All Ratings and Reviews for Peiyun Lee
MCDB 50 was a very interesting class. I genuinely enjoyed the material and learned a ton about these issues. I felt, however, that Professor Lee was one of the worst professors that I've had at UCLA. This is not me being biased against her because of a bad grade in the class––I received an A+. What I felt was the problem was this: with the amount of money that each of us pays to attend UCLA, I felt that very little time or effort was put in by Dr. Lee to make sure we succeeded. To start, for the midterm and final, you will not be given any practice exams, any study guide, or any other direction other than "study the lecture slides." I felt that this was very inappropriate considering the amount of detailed information we covered. I understand that it should be independent studying, but a general outline of the issues that she felt were important to look at would've been more helpful. On top of that, she instructs the entire class to create a 30 minute movie at the end of the quarter (in the weeks leading up to finals week, might I add) which I thought was a complete waste of time. With a class that large, a handful of students are bound to take on the vast majority of the workload, and I was unfortunately one of those students. It did not enhance my learning or understanding of the class in any way, shape, or form, and nearly every other member the class who I talked to felt this way. It really did feel like one of those high school projects that is just assigned as busy work, and especially during finals week it became very stressful. Imagine trying to coordinate filming schedules with 70 students in your class, and you can understand why this would be problematic, If you're very interested in MCDB, then take the class. The lectures are very well put together. If you're on the fence, or this class is not a major requirement, don't waste your time.
Yes, this class is a fair amount of work; however, the knowledge that you gain from this class is remarkable. I am also taking MCDB 104BL and I have learned so much about research from Dr. Lee. If you want something out of your degree, take this class.
I enrolled in the class in week 2, as I needed a science GE that seemed interesting enough, this was one of the few that were still open, and your grade isn't entirely exam based. The class I was in before had a sort of questionable grading scale, it bored me, and it reminded me too much of the GE cluster I was in fall quarter that I ultimately didn't stick with. I didn't last the whole quarter, and dropped the class after doing poorly on the midterm.
I stayed for as long as I did because I thought the material was interesting. You learn about the science behind the stem cell research controversy. It deals with the anatomy of stem cells and how they naturally , different ways to engineer them, and their ethical implications. While I can't say the lectures are the most engaging ones I've been in at this school, they got the job done and explained the concepts well. You do actually have to go to them, though, because there are iClicker questions. Professor Lee is pretty friendly if you actually go talk to her and go to her office hours, and willing to help. But her office hours weren't at a very convenient time for me, so I didn't find that out before it was far too late.
As friendly and helpful as she appears in lecture, though, the class is not easy work wise, and I didn't know until after I was about to drop that it has a reputation for being one of the more difficult science GEs. There are group projects involved, though I didn't stay in the class long enough to comment on their difficulty or how they're graded, just that you work with the people in your discussion section. There are weekly homework assignments that involve designing an experiment, and they're graded on accuracy, but you don't get feedback on them generally early enough for you to learn from your mistakes and improve on them. You also have to write a paper, where you answer very specific questions about a book that you have to read on your own. All these things added together make up 55% of your grade, where the midterm is 20% and the final is 25%.
The exams are straightforward but rather difficult. They are similar to the free response questions on AP exams, only requiring a greater amount of detail and nowhere near as much practice material given out leading up to it. And as a north campus major who hasn't taken a real science class since high school, I was completely out of it. Neither she nor the TAs ever really went into detail on what to expect from the questions. But essentially each of them are based around one of the main ideas.
Bottom line: While I enjoyed my time in the class, I wouldn't take it again even if you paid me. Peace out, MCDB 50.
Strengths: Dr. Lee seems very knowledgeable and the lectures and discussions are very interesting conversations.
Weaknesses: during discussions, it would be helpful for Dr. Lee to respond with positive affirmation after a student shares because it is really nerve wracking to speak in front of other students and it's hard to read other people's body language over zoom. In addition, I would advise Dr. Lee to be careful with her choice of words. During one particular discussion where we discussing an ethical situation that involved saving lives, I wanted to share my opinion and was sort of put on the spot by Dr. Lee. I don't usually mind being grilled but I was arguing for the unpopular opinion and Dr. Lee said "I understand what you're trying to say but you're not putting it in a very elegant way". I felt that comment was a little insensitive because it is hard to think on the spot and be grilled in front of the other students about a stance that most of them don't support. Therefore, she could have worded that better. Additionally, I feel that Dr. Lee could be more lenient with grading especially during this pandemic and MCDB 50 being a General Education class and not a Biology major class. It is pretty heavy on biology knowledge and the midterm free responses were graded pretty harshly.
