Winter 2019 - I highly recommend you read the other reviews, as I found them to be generally accurate toward Tienson. Her lecturing is pretty mediocre, a solid 3.5/5 maybe. But her tests are the trashiest that I've ever seen. Her tests alone make my overall rating 2/5. In general, I don't think the any of the course is worth much emphasis except the tests. There's a ton of things that you can point out that's terrible, so let's just list them out. 1. Questions are worded vaguely or in a misleading way. You often struggle to figure out what in the world Tienson actually wants. Tienson doesn't seem to have the self-awareness to realize that if a bunch of students complain, then it's probably the question's fault, not every single one of the student's fault. 2. The short answer questions have a strange limitation that you cannot write more than x number of sentences. Mind you, x is usually something like 1 or 2. Try explaining a concept in 1 or 2 sentences. Then she takes off points during grading for not being detailed enough. Oh, and writing run-on sentences gets counted as multiple sentences. 3. Her grading policy allows partial credit in a question. The only problem is that her grading rubric demands relatively specific things to be mentioned, such that having a question mostly right will usually still net you almost no partial credit. 4. She only allows 10 regrade requests for the entire quarter. That is, 10 questions. Due to how vague the questions are and how oddly specific the grading rubric tends to be, it can often be a struggle to figure out if it's worth it to use up a regrade request on that question. Of course, if she does determine that the question was graded incorrectly, then you get one regrade request back, but come on. I've never seen a professor that mistrusts students to this degree to not abuse the regrade requests. The course is *not* graded on a curve, though the professor does scale it so that something like an 82% still counts as an A. Good luck getting even 80% on the tests though. Anyways, I find that the best way to prepare for the tests is to watch the Bruincast lecture vids before the test. That'll refresh your memory on what it was that Tienson brought up in class, since you can bet that she'll use something that's only mentioned in passing as a question on the test.
Spring 2019 - I had the absolute displeasure of listening to this so-called "Dr. Heather Tienson-Tseng" for the past 10 weeks. Let me start by sharing with you an excerpt from the final email to the class as she posts final grades: . " I know some of you may be disappointed with your grade, and I am sorry about that. However, they are final. Grades cannot be changed; no matter how much you whine or beg. " . Whine or beg. These are the words she uses to address her class. I have never met such an arrogant, rude, and downright unpleasant person in my life. Let me put the personality complaints aside and tell you about the exams. The first exam was incredibly easy with a median score of 84%. Being so high, she sends us an email about how she is surprised and essentially wants/expects a lower average. We all get very nervous for the second exam, so we study very hard to prepare. Boom, second exam results come in and the average is a 50% with a HIGHEST SCORE of a 72%. The exam was IMPOSSIBLE to do well on, and was obviously designed for students to fail (hence the average). She comes into the class smiling the next day, without any sort of apology for such a terrible exam. I knew it was completely on purpose to lower the overall average grades of the class. Final exam was not so bad with an average of a 73%. A 90% overall grade was the A cutoff. . The course was rather boring and uninteresting. The material was super easy until the end of the second midterm material where it suddenly picked up and was way too fast. She decided to lecture a massive amount of material in week 10 when our final was on Sunday (so Friday lecture was tested on in depth less than 2 days later). She never told us anything about what we were expected to know for exams except "look at the learning outcomes." This was hugely misleading since none of the learning outcomes for a particular section said we would be required to draw the mechanism of RNA splicing, but there it is on the 50 minute midterm. She was so unclear on what we had to know that we would spend hours memorizing meaningless details that were never tested on. . The curve in this class is extremely weak. You barely get 3-4% grade boost at the B+/A levels. With a midterm of 50% average. Tell me how this is fair to the students. Clearly, she does not care about her students and is teaching purely for a paycheck and to banter to her top 2 favorite students about how women scientists don't get recognized for Nobel prizes. . If you can avoid her, then BY ALL MEANS steer clear. Her course is boring, unforgiving in terms of grades at the B+/A levels, and she doesn't show any care for her students' success. She wrote a midterm to be impossible on purpose to bring her class average down because she simply doesn't want to give out more than 20% A's. What kind of professor does this? . A bad one.
Fall 2020 - Before 'rona Heather wasn't the most popular 153C professor (as you can tell by previous reviews) but luckily she made the class a whole lot easier to pass online. Her lectures are rather tedious (fun drinking game: take a shot every time she says "uhmmm" and wipes her nose) but it is probably a good idea to watch them (preferably at 2x speed) to cover exam material. Exams (three midterms, no final) are written and graded rather poorly: short-answer questions are often vague and open-ended with extremely specific answers required for full points. The upside to this is that the exams were only 20% of our grade, with a hefty 40% of our grade being the group project (this will likely change in the future since many people got A's). Another plus is that she gives a rather generous amount of extra credit, and discussion sections are not mandatory. Basically, Tienson online: easy, ok. Tienson irl: maybe hard, idk.
Fall 2018 - If you're in need of honors credit, Dr. Tienson-Tseng's seminar for Chem 153A is sincerely a great opportunity! It does add on some extra work on top of Chem 153A, and there were times this adjunct course would stress me out given the intensity of Chem 153A itself. That's definitely relatable, but the workload for this course as well as the grading scheme is EXTREMELY generous!! And for the effort I put in (which was, once again, very reasonable), I do believe I gained a lot out of this seminar - a better understanding of Wikipedia and the opportunity to discuss how science is communicated. Essentially, this seminar allows you to either pick a "stub" Wikipedia article or create a new article relating to biochemistry. The first few weeks are very laidback - simply learning the interface, logistics, and purpose of using Wikipedia. Heather really breaks down the class into steps that act as checkpoints for you in writing the draft - therefore making each sort of "checkpoint" a way to gain easy points. From this, you can tell that she's rewarding effort and really trying to make this seminar a meaningful experience rather than a stressful one. On top of that, she gives you the opportunity to contribute to / create an article on a woman scientist instead of doing a purely biochemistry-related topic . In my opinion, this is the easiest thing to do, given that half the work is simply writing a biography instead of it being 100% biochemistry or biology. With that said, I did still dive into the biochemistry of it and I loved the article that I created, given the lack of representation of women in STEM on Wikipedia. And I also loved the kind of work the person I chose was doing. Ultimately, I THINK the breakdown of the class was something like: - 5 points: online training modules (very simple, just do them all in advance so you don't forget to do them, although Heather is so understanding of confusion in communication) - 5 points: first edit (making a real edit to a Wikipedia article) - 20 points: first draft / rough draft - 10 points: peer reviewing 2 other students' work - 20 points: final article including images - 10 points: in-class presentation (~5 minutes) - 20 points: reflective essay - 10 points: attendance/participation She originally had training as 10 points, reflective essay as 10 points, and doing blog entries as 5 points - but she ended up scrapping the blog, and the rubric for the reflective essay was actually out of 20 points? And I think I remember the training being reduced in points. But yeah, either way, it was a very straightforward class. An A- was set at 85, an A at 90, and an A+ at 96. This is incredibly generous! And as you can see, almost everyone gets an A+ or A in this seminar. She didn't give us the point-by-point breakdown, but I ended with an A+ myself.