Dinosaurs and Their Relatives

Caitlin Brown

Dinosaurs and Their Relatives

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences department

Caitlin Brown

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from 12 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.2
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.9
Easy
Heavy
Workload 4.0
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.1
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.3
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again
  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Useful Textbooks

Grades

Spring 2019
22.4%
18.6%
14.9%
11.2%
7.5%
3.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted July 4, 2020
Grade Received: A

I took this class with Brown during the Spring Quarter 2020 during quarantine . In general, this was a very great class and overall a relatively easy. There are two lectures per week along with one lab class.
The labs are very easy as the TA goes over everything with you, which means that you are usually finished with the weeks assignment just by attending the section. There are also assigned readings, which I would recommend skimming over them since I did find them somewhat helpful.
Brown assigns weekly quizzes, which are easy points since there are unlimited attempts. I would recommend paying attention during lecture and taking notes as you do NEED to know the material in order to perform well on the midterm and final.
STUDY THE STUDY GUIDE LIKE IT IS THE EXAM! Brown provides a study guide for both the midterm and final so make sure to take them filling everything out. Personally, I found the final to be easier than the midterm and Brown took the best score out the two exams for this quarter.
If you are looking for an easy GE, take this class!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 27, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I loved this class so much! Took it during spring 2020/covid-19 quarter.
This class seems to be really great for people with a preexisting interest in dinosaurs. Personally, I love Jurassic Park/World and this class satisfied all my dinosaur curiosities.
Well administered, tests and quizzes are easy, labs are easy, no homework other than reading (which you don't really have to do imo). Lectures are engaging.
I highly recommend this as a science GE. Learning about deep time/evolution really helped me understand humans' place in the universe.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Aug. 6, 2020
Grade Received: A+

Took this as a GE and I loved, loved, loved this class. I have wanted to take it ever since I heard it was offered at UCLA, and it didn't disappoint. It was such a cool experience to be in a class about dinosaurs as a humanities major and Prof. Brown was great.

I took this in an online format due to covid-19 but if anything that just made the class easier. The books Brown assigns for reading are also GREAT, like seriously so well written and fascinating, I loved them. I had Valeria as a TA and she was fantastic, super kind, helpful, and also willing to share her experience in the field as a paleontologist which I really appreciate. Labs were really easy as long as you came to discussion, as we literally did them question by question with the TA's. Quizzes were a breeze because you could re-do them as many times as you wanted until you got a 100, and the midterm was ridiculously simple as long as you read and went to class (I got a 100). The final was also trivial because you could replace whatever you got on it with your midterm grade, so as long as you do well on that, you're set (and even if you do bad on the midterm, no worries, the final was just as manageable).

My only criticism is that I wish this class talked more about the ecology of dinosaurs, this class mainly talked about bone structure of fossils, bodily processes, identifying species, and stuff like that. As someone who has loved dinosaurs since they were a kid, I really wish we could have talked more about actual behavior patterns/ what it would have been like to live life as a dinosaur. But, this is just personal preference and totally subjective.

Overall, all you need to know is that this class is a super unique, fun, and easy GE, I could not recommend it enough!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 2, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I took this Spring of 2020 during the coronavirus quarantines/protests. Even so, it was a really easy class: there are easy quizzes every week with no time limit and unlimited retakes based on the books. The midterm was also easy (got 100%) and based mostly on lecture material. Didn't go to a single lecture or read a single slide after the midterm, and the final was made so that your midterm grade also counts for the final. Labs took longer since they were online but were also basically free points as I had a great TA who walked us through everything. Also, there are two textbooks required, but I barely read either of them and you can find them both online in PDF format!

Overall, if you need an easy GE during spring quarter, take this class! You'll learn a lot about dinosaurs!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 23, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I took this class online during the pandemic. It was extremely easy. I don’t feel I learned that much about dinosaurs because it was hard to prioritize studying for such an easy class. The midterm was open book and multiple choice. The labs were interesting and I had a good TA, so they were also free points. No homework, aside from one lab we had to do on our own. The final could be replaced by your midterm score, so if you did well on the midterm you didn’t even have to attempt it. The quizzes were kind of fun, since you could keep attempting them until you got them right (it felt almost like an online trivia game). The lectures could be a little slow. The professor tried her best but some of the topics covered weren’t super interesting and paired with the professor’s connection issues I have a feeling a lot of people skipped. I thought it was a little deceiving that she posted her slides, but omitted a ton of slides that she used in the lecture. I understand wanting students to watch the lecture and not rely on the slides, but it would’ve been nice if she’d labeled them as condensed in some way. Overall, a very easy GE and a nice class to balance out more difficult classes. If the class were in person, however, I could see it being pretty difficult (not open book, not unlimited quiz responses). Online, definitely up there with the easiest (and most casually interesting) GEs I’ve taken.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted July 3, 2019 Grade Received: A

I took this class with 3 friends, all of different majors. I don't think they had a good impression of the class, but mine is pretty neutral. It's not the easiest GE but it's not the hardest. If you're interested in the subject, you'll probably find it more interesting than if you just need an easy A. The lab sections were super easy, got above 90 on every one and finished early every time, and Andrew (TA) was chill and interesting. I did not find the books she assigns to be helpful. Take good notes on her slides, which are uploaded (so you don't have to go to lecture necessarily, but sometimes she says specific things that wouldn't be in the slide). For exams, STUDY THE STUDY GUIDE LIKE IT'S THE TEST. The online quizzes have unlimited tries, so it would be stupid to not get 100% on all of them. Honestly, compared to my engineering classes this is decently interesting to me, but my friend in psychology found it utterly mind-numbing.

