Sjolander, K V on Ninja Courses

Average Ratings based on 11 ratings

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
52 52 53 49 65

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BIO ENG C144 (Fall 2014)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
4 6 6 7 9

Comment: WITHOUT A DOUBT the worst teacher in the bioengineering department across Cal. She only favors a certain set of people - and even when they get the questions WRONG on the tests, she would give them high scores. I had the right answers on the test (they were simple memorization) and she continued to fail me and my friends in the tests. We wound up with B- and Bs. She was literally crazy. She would take over the GSI's class, and on top of that, only talked to him when she needed him to carry her stuff. Her office hours were her contradicting herself. She makes you do presentations, but then on the presentations, degrades everyone except her select few pets. She doesn't give back her grades on assignments, so you never know what you have. I attempted challenging her for points and showing how my solutions matched the answer key (so did my friends) and she refused to award me points because "she didn't believe we understood the concept." Total BS. Avoid the class at all costs.

BIO ENG C144 (Spring 2014)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
0 0 0 0 72

Comment: I took this class partially based on the many positive reviews I've heard about it both here and from past students. I feel like I've been falsely advertised to. The professor is a nice lady and she does seem genuinely invested in the topic and in your learning. Unfortunately, her class is a mess, the GSIs seem constantly overworked and frustrated, the instructions are vague, and the material is not well presented at all. Grading standards on the final project changed ~6 times throughout the semester. The professor seems very self-centered while teaching this course, because she can't seem to understand or sympathize when students are having difficulty either with the material or with her presentation. She teaches the class more like it's a research presentation than an introductory undergraduate class and spends most of the semester presenting her past work and expecting it to grant firm and immediate understanding of the material. She spends more time talking about what you should know for the exam than actually teaching the material and seems frustrated when you make it clear you don't understand something, as if she expected something she covered or said once in a lecture somewhere to register with students completely with 100% precision and recall (har har). The readings are all science literature, and more than half of it is too convoluted and assumes too much prior knowledge to be useful. It's the worst possible combination of expecting a lot out of you while not giving you the resources to accomplish most of it at a high level. The exams are not particularly hard and are mostly recycled from lecture or past exams. Unfortunately the material being tested is not well reinforced as there aren't really any homeworks in this class unless you're also in the lab, and those homeworks do not particularly prepare you for the exam. The lab is a complete disaster as well due to ridiculously tedious and hard to comprehend instructions. The grading is not generous at all, making this class stressful for all the worst reasons. The organization of this class bordered anarchy at times and by the end the GSIs were noticeably as frustrated (or even more so) with this class than we were. Bottom line: the material is cool, but since you're going to be spending most of the time teaching yourself from materials not provided by the class anyways, save yourself the headache of dealing with what probably is the worst class I've taken at Cal and stay far away if you value your time and sanity.

BIO ENG C144 (Spring 2012)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
91 100 100 84 100

Comment: definitely go to office hours! Sjolander loves it when people ask questions and goes to her office hours. Her lectures are a little disorganized because there's just so much she wants to cover. GO TO LECTURES. If you listen to everything she says in lecture, you can definitely get a really good grade on the exams.

BIO ENG C144 (Spring 2012)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
100 94 92 100 100

Comment: A fantastic teacher and a fantastic class.

BIO ENG C144 (Spring 2012)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
98 100 93 92 97

Comment: She really cares about her students! I was really impressed at the clarity of her lectures - she has well-organized slides that she consistently updates and always tries to emphasize major points and ideas in addition to learning the details of bioinformatics. Also, she never hesitates when speaking and is very exact in her answers to student questions. She loves relating to students and supporting people when they need help. She even brought us food on the last day of class! :] No homework in this class, just reading 2-3 short papers per week (they were interesting too!). Exams were very fair, although the scenarios can be challenging. The final was take-home, and the final exam slot consisted of a poster presentation for those who enrolled in BioE144L. Go to her office hours! There's not enough time in lecture to learn everything covered, and you'll learn a lot more by spending time absorbing the information one-on-one with her. This is definitely a useful class if you plan to go into synthetic biology or computational biology, especially since she emphasizes learning how to use software and interpret bioinformatics analyses correctly. Discussion section question presentations weren't helpful at all, but the class structure is very flexible and I believe there will be many changes to the discussion section the next time the course is offered. Overall a great class - I would highly recommend taking this class.

