Aug 5, 2010
19
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey,

I know there are a few threads on this from years past. But nothing in the past few years.

Anyway, has anyone taken biochemistry online? I am most interested in the Berkeley extension course, so if you have taken that one or any others, please let me know your thoughts.

I have spoken to the few schools that I am applying to and all are OK with an online course. Unfortunately, I did not get a recommendation of where to take it, just that as long as it is from an accredited school, it would be fine. So has anyone had trouble transferring an online course like that.

Also, I am planning on taking an online genetics course, just to make my first year a little bit easier. Any recommendations there?
 
OP
J
Aug 5, 2010
19
0
Status
Pre-Medical
That is pretty harsh reviews. Thanks for posting the link.

Has anyone taken the University of New England course?
Thanks, J
 

common man

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
479
14
Status
is introductory biochemistry alright? my guess is no but if yes than i highly recommend the online course at uc berkeley extension.

i have taken a different class (principles of molec. cell bio) with the same professor (dr. john forger). i'd give him my highest rating. he got his degree from harvard, worked in the lab of melvin calvin (calvin cycle fame), and has taught at harvard & berkeley. he's retired now and focuses only on this course.

his lecture notes are very clear. his assignments & tests are based primarily from the lecture note. i like this because you know exactly what to study (you're not flipping pages through a large textbook). the textbook is only for background. i learned a lot. if you put in the work, you should get the A. excellent course! @~$800 this is a great deal too. great gift for the holidays :p

fyi: hope this is not for pre-req because a lot of med schools require they be traditional classrom i.e. NOT online.
 

juliedi

is legit.
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2008
811
1
Status
Medical Student
Wow that thread about UC Berkeley extension is really harsh. Does anyone else have any experience with their online biochem course specifically? I'm in the same boat as the OP, so I was looking into taking it. And does anyone else know if having "introductory" in the name would be ok?

Edit: just emailed USC, and they said that the UC Berkeley extension class does actually fulfill their requirement, FYI
 
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Maximum404

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2008
196
0
Richmond, VA
Status
Pharmacy Student
I am really glad I just found this thread. I need to take BioChem prior to beginning my PharmD and the University I was planning on taking it at cancelled their summer class. What I am worried about however, is that it says that it takes 6 months to complete. I am hoping to take this during the Summer and that would give me about 11-12 weeks. Is that time flexible?
 

common man

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
479
14
Status
the course that i was talking about is "enroll anytime" which means you work at your own pace. the biochem class is similar. you probably have 10 units each with lecture notes & homework (30%?). then maybe a paper (30%) and definitely a proctored final (40%). you can submit a homework one at a time. as soon as professor forger grades them (he usually does it within 24 hours on the weekdays) you can submit your own. between my first assignment submission and getting my course grade - the time was 10 weeks. i finished at turbo speed :laugh:
 

Maximum404

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2008
196
0
Richmond, VA
Status
Pharmacy Student
the course that i was talking about is "enroll anytime" which means you work at your own pace. the biochem class is similar. you probably have 10 units each with lecture notes & homework (30%?). then maybe a paper (30%) and definitely a proctored final (40%). you can submit a homework one at a time. as soon as professor forger grades them (he usually does it within 24 hours on the weekdays) you can submit your own. between my first assignment submission and getting my course grade - the time was 10 weeks. i finished at turbo speed :laugh:
Good to know. I am trying to decide between this and UNE's Medicinal BioChem. Would you recommend this class? Do you feel you got a lot out of it and it transferred to other schools without major issues? Thanks!
 
Oct 17, 2010
428
1
Status
Medical Student
Good to know. I am trying to decide between this and UNE's Medicinal BioChem. Would you recommend this class? Do you feel you got a lot out of it and it transferred to other schools without major issues? Thanks!
I would not recommend UNE's... but that's just my experience. I ended up withdrawing from the class after being accepted because it was just wayyy too much. I can't even begin to explain the amount of notes I took. I'm pretty sure in an actual class environment it would have been a lot easier for me.
 

blubearzangel

5+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2013
120
42
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I would not recommend UNE's... but that's just my experience. I ended up withdrawing from the class after being accepted because it was just wayyy too much. I can't even begin to explain the amount of notes I took. I'm pretty sure in an actual class environment it would have been a lot easier for me.
what did you end up taking?
 
May 24, 2013
893
1,663
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I'm taking UNECOMs biochem class right now. I don't find it to be particularly difficult, but it's extremely tedious and repetitive. The course set up is 16 modules divided into 4 units. The distribution is very asymmetrical as well - Unit 1 has 6 modules, Unit 2 has 4, and Unit 3&4 have 3 each. There's a quiz at the end of each module, and a test after each unit that may have material on it from previous units. Only exams 2 and 4 are proctored, but make up a large portion of your final grade (I want to say like 60 or 70%), but you do have the option of retaking one and averaging your scores.

I currently have an A in the class and I'm taking the final in a couple days, so PM me if you want me to give you my opinion once I'm done, but overall I would say that while the course may suck and is by no means an easy A, I like the fact that it focuses on purely human biochemistry that is relevant in a clinical context and you will definitely be happy to have taken it come med school.
 
Nov 18, 2015
10
5
Status
Other Health Professions Student
I recently finished (11/1/15) UC Berkeley's online Introductory Biochemistry course (MCELLBIX105) and would strongly dissuade anyone from taking this course. Although there are 4 professors that teach it, I can only comment on the one that taught mine, Rebekah Marsh. She is by far the worst professor I have ever had. Her assignments are vague, however, her assessments and grading are extremely detailed and overly harsh. No matter (1) how much information I included; (2) how many outside sources I cited; and (3) how thoroughly I formatted my responses in the assignments, she consistently deducted points citing random, specific requirements. Her favorite phrase appeared to be: "This also needed to be discussed." My impression is that she had a specific grading rubric in mind; however, she was not willing to share it with the students before hand.