TLDR: You'll probably have to study more than you first expect, and the books aren't useful, although slightly interesting. The professor is pretty entertaining in lecture but the subjects can get exhausting. Labs are easy. Study her guides for tests.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 27, 2019 Grade Received: A+

Cool class, cool professor, easy GE. If you attend the lectures (which are pretty fun and interesting) and pay attention, it should be pretty easy. The labs are super easy too, if you don't know something you can just ask the TA and they pretty much tell you the answer. The class averages were always above 90%. If you do the readings and use the study guide, you should do well on the midterm and final. I stopped doing the readings after the midterm and still managed to get a 97% on the final. I would say the most important part is to attend lecture, as the slides don't have any words on them so you can't understand them if you missed the lecture. If you do that, it should be an easy A.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: A

Took this class a GE and it really was not that bad. Some of her lectures are pretty dense, but I think she is a really passionate lecturer so they aren't too bad to sit through.
The midterms and tests were honestly pretty tricky. I barely studied, just reviewed my notes from lectures (which I attended most) and made sure I knew the dinosaur names which she provided in a study guide. I also did not do a single reading, and was able to get an A on the midterm and B+ on the final.
Labs are pretty easy and you can often finish early and leave. There is one group project but that is also pretty easy, and annoying to do if anything.
The class is actually pretty fun- if you are at all interested in dinosaurs, you will probably leave knowing a little too much about them. Not the easiest GE cause the midterm and final might be stressful, but definitely on the easy spectrum.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: B

I took this class as a GE and was hoping to do well in it. Professor Brown is a sweet woman, but I found the lectures kind of dull and hard to sit through. She moves through the slides quite quickly; they are posted on CCLE, but most of the slides don't have any words, just pictures. I didn't end up going to many of the lectures, because I was unable to pay good attention in them & it was a little inconvenient for me to walk all the way over to CS at that time of my day.

The labs were alright. I got high As on all of them, but that was probably because I worked in a group of people and we asked our TA for help quite often. Each lab is a packet of questions that require looking at fossils or photos. There was one group project that was a lab grade, and it was basically to make a diorama of life in the Jurassic; it was quite a pain to complete, because it required time spent outside of lab, physically building a project. However, my group of 3 finished it in a day, and received a 100% on it. There are also weekly quizzes on CCLE. They're pretty easy because there are unlimited retakes. One quiz grade was dropped at the end of the quarter.

The midterm and final were kind of tricky. Granted, I didn't go to all of the lectures, but I spent a while studying for each. Professor Brown posted study guides for both, and a lot of the class collaborated on the guides. The midterm contained short answers, while the final did not. These tests were not as easy as I expected them to be for a GE.

I was kind of annoyed at having to buy the textbooks; they were not cheap, and I couldn't find anyone who was selling them as used. Personally, I think they are totally not necessary. Overall, if you are genuinely interested in the topic, this class will probably be easy to do well in. However, if you are just looking to get the physical science GE over with (and aren't really too interested in the topic), be prepared to put in a little more effort than you would likely expect.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: A+

While it's true that this GE isn't quite as easy as it once was (no longer a guaranteed A now), it still shouldn't be that hard to get an A as long as you are reasonably keeping on top of things, or aren't falling too far behind. Professor Brown's lectures I ended up not going to after the midterm, because she posts all the slides online and everything is straight from the slides. One caveat, however, is guest lectures, as they don't post the guest lecture slides online so it's still a good idea to go to those. She talks pretty fast but pretty clearly during lecture, and answers questions quite effectively.
In labs, there were 7 for us this quarter. Labs were pretty fun, as you could work with a group (if you chose to do so), and you complete a packet while you look at fossils. Some TAs are more strict about lab grades than others; my TA, Erik Weidner, was pretty awesome in that he basically said "I'm here if you want all the right answers". If you were stuck on a problem, don't be afraid to ask your TA, especially since they don't expect you to become a world class paleontologist on the first day. As the labs go by, you start getting faster and more familiar with the packet, and start leaving the labs earlier and earlier. There is one group lab, where you work together to recreate a Jurassic environment (Solnhofen Limestone), and it seems every group in my lab section got an A for that one (just be creative, there were things from dioramas to baseball cards to posters).
We had two exams, one midterm and one final. The midterm consisted of 39 multiple choice and 11 points worth of short answer, and honestly it wasn't that bad (provided you do the readings and were somewhat staying on top of things). The final consisted of just 70 multiple choice questions, and that wasn't half bad (although the average was around 52/70, but the class has a slight curve, so you're alright). I will say however that the grades took so long for our TA to upload. We didn't get the midterm short answer grade until AFTER taking the final exam, while the final exam grades came in literally around the last hours of the deadline.
In terms of grading, your grade consisted of 10% weekly online quizzes (CCLE based), 25% labs, 30% midterm, and 35% final. The weekly online quizzes should be guaranteed points, as they're based on the reading and you have UNLIMITED attempts (taking the highest score). Take them seriously though, as some of those problems do show up on the final exam/midterm. Also, there were two extra credit opportunities for us this quarter, with one being to test out a paleontology themed board game, and the second was completing a trip by going to the NHM (natural history museum of LA county), with both providing the opportunity to replace your lowest lab grade with 100/100. I'd say that overall, this class can be interesting (I found the section on T-Rex particularly so), and with a small amount of work, you should be able to get an A too.

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again
  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Useful Textbooks
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