September 04, 2003

Olsen, Paul
Dinosaurs and the History of Life

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

Professor Olsen is a genuinely amusing and intelligent instructor who definitely knows how to take advantage of a field (dinosaurs) which is automatically more interesting than 99% of subjects. You'll see plenty of clips from Jurassic Park and sci-fi movies in his lectures, and he'll explain why they are wrong and miscalculated. The midterm and final are made much easier due to the practice questions and answers that he posts on the website. Even he admits that a good deal of the website practice questions actually WILL be on the exam. The term paper is not hard at all. It merely requires gathering research and sources that are not outdated. All you have to do is list and categorize the evidence and paraphrase. He even encourages you to paraphrase it! This was an enjoyable class and loads better than all those Human evolution and anthropology classes.

Workload:

Minimal. The homework assignments are few and easy. The term paper requires some advanced preparation in research (like going to the Geology libraries or the Museum of Natural History).