Stem Cell Biology, Politics, and Ethics: Teasing Apart Issues

Peiyun Lee

Stem Cell Biology, Politics, and Ethics: Teasing Apart Issues

Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology department

Peiyun Lee

Add Review
from 20 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.2
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.6
Easy
Heavy
Workload 4.0
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.2
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.8
Helpful
AD

Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Has Group Projects
  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Often Funny

Grades

Winter 2020
49.5%
41.3%
33.0%
24.8%
16.5%
8.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2019
29.4%
24.5%
19.6%
14.7%
9.8%
4.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2019
48.7%
40.6%
32.5%
24.3%
16.2%
8.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2018
38.7%
32.2%
25.8%
19.3%
12.9%
6.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2017
30.9%
25.7%
20.6%
15.4%
10.3%
5.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2017
24.5%
20.4%
16.3%
12.2%
8.2%
4.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2017
36.1%
30.1%
24.1%
18.1%
12.0%
6.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2013
19.4%
16.2%
12.9%
9.7%
6.5%
3.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2013
24.4%
20.3%
16.3%
12.2%
8.1%
4.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2012
20.0%
16.7%
13.3%
10.0%
6.7%
3.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

AD
AD
1 of 2

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2017 Submitted June 19, 2017 Grade Received: A+

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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 25, 2021
Grade Received: A

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%
Homework: 20%
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!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Dec. 8, 2020
Grade Received: NR

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).

Quarter Taken: Fall 2017 Submitted Jan. 9, 2018 Grade Received: A-

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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2017 Submitted Feb. 25, 2017 Grade Received: NR

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.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Feb. 26, 2020 Grade Received: A+

Midterm 20%
Final 30%
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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 31, 2020 Grade Received: 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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 26, 2021
Grade Received: A-

This is one of the best classes I've taken, and by far my favorite I've taken at UCLA. I highly recommend taking this class with Dr. Lee, it's incredibly interesting and Dr. Lee is a lovely professor.

LECTURES
Lectures were held asynchronously for the most part, with 2-3 synchronous lectures. It was very nice to get to connect with Dr. Lee during these synchronous lectures, and helped restore the feeling of a normal class. For the asynchronous lectures, I typically just looked to the slides and took notes from them, going back to the lecture occasionally if an assignment question references something I missed.

DISCUSSIONS
Discussions were optional and honestly, I only attended about 3-4 of them (which I feel bad about because I really loved my TA). Typically we would just go over and answer questions from the readings and lectures that week and sometimes discuss in breakout rooms what we thought/answer questions the TA provided for us -- which we would put on a slide and then go over with the rest of the class/slides in the main room.

ASSIGNMENTS/READINGS
At the end of each week, there were assignments on CCLE regarding the class's content from the week prior (usually about 3-4 questions, as the quarter went on there would be less and less each week but the appropriate responses would get longer for each question). They were never too hard, could always be answered using the lectures/readings from that week and sometimes were opinion-based. I would usually just skim the readings and it never really caused any problems.

MIDTERM PAPER
This was no problem for me, just start early and address the prompt fully. We had about two weeks to do it, and I got a really great grade just from managing my time with preparing it and the content I included.

FINAL GROUP PROJECT
This wasn't too bad either, you and your group are assigned a degenerative disease that could potentially be treatable with stem cell therapy and you could make a poster, website, or a 15 minute video about the disease following guidelines provided by Dr. Lee. Compared to other finals, this was incredibly easy.

No tests or quizzes and an incredible manageable workload; I can't recommend this class enough. :-)

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Jan. 7, 2020 Grade Received: B+

This class is an easy A (unless you have a bad TA, in my case). Dr. Lee provides in-depth study guides for both the midterm and final and takes exam questions straight from the lecture slides. The lecture reading isn't necessary, but can be interesting. Definitely do the discussion readings. There is one group project, which is easy and is split between 20 people, so the workload is light. TAKE THE MIDTERM PAPER SERIOUSLY. I got an A on all exams and 100% for participation and I still finished the class with a B+ because I was slightly off topic on the midterm paper. The class is about 65% biology and 35% ethics/moral philosophy.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted July 14, 2019 Grade Received: A

I took this class to satisfy my Social Analysis requirement. It was both interesting and easy. Definitely attend the lectures, not only because they help for the midterm and final but also because there were interesting discussions and really cool guest speakers.
A lot of points were practically given away, like clicker questions (just participation) and discussion board posts (sharing one article/post/question) a week. Apart from that, there was no weekly work. The readings weren't necessary for the class at all, but they were fun to read occasionally and might give you ideas for your paper.
The midterm and final were straight from the lecture slides. Learn that extremely carefully. It might take 2 days for the midterm and the final. The midterm was more technical while the final had a lot more ethical questions, and if you prepare well, you can get above a 100% in both (she gives extra credit). The midterm paper wasn't too bad (4 sides) and this is coming from someone who hates writing papers. There was one group presentation which wasn't a whole lot of work.
My TA (Devin Gibbs) deserves a shout-out, he was extremely passionate about the material and made discussions very interesting. He was also very prompt in answering questions.
Overall, this class has practically no work on a weekly basis but does require extensive study time right before the midterm and final. The paper and presentation should not take too long. It's also an easy A. Definitely recommend this class!

1 of 2

Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Has Group Projects
  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Often Funny
ADS

Report Review

Did this review contain...

There are errors in the report form.

Thank you for the report!

We'll look into this shortly.

It seems like you’re

using an ad blocker. :(


Bruinwalk is an entirely Daily Bruin-run service brought to you for free. We hate annoying ads just as much as you do, but they help keep our lights on. We promise to keep our ads as relevant for you as possible, so please consider disabling your ad-blocking software while using this site.

Thank you for supporting us!