June 06, 2013

Olsen, Paul
Dinosaurs and the History of Life

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

So I'm a grumpy humanities student who generally has no fucks to give about the science requirement, and I'm glad I took this class. There is almost no work required of you throughout the semester, so you can pretty much let the class drop off your radar until the term paper and final come along.

(At which point you will have to cram months' worth of dino facts into your head at a ridiculous rate, but whatever. It's agonizing but doable.)

You have to turn in a term paper draft mid-semester. It's annoying, but you will be very, very glad when finals roll around that you already have an almost completed paper to work with rather than having to start from scratch. Olsen gives you a huge list of possible topics to choose from, a few of which aren't at all technical or even very scientific. (I wrote mine about historical linguistics.)

If you're looking for an easy way to fulfill your science requirement and have a decent capacity for cramming at the last minute, this could be the course.

Also, dinosaurs are pretty cool. Who doesn't like dinosaurs?

Workload:

Almost none. There was one short homework assignment at the beginning of the semester, a term paper draft due shortly after spring break, the final draft of the same due at the end of the semester, and then a final exam. Attendance alone is apparently worth 20% of your final grade. The paper draft is mandatory, but the grade you get will be entirely thrown out and replaced with the grade for the revised version. The final is fairly obnoxious, but manageable if you use all the study materials Olsen gives you.