Based on 30 Users
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
***I took this class during the COVID-19 pandemic in an online format.
OVERVIEW: Maybe I had an individual bad experience, but I'm not sure why this professor's reviews for this class were so raving. Perhaps the online format is a little different, but I did not feel like Phelan lived up to the other reviews. "Going above and beyond" and "explaining concepts thoroughly" are phrases I would not attribute to Phelan. He seemed very reluctant to answer questions and help out, ignoring questions in Zoom chat and being unresponsive to emails. Lectures would often go on tangents about his personal life, which isn't productive when LS7B is so information dense and every minute is valuable. Dr. Pham was much better in LS7A, at least. Even considering that the LS series is just horrible, I still think Phelan wasn't the best choice.
GRADING: Grading is pretty straightforward. There's mandatory lectures, enforced with clicker questions, of which you can miss about a week. LaunchPad practice questions and exams were the same, you could miss a week's worth and get full credit. Same goes for the labs. The two midterms and final were worth a lot more points, not curved, but there were extra credit opportunities if you did a "mini-final" and reflection assignment afterwards. Other EC opportunities were available for completing surveys about LAs. The class isn't curved, so you need to earn every point yourself.
HOMEWORK: This section isn't really relevant to Dr. Phelan. I don't think he really controls the format of the homework and labs. But my god, if you thought LS7A was bad, LS7B makes 7A look like a cakewalk. The amount of LaunchPad material is crushing, even if you just skip the material and do the questions. I can't imagine how much time it would take to actually do all the material as they intended. Lots of stuff isn't gone over in lectures because of the sheer material density, and the practice exams make it feel like there's a full on test every week. Again, Phelan doesn't control this, so it's not his fault the homework is so bad. Labs aren't much better, they're very time consuming and I didn't find them very helpful, though that may vary with students. They seemed very poorly designed, like the entire LS7 series. Not much to say other than you just have to sit through them.
EXAMS: Most in this section also isn't really Phelan's fault. LS7 exams are just horrible, and it doesn't get better in 7A. The actual length of the exams isn't bad, but the questions are consistently confusing, poorly-worded, ambiguous, or just straight-up wrong. No amount of studying will prepare you for a question you have no idea what it's asking. The main gripe I have with Phelan is that he seemed to be just as unaware as students of how to go about regrade requests. His policy is that regrades are not processed unless it affects our final grade, which puts the stress on students trying to determine if we will get the grade we need, when it was a mistake made on the instructor's part. Trying to reach out to him via email or during class won't result in anything, and the only saving grace is that tests are graded really fast because they are online and multiple choice. Just don't expect your grading to actually be right.
TIPS: This class is the definition of grind. There's so much you're expected to do yourself, and while the LaunchPad makes it difficult to fall behind, they're also not comprehensive enough to truly prepare yourself. This class is 5 units, but it's probably about 6-7 units worth of work. It's much harder than 7A in my opinion, but this varies between students so take it with a grain of salt. I have quite a negative review here, but it seems that many other students had good experiences, and I'm just one view. To be honest, the class time is probably the most important factor for LS, since professor matters less for such a standardized series.
idk if this class got harder or if it is just phelan, but i felt like this class had so many of the common issues fount in ls7a plus new ones, which made it harder than ls7a for me.
-weird and vague questions
-mistakes on exams that were slow to be fixed
-very little info on slides; they were mostly just pictures, which made it hard to learn information, especially during the ecology/evolution part
-clicker questions are too easy and do not prepare for exams
-some information that was tested was not touched on in lecture, only launchpad (which, as we know, sucks)
-long launchpad and very hard PEQs ( esp in weeks 1-3 because I was not comfortable enough with pedigrees to tackle them)
-"labs" are freaking useless and there were a few weeks when they were just take-home busywork that took like 5 hours to finish and helped with absolutely nothing
-phelan is very sweet and kind; his lectures make up in entertainment value what they lack in information density
-exams make up only about 1/2 of all of the points in class, and you can raise your score by 8 points (which is almost a grade up) using the reflections and mini midterms
-review sessions and PEQs are very helpful for exams--there were some questions that were basically identical on the exams
overall, i thought that this class was harder than ls7a because the resource material was less useful overall, and the exams got more vague. the first exam was actually pretty easy after i studied the pedigree problems, and i got a 120/123. the second exam was SO FREAKING VAGUE AND UNCLEAR, im still mad. i thought it was very hard, and i got a 99/123, but i was able to raise it to 107/123 with the reflection and mini midterm. i think that the trend of one hard and one easy exam was common for everyone, even if not everyone agreed which exam was the easier one. the final was also very vague and had some strange questions, and i got a 189/200 on via a miracle i think.
phelan is nice, but take this class with someone else if you want info-dense lectures.
