All Ratings and Reviews for Pamela Kennedy
Don't be fooled by the positive reviews- Kennedy is the worst professor I've had throughout my four years at UCLA. She posted her video lectures late, and her lectures were dense and often went over the allotted class time. There were also random beeping noises in her lectures, but she would argue that not many students complained about it so there must be no issue on her end. Each lecture had over forty slides filled with information, and everything was "fair game" so you had to memorize every single slide to do well on the exams. She was blatantly condescending and rude throughout the entire quarter and even rescheduled office hours three times to avoid student concerns about the second midterm, with the final date being the day after Thanksgiving when people would be with their families. She refused to budge on her testing format; every exam and quiz was sequential (meaning you can't go back to a previous question) and used Respondus. She always argued that her testing format was supported by "many experts" even though it is stricter than in person testing and ALL of my other professors thought it too harsh. She does offer up to 2% extra credit (1 for SONA and 1 for class evals) and 1 extra point for the Respondus check on the midterms and finals, but the class averages were still low and most students averaged a C+ according to my TA.
The breakdown for her class was as follows:
25% 8 Discussion Sections: (7 points each- 1 for attendance, 6 for quizzes) 42 points in total because the lowest 2 weeks are dropped
25% Midterm 1
25% Midterm 2
25% Final Exam
She let students choose if they want 2 of the exams weighted 30% and 1 exam weighted 15% because the averages for the second midterm were so low.
Overall, avoid taking this class with Kennedy unless you can devote most of your time to studying for this class. She is also a tenured professor, and she clearly has not nor will be receptive to student concerns because she has no reason to. She lacked transparency and decided to take a stricter approach to teaching during the pandemic. At least there was no required textbook for this class.
you have 4 or 5 weeks worth of slideshows to memorize that are 50 slides each, but then the midterm/final were only 33/34 questions. I enjoyed the class and the material though so it was fine. lectures were only audiocasted which motivated me to go to class bc she references diagrams and pictures a lot on her slides which is hard to pick up on via audio.
Professor Kennedy, as someone else said, seems like a kind professor but consistently shows little to no care for student understanding or learning. She was inconsistent in uploading Zoom lectures, even when she was recycling lectures from previous quarters, and her lectures were riddled with contradictory material and information.
Exams were difficult and truly required memorization of every image and word on her slides (each lecture had around 40 slides). Exams are sequential, meaning you can't go back and change test answers once they've been submitted, and the tests were proctored using Respondus.
Quizzes were more straightforward, but I thought it was strange that each was written by your respective TA, meaning the class wasn't tested on the same questions. They were also through Respondus, and they were probably my least favorite part of the class - it took away from discussion time, and my TA had to get through 80 slides worth of material in around 35 minutes because of the time it takes to get through the quiz, log onto the Zoom, and then review the answers at the end.
All in all, this class comes down to brute memorization of a ton of information that hasn't been taught cohesively or in a manner conducive to learning. Needless to say, I would not recommend taking this class with Kennedy.
Discussion Quizzes 35%
Extra Credit: 2 SONA hours (2%), 60% of class completed evals (1%)
So each lecture includes a LOT of information, with 50ish slides of material each time. Slides are posted before lecture on CCLE and lectures are audiocasted. Professor Kennedy is an okay lecturer. She somewhat expands on her slides, but for the most part all of the information is there. She explains some images and diagrams though. The material was interesting for me at times, especially for the second half of the class. Sometimes she would misspeak during lecture based off of the correct information on her slides and wouldn't correct herself. Overall she's okay. She's very nice though.
TA Eric Harvey:
Eric was very nice. He would show these weird and close to random videos before discussion that kind of expanded on the concepts.To be honest I didn't really pay attention in section, so I can't speak too much on his teaching ability. But this quarter we had a lot of Monday holidays so quizzes were postponed and doubled up to the next week. So having to take two quizzes some weeks ate up a lot of time in discussion, leaving not enough room for actually going over content. He would also hand out worksheets once in a while, but again, there wasn't much time for us to actually go through it on our own or finish going over them. But that's not really his fault.
