I’m going to follow Sam’s template here and do a review of the classes I took this year. Thanks for the idea and title Sam!
Commerce 292 (Organizational Behaviour and Management)
11:00am – 12:30pm
OB in a nutshell is basically employee-manger relationships in the modern workplace. Maybe it’s because I have two office-type jobs or maybe it’s fate telling me to pick the Human Resources stream in third year, but this class turned out to be one of my favourite of the term. Yes, the textbook is common sense to a certain extent, but one has to approach OB with the intent to apply it to the real world. The class was largely discussion/activity based with lecture off the powerpoint usually taking no more than 40% of the class time (I think we spent half an hour having a paper tower building contest *ahem*teamwork in one of our classes). We watched hilarious clips from The Office and movies on Kennedy and decision making. Both the midterm and the final were multiple choice; a one page “cheatsheet” was allowed for the final exam (I managed to cram 6000 words into mine, don’t ask lol). The class was very much team-oriented. A group case study project was worth 25% of the mark, and the rest came from participation. Dr. Rupp was a very nice and enthusiastic prof who gave us the choice of what to do each class, whether it was a discussion on past material, lectures, or a jeopardy review game (did anyone else notice that OB profs seem to be the HAPPIEST ones around? Makes the students more cheerful too!). She definitely knew her materials and was extremely well-prepared for each class with activities and such. Our section had the highest class average – a whole 5% above the grade average – so that says something about the prof (or us haha)! For those of you who want to get her as a professor, unfortunately she was only at UBC for a one-term Sabbatical. Grade: A+.
Commerce 299 (Business Communication – Public Speaking)
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Just as its title implies, Comm 299 was all about public speaking! We had a class of 25 or so and every week, everyone had to go to the front of the room to make a 1-2 minute speech on an assigned topic. We also had an impromptu speech one week that was VIDEOTAPED. That part was absolutely horrifying at first. But other than that, I love public speaking so I had a lot of fun in this class. I totally conquered my fear of impromptu speeches too! No longer do I need to write out every sentence of a speech before getting up. Now just give me the topic and a few minutes to think about and I’ll be ready to go. The class was very relaxing as listening to all the speeches pretty much filled the hour. Patrick had a lot of constructive criticism in his feedback so that was appreciated. Grade unknown as the class continues into its writing component next term.
Computer Science 111 (Introduction to Computation)
9:00am – 10:00am
CPSC 111 – which covered only the Java programming language – was another one of my favourite classes this term because 1) I love programming to start with 2) the lectures were often very funny 3) Exams were fun when I knew what I was doing. Kurt, the coke machine-obsessed, Macbook-loving American, was a GREAT prof to have first thing in the morning. He had a nice sense of humour and his PowerPoint slides were hilarious. Of course, computer science isn’t for everyone. The labs lasted two hours every week. We had three major projects that took on average over 50 hours combined – worth 10% (people commented that 30 hours of coding for a mere 3.33% wasn’t worth it). The midterms and final were like little logic puzzles and coding exercises – quite enjoyable UNLESS YOU CAN’T SOLVE IT THEN IT’S SO DAMN FRUSTRATING. Like any CompSci course, you’ll have your fair share of smart asses in the class who already know Java and are just there to ask advanced questions during lecture and intimidate everyone else. Pay no attention to them. CPSC 111 gave me an equal amount of pain and pleasure this term. In the end, I still recommend it to anyone remotely interested in computers and programming. Grade: A for “A bit disappointed at the final percentage”.
Economics 101 (Principle of Microeconomics)
11:00am – 12:00pm
Microeconomics was all about supply and demand from the perspective of the individual firm or buyer/seller. This class was supposedly easy but was very painful for me. I think Econ could be easy if you follow this process: preview, go to the lectures, review, do exercises, and study for exams. However, leaving studying off until finals result in wailing at 3AM of “WHAT THE HELL ARE LRACs?!!” I did enjoy certain sections of the textbook though, and was interested in even learning more about Games Theory and Information Imbalance. But it seemed like all the learning I did came directly from the textbook, and very little from the professor. Marks came from three sources: 13% from the weekly online Lyryx Labs, 23% from a midterm (70% of which was based on said Lyryx Labs), and 65% from the final exam. We could attempt the Lyryx Labs as many time as possible and it will just submit the highest mark. Being the perfectionist that I am, I often spent hours on it to just get my 1% *sigh*. Minimum thinking is required really, just memorize the textbook for the final. However, we were told to specifically study the end-of-chapter questions (which had more application), and NONE of it was tested. I’m ticked at this. At any given time during the semester (that is not the first day of class, midterm day, or the day before the final), Professor Lemche’s lectures are at best 1/2 full. He comments on the current state of the stock market before diving into a lecture using the projector on slides that is largely taken from the textbook. As for the Econ Discussions, let’s just say that during the first discussion, our TA looked at the full class and said, “You know attendance for this is optional right?!” Grade: A for “Also a bit disappointed when it was supposed to be a mark booster”.
History 237 (Major Themes in American History)
Tatiana Van Riemsdijk
1:00pm – 2:00pm
This class moves through U.S. history at a furious pace (900 years in six months). It’s a wonderful course for anyone who wants a survey of our neighbour down south. I am forever grateful for Dr. Van Riemsdijk for her extremely organized lectures and clarity in her expectations for research papers. Her specialty is colonial Virginian history, slavery, and social history so that’s what we often focused on. Military history was glossed over (thank goodness! No play-by-play descriptions of Civil War battles, phew). Questions were permitted in the middle of lectures and Dr. Van Riemsdijk took the time to answer every single one (and saved some for the next class if she had to do more research). I had Discussions with Patrick Slaney who was quite knowledgeable as well… gave us lots of pointers for writing history papers. Marks came from three mini essays, a long research essay, participation, and a two hour final. Grade unknown as it’s a 6-credit course.
Math 104 (Calculus and its Applications)
8:00am – 9:30am
Any resentment I have against this course is probalby due to its super early morning start (for those of us living in Richmond, that means getting up at 6:00am!) Dr. Liu was a very clear and understanding prof, and a nice person. He would go to great lengths to make sure students understood the material. The class was pretty easy; none of the materials were too difficult for me with the help of the textbook, practice packages, and IB Math HL back in highschool, but a few questions on the exams were still challenging. We had three midterms and Dr. Liu counted the two highest plus final exam for our grade. Before every midterm we got a sample midterm which, as we learned, was almost identical to the actual midterm! Although there should be no excuses for getting a bad mark in this class, our class average was a 61% with huge deviations. Grade A+.
I have very mixed feelings about my final average. Marks aside, I’m surprised of how much new material I learned this term! So this is what true pursuit of knowledge feels like (as opposed to the forced learning in highschool, any remaining facts from which we erased from our brains as soon as the school year ended)! My classes continue to be oddly diverse next term with history, computer science (these two don’t mix, at ALL), econ, financial accounting, and business communication.
Happy New Year!