Winter 2023 - Really interesting class if you're into 1) evolution and the nitty-gritty of how vertebrates came to be how they are etc and 2) like dissections, but being a 6 unit class, very content-heavy. You're basically taking two classes in one, with there being exams that center on lecture content (more short answers/showing you understand the material) and lab exams (more memorization and identification of muscles, organs, etc). All the dates and expectations are laid out for you in the beginning, Dines is a very helpful and funny guy, and the TAs (at least this quarter) are a heaven-send for lab. Go to TA office hours!! That being said, tough class, you have to cram a lot of knowledge into your head and start studying earlier than you think. Most of us including me probably underestimated the first lecture and lab exams and got low scores (borderline fail for me on the first lab exam), but Dines and the TAs do give opportunities for extra credit in the form of a museum trip and filling out the evals. I also learned from how badly I prepared for the first lecture and lab exams and improved from there. TLDR: tough but rewarding and interesting class, just start studying and preparing earlier than you think, as well as asking questions. also lean on each other as students/ask questions in lab esp. - like in HSM, we're all in this together
Winter 2019 - This class is pretty challenging at first, but once you figure out how to study for it, it is no that bad. I recommend using quizlet for the lecture exams and making a PowerPoint with the skulls for the lab practicals. This class is pure memorization and going to lecture is a must since he puts questions on the exams based only on what he said during lectures. Overall, this was a good class. I did much better after the first exam and lab practical and ended up getting an A with a 89% in the class.
Spring 2023 - The content of this class was fairly interesting and Professor Dines seems like a good guy who has some fun stories. The exams are where I felt this class fell short. There are 3 exams, 2 midterms, and a final that is non-cumulative and the same length and style as the midterms. The exams were nearly entirely memorization based (rather than application) and often included topics from class that the professor mentioned once and barely explained. I went to lectures, took good notes, and studied hard, but I still felt like crap about the final because of how unclearly it was written and how obscure some of the topics were. It felt like even with a good understanding of the topics of the class, you could never be fully prepared for the exams unless you studied every single word or example that was discussed during lectures (and sometimes weren't even on the slides). I was able to get away with decent scores on the tests by writing as much as I could about my general knowledge of the concepts even if I forgot (or had never even heard of) the specific detail that the question asked for, but it was incredibly frustrating and constantly had me worried about my grade.
Winter 2023 - Professor Dines is a very nice and personable instructor that has a clear passion for Marine Mammology. I would recommend taking this class if you have an interest in learning about marine mammals or are looking for an interesting upper div unit. While I wouldn't necessarily call this class an "easy A", if you watch the lectures (in person or recorded on Zoom) and take good notes on his slides there is a pretty straightforward path to success in this class. Class Structure: There are 3 lecture exams (two during weeks 1-10, and one during finals week) as well as one 8-9 page research paper (on a topic of your choosing) for the class. This may seem like a lot, however, the paper was graded relatively easily (avg was an A/A-) and the exams were non-cumulative (mostly short-answer with some multiple choice) and pretty straightforward as long as you took good notes on his lecture slides. The avg for the exams was usually A-/B+. For discussion, there are weekly research papers to read and leave annotations on which you would get full credit for as long as you completed them. *Note: At the time of this review this class was only offered for letter grade and not for P/NP*