Discussion Quizzes grade: 34.5/35
Essentially every week you would have a 10-question multiple choice quiz in your section based on the previous week's material. The TA's made their own questions and they were a bit tricky but generally easy to do well on even if you just start studying for it earlier that day. I'd say don't fuck around with the quizzes. There were these two girls in my section that would laugh loudly at all the answers they guessed wrong when my TA went over them after the quizzes. Out of 8 total quizzes, only 7 of the highest grades are counted, each quiz worth 5% of your total grade. So try to do well on them. For me, it helped to condense the lecture notes and study from those.
Midterm grade: 23/32
So I really underestimated just how much studying I needed to do for these exams. I didn't start studying until literally the night before, so I obviously fucked up. The first part of the class has a lot of structures you need to memorize. There were 32 multiple choice questions. And essentially each question on each of the exams is worth 1% of your grade, so every question counts. She makes the questions quite tricky, so you really have to know your stuff. The grade distribution for the class tells me that most people were also in the same boat as me. It looked like a cut and paste normal distribution with about 3/4 of the class getting a C or lower. I got a 72% and the mean was a 71% (22.8/32). Really, really study.
Final grade: 31/33
So obviously I realized my errors in studying and started working on the material earlier than last time. It helped that the final was on a Friday, so I started studying on the Tuesday. It was 33 multiple choice questions and each is again literally 1% of your grade. It wasn't cumulative and only covered the last half of the quarter. I pretty much rewrote my typed condensed notes and studied off of those. I think I did so well partly because the material was more interesting to me that the first half contained more structures to memorize. But also because I actually tried to study well. I dunno what the distribution of the scores was because it hasn't been posted yet, but I suspect more people did better than the first one hopefully.
Extra credit: 3%
So if you complete 2 hours of SONA research studies you can get up to 2% added to your grade. I did it literally during First Week. Just get it out of the way for some easy extra credit. Also near the end of the quarter Kennedy announced that she would offer an additional 1% extra credit if 60% of the class completed professor evaluations. Also another easy thing to do. These really help your grade, especially since your grade is dependent on such few items.
Overall grade: A-
I think I didn't get the grade I wanted because I really underestimated the class, the breadth of its content, and the amount of studying I needed to do to really master the material enough to test well on it. I'd say to progressively studying throughout the quarter to do well on the exams and quizzes. Alternatively you can also start intensive studying a couple few days before the exam to do well like I did for the final. Whatever you choose, make sure you make as many questions on the quizzes and exams work in your favor.
This professor seems nice but its only just a front. If you stay away from her, only communicate with the TA's, and avoid asking her any questions even content-based you should be able to get through the class with minimal stress. My interactions with her were not great and a few times she was extremely patronizing to me. I told her that I felt that one question on the final was ambiguous and I could talk to her about it to explain things. I then went on to compliment her and thank her for her work in the class (even though it wasn't deserved) and she responded with an extremely condescending response of "well you got it right, do you want me to change this because it was too ambiguous?" Of course not... but she felt that this was an appropriate response to me. The content of this course is tedious and what you expect from it, but the professor's attitude and behavior bring a lot of stress into this class. Do not take her during COVID. She's not accommodating and believes that all students should be able to succeed despite her not changing anything to fit with distance learning. This class is supposedly not any harder now than it was pre-covid, but this shouldn't be the case since there are so many things keeping students to be able to perform at their full potential, but she doesn't care.
This professor is awful, she was extremely rude and condescending in her responses to student emails. Her lectures we unorganized and she basically read off the slide without further explanation. There was a lot of human error and discrepancies in the quizzes due to the fact that TAs made the questions themselves and often made mistakes. All the exams and quizzes were sequential (could not go backwards) even after all the negative feedback she got from students. The quizzes and exam were proctored online through Respondus which just added unnecessary anxiety for students. She was not accommodating in the slightest for any reason during the pandemic. I highly discourage taking this course with this professor.
