Based on 70 Users
I loved this class! I took it (virtually) for fun and would recommend it to anyone who wants to gain some foundational knowledge in astronomy or biology. I would definitely recommend it to first year students, because it covers a wide breadth of introductory material for different fields. Also, lectures are live but do not require attendance!
This was the course breakdown:
Homework 40% (drop 2 of 8)
Take-home midterm exam 30% (multiple choice)
Take-home final exam 30% (multiple choice)
There were also 10 points of extra credit, and the weekly homework and exams were open-notes.
Dr. Margot taught more of the astronomy content and was very clear and knowledgeable. I attended his office hours and had a great time talking to him about SETI. He also has his CV published on the SETI page and he's done some very cool things, including lots of consulting for astronomy/sci-fi shows. The tests and homework were easy, although there are a few quantitative questions on the exams, which could be tough for people less knowledgeable in physics. I am a life science major with some (not much) background in math/physics and a lot of space knowledge, so I did not have issues with the material, but if you do not have a STEM background, it might be more difficult. Also, there were a few questions on the exams pulled directly from the textbook, so make sure to at least skim it before the exams!
I was dreading my last science GE, and I'm definitely glad I chose EPS SCI 3. It's an interesting enough class, I guess. Not really. It was interesting when we learned about the planets and that stuff, but we also had to learn about biology, which is something I wasn't so interested in. The class doesn't go super in depth, but I'm an econ major, so any biology is something I don't really like.
I didn't buy or really need the textbook, but apparently it's very light reading and can be purchased at a fair price.
I did like how there wasn't much work involved, as there are just really simple homework I did during discussions, one midterm, and one final. All the exams are multiple choice. Nothing was incredibly hard. Definitely easy to get a B in, maybe a liiiiittle bit harder to get an A.
There was still that question of the bridge being knocked down on the final!! I read it, and I was like "Wow Bruinwalk doesn't lie." WIND. Wind is the answer! Contrary to the previous review, I did see the relevancy. I don't know if that reviewer went to class, but we did watch a video during lecture where the wind was shaking the bridge, and it crumbled because of the resonance. Something like that.
There's also extra credit, which hardly really helps, but is still a good excuse to go out and do some educational things! I went to the Griffith Observatory, which was a fun, especially if you drag along a buddy. You just need to take a couple of timestamped pictures and write a paragraph or so.
I'm sure it's one of the easier science GEs, but not really exciting.
This class was, despite the pandemic, a lot of fun. Astrobiology is a really interesting topic, and I think the perspectives Profs. Margot and Treude brought to the table were unique. On Zoom, though there were some glitches, they were very good about answering questions (say, 10 minutes out of a 90 minute class). For over an hour of reading Zoom slides, it was a little boring, but a funny quip here or there did bring me back into the loop. I personally would have them lecture me again — though maybe that's just me.
In terms of easiness, this is where things get murkier. I had some previous experience with intro astronomy and physics, so Prof. Margot's lectures and content were easy to remember. By contrast, without any biology / lifesci experience, I had to do content memorization and concept work to make more sense of Prof. Treude's lectures, but it certainly wasn't excessive. Homeworks could be done with just posted lecture slides, but for the midterm and final, you definitely had to either re-watch the posted lecture videos while taking it OR take comprehensive notes to get every bit and detail. Not only that, but a few questions came from textbook concepts that weren't covered in class, so make sure you have a copy (or a pdf) of the book with you so you can look for it (either with Ctrl+F or the index).
TL;DR: Easy-ish A, especially with prior experience in physics and biology. Easy homework, but don't underestimate the exams — though open-note and all-MC, sometimes really specific lookup (textbook/lecture slides/recordings) is needed to get the answer if you don't know it already.
This class is an easy GE at least when taken online. The midterm and final were almost straight out of the notes and reading (you don't really need to do the reading although it's a pretty simple book; I used a lot of ctrl + F). The homework assignments, which are formatted as multiple choice "quizzes," are pretty short but don't rush through them — read the answer choices very carefully because the difference between true/false statements usually boils down to a single word and it's super easy to lose points.
You also have an opportunity for extra credit; you can visit a museum online (website)/in person and just have to take pictures and write a short blurb. It takes like 20-30 minutes at most.
You will alternate professors; first prof. Margot will start with basic physics and astro, then prof. Treude will explain criteria for life + examples of life in extreme environments, and then prof. Margot will finish with potential places to look for life + SETI. They're both good lecturers and the subject material is pretty interesting.
Loved Jean-Luc. He’s a funny guy and you can tell that he’s really passionate about what he’s teaching. I thought it was hilarious whenever he’d casually cite his own research on the slides, but honestly if I was him, I would do the same. For me, class was easy as long as I payed attention during lecture, and the tests were also relatively easy and open-note. Some questions were a bit tricky but generally you could find the answers in the lecture notes, and if not, the textbook. I agree with some of the other reviews that sometimes the questions seemed to come out of nowhere or were worded weirdly, but most of the questions weren’t like this and usually you could make a solid guess based on process of elimination. Before any homework or test, I’d recommend looking at the equations on Jean-Luc’s slides and generally understanding what they can be used for. His homework was more challenging than Tina’s and sometimes covered topics that we didn’t go over too clearly, but again, you’ll most likely be okay as long as you go over the math. You also have unlimited time to think about the problems and can use your notes (and your lowest 2 homeworks get dropped!) Plenty of opportunities to do well in this class, plus I ended up loving what we learned in this class so I highly recommend it, especially if you’re down to completely upheave your perception of life and the universe.
Dr. Margot is enticing and his course is relatively easy. If you are searching for a GE to take I would highly recommend this course as it is what inspired me to intern for aerospace organizations. However, make sure you take advantage of his extra credit opportunity. The only reason I ended with a B+ opposed to an A- was because I missed one problem on the final and I had not done the EC opportunity.
Personally, I wasn't very interested in astronomy, but if I had to learn in from someone, I'm glad it was from Margot. His lectures are extremely organized and clear-cut, posted the night before so you can print them out. There is textbook reading, but its not too bad. The first half of the class is more reading-intensive but it lessens as time goes by. Grading is divided into quizzes, homework, midterm, and final. You get to drop you 2 lowest quiz scores and 2 lowest homework assignments, so an A in the class is definitely attainable. Overall, Margot is a fair professor, who's clearly passionate about astronomy and tries to help all his students understand the subject well.
TAKE THE PROFESSOR!
GRADE INFLATION RIGHT HERE!!!!!!!
I took ESS 9 Winter 2013 and ended up with final grade of 96. I got 59% on first midterm and 50% on final exam. (Both below the mean) .But I did the extra credit which is computed as (End grade +20)/120. Although the midterm was discouraging, the guy hands out 99% of the time. No matter what, he will make sure you fail. But in bare minimum work and you should still come out with an A-.
Both TA's are really helpful and will help you understand the material.
The HW and quizes are very simple and you can do them in group. Really 95% of the class got at least 95% on both of these. (Super easy).