Summer 2020 - 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.
Biggest asshole ever. Don't take him if you care about your grade. The class itself is not a difficult course but he MAKES it difficult on purpose. He has this ridiculous idea that formulas shouldn't be given to students so you'll basically send your whole time memorizing stupid formulas and trying to remember what order to do all the steps for problems. He makes his tests difficult with a number of questions that are meant to trick you - and he has no qualms about relishing in intentionally doing this. In fact he gloats about it. Anyone who says this guy genuinely cares about his students are deluding themselves. He doesn't actually care about the students - he's probably just sick of all the negative reviews on Bruinwalk (he gives away on the first lecture that he reads through these reviews). Anyway, I hated this course and him as a professor. He's not funny and he thinks his attempts at humor (especially on the tests) makes things less stressful but really they're just irritating. Save yourself a quarter full of tedious memorization/sucky jokes and take the course with someone else.
Winter 2021 - Professor McAuliffe is super funny and engaging during his lectures. I felt that I learned something valuable and enjoyed the content we covered. I also appreciated the life stories and advice he sprinkled into his lectures. I highly recommend!!! The class consisted of 2 take-home, non-cumulative, open-note exams and one final presentation where we presented a research study of our choice. Attendance in lectures and labs was not mandatory other than for the final presentation—everything was recorded and posted. The take home exams weren't hard—the answers are all in his lectures/labs. *Note that I took this class during COVID-19, so my experience is only representative of the online class format. I think the class would have required a lot more time and effort if it were in person.
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.