructor, one of the best, if not the best I've had at Vanderbilt.

    EDIT: Also, fdgjfg is right in the fact that the grades in each class is heavily curved to be approximately the same distribution. A student who does well in one section would do equally well in the other, and similarly, a student who does not do well in one section would not do well in another.
    edited April 2017
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  • bernie12bernie12 5413 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,423 Senior Member
    @AnnieBot : That depends. Usually the biggest variance is among those who do relatively well where a certain testing or teaching style may or may not play into someone's hand and decide the difference between a B and an A grade. C people likely have the least variation.


    @fdgjfg Without Singleton there (is he?), I assume they are relatively similar except some maybe use more multiple choice than others. Most heavily focus on content and details though. If you can memorize and "keep up" you should be fine. With Singleton down there, it was more like: "must memorize content in excruciating detail yet somehow find a time and an ability to problem solve to anticipate any curveballs or weird questions."
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Thanks @AnnieBot! From reading the Ratemyprofessors site, Broadie/Zwiebel seems to have the lowest ratings.

    Grades aside, it would be nice to have a teacher who inspires.
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  • bernie12bernie12 5413 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,423 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @fdgjfg : What is "better" among pre-healths though? Usually, for biology courses, barring exceptional teaching ability/inspiration, I interpret that as "more doable". Weirdly enough, a larger share of students seem to value raw quality at the risk of difficulty more in other cores like chemistry and physics. Maybe this is because pre-healths dominate biology and neuroscience so feel a pressure to perform well in biology courses (or to at least present pretty grades in them). Maybe there is less risk aversion for chemistry and physics as you take 1-2 sequences in each and can pretty much use your major to buffer any under-performances there. Don't know.


    @TimeUpJunior : Ratings (raw numbers at least) can be deceptive. Read the comments and the things people complain about or praise and see how they stack up to your values. If the difficulty is bringing down the ratings and folks complain about that, cut the instructor some slack (again, I think biology is much more sensitive to students' interpretation of challenge. Chemistry and physics at elites or anywhere have an expectation of being challenging to most whereas students tend to believe they should be able to more easily handle biology). My school has like 1 biology professor like that who is the most seasoned of lecturers teaching the introductory sequence but she was known to be difficult in the past and requires students to do more conceptual thinking (also writes longer exams filled with enough level 3/4 questions to severely damage the score if you just memorized lots of stuff or achieved a basic understanding with meager problem solving skills). Needless to say, those expecting memorization or an easier ride complain especially if they had a 4/5 on AP (5/6 IB, w/e). In reality, among those who value quality more she is actually the inspirational instructor of the bunch and despite having a flat 3.0 rating, she is the most reputable instructor and mentor there by a longshot.
    edited April 2017
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    I agree with you about not just relying on the ratings alone but reading the comments why a certain reviewer likes or dislikes a instructor. I will disregard the low ratings from those who complained about the difficulty of the class. You go to college to learn, not to have a easy time.

    What I am looking for from a professor are (1)competence in the subject he/she teaches and (2) the care for the students. From my college experience eons ago (my son is going to Vanderbilt this fall), I found that the best teachers are usually the nicest ones, there are some nice but incompetent ones, but the mean and condescending teachers are usually very incompetent.

    Thank you @bernie12 for your perspective.

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  • bernie12bernie12 5413 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,423 Senior Member
    @TimeUpJunior : Sadly "niceness" to students has become a little to intertwined with difficulty. Tough should not be construed as mean and often is. Rudeness is a different story and I put it in the "mean" category.
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  • hsstudent2015hsstudent2015 130 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    I was in graham/patton and it was the best by far. however, still super hard, and I had to study my ass off. graham>patton
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  • AnnieBotAnnieBot 266 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 273 Junior Member
    Patton's test were honestly random chance for how well you did and how many "brain farts" you have while taking the test, while Graham's tests were a much better evaluation of exactly how much of the material you knew.
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Strange that nobody ever rated Patton on RMP. Is he new teaching bsci1510? How is the Bordenstein/Friedman pair? Thanks! @AnnieBot @hsstudent2015 @fdgjfg
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  • AnnieBotAnnieBot 266 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 273 Junior Member
    @TimeUpJunior His name on there is Jim Patton, rather than James Patton. The first guy who made the review messed up his name, and everyone has just been reviewing him wrongly ever since.
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 162 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Funny story, haha! @AnnieBot
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