Biomedical Ethics

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Utpal Banerjee Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Ira Clark Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Ira Clark See Full Profile

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Tiffany Cvrkel See Full Profile

Overall 4.6 Easiness 2.5 Workload 3.1 Clarity 4.4 Helpfulness 4.3

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Do you want an easy A? Don't take MCDB 60. Do you want to take a mentally stimulating class with an engaging and funny professor? If yes, then MCDB 60 is for you.

5% Attendance
10% Homework
15% Midterm 1
20% Midterm 2
20% Ethical Issue paper
30% Final - Cumulative

Attendance is taken every lecture and discussion. A sign in sheet is passed around at some point during the class. It might get to you in the first five minutes, or it might get to you in the last ten.

There is homework after every lecture, but it is just a 3-5 slide powerpoint teaching the most important argument that was discussed that day. It won't ever take more than 20 minutes and it is pass/fail. All halfway decent attempts get a pass.

The midterms consisted of 3 essay questions and you had the entire class (1 hour and 20 minutes) to finish. This is not simply regurgitating information, but rather forming arguments, finding objections, and evaluating positions. It sounds easy, but I assure you it is not.

The paper is on a moral issue that is relevant to you, but your topic must be approved. It is only five pages, but it is not the type of paper you can crank out the night before and get a good grade. It requires thorough planning and a strong understanding of how to write an argument. Dr. Cvkrel even said it was the hardest part of the class.

The final is just like the midterms, only it is cumulative. It takes place during the last class of week 10.

Nobody can deny that Dr. Cvrkel is an amazing lecturer. She is funny and engaging, so attending lecture never felt like a chore. My biggest complaint about her is availability. She has office hours every week, but they are always filled with people, so it can be hard to get more than a minute or so of her time unless you are willing to wait a while. The paper was also due the Monday after Thanksgiving, which sucked considering it was a very challenging paper to write.

The TA, Jen, is also excellent. She typically had everything graded within a reasonable amount of time. Discussion sections helped clear up everything that came up in lectures. My only complain about her is that her office hours were Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Hershey, so a solid 25+ minute walk from the hill.

Overall, this was an awesome class. It won't constantly bombard you with work, but it is definitely not easy. Take it if you want an interesting class, but pass on it if you need a GPA boosting GE.

Dec. 18, 2014
Katie Gallagher See Full Profile

Overall 3.9 Easiness 3.4 Workload 3.2 Clarity 4.2 Helpfulness 4.1

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People say Dr. Gallagher is a bit on the boring/dry side which is fair but she's also very clear and able to emphasize what she wants you to know. It's more that she can be somewhat repetitive and can have very long trains of thought, but nevertheless many of the topics should be at least decently interesting to the average person.

Among her strengths are that her lectures are extremely organized and, again, she emphasizes the main points that she wants you to know in lecture. This is absolutely critical. If you can force yourself to sustain that attention in class, you can save yourself hours of reading outside of class. What I ended up doing, actually, was to focus my energy on getting everything I could from her lectures and THEN doing the readings AFTER lecture instead of before lecture as suggested because then the readings were a breeze and I could ensure that I was making the connections and reviewing the points she wanted me to know.

The class grading is structured as follows:
Weekly quizzes: 10% - drop lowest 2 out of 9 weeks
Section attendance / participation: 15% - note that both actually count
Midterm 1: 20%
Midterm 2 :20%
Final exam: 35%

Quizzes were simple, 2 questions long and were there just to check that you did the bare minimum. People essentially almost always got 100%.
For attendance/participation, she has a clustered grading scheme where absences are punitive. In other words, it's set up as "0 or 1 absences" "2 absences" and so on as well as outstanding vs excellent vs good vs satisfactory vs unsatisfactory participation. It's somewhat convoluted and she sends an email at the end about it but essentially 1 unexcused absence will not harm you in any way whatsoever, but 2 unexcused absences with "excellent" (outstanding not allowed for 2 unexcused absences) participation automatically sets you back to an A- grade for participation.

Midterm exams were split into Part 1 and Part 2 sections, with Part 1 being multiple choice/short answer. I felt like these were quite straightforward and they were pretty lenient on grading. Part 2 was an essay with a prompt that they gave you beforehand. Going to office hours / review session is very helpful in getting a sense of the direction you want to take - otherwise it's easy to get off track and write an essay that may not meet what they're looking for or falls into some major philosophy traps.

Final exam has an additional Part 3 essay section where you aren't given the prompt beforehand and you must take an ethical stance and defend it on the fly for a case that she sets up for you. I personally felt that the final's Part 1 multiple choice was trickier and I regretted not reading the slides in more depth, something I didn't expect to have to do given that I had already put in a significant amount of effort into knowing each author's arguments quite well and her main points. However, I also ended up doing much better on the final than I had anticipated despite my concerns, and so did others.

Averages for the exams were as follows:
Midterm 1: nearly 87
Midterm 2: 88
Final: 89 (I asked her, as she didn't send a follow-up email as she did for the midterms)

All in all, Dr. Gallagher is a super fair professor and if you ever need help, she will be very patient in ensuring that you have your questions properly answered. This is definitely a decent class to take to fulfill your philosophy/linguistics GE and I also loved having Maddy as my TA :).

Spring Quarter 2019
Anne le Goff Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Anne le Goff See Full Profile

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Mariko Nakano See Full Profile

Overall 3.8 Easiness 2.0 Workload 2.4 Clarity 3.6 Helpfulness 3.8

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She posted all of her lectures online, so there is no real need to actually go to class. She just reads off her slides the entire time anyway. However, she does add some clarifying tidbits that are not on her lecture slides, and also shows some videos near the end of the quarter. The readings in the course reader are not really that necessary either, as she goes over the meanings of the texts in class (and in plain English!). Discussions are mandatory and you are graded on attendance, but that was okay because it usually ended up being a very interesting debate. There are short essays (200-500 words) assigned throughout the quarter, but those are easy as well. The midterm and the final were straightforward (multiple choice and short essays). Overall, a very easy class (I got an A).

I had never gone to her office hours, but I did email her a few times and she is very nice and quick at answering questions.

April 4, 2009
Hung Pham See Full Profile

Overall 2.7 Easiness 2.0 Workload 2.0 Clarity 2.3 Helpfulness 3.2

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MCDB 60 is a relatively easy class. There was memorization required for both midterms and final, and he is a stickler for word-choice, but the tests themselves were very predictable. He gives you all the materials you need, and honestly, an evening of good study for each test will hold you in good stead. Creating a study guide helps with memorization of his mantras. There was almost no work, and the little work that we had was pretty interesting. Pham is a very passionate lecturer and encourages participation, and we had interesting discussions outside of class on topics such as race and intelligence. He is extremely compassionate, and while you may get very bored in lecture, you don't want to let him down. I'm a chemical engineering major, and I took this class for funsies my first quarter freshman year. It was honestly pretty easy. The juniors and seniors and pretty lazy, and the class isn't really curved so their performance one way or another doesn't affect you. For people who thought this class was hard or filled with work, they're probably the type of people who think that one hour of a homework spread out over a quarter is way too difficult.

Sept. 27, 2012
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