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This was one of my favorite classes at UCLA. Dr. MacDonald keeps you really interested with stories about the things you are learning. Lectures are long, but I was never bored.
Professor MacDonald really knows how to teach: he is well knowledgeable on the subjects and also passionate about it. For a three hour, once a week class session, he keeps an interesting tone of voice when speaking of the material and is lenient by providing a ten-minute break halfway.
His slides are simple, clear, and eventually uploaded onto the website before tests. The op-ed is a good opportunity to raise the grade. The tests are straightforward with no trick questions or answers and he adds 3-4% to the test score to boost everyone up so the majority of the class will have a B+ or A- on the tests (70% of the class scored a 90 and above after the percentage boost). Professor MacDonald is extremely straightforward, clear, and obviously states what he wants us to learn and retain. The textbook helps as review of the lectures but you can go without reading the book. Taking his next class next quarter!
I must say this was my hardest geography class, so far. I heard taking this class during the summer with russian guy is way easier. It was interesting, but test are tricky. The questions were so general, but you couldnt answer it in general. Put everything you know until you run out space on exam. Pay attention to key terms. Goodluck future M131 class
I agree with the bottom three evaluations about this class. The material is easy to learn because he lectures as if he is telling a story for 3 hrs, which is why the long lecture is not that bad. The midterm and final exam questions are easy, all you have to do is go to lecture and take very good notes. Pay attention to detail, that is why the average of the class was surprisingly 72%. Also because the readers are looking for every detail and were tough graders. They took of .5 pts on questions that were perfectly answered but the wording to them doesnt sound right. It didn't seem that detail was required because the way the professor lectured and his broad questions. I felt as if I was tricked, especially after midterm I thought I had got at least a 95% and got a 81.
He said he would do a curve but after he saw how we did on the final, but it seems there was hardly any curve done to the grades. I did not take this class lightly especially after the midterm, and still did not get an A, ended up with a B. I would not recommend this class, take someone else. Good job for the person below me, but I find it hard to get the full points from the readers to get an A. Take someone else!
I really enjoyed this class. You can pretty much bet that everyone writing a bad review got a bad grade, and everyone writing a good review got a good grade- I got an A+. With that said, though, I didn't work super hard for that A+ (I was actually surprised). I took good notes especially after the midterm and studied all of them for the final, but I didn't feel that either of the tests were particularly hard compared to other classes, or that grading was harsh- maybe a little stricter than I expected, but very fair.
Anyone who comes to the class prepared to learn (not just taking it as an easy requirement) will do more than fine, he emphasizes what he thinks is important, even says which things he'll probably be asking a question on. The professor also told us pretty specifically what he wanted as far as the actual test went- he said to put down everything you know about the subject because he expected well-rounded answers. Obviously, on a short answer test a "general" answer isn't going to be sufficient, especially for a general question: only if the question is very specific can you expect to have only a 1 or 2 sentence answer.
As far as lecture goes, I think Macdonald is one of the few professors who can keep a three hour lecture interesting. I always found the subject pretty interesting, even though it's not my main focus, and he has a habit of presenting discoveries/ happenings as mysteries, explaining the phenomenon/problem before explaining how it was solved/its cause was determined, which made the class more interesting since I was also trying to figure out how these things had happened. He has a lot of funny anecdotes, and he was very personable in class. Although I didn't think he was super available, he always seemed interested in the class and engaged in answering questions.
I recommend this class to anyone who's willing to show up to lecture, take decent notes, and study them for maybe an hour or two before the final. I think the subject matter would be enjoyable to anyone who is willing to give it a chance.
I though Environmental Change class wouldn't be that hard. It was very specific detail need to know test. It look like Reader were looking for keyterm. Everyone did pretty bad on midterm. Even reader Jason admitted he grades harsh and hard. Apparently you had to put everything you ever knew about the subject even if it connected in any tiny way. In beginning I like the topic but this end up being my worst class for the quarter. Macdonald was so hard to get hold of. I dont think he ever answered any of my 7 emails I sent him. Plus he was only on campus once a week and he didnt come to most of his office hours unless you had an appointment. Midterm was worth 45% and final 55%.
It was once a week class. Don't take this class. Our class average was 72% midterm. There were so many D and C on test. The questions on test were so general that you didnt know you need answer them so detail. Definition question stated it should be answer 1-2 sentences but you need to write whole paragraph to get full credit. Plus, It didnt help out reader James was harsh grader, which even he has stated he does. Essay question you could have main theory down explain everything, but if didnt add anything that could have touch the subject you lost massive points. I though this be extra fairly simple class but I was wrong.
I LOVED this class! The three hours of lecture felt like watching national geographic for half an hour. I learned so much and looked forward to class every week. Class attendance and good notes are key to doing well on the tests. The reading assignment is a 4 page opinion paper in response to reading the two opposing sides of the global warming argument and is not bad at all.
TAKE THIS CLASS if you can!
Good lectures, great slides, and lots of knowledge gained.
The TA\355s are sometimes horrid and act godly; they expect too much of you. But, the professor can, and upon asking, does, correct those wrongs.
His geography courses may be overwhelming for non-geography majors.