Based on 51 Users
Strongly recommend the cluster with this prof. In my opinion, she was the clearest professor I've had so far at UCLA and a terrific lecturer in this cluster.
As a non-bio (or STEM) major, I've been able to follow and understand all of Prof. Rensell's lectures to the T. They are clear, concise, and the learning objectives and structure of her lectures help people follow along and know exactly what knowledge we need to learn for the final exam.
Not as cool as you think it is. Some lectures are kinda boring. Clusters are not as cool as the NSA at orientation hype them up to be. There are so many cooler classes in different areas that are so much better than this cluster. BUT THIS CLUSTER WAS NOT TERRIBLE. Its just a very okay class.
Overall, good cluster. Course topics can be NSFW at times (especially in the book we had to read and write a paper about, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous). Kinda boring sometimes. Discussion is fun.
The first quarter of the class focuses so. much. on GMOs (I should've known, considering the GMO game is a big part of the class). The game made the class super fun :) You got to be in a big group project and schedule meetings yourselves.
The workload is manageable, but there'd be reading like every other day. + There would be extra credit readings, too! The tests were what lowered my grade in the class, and I wish I had studied more :( However, Professor Rensel is SUPER ACCOMMODATING, so nothing was her fault, LOL!
To preface my review, a cluster is a team-taught general education course for freshman. I will also leave reviews on the co-professors for this class.
Dr. Rensel was a wonderful lecturer, who always made her topics (relating more to the biological aspects of the course) enjoyable. Her test questions are always the most reasonable on the test, and her grading is straightforwards. It is sometimes easy to put off her assigned readings if you get bored easily.
Overall, if you're interested in biotech, bioethics, or are just an engineer hoping to knock out all their GEs in one fell swoop, I would highly recommend this course.
If you are going to take a cluster, take this one!!! Interesting material, lenient grading considering almost half your grade ends up being made up of participation in the discussions, the GMO game, and homework readings (all of which you should get 100 on if you are keeping up with the basic work). The work load is pretty manageable, we have readings but they are pretty short compared to other clusters. Midterms and finals are sometimes slightly difficult but very fair and clear. Also 1% of extra credit is offered by doing pretty basic extra work
Rensel is the best professor in this cluster. She is super clear, organized, friendly, and just makes her material a lot more straightforward than the other lecturers.
I love professor Rensel. She is extremely accommodating, caring, and very engaged with the class. Her lectures were interesting and everything you need for the test is in the lectures. The readings were a bit annoying as they are long and you need to read them for the weekly quizzes. However, it does solidify the information taught in lecture. Love this class and I will take another class with her.
I don't have enough good things to say about Dr. Rensel and the Hormones seminar. She's a very sweet, knowledgeable lady who is always willing to listen, offer advice, etc. I got sick on the final presentation day and she was super understanding about it, which is not common in teachers around finals time. The course content was super interesting and felt intentionally chosen / hand selected. We covered so many topics that I would not have known about and I really felt like my perspective and understanding of multiple controversial issues became more nuanced and educated. The course load was manageable, a few readings and activities a week for a once a week class session. I felt like it was all teaching me something new, so I usually didn't mind doing it. We were also provided plenty of resources to learn how to use UCLA research resources, which I think will help me throughout my years at school. That made doing our research paper much easier and smoother. I'm not yet sure what grade I received, but I don't doubt it will be high thanks to her timely inputting of assignment grades and a fair grade distribution between assignments, participation, and the paper.
For the Biotech & Society cluster, Rensel's lectures are the best because she completely goes over all the readings and makes them super easy to understand. She also holds tons of office hours if needed and is overall a super efficient, engaging and easy to understand prof.
Rensel was one of the best professors in the cluster. Simply it is because she totally knows what she is doing and she totally knows what she is saying. She is direct and to the point without the need to give extra unnecessary information. This makes her lectures quick and easy to follow. She offers tons of office hours, but didn't find myself going simply because I had no questions to ask since she explained everything nicely and clearly. Her readings that she assigns are quick and easy to follow.