Debra B Pires
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
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3.2
Overall Rating
Based on 7 Users
Easiness 1.3 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 3.8 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.3 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 3.7 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

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Reviews (1)

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Quarter: N/A
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March 1, 2009

first of all, my creds: I took LS1 with her and took LS3 twice with her. the reason i took her so frequently is because i love her teaching style and her understanding of and dissemination of biology is nearly flawless. her lectures are dominated by powerpoint presentations and podcasts (audio only) that serve to facilitate one's understanding of these many subjects. she also carries a CrackBerry with her and so is quite responsive to almost all students' questions. i don't think anyone could teach you about DNA replication down to the minute details like she can. so if you really love the subject, you could do no better.
what did i get for my LS1? i got a C. and, why did i take LS3 twice? because i was going to get a C in her class the first time and could not let that happen as that would ruin my med school resume. i took her class a second time and studied my ass off only to still get a C. I tell you this because it is relevant to her teaching style. the number of hours i studied for this course far outnumbered the hours studied for any other course i took such that 75% of my time was spent on LS1 and LS3 and the LS3 i retook in the summer occupied my entire day in studies; i did not go out that summer nor did i party, it was all business... when i got the C, i honestly felt it was I who was stupid because no matter how hard i tried, my scores were poor.
To be fair, there were always a small cadre of students who scored at the top, so i can't claim my C was her fault, but what i felt was that her testing style does not match her teaching style. first of all, she claims not to believe in the curve (which would have saved me because i was still above the median and the mean in my tests, earning me at least a B in all cases) yet by 3/4ths into the quarter, she is forced to do it because we all bomb so fantastically (except for those 8 top students out of 300, of course). her argument is that she decries the idea of students competing against each other, and prefers them to compete against a set standard to fight grade inflation, students gaming the system, and preference. If you agree with this, fine, there are plenty of arguments like this, but a competitive school like UCLA is not the place they hold up given the fact most of us already competed heavily to get here and even avoided classes not out of disinterest, but because we knew our interest in learning something was not related to how well it would reflect on us. nevertheless, as i said, she applies a very weak curve, which only helps the next batch of about 30 students near the top, leaving the rest of us exactly where we were. her weekly quizzes (you must finish them by tuesday 8pm) are easy as pie, and get you points but are absolutely NOT predictive of what the tests will be like. by the time you get your first test back, you can't drop the class because it's impacted. other monster classes like Chem 153A i've taken give you your first test in time to decide whether to stay or leave.
so what does that boil down to? that if you have an aptitude for biology already (are a bio major who does well) you will definitely enjoy this class because it seems to favor those who are already versed in the lingo (many of her test questions, i later learned, were easy to understand if you had already taken numerous biology classes; just like the fact that some word problems in math become easier in time because they repeat the same terms). If you are not, then take her classes with the greatest of caution because you will not be able to leave once you're in. If you get a bad grade on your first midterm, take that as absolute proof that you need to spend all your waking time dogging Deb on terms, and getting tutoring. this class is NOT friendly to non Bio majors, instead consider Merriam or even Mr Bad Religion as my fellow non bio friends have both done better than I in those classes. again, this is a great teacher to learn from, but a grading nazi to all but Bio geniuses.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
March 1, 2009

first of all, my creds: I took LS1 with her and took LS3 twice with her. the reason i took her so frequently is because i love her teaching style and her understanding of and dissemination of biology is nearly flawless. her lectures are dominated by powerpoint presentations and podcasts (audio only) that serve to facilitate one's understanding of these many subjects. she also carries a CrackBerry with her and so is quite responsive to almost all students' questions. i don't think anyone could teach you about DNA replication down to the minute details like she can. so if you really love the subject, you could do no better.
what did i get for my LS1? i got a C. and, why did i take LS3 twice? because i was going to get a C in her class the first time and could not let that happen as that would ruin my med school resume. i took her class a second time and studied my ass off only to still get a C. I tell you this because it is relevant to her teaching style. the number of hours i studied for this course far outnumbered the hours studied for any other course i took such that 75% of my time was spent on LS1 and LS3 and the LS3 i retook in the summer occupied my entire day in studies; i did not go out that summer nor did i party, it was all business... when i got the C, i honestly felt it was I who was stupid because no matter how hard i tried, my scores were poor.
To be fair, there were always a small cadre of students who scored at the top, so i can't claim my C was her fault, but what i felt was that her testing style does not match her teaching style. first of all, she claims not to believe in the curve (which would have saved me because i was still above the median and the mean in my tests, earning me at least a B in all cases) yet by 3/4ths into the quarter, she is forced to do it because we all bomb so fantastically (except for those 8 top students out of 300, of course). her argument is that she decries the idea of students competing against each other, and prefers them to compete against a set standard to fight grade inflation, students gaming the system, and preference. If you agree with this, fine, there are plenty of arguments like this, but a competitive school like UCLA is not the place they hold up given the fact most of us already competed heavily to get here and even avoided classes not out of disinterest, but because we knew our interest in learning something was not related to how well it would reflect on us. nevertheless, as i said, she applies a very weak curve, which only helps the next batch of about 30 students near the top, leaving the rest of us exactly where we were. her weekly quizzes (you must finish them by tuesday 8pm) are easy as pie, and get you points but are absolutely NOT predictive of what the tests will be like. by the time you get your first test back, you can't drop the class because it's impacted. other monster classes like Chem 153A i've taken give you your first test in time to decide whether to stay or leave.
so what does that boil down to? that if you have an aptitude for biology already (are a bio major who does well) you will definitely enjoy this class because it seems to favor those who are already versed in the lingo (many of her test questions, i later learned, were easy to understand if you had already taken numerous biology classes; just like the fact that some word problems in math become easier in time because they repeat the same terms). If you are not, then take her classes with the greatest of caution because you will not be able to leave once you're in. If you get a bad grade on your first midterm, take that as absolute proof that you need to spend all your waking time dogging Deb on terms, and getting tutoring. this class is NOT friendly to non Bio majors, instead consider Merriam or even Mr Bad Religion as my fellow non bio friends have both done better than I in those classes. again, this is a great teacher to learn from, but a grading nazi to all but Bio geniuses.

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 1
3.2
Overall Rating
Based on 7 Users
Easiness 1.3 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 3.8 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.3 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 3.7 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

There are no relevant tags for this professor yet.

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