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Tufts University: Eli Siegel - Biology - Professor ratings, reviews and much more | JumboAccess
Eli Siegel | BIO041 - GENERAL GENETICS| Biology2005-01-06

Review:
Many people seem to think that Prof. Siegel is boring; unjustly so in my mind. Siegel could be better at speaking to an audience (it's a big lecture hall), but the actual content of what he's saying is great. You aren't supposed to be entertained by a genetics class; you are there to work, and if you actually pay strict attention Siegel gives a thorough amount of information on the topic, as well as trying to tie it in with modern scientific developments when he can. I've had teachers in the past here that were fun to listen to, but fundamentally could not convey the underlying concept of the material to me well. Siegel can. Theoretically you could just skip out of going to class most days on do the work on your own time (there is no graded homework at all) as some have suggested in other reviews. The only really graded work was the three tests. Homework is for your own benefit to fundamentally understand concepts, and isn't just busywork to be handed in. However I stress that you never skip a class like this and keep up with the work from one class to the next: going to class will help pull together the material you've read well, plus we don't cover ever single thing that we're assigned as much: i.e. we are assigned a topic and although we do have to know all material from assigned pages, some are stressed more than others, and you wouldn't know this if you didn't come regularly. A great class. It's only boring if you're sitting through it just to fill a requirement; if you're majoring in this and want to actual learn the topic, it's quite informative.

Workload:
Three tests were the only graded work. There are practice tests and work to for each class, but these aren't handed in. The homework is for your own benefit. Unlike Chemistry, where you have to do a mountain of graded homework, by a deadline, Genetics is more flexible. I recommend that you do keep up with it from week to week instead of cramming before a test, but it helps to be able to shift it around to a more convenient day if something comes up. I tend to learn by example: doing the homework, getting it wrong, learning from my mistake and doing better on a second set on the same topic (we get many examples of the same type of problem in Genetics). In Chemistry you get weekly homework that you might not understand, so you have to hand it in wrong and it drags down your overall grade; you could just copy off of your friends (everyone in Chem copies off of everyone else) but this doesn't let you learn the material well before moving on to a new concept in the next topic. In contrast, I far preferred the homework-style of Genetics. There is quite a bit of work, but not the sheer volume that Chemistry gives. If you're able to keep up with it (and aren't taking another difficult class) it isn't too much of a problem. Maybe 7-9 hours of work a week, but spaced out over the entire week and with the ability to do it at any time of your choosing because it isn't due at a specific time.


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