If you are interested in stem cells and need to satisfy a GE requirement, it would be okay to take this class. Just make sure to double and triple check your midterm exam because they are very harsh with grading. Your responses need to match everything that was said in lectures and they take off big chunks of points very freely. My TA was Natalie G. and she was a really friendly and nice TA but I'm not sure about the other TA (Salena).
This class was extremely difficult for a GE. Do not take it if you don't have a strong biology foundation. Not just high school biology, a really strong understanding of biology. The class material itself is extremely interesting, but you can't succeed if you don't have prior knowledge and understanding of complex biological concepts. Dr. Lee does not give any study guides or direction for the midterm and final, making it very difficult to succeed. When you reach out you are simply told to study the course material, but if you don't have the biological foundation this is extremely difficult.
There is also one group project that the entire class participates in, making it really difficult to accomplish. With a group project in such a large class it's inevitable that the majority of the work is going to fall on a small group of people.
Overall I enjoyed the material but it always felt like the class was working against me.
WINTER 2021 GRADE BREAKDOWN:
note: this will most likely not be the same if you are taking this class in person, as we had no exams
Slack Participation: 10%
Peer Reviews: 10%
Midterm Essay: 30%
Final Project: 30%
As you can see, this quarter we had no exams. Thus, this class was honestly pretty light and stress free. The lectures were almost all asynchronous (only four were live). The essay was a five page paper and wasn't too difficult. It was also graded very kindly. The project was a group project and also wasn't too difficult. You could honestly get away without even watching lectures in this class since there were no tests, but I still watched them anyway because they were actually really interesting to me. The lectures also helped out on the homework assignments (which weren't too long). Professor Lee was also very kind and responded very quickly on slack. She even raffled us $25 Amazon gift cards for anyone who turned their cameras on in discussion. Definitely take this class!
Midterm paper 15%
Group presentation 10%
Discussion participation 10%
Skies participation 10% (basically asking questions online)
Clicker questions 5%
Pros: Easy A, great professor, good lectures. Bruincasted, slides posted on CCLE, study guides given, exams are STRAIGHT from the slides. HELLA extra credit on the exams.
Cons: Lectures can be irrelevant at times, a lot of bio and less politics so beware. IMP: the study guides are only questions (like 70) but no answers! I have answers to all the study guide questions and I got an A+, text me at 424-440-9353, you basically just need to memorize these and you'll get an A.
Professor Lee is one of the best professors I met at UCLA. She is knowledgeable, super helpful and nice. I am a Business Economics major so I was taking this class just to satisfy a GE requirement but I ended up loving the topic. I have never been a huge fan of biology but the topic was really interesting and Dr. Lee made it even more engaging. The workload and grading is reasonable. This is actually one of those GE classes that you actually learn useful and interesting information without harming your GPA. However, keep in mind that the curriculum is based more on the biology side of stem cells and less on the politics.
I took MCDB 104AL with her. The lab was on tuesdays and thursdays but we spent EVERY SINGLE DAY in the lab often from morning to 6-7pm. This class required so much work that I couldn't spend enough time on my other classes. I got all A's in my weekly lab reports, papers and quizzes and I was 100% sure I was gonna get an A. I was shocked when I saw I got a B on myucla. I just couldn't believe it! She had taken points off from lecture participation, lab conduct and final research to get me from a definite A+ to B+. It was not fair and I just had to write this review cuz I'm really upset. Btw I had attended all the lectures and answered most of the questions she asked in class. 😒😡
I will preface this review with this statement: this class is not curved, tough and requires a lot of studying.
Professor Lee is great; she was very helpful and made it clear to the class that she was available to meet and gave appropriate times. The lecture slides were sometimes hard to follow, and she would often brush over experimental techniques, assuming that we know what they are.
The exams are long and very time-constrained. You MUST know all experimental techniques before her exams if you want to do well. However, she did give plenty of bonus points on the exams (15% bonus points for both midterms and 20% bonus points on the final) to cushion your grade and boost you up. There is a presentation that must be done on a research paper that everyone has to do in discussion, but it wasn't too bad.
Overall, a very fair class. The TA was extremely helpful and made this class a little more doable.
Did this review contain...
Thank you for the report!
We'll look into this shortly.