Winter 2022 - I had Paul for the first module of PHYSCI 111A in Winter 2022. He taught cellular neurophysiology. INSTRUCTOR Paul is a pretty high energy guy and he seems nice, but he's a terrible instructor. He never seemed prepared for lectures and would sometimes read off of slides and reach a conclusion that wasn't clear to anyone. He also talked EXTREMELY fast and in a convoluted way. He kept saying that he was hoping to finish teaching the content a day earlier than scheduled so that we'd have extra time to study (and that ended up happening, but I'm not sure it was that beneficial). As a result you'd sometimes go into class (or leave it) without knowing what you're supposed to know and study and what topics you don't have to worry about. The last ~15 minutes of his very last lecture really were just him reading off of about 18-20 slides (I counted) that were nothing but walls of text, and after finishing, he just said, "So all of this is content you guys need to know for the midterm." So apparently there are expectations that students should study content the instructor didn't bother to properly teach. In the end he didn't even write the midterm, it was a couple of the TAs who did. CONTENT There isn't that much content in the first module; it really is an expansion of topics in neuron physiology from LS 7C. Know the basic way a neuron functions, the types of potentials, the ions, channels, and types of currents involved, and the experiments; try to start thinking scientifically, like in terms of experimental design, because questions like that will start showing up more and more in PhySci. CLASS STRUCTURE The class structure is uniform across modules in PhySci 111A, at least when I took it. Paul's module was fully remote, meaning both lectures and discussions were live on Zoom. Lectures were recorded (and Paul uploaded them on a fairly timely manner) but discussions were not. During Paul's module, there will be one quiz week 2 (which we took on Canvas while in the discussion Zoom call) and one critique week 3. The first two papers are pretty short and straightforward, but future articles will get more complex so get used to reading them. TIPS FOR CRITIQUES Do 1/2 summary, 1/2 critique. Add a header with your name and the authors' names, but don't add a title to the body -- it's a waste of precious lines. For the summary part: open stating the thesis/hypothesis (the driving point) of the article. Then, in a VERY short manner, describe the main experiments and their respective methods and main results (e.g. "They first tested ABC using method XYZ and found that 123" and repeat for other major experiments). Close this part stating the authors' conclusions, but paraphrase so you don't get marked for plagiarism. For the critique part: open with the finding and its significance (i.e. why society/the scientific community should care about this article). Then try to be creative and talk about what were strong suits of the experiments or things they could've done better. Other things you can talk about: clinical applications, future directions, questions that went unanswered that you would like to test & how, etc. Close by restating the thesis, which I guess may sound repetitive from the first half.
Fall 2021 - Took this class asynchronously, lectures were easy to follow and it was cool how they invited guest lecturers every week. There were weekly multiple choice quizzes and the midterm/final were papers (create an experiment and relate to lecture material) that weren't graded too harshly. Final presentation was presenting the purpose, methods, results, etc of a relevant paper.