Sensation and Perception
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Ugh...this class. Dry, boring, and I had to entertain myself from falling asleep in class.
I agree with the below post that he really makes things more confusing than they really are.
Doesn't seem to know his own material well, and is not prepared when people asks him questions, and often admits he doesn't know the answer.
Interesting material, professor sucks in terms of teaching. Horrible.
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I feel as if it's my moral obligation to leave a review for Shams because it would have been nice to read an honest review before taking her class. Almost all I saw were negative comments about how awful she was so I went into the class cautiously. In reality it was the OPPOSITE. I don't know what students left those reviews but by the end of the quarter I was legitimately upset that I had been fooled to think Ladan Shams was a bad professor.
The reality: Shams is a kind and caring professor. She actually wants her students to learn the material and her interest in what she teaches is wildly evident. She's soft spoken, yes, and that can translate into a boring professor. The topic is difficult. If you don't have in interest in it to begin with you probably won't like the class. That's the truth. I'm minoring in cognitive sci, so each lecture fascinated me beyond belief. I soaked it all in, but i won't lie, I studied my ass off. The material is NOT EASY.
She video podcasts all her lectures. That said, I didn't attend class that often, I enjoy the comfort of learning in my pjs at home. Use these podcasts to your advantage and WATCH THEM. Minor details are key in this class. A lot of people say that she's not organized with her slides, and that's half true. But I honestly don't blame her. The material can get convoluted sometimes, where she has to teach one part, then go back and teach a different portion of it. Utilize office hours and your TA for help.
Discussion sections were OPTIONAL and you didn't have to attend. This was odd to me considering the difficulty of the material sometimes. I attended all discussions, and there were never more than 3 students who would attend (including me). I'm curious if this was a norm for other discussions too, but I got essentially one on one time with the TA to ask all the questions I had about the weeks material which was SO HELPFUL. If I could give one advice for this class it would be TO GO TO THE DISCUSSION. If you don't, I don't feel sorry for you and honestly I believe those who left bad reviews for this class were the lazy ones.
For my class there was a midterm fiasco where we all came in prepared to take the test, but it was printed incorrectly. Shams freaked out, canceled the exam, and gave us all 100% on the midterm. As far as I know, this is unheard of. She's extremely strict about her tests because of how many cheating scandals her class has had. Therefore, our grades were then only based on the final, paper, and weekly "mini-lab" assignments. Most think that these weekly assignments are boring and annoying, but I would advise you to PAY ATTENTION TO THEM. They help you grasp the material. Anyways, I was super scared for the (non-cummalitive) final knowing that most of my grade would be based on it. Studied my ass off. Got a 96%. Was straightforward, but you absolutely had to know the material well. There were no twists to the multiple choice questions like some professors like doing (looking at you, Professor Monti). Side note: you have to read the textbook. There's no escaping it. She takes some questions directly from the reading in the book. It's really not that bad, though it's all sciencey, it just reiterates what she taught in class.
I would have ended up with a A+ in the class but I got marked off some points on the paper. Lastly, she offers CRAZY extra credit. The most I've ever had for a class. It was something like 3%, honestly unheard of.
TL;DR Shams isn't bad, you're just lazy. Attend the optional discussion. Video podcasted lectures. Read the book. Straightforward tests. Lots of extra credit.