This class was extremely stressful and tiring. There is a lot of material that is covered and that you are required to memorize and the info can often be confusing or contradictory and it is extremely difficult to memorize everything that is on the slides. On top of this, the questions on the tests are made to trick you with answer choices like "a and b", " a and c", " b and c", " b and d" " none of the above", " all of the above" all on the same question. The first test was not as difficult, the second test was extremely difficult and after the whole class complained about the second test, she made the final a lot easier in my opinion. All the tests are on respondus plus they are made sequential, meaning you have to answer a question and move on and you can't come back to that question. The good thing was that she did not require textbook and the exam material was only from what she lectured. The weekly quizzes are also on respondus and sequential and they include 6 questions about the material covered in the previous week. Compared to the tests, the quizzes are a lot more fair and straightforward (at least for the TA that I had). I would recommend enrolling in a discussion that is later in the week because you will have more time to study the previous weeks' lectures. Overall, if you put a lot of time into this class and study really hard, you will probably be fine. Good luck!
Avoid taking this class with Dr. Kennedy. I say this even after receiving an A-.
Dr. Kennedy is not a super effective lecturer. However, she does seem like a warm and welcoming individual, and she did seem to be genuinely concerned with student learning. Unfortunately, her lectures are dull, and she does not seem to be prepared for student questions. I will give her the benefit of the doubt, as she mentioned that she was going to re-structure the class to account for questions. My issue with this class stems more from the TAs and the writing of test questions.
Extra credit: 3% on top of final grade
2 points for SONA, 1 point for class evals. Pretty fair, and hard to argue for a grade boost when you get 3 points on top of your final grade.
Discussion quizzes: 35%
Each question is worth 0.5% of your final grade. Lowest quiz is dropped. These are written by the TAs, who are hit or miss. I had Evan Hart as my TA, and he was terrible. He was very clearly concerned with being the "cool" TA to the detriment of his actual teaching. He also seemed to favor the female students more than the male students. His quiz questions were ambiguous and unfair. Most of them required deciphering. He also does not seem to have a solid grasp on conventional rules of the English language, as most of his quiz questions were worded in a way that allowed for multiple conceptual interpretations due to syntactic and semantic ambiguity. For example, one question regarding pharmacology could be interpreted in two possible ways; determining an answer for both questions is fairly easy, but the difficulty comes in picking which interpretation to choose. Upon reviewing the answers for these quiz questions, there were multiple times when over half the class would say that they interpreted the questions a different way. If over half the class cannot understand the way you write your questions, then that is probably an indictment on the TA, not the students. I know that some of the other TAs, such as Michael, are good from previous classes, but if you take this class, avoid Evan Hart at all costs.
Midterms: (x2) and 20% each
The first midterm was pretty easy and straightforward. The second midterm was much, much harder, and the average was a 70%. There was also a miscommunication regarding midterm 2 - the TAs told us that it would be much harder, but Professor Kennedy told us that this was not true. Nonetheless, it was much harder. The midterm questions are also written by the TAs, and so they are hit or miss as well. I asked my TA, Evan Hart, for clarification on the wording of some ambiguous questions, to which he simply told me that I was "thinking too hard" (why this is a problem at UCLA, I have no idea). He also brushed me off and told me this while constantly looking at his phone while I asked him questions about the midterm. If you can't tell by now, Evan Hart is a terrible, rude, dismissive TA, so find a different TA if you can.
Non-cumulative. Moderate difficulty. Similar to the midterms.
Overall, avoid this class. It is unfortunate, as Behavioral Neuroscience is actually one of my favorite topics, and I loved Psych 116. However, this class is in contention for one of the top 5 worst classes I have taken at UCLA. I think that Kennedy may get more negativity than she deserves, because she seems like a good person. I think most of the problems with this class stem from the TAs - such as Evan Hart - and the wording of questions on the exams. Your grade in this class WILL NOT reflect your understanding of the material, but rather your ability to decipher poorly worded questions.
I hated this class. Worst and most difficult class I took at UCLA. If I could go back I would not take it. Very tough grading and it's just memorization so you don't learn anything. You are expected to memorize A LOT and it's very very hard to get a decent grade. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.
So this class is hard no matter who you take it with. I honestly didn't have an issue with Professor Kennedy or the way she taught but I know most of my classmates felt differently. There is a lot of content and a lot of memorization. Her first exam was very fair and I was extremely surprised. The second midterm and final were crazy difficult but manageable if you memorize all the terms and make sure to get into the nitty-gritty detail (anything she shows to you is fair game to pop up in her questions even the 3-second slides) Goodluck.
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