Sean McAuliffe

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Web Programming for Psychology Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Web Programming for Psychology See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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Introduction to Cognitive Science See Full Profile

Overall 2.7 Easiness 2.2 Workload 2.9 Clarity 2.5 Helpfulness 3.2

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This class is unlike other psychology/life science classes. It questions theoretical probabilities rather than simply lecturing facts and expects the students to form their opinions while remaining open-minded on topics such as consciousness, free will, and judgement.

The textbook does not help, although it is available for $25 pdf copy.

Pros: Professor McAuliffe respected the time of his students; he always started and ended in the designated time slot. His materials outside of his slides (videos, examples, personal stories) were engaging and interesting. He does a good job of not imposing opinions and encourages discussion.

Cons: However, his instructions for a video project (15% of grade) were vague. Although I appreciated the artistic freedom, it would've been nice to have more guidance. Lecture recordings were sometimes uploaded 3 days late. Sometimes, he accelerates and skimps his explanations of important topics for the sake of time, and in my class, explicitly said that he would skip a topic that later showed up in 5 questions on the final exam.

Especially for a class that relied on Zoom and slides, I would've liked more prompt email communication between the professor and student.

(Summer Quarter 2020)
Psychological Statistics See Full Profile

Overall 2.5 Easiness 1.2 Workload 1.8 Clarity 2.5 Helpfulness 2.0

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I got an A- in the class but I'd give McAuliffe an A- too.

Reading the terrible reviews about him, I was dreading this class but McAuliffe is definitely not the McAwful that people make him out to be. Yes he talks fast and his powerpoint slides aren't that useful but the person below me has the right idea on how to do well in this class.

1. READ the online textbook. Every word is important and is fair game on the exams. Details, details, details. The massive amount of spelling errors in the book will drive you mad but it's not unreadable. Complete all the questions at the end of every chapter and do the practice problems over and over until you can solve them with your eyes closed.

2. Attend lecture.
His slides aren't that helpful but he will sometimes say things that you can't find in the text or on the slides that will show up on the exam and final. Pay attention to how he conceptually explains the formulas. There are A LOT of formulas to memorize but he makes them easy to remember by emphasizing the concept behind them and how they all relate. Big plus to McAuliffe for that.

3. Do the homework. Exam Q's are similar to the homework and practice problems from the textbook.

4. Go to discussions. It's optional to go but the TAs I had were super helpful in breaking down difficult concepts.

5. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. I only went three times (the day before each of the exams) but McAuliffe is such a nice guy and really wants you to do well. You don't even need to have questions, just go and listen to him answer other people's questions. It helps.

6. Take McAuliffe's class. The other section taught by Moran actually had a lower average than McAuliffe's you decide.

He gives you practice midterms and a practice final, he makes a difficult subject less difficult, and he's occasionally funny. He's not unfair and if you work hard then there's no reason you couldn't walk away with at least a B in the class.

(Dec. 21, 2013)
General Psychology Laboratory See Full Profile

Overall 3.2 Easiness 3.0 Workload 3.1 Clarity 3.0 Helpfulness 3.1

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First, I would like to mention that the whole reason why I am writing this is because some of the reviews on here (if not most) are not a representative sample. And if you took psych 101 with Professor McAuliffe you would know why. So I made it a point (since I really didn't plan on it) to do this class and you (potential enrollees) justice by giving you, both, objective and subjective views. Do with them as you may.


1. Lectures are organized with slides (available a head of time)
2. Online study guide helps A LOT with exam (I wish all classes had that)
3. Quizzes are not so hard and he drops lowest grade
4. NO RESEARCH PAPER!! (That was a big one for me)
5. No text book (only course reader cost $10 - you could also just look up articles instead of buying it)
6. Offers extra credit (up to 1% increase)
7. One lab is completely devoted to presentation help
8. Exams not cumulative
9. Available to answer questions both in class and office hours
10. Tries to keep students engaged in lectures (does demonstration of material)


1. Exam & quizzes are short answers (doesn't believe in multiple choice)
2. Missing lecture could mean missing on important information not on slides
3. Quizzes are on the first 10 min. Of class - don't be late
4. Can be picky about wordings for a few questions - pay attention in class
5. Talks a bit fast, can be hard on note taking sometimes (I recorded a couple of lectures

Factual information

2 exams (33% each)
5 quizzes (12% drops lowest grade)
1 presentation (20% + 2% presentation attendance)
Roughly every lecture/lab a different area in psychology is discussed

My own personal opinion (as you can see some may not agree)

I really enjoyed this class! I thought lectures were super interesting. He discussed a little bit of everything, but it also felt like he picked subjects that are interesting and cool to know about. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it's an easy A because it's not, but getting an A is doable if you put in the effort (I have a newborn at home that sucks out all my time and I still managed an A with putting a little effort). You just need to want to. Plus, I think he really does care and tries to give all resources possible to help student get good grades (which, unfortunately, I cannot say about all professors ) so utilize his office hours! It seems to me like he is passionate about his job which may be perceived by others as arrogance. But even if that were true, WHO CARES? Focus on things that matter.

Lastly I would like to comment back on some unfair claims:

* "McAuliffe is absolutely awful. His tests are dumb -- he literally copies questions off his study guide, and the rest of the questions are on obscure details that have no relevance to the overall meaning of the topic."

This makes no sense to me! He literally gives his students the to key to succeeding in his class. That makes him AWSOME in my book! And, if you call class material obscure details, then yeah, sure...

* "seriously mcauliffe's condescending attitude and overall lack of self-control makes it unbearable"

What are you talking about??? I have no idea what you even mean. It just sounds like you are mad you have to show up for class...tough luck, this is a university...are you aware of that?

* "On the last day of lecture, he brought his guitar and sang to the class. Is this really the way that professors at one of the top universities in the country should be teaching? "

He didn't do this in my quarter and I'm kind disappointed. I hope it wasn't because of all your mean and unfair comments. I heard that was a learning tool he used to help students remember class material. This is outside of the box thinking. It means he took time to come up with a song for this class to help his students do better on his exams. How is that a bad thing???

My Tip: When you read reviews try to weed out all the angry sounding comments (people can be unjustly mean) or even general positive comments that don't tell you much except that that person liked the class. Look for concrete information. And, most importantly try not to be biased in your own reviews.

(Spring Quarter 2016)
Cognitive Psychology See Full Profile

Overall 2.3 Easiness 1.3 Workload 1.4 Clarity 2.6 Helpfulness 2.9

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I was worried about this class after I heard how difficult Prof Mcauliffe was for 100A. But for 120A, I cannot say that he is unfair or difficult at all. His lectures can be a bit scattered and difficult to follow if you 'space out' for a second but all in all they are enjoyable - he actually makes it fun! The practice tests are VERY helpful to get a feel for his testing style. Take the practice tests - they provide you with a few 'freebies' for the exams. His questions are pretty straight forward and not too tricky at all. Very fair. I got an A in the class. Another great thing: NO BOOK! Just based on lectures and slides.
Definitely recommended.

(Oct. 7, 2012)
Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology See Full Profile

Overall 2.8 Easiness 2.0 Workload 2.6 Clarity 3.0 Helpfulness 3.0

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Teaching Apprentice Practicum Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Teaching Apprentice Practicum See Full Profile

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