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During COVID-19, most of this class is reliant on the TA and how you do in discussions/papers. The lectures were great but dense, so looking at the slides he presents is key to doing well. The content however is very interesting and I enjoyed it greatly, which made the class very easy to excel in. Really what they are looking for is that you are engaged with the material and enjoy it, and are putting in thoughtful effort towards the assignments. Very possible to get an A in, as long as you enjoy what you are learning.
(Taken in Spring 2021, online) This class was an easy A and not much else. I love the idea of this class - history of science - but feels like it was not executed very well. Dr Porter is passionate and knowledgeable but I found his lectures absolutely impossible to sit through. He is clearly a better writer than lecturer - he rambles and never seems to get to the point. His slides are also so disorganized, and at the end I always felt like I retained nothing from listening to him and/or reading the slides. Doing the readings alone is enough (and better). My TA was alright but she definitely wasn't interested in the topic. However, I do love the writing portion of this class. The investigations are quick, easy, and super interesting. The final essay is quite open-ended which made them very fun and interesting.