BIO ENG C144L (Spring 2014)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
0 0 0 0 0

Comment: Sjolander is never present for these labs. Her presence instead is conveyed rather persistently through her lab instructions, which unfortunately are some of the worst, most convoluted assignment specs I've ever tried to comprehend. The GSI Andy was patient and excellent and was the only reason this class was bearable. Much of the labs consist of annoying busy work: throwing data at web servers, taking screenshots, painstakingly wading through a sea of letters to the point where your frustration at having to deal with this mess outweighs any desire you may have to actually try to comprehend what concepts these are supposed to enforce. Little or no direction is given on how to use half the tools you are expected to understand (similar to the lecture part of the class) so all of the labs are just terribly frustrating to slog through. I don't know how she used to grade this class in the past, but don't listen to the other nicer reviews; there was a lab exam in the last week of class that was 80% of your grade and consisted of questions that you've generally never had practice answering before. The GSI was noticeably frustrated all semester, but thankfully not with us, as he was always patient and helpful interpreting what otherwise would have been impossible to follow assignments. The impression I got from this class is that it's unorganized, unstructured, and a complete mire of frustration for everyone involved.

BIO ENG C144L (Spring 2013)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
98 99 100 100 100

Comment: Labs were very interesting and useful for applying the concepts in 144 to software and tools in bioinformatics. Very hands-on - the labs were doable within 2-3 hours, although one of the labs took about 12 hours. The best part is the final project - you can really demonstrate what you've learned in the class and it is a great example for interviews/internships in bioinformatics.

BIO ENG C144L (Spring 2012)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
91 92 100 83 83

Comment: The GSI is the one who is more in charge of the lab section 144L. The assignments and labs are super helpful in real life applications though. Usually they are really easy and easily graded too. There are no exams for this class! There is a final project at the end of the semester that you should definitely start early on because that is worth about 75% of your grade for this class

BIO ENG C144L (Spring 2012)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
96 87 100 80 92

Comment: A really great lab course for practical uses of bioinformatics.

BIO ENG C244 (Spring 2014)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
0 0 0 0 71

Comment: (Same class as C144) I took this class partially based on the many positive reviews I've heard about it both here and from past students. I feel like I've been falsely advertised to. The professor is a nice lady and she does seem genuinely invested in the topic and in your learning. Unfortunately, her class is a mess, the GSIs seem constantly overworked and frustrated, the instructions are vague, and the material is not well presented at all. Grading standards on the final project changed ~6 times throughout the semester. The professor seems very self-centered while teaching this course, because she can't seem to understand or sympathize when students are having difficulty either with the material or with her presentation. She teaches the class more like it's a research presentation than an introductory undergraduate class and spends most of the semester presenting her past work and expecting it to grant firm and immediate understanding of the material. She spends more time talking about what you should know for the exam than actually teaching the material and seems frustrated when you make it clear you don't understand something, as if she expected something she covered or said once in a lecture somewhere to register with students completely with 100% precision and recall (har har). The readings are all science literature, and more than half of it is too convoluted and assumes too much prior knowledge to be useful. It's the worst possible combination of expecting a lot out of you while not giving you the resources to accomplish most of it at a high level. The exams are not particularly hard and are mostly recycled from lecture or past exams. Unfortunately the material being tested is not well reinforced as there aren't really any homeworks in this class unless you're also in the lab, and those homeworks do not particularly prepare you for the exam. The lab is a complete disaster as well due to ridiculously tedious and hard to comprehend instructions. The grading is not generous at all, making this class stressful for all the worst reasons. The organization of this class bordered anarchy at times and by the end the GSIs were noticeably as frustrated (or even more so) with this class than we were. Bottom line: the material is cool, but since you're going to be spending most of the time teaching yourself from materials not provided by the class anyways, save yourself the headache of dealing with what probably is the worst class I've taken at Cal and stay far away if you value your time and sanity.

BIO ENG C244L (Spring 2014)

Overall Assignments Exams Helpfulness Enthusiasm
0 0 0 0 0

Comment: (Same class as C244L) Sjolander is never present for these labs. Her presence instead is conveyed rather persistently through her lab instructions, which unfortunately are some of the worst, most convoluted assignment specs I've ever tried to comprehend. The GSI Andy was patient and excellent and was the only reason this class was bearable. Much of the labs consist of annoying busy work: throwing data at web servers, taking screenshots, painstakingly wading through a sea of letters to the point where your frustration at having to deal with this mess outweighs any desire you may have to actually try to comprehend what concepts these are supposed to enforce. Little or no direction is given on how to use half the tools you are expected to understand (similar to the lecture part of the class) so all of the labs are just terribly frustrating to slog through. I don't know how she used to grade this class in the past, but don't listen to the other nicer reviews; there was a lab exam in the last week of class that was 80% of your grade and consisted of questions that you've generally never had practice answering before. The GSI was noticeably frustrated all semester, but thankfully not with us, as he was always patient and helpful interpreting what otherwise would have been impossible to follow assignments. The impression I got from this class is that it's unorganized, unstructured, and a complete mire of frustration for everyone involved.