PHYSCI 111A

Foundations in Physiological Science

Description: Lecture, four hours; discussion, two hours. Requisites: course 107, Chemistry 14C or 30A, Life Sciences 7A, 7B, 7C, Physics 1B or 5C or 6B. Students must receive grade of C or better to proceed to next course in series. Introduction to principles of muscular and neural physiology, including factors controlling membrane excitability, neuronal circuits, sensorimotor regulation, special senses, cortical functions, and neuronal plasticity. Letter grading.

Units: 6.0
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Overall Rating 4.1
Easiness 2.7 / 5
Clarity 4.4 / 5
Workload 3.1 / 5
Helpfulness 4.9 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2022 - Esdin taught the third and fourth modules of PHYSCI 111A, which spanned weeks 7-10. Weeks 7-8 are motor circuits (lower and upper motor neurons; interneurons; cerebellum; basal ganglia) and weeks 9-10 are auditory & visual systems. I had him Winter 2022; all lectures were still on Zoom due to COVID-19, but discussions were in person. I had Esdin for LS 7C too and so sort of had an idea of what to expect. This year he taught lectures at a slower, calmer pace than previous years, and as a result we had to skip a lot of topics that were supposed to be taught (I didn't really mind it, after all less content taught meant less content to study for the final). Overall Esdin is a really nice and caring teacher. He wants to challenge us as students, but I think he also felt bad because our instructors for the first two modules of PhySci weren't the greatest and he sensed everyone was really tired. He made a ton of modifications to make our life easier, including keeping the all quizzes for his module online and open-note even though discussions had gone back to in-person, and his final was all T/F questions that were mostly extremely straightforward. He asked a lot of questions about experimental designs, so take good notes on the main experiments he presents in class. Discussions are mostly the same across all modules. There will be two quizzes and two critiques in his part of class. I wrote down some tips for writing critiques in my review for Ketema Paul, who taught module I of PHYSCI 111A, if you need guidance on how to write them.
Overall Rating 2.3
Easiness 2.3 / 5
Clarity 1.7 / 5
Workload 3.3 / 5
Helpfulness 2.7 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2022 - I had Paul for the first module of PHYSCI 111A in Winter 2022. He taught cellular neurophysiology. INSTRUCTOR Paul is a pretty high energy guy and he seems nice, but he's a terrible instructor. He never seemed prepared for lectures and would sometimes read off of slides and reach a conclusion that wasn't clear to anyone. He also talked EXTREMELY fast and in a convoluted way. He kept saying that he was hoping to finish teaching the content a day earlier than scheduled so that we'd have extra time to study (and that ended up happening, but I'm not sure it was that beneficial). As a result you'd sometimes go into class (or leave it) without knowing what you're supposed to know and study and what topics you don't have to worry about. The last ~15 minutes of his very last lecture really were just him reading off of about 18-20 slides (I counted) that were nothing but walls of text, and after finishing, he just said, "So all of this is content you guys need to know for the midterm." So apparently there are expectations that students should study content the instructor didn't bother to properly teach. In the end he didn't even write the midterm, it was a couple of the TAs who did. CONTENT There isn't that much content in the first module; it really is an expansion of topics in neuron physiology from LS 7C. Know the basic way a neuron functions, the types of potentials, the ions, channels, and types of currents involved, and the experiments; try to start thinking scientifically, like in terms of experimental design, because questions like that will start showing up more and more in PhySci. CLASS STRUCTURE The class structure is uniform across modules in PhySci 111A, at least when I took it. Paul's module was fully remote, meaning both lectures and discussions were live on Zoom. Lectures were recorded (and Paul uploaded them on a fairly timely manner) but discussions were not. During Paul's module, there will be one quiz week 2 (which we took on Canvas while in the discussion Zoom call) and one critique week 3. The first two papers are pretty short and straightforward, but future articles will get more complex so get used to reading them. TIPS FOR CRITIQUES Do 1/2 summary, 1/2 critique. Add a header with your name and the authors' names, but don't add a title to the body -- it's a waste of precious lines. For the summary part: open stating the thesis/hypothesis (the driving point) of the article. Then, in a VERY short manner, describe the main experiments and their respective methods and main results (e.g. "They first tested ABC using method XYZ and found that 123" and repeat for other major experiments). Close this part stating the authors' conclusions, but paraphrase so you don't get marked for plagiarism. For the critique part: open with the finding and its significance (i.e. why society/the scientific community should care about this article). Then try to be creative and talk about what were strong suits of the experiments or things they could've done better. Other things you can talk about: clinical applications, future directions, questions that went unanswered that you would like to test & how, etc. Close by restating the thesis, which I guess may sound repetitive from the first half.
Overall Rating N/A
Easiness N/A / 5
Clarity N/A / 5
Workload N/A / 5
Helpfulness N/A / 5
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