May 16, 2011

Olsen, Paul
Dinosaurs and the History of Life

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

First, I think I would like to start out by saying that I learned a lot from this class. After taking this class, I could probably qualify as a tour guide for the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. That being said, I can't say that I'm happy about it. Like many others, I took this class to fulfill my science requirement and was utterly unprepared for what was required of me in this class. Although you have very little day-to-day work in this class (apart from reading which I never did), the term paper and final alone are unbearable. You may think that you can handle writing a ten page term paper on dinosaurs now, but by the time you actually have to write it, I guarantee you that you will have neither the time nor the patience. I would guess that the vast majority of the class cranked out their term papers within three days of the due date. In addition to the paper, you have a final which forces you to know an absolutely ridiculous number of facts about anatomy, cladistics, climate, stratigraphy, geology, and miscellaneous dinosaur information. You also have two or three random pop quizzes (one of which I missed), which are allegedly twenty percent of your grade. All things considered, this class was extremely frustrating. However, on the upside, I ended up getting an A, so it is possible. Also, Professor Olsen can be a very good lecturer, even though many of his lecture topics are dreadfully boring.

Workload:

2-3 Pop quizzes, which I'm pretty sure were graded pass/fail
1 short homework assignment, also probably pass/fail
1 10-page paper (if you put in a lot of work you will probably get a decent grade)
1 Final (many of the questions were from the practice final)