Best LS class I've ever taken. I often find myself dazing off in most of my lectures, but not in this one! Phelan is such an engaging lecturer, and you can tell he loves what he does. He really didn't try to trick us. The only negative I have for this class was the time to complete the labs. We were given 15 minutes extra to turn them in but sometimes I went over this limit, luckily my TA was understanding.
I’m an ecology major, so I was excited for this class. Before I say anything else, I’d like to emphasize how AMAZING Professor Phelan was. He was honestly incredible. Aside from being super understanding and a major advocate for us students in quarantine/events related to racial injustice, he was a fantastic teacher through and through. He dressed up every single day and had a little studio sign; it was very clear he cared deeply about us and his job. He held multiple review sessions and recorded and posted everything. During lectures, he explained concepts super well, was interactive, and was engaging. As long as you got one clicker question in, he would count you for attendance. He was easily the best LS Professor I’ve had and for sure one of the best professors I’ve had here at UCLA, and I would strongly recommend any class with him.
In terms of structure, overall it was exceptionally standard and what I expected from a LS7 class. The format was identical to LS7A, so you should have a good idea of what to expect in terms of workload and homework. This time there was a lab, however, which was alright. I thought it was very similar to the discussions from 7A but were much more focused on the activity instead of going over concepts. The exams could be tricky at times, and had complex questions (like 7A). However, I thought it was reasonable for the most part.
Overall I would 110% recommend Phelan for 7B. You probably have to take 7B for your lower div requirement, but he was incredible and made it super doable.
Phelan is one of the good 7 series professors. If you have the opportunity to take a class in the 7 series with him, go for it. This class has all the normal complaints about launchpad and the tricky 7 series exams. Advice for the first midterm, go to the CLC workshops. Their worksheets are very helpful for all the genetics probability problems on the first midterm. Phelan's review sessions are like a mini-lecture with practice problems as opposed to other professors who do Q&A for their review sessions. I highly suggest you go to them. One complaint about the LS department is that clickers were still required, so people living in opposite sides of the world had to attend live lectures.
I am not a big fan of the LS series, but Professor Phelan made LS7B enjoyable. He is an awesome professor and genuinely cares about his students. Although I took his class online, I found him to be very engaging and his passion for education and the course material was very evident. I loved how he had "take home messages" for every lecture. He also held review sessions before each midterm which helped immensely. Overall, if you have the option to have Professor Phelan for LS7B TAKE IT!
I am not a big fan of the 7 series, but Professor Phelan definitely made going to lecture enjoyable. He was very accommodating and kind about the situation in spring and made sure to make himself available. He is very funny during office hours as well. I highly recommend taking him for this class.
Note for anyone considering to take this class online: the 7B classes this quarter were not allowed to review their online midterms after taking them, so you can't see where you went wrong. Prof Phelan helped us out a little bit by having a review session after the second midterm and walked us through some of the commonly missed questions. The final was made optional in Spring 2020 (full points awarded to everyone), and we had the Week 10 lab become extra credit. LS7B with Phelan was ran pretty typically of LS classes. Launchpad work was the same as in-person lectures, but lab sections were a lot more tedious, essentially busy work. We had some weeks that were asynchronous lab sections when you just turn it in on your own, but I will say that the lab section were pretty unaccommodating for more time. Some of the online labs were super long (carrying on beyond lab time), but we always had a strict deadline of turning in by the end of lab. I had some tech issues in the first week with not being able to run Zoom/fill turn things in at the same time, but didn't even get the deadline budged by 15 minutes.
For professor Phelan, he was super nice and a great lecturer. He does take a little while longer to respond to emails and can carry on tangents when talking about course concepts, but he really cares and advocates for the students.
Professor Phelan was probably the best professor to have for this class. If you're able to take 7B with him, do it . He's super passionate about the subjects you learn about, and it shows in his lectures . He's a really funny guy and keeps his students in mind with a lot of things, and he really wants you to succeed and enjoy what he's teaching so he's really good at it .
Professor Phelan is definitely one of the better LS series professors. After 7A, I did not think the LS series was meant for me and I was not engaged during lectures. However, Professor Phelan not only made lectures engaging, but he taught and reviewed the material in depth. He even held useful review sessions before the midterms unlike the relatively unhelpful Q&A sessions the other LS professors hold. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the material in this class and Professor Phelan is very knowledgeable about 7B. He was extremely accommodating during this online quarter and did his best to make sure students learn. I would choose Phelan over other LS professors by far.