Special Courses in Psychology
Spring 2019 - Psych 188B, Neuroscience of Social Perception. Great class! The content was very interesting and eye-opening (especially if you have little experience with psychology classes here at UCLA). Professor Parkinson is very accommodating to students. She understands that since there are no requisites for this class (apart from Pysch 10), there are a lot of students with different experiences and knowledge in psychology. Given this, she designed lectures that explain the content very well. , Some of the upperclassmen may have found some sections as review and boring, but it was very helpful for a first-quarter sophomore like me. She uploads the slides online, so I would not worry about copying the content and would focus more on Parkinson's lecture. I find that she often explains the denser and more research-based slides in simpler terms during lecture. She also likes to show videos, as she finds it helps students understand and remember concepts well. They certainly helped me! Shannon Burns, the only TA, was very helpful. She made and sent out a study guide/review sheet of sorts before each of the three total exams for this class. Exams are all multiple choice! There is a textbook required for this class, Student's Guide to Neuroscience. I found it as a free pdf online. I would recommend reading the chapters assigned, some of the material was tested on in the final exam. It also helps with the overall comprehension of the class content. Other assigned readings included research papers, which the professor helpfully strip down and presents in a more digestible fashion during lecture. Extra credit is, like many of the other psych classes, through participating in experiments with SONA system. Three hours equates to1.5 extra credit points (quoting from the syllabus; "which are added to your final 'out of 100' grade at the end of the quarter"). Overall, a great class. I would definitely take one again with Professor Parkinson!
Fall 2020 - Professor Sharpe was very kind. She really put effort into her lectures and made the information we're learning very interesting. The course was made up of Quizzes that were 40%, and commentary 1 (20%), and commentary 2 (40%). The quizzes were based on lectures and were easy if you paid attention in class. She dropped the lowest of 5. I got 5/5 on all of them except 1. The only issue I had w/ this class was getting through the papers. They were dense and hard to read. But she really breaks them down in lecture. The commentaries were 2 pages each, and she gives you pointers on how to write them. You can even be a little creative w/ it (she wants you to).
Winter 2017 - I really enjoyed this class and Dr. Smurda is great. It was different than what I expected it to be (which is actually a good thing) and there was a lot of work involved -- weekly papers and quizzes as well as discussion posts. You also lead a presentation/discussion and there's a final paper. However, I would definitely recommend taking it because the topic is super interesting which makes up for the extra work involved. We had great discussions and Dr. Smurda is very knowledgeable and approachable. You really can't go wrong taking this class.
Winter 2019 - This is for Psych 167. Yes an easy class and an even easier A, but god it was so frickin' boring and draining. I only went because I never knew when there would be a reflection, but zoned out the entire time. The quizzes were a joke, I never studied for them and instinctually got over 50% which is what you needed for full credit. The responses, quizzes and extra credit basically cushion you into getting a good grade, which was nice, but shows how little her and the TA (we had Sal) actually know. The papers were okay, the first one was dumbly assessed and I got a lower grade than I expected despite following the pattern of the "top scoring" papers. The second one I did in 4 hours and got an A+, but just make sure to choose an interesting topic and you can get a lot of leeway in what you right, which is something Sal graded me high for. The final was..very dumb. 100B-ish with the answer choices, and some of them were so vague and based not on any material studied but her personal opinions that she mentioned in class. I scored 29/41 on the MCQ part which was kinda shocking since I did study, but I'm assuming I did okay on on free response (she never posted the grade) because I ended up with an A in the class. Now, onto her. God, her and Sal were so rude sometimes. She's literally a person from the film industry parading around as a teacher, pulling articles from news sites and citing them as real sources. Her lectures were bland and unorganized and sounded like she was a parent trying way too hard to be cool and fit in with her kids. Anytime anyone answered a question not to her exact specifics, she'd be like 'okay no..but' instead of considering multiple correct answers. Sal was kind of short with students, but I feel for him because he was the only TA dealing with all of us and she probably didn't make it easy for him. She was just kinda like doing the bare minimum and expecting him to pick up her slack. In conclusion, take the class for an easy A, but expect a bunch of common sense to be spewed at you like it's groundbreaking content and be bored to death.
Summer 2020 - I was looking forward to taking this class as I find this topic very relevant and interesting. However, how this class was conducted was disappointing. Perhaps because it was during pandemic that made it even more disappointing and confusing. The grading breakdown is follow: Class attendance and Forum participation 15% Paper 30% Group presentation 25% Final 30% 1. He is extremely unclear. The requirement for group presentation and paper assignment is that it have to be informative, clear, fun, etc. There is no explanation or requirement such as having to form your own groups (at least 3 and maximum of 4), citations, grading criteria, and so on. He didn't really provided in class time to form group and he created about 2 weeks before presentation start separate forum to exchange contact information and form groups. My group only found out these requirements 5 days before presentation. I really wish he listed out all those requirements clearly at the syllabus or early on the quarter as summer quarter goes by really fast and is stressful. It also said presentation starts on August 24th so I assumed all presentation will be due on 24th. However, it turns out he only allow 2 groups at the time and latest presentation was 9/9? Pretty unfair as not everybody is turning work at the same time or given benefit of presenting early and having less time to prepare? Additionally, how can we know to achieve good grades or how it will be graded? There is basically no grading criteria beside making presentation and written assignment informative, fun, etc. 2. The class is like 40- 70% discussion. I was looking forward to learning and hearing examples from him working with variety of clients, but like 40- 70% of class time was used for discussing with few peers in the breakout room. You can imagine how breakout rooms in zoom lectures often go so go figure. Lectures were inconsistently recorded, so if you miss a lecture there was no way to access lectures if professor forgot to record. I also found that lectures are based off the book, so I didn't learn a lot of new things from the lecture. Lecture also seems disorganized as lectures are freestyle. He was also not familiar with zoom which I can understand, but having 40-70% of class time being in breakout room and having problem frequently made experience unpleasant.