Statistics of Biological Systems

Sharmila Venugopal

Statistics of Biological Systems

Life Sciences department

Sharmila Venugopal

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Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.3
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.8
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.7
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.7
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.7
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Is Podcasted
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Would Take Again
  • Has Group Projects
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Issues PTEs

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted July 2, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I think that Dr. Venugopal has a kind soul and truly cares for her students, but sometimes I did get a little lost by her lectures. I think this may have to do with the fact that it is a new course and they are still figuring out how to teach it, but I think the material here could be quite useful. Don't be scared by the thought of coding, because even though it is challenging, it is rewarding when you figure something out. I would say that if you want to be challenged, take this class.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted July 2, 2020
Grade Received: N/A

This class was definitely one not to underestimate. If not for the adjustments made during the protests, I would definitely not have done as well. the bulk of the work is the homework, which is done on Cocalc. It is rarely easy to do and can take 4-5 hours to complete. You will also most likely need to ask a TA or another person for help at multiple points to try to start this as soon as possible so you can hit up a TA during OH and get the help you need. The number of stressed out Sunday mornings I've spent scrambling together a homework assignment before it was due on noon....not worth it!! The midterm is also fairly rough if you were not paying attention to lecture. We had 24 hours to work on it. Don't forget to do the pre-lab quizzes!! The knowledge assignments are fairly easy as well but time consuming (hit me up at 805-657-9253 if you want mine to save time). EC is given for practice exams submitted.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 19, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I have mixed feelings about this class. Dr. V seems like a really sweet person and I really appreciate the accommodations she made for her students this quarter, but at the same time I wish the lectures were a little more organized. For example there were a couple of days where we had to repeat a previous lecture because something was taught or explained wrong, so to me it wasn't always the best use of time. She is definitely helpful for answering questions and the material wasn't too difficult, so it wasn't too bad overall.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 18, 2020
Grade Received: A+

A lot of accommodations were made this quarter due to remote learning and just the general chaos of the world during finals, but this class turned out better than I expected! Before taking LS 40, I was disinterested in statistics and was unenthusiastic about the prospect of learning about it for an entire quarter. I was afraid of the coding assignments because I struggled with the ones in LS 30 A/B. But looking back, LS 40 was surprisingly not as hard or boring as I imagined. Prof. Venugopal made sure lectures were a safe space to ask questions and loved her students dearly. Sometimes topics were a bit unclear, but students managed to ask questions and get the clarity needed.

Contentwise, I had no idea what bootstrapping and box models were, let alone how to code for them. But I think the class was pretty well organized and topics built from previous lectures. First, we started out discussing basic things like plots, p-values, and central measures of tendency. Later in the course, we applied this to theoretical simulations and this was a part of every kind of statistical testing we explored.

There are 6 components in the syllabus that awarded points: homework, knowledge assessments, prelab quizzes, midterm, final, and extra credit. Coding labs are NOT a part of your grade!

There is a weekly homework coding assignment, and I suppose this is the hardest part of each week, but there were only a couple difficult ones. I highly recommend going to TA office hours and asking questions on how to do something if you're stuck, or after you're finished with your coding lab you can ask your TA or LA then. Homework was 36% of our grade (9 homeworks, 40 points each).

Every two weeks or so we would be assigned these "Knowledge Assignments". These vary from answering questions to making a short PowerPoint or decision tree about the statistical topic assigned. If you team up with a partner, you are supposed to be awarded extra credit for doing so. So each time, everyone would partner up and work on it. This was a little more difficult because we were not face-to-face and communication was important, but this is very doable and easy. Just pick a partner that you trust will get the work done on time. In total, this category is only worth 5% of your grade, but I'm pretty sure everyone gets all the points if you just answer the questions correctly.

Each week we also answered a short, 5 multiple-choice question quiz before attending our coding lab, all of which was 4% of our grade. This was super easy and all the info could be found by scrolling through reading the instructions of the lab on Cocalc. I think the quizzes were just for participation and weren't necessarily graded on correctness as well. The coding labs, not graded and just there as a review/practice each week, were SO much easier than the ones in previous classes like LS 30A/B because there are instructions for each question. Sometimes it will tell you what new formula to use, syntax tips, etc. It's easy to finish most labs in about an hour. I don't know if the instructions were provided to us just because of remote learning, but either way this made the labs very doable and efficient. Labs built upon previous labs too, and were reflective of what we went over that week in class.

There was only one midterm for this class worth about 20% (200 points) of our grade, and it was on Cocalc. Most of the questions were free response and more conceptual, asking more about the "why" of the statistical tests we used than the "what". There was only 1 coding problem at the end, but it was super easy and it was similar to previous lab problems we had done. We were also allowed to reference lectures/anything on CCLE, previous labs, and homework during the exam so that was helpful.

The final exam, worth 35% of our grade, was boosted automatically to 100% for all students this quarter. I didn't look at it, but I've heard that it was a similar format to the midterm and would've been doable.

There is also some extra credit available, like the Mid-Quarter LA survey, course evaluations at the end of the quarter, or practice midterm and practice final exam submissions.

It's pretty wasy to get an A in this class if you go to office hours, attend lectures, and just stay organized. There's not too much work but put in the effort to study and remember what the professor went over and you should be good for the exams. Dr. V. was a wonderful professor and I highly recommend taking her!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 18, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I was skeptical going into LS 40 because I had heard that the class was new and disorganized. It is true that there isn't much of a textbook, and it's clear that material is still being developed. However, I really enjoyed this class. Professor V is very accommodating, and she adjusted well to online learning. She was very empathetic towards her students and understood the stress we were under due to COVID during spring quarter. She even adjusted the final for us. Stats can be boring but she tried her best to make lecture engaging, and really listened to our questions to help us understand. She also posted her slides, which are very clear and well done. Personally, I enjoyed the coding aspects of this class a lot, and thought that the coding lined up really nicely with the course material (unlike the LS 30 series). The material is very relevant to modern technology and I hope to apply it in the future. Overall I would highly recommend this class, especially since its easier to enroll in than Stats 13.

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Is Podcasted
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Would Take Again
  • Has Group Projects
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Issues PTEs
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