All Ratings and Reviews for Bruce Runnegar
DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY LIKE ROCKS! It is extremely boring and the professor is probably the driest I have ever experienced at UCLA. I was never able to stay awake/engaged during lecture no matter how hard I tried and neither was the rest of the class. The exams are pretty detailed and looking at the slides alone won't be enough to do well on them. You have to actually listen to what is said in lecture but it's just really hard to do. Our class was also at like 1pm or something which is always a difficult time to focus so maybe that was a factor. The TAs aren't all that helpful either, they gave a final exam review which was really just going over the slides without the professor's comments. I normally don't tell people to outright avoid a class but this was such a waste of time that I just have to.
ESS 116. I'm pretty sure I only had around a 80% in the class but to my surprise, I got an A in the class! I'm guessing he curves very generously. I thought it was a pretty chill class compared to my other classes. Labs were very interesting, but his lectures were so boring. Unfortunately his slides online are very barren and you kind of have to go to lecture and stay awake to fill out your printed-out lecture notes to know what will be on the exam.
As for the exams, they were ALL MULTIPLE CHOICE - BIO MAJORS REJOICE. So you don't have to memorize very specific stuff since the all the right answers are right there on the exams, so hopefully you should be able to recognize things when you see them. Yeah, I got like a 75% on the midterm, a 85%ish in labs, and I'm pretty sure around a 80% on the final (not sure). I expected something like a B+ but when the A came in, I was pretty happy. This class was my chill class.
What a wonderful course! Tied with ESS17 for my favorite class so far. The Prof. is excellent, the lectures (though they *can* be boring) are usually bearable, and can often be entertaining. (If you're into things without a backbone, you're set.) The labs are pretty inventive, and can be downright fun- there were only two times that I stayed the whole time, and one of those was the lab final itself! (And, trust me, if I could have I would have left early!) Overall, a nice way to round-out a quarter. I suggest it to anyone who needs upper division course credits, or anyone who has an interest in Paleontology at all!
The people who posted the comments below me don't know what they're talking about! I'm taking this class right now and one of the incentives for taking it was the comments I read here.
"His tests are easy (if you study)..." No?! Really? If you study??!
Let me just say that the class isn't as fun or easy as the rating implies. So far, I have stayed the full 2 hours + 5-10 minutes in EVERY lab. The are NOT fun... Spend 2+ hours looking at rocks and analyzing the differences based on knowledge that we don't have. The lectures are even worse. Extreme boredom. Ok maybe the tests are easy... Wrong. Yes, there are only 30 multiple choice questions, but they're not easy! He just gave us some practice questions and 80% of the class didn't know over 3/4 of them. Note that you can only miss 3 questions on the midterm to get a 90%, or A.
The problem is that if you miss what he says in class, you cannot get the material from the book. His lecture info does not overlap. The slides are also under-informed. You really have to pay attention to what he says about every slide and try not to fall asleep (especially at 9:30 am). All in all, I'm mad that I didn't drop the course by the end of fourth week. Thanks to the previous comments, I was optimistic about the tests, but now I realize that they're actually pretty hard...
Professor Runnegar is not bad but he can be boring (he can make the classes laugh hysterically if he wants to, but for the most part he just lectures). His test are fair, even easy (if you study). He also seems a little unapproachable but I think its just his mannerism because he always helps if you ask. Also if your looking for lots of juicy details about the subject you may find his notes dry and superficial. You may want to get one of the books that he recommends and read that for cool information. If things like paleontology excite you, he could rain on you parade. I never thought anybody could make me fall asleep in a class, especially a subject that I love. Still I would take another class with him, he can teach, he knows the subject, all I have to do is take some no-doze.
I am taking Runnegar for ESS 116 right now and I think he is great. His lectures are a little slow but his tests are fairly easy.
The main focus of the class was invertebrates...but this is because Runnegar's main area of research is "working with the oldest complex fossils...with core members of the metazoan radiation (molluscs and related animals) from Cambrian strata" That's from the ESS website. I found some lectures really interesting but I agree with everyone else in that it would have been nice to learn about vertebrate evolution a little more. I thought it was reallly cool to learn about how Earth processes and plate tectonics have affected evolution of life on earth. I think I was the only person who really liked this class....maybe its also because I had a hot TA.
If you liked kindergarden, you will enjoy the labs for ESS 116. They are just a bunch of art projects with some occasional no brainer questions to answer. The lecture is interesting if you like biology or mollusks, however, it is pretty boring to any geology major. The tests are easy multiple choice. All the answers are in the "lecturenotes" he hands out, which consist of one page of text and 20 pages of pictures.
if ur a bio major, u will DOMINATE in this class. strictly memorization of his notes (type fast cuz he talks ALOT and words are rarely on his slides) or tape record the lectures cuz they will be on the multiple choice midterm and final. lab was a piece of cake..take pictures of everything, review later and somehow ..i got an A+. I love this class. Bruce runnegar may be boring but he really is a sweetheart. U can tell he loves this stuff with a passion, and we are lucky to have him, he's FAMOUS for goodness sake!
This class was interesting for me, although I agree about not having enough in it about vertebrates. I wanted more on human evolution! He does focus a lot on marine organisms but perhaps because they have the longest history, after all vertebrates have a much younger fossil record. Who knows. The tests were difficult, the lecture notes needed to be appended with much of the stuff he explains in class, and I think he sometimes expects that we're following along when we are not. I was confused about what a conodont was after one lecture though he spent a good 15 or 20 minutes on it. I had to look it up later!
The book is interesting but he disagrees with much of it and all in all its not useful to study with. Both his midterm and final had questions from the practice midterm he showed us in class, so if you paid attention....but if you didn't you could still get a good grade. The lab final was brutal! Our TA kept saying it would be a piece of cake, so I didn't study, big mistake!
If this isn't a requirement for you, you might want to hold off just because I think there wasn't enough covered that might appeal to you. However have no fear- if you must take it, he is a generous grader!
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