For example, the written assignment for module 2 was: "Describe how a linear sequence of amino acids gives rise to the three-dimensional structure of proteins. Detail the significance of this structure, how it may be modified, and the results of such modification." After submitting a 10-page end-of-term quality paper, Dr. Marsh's assessment included deducting 32 points at random for "missing information," as follows:
"Thank you for submitting the Module 2 assignment. The M2 assignment was~~> “Describe how a linear sequence of amino acids gives rise to the three-dimensional structure of proteins. Detail the significance of this structure, how it may be modified, and the results of such modification.” It was easy to read. You did describe the importance of the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure for a protein. You did discuss how the primary structure of a protein is stabilized with peptide bonds; more discussion was needed in regards to what a peptide bond is/the structure of the bond (-5 points) and character of the peptide bond (-5 points). Be able to discuss and draw the reaction which occurs when 2 amino acids interact to create a peptide bond for the Midterm & Final Exam. You did discuss how secondary structures are stabilized and the structures which can and do form. In regards to tertiary structure, more discussion was needed in regards to the structure which form at the tertiary level (-2.5 points). Partial credit earned as the regions within tertiary structure - domains - were discussed. There are multiple types of interactions involving the interactions of the side-chains in the tertiary structure. There can be up to 9 different types of interactions involving the interactions of the side-chains and two types of interactions were mentioned: hydrophobic interactions & disulfide bonds(-7 points). Interactions which can and do form at the tertiary level include: Hydrophobic interactions, disulfide bridges, salt bridges, ionic bonds, metallic bonds, covalent bonds, polar bonds, van der Waals and hydrogen bonds are forces that stabilize and contribute to tertiary structure. In regards to quaternary structure, the structure was nicely discussed. The same interactions which appear in the tertiary structure are present in the quaternary structure of the protein. No quaternary interactions were discussed (-10 points). In regards to the second part of the Module 2 assignment, you discussed three ways how the levels of protein structure are affected when a protein is modified. You did discuss modifications (i.e. methylations, phosphorylations or acetylations), mutations and conformational changes. There are also other ways in which a protein can be modified and then the level of protein structure affected: denaturation/renaturation (-7.5 points). Thank you for submitting the Module 2 Assignment.
Score: 68/100"​

Two of the written assignments, the first and another one later on in the course, were actually sent back to me by the professor asking me to include additional specific information and re-submit them. In both instances, the information was already in the paper, leading me to wonder if the professor had even read the assignment. By about the 3rd module assignment, I learned to basically paraphrase entire chapters of the textbook. Each subsequent written assignment submission consisted of between 17 and 20 pages, and my grades improved so that I went into the final exam with a 92%.

As for the course format:
  • Students have between 90 and 180 days to complete the course.
  • It consists of 11 modules, with module 6 being a 90 minute online, open-book mid-term.
  • Each of the other 10 modules has reading assignments, 1 online classroom discussion question response (at least 250 words), 1 response to another student's discussion question (at least 25 words), and 1 written assignment (no stated minimum length, but required 15-20 page response to receive 90-100%).
  • A 3 hour closed-book, proctored cumulative final.
  • Course grade consists of:
    • 10% mid-term exam
    • 20% discussion assignments
    • 20% written assignments
    • 50% final exam, however, you must pass the final exam with a score of at least 70% to pass the course.
I am 50 years old and have taken more than my fair share of science courses, both in the classroom and more recently online. Final grades in all of these courses have ranged from 95% to 100% - all solid A's...except for this course, which I failed. The average score for my class on the final exam was under 60%, meaning that a majority of the students failed the class. (FYI, each class section consists of 70-100 students.) In addition, the administration at UC Berkeley will not intervene on a student's behalf and will only recite University policy in their response.

Please do yourself a tremendous favor and DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE! There are so many other viable online and in-class options, that even if you decide to relegate my above recount to the ranting of some disgruntled aberrant student, why would you even take that chance. For many of you, the satisfactory outcome of this course will have a significant impact on your academic future...do not assume that you will fare any better.
 

RaspberrySlushy

5+ Year Member
Mar 17, 2013
399
423
Portland, OR
Status
Pre-Medical
I know several people who took OSU's online biochem class and had a positive experience. The prof who teaches it wrote a biochem textbook. Worth looking into.
 

thatwouldbeanarchy

2+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2014
974
1,168
Status
Medical Student
I took online Biochem through UToronto's School of Continuing Ed. It's supposedly the equivalent of 2 semesters of Biochem combined so it's pretty fast paced. http://onlinebiochemistrycourse.com/

Things I liked about it:
--It's actually "Biochem from a Medical Perspective" - We covered all of the topics you'd expect in intro biochem but we also had lectures from physicians to add a clinical perspective. I would say these were my favorite part of the course.
--Some of the assignments were interesting.
--Grading was pretty reasonable. Over 80% is considered an A.
--Mandatory participation in the online message board system. Sounded like a pain at first, but I actually found that answering other student's questions on the board helped me to gauge how well I understood the material.
--Taught by medical faculty

Things I didn't like:
--Mostly just that it's super fast paced. As a nontrad who works full-time, it was hard for me to keep up.
--Profs were nice but not necessarily super helpful. After dumping an insane amount of lecture material on us, they wouldn't give us any type of guidance in terms of what we should focus on for quizzes/the cumulative final exam. This was definitely the type of class where you have hours and hours of lecture and then a 10 question quiz with some really minute details that were hardly touched on in lecture. :-\

Overall, it wasn't perfect but not a bad course, in my opinion.