bshoni22

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Hey everyone. I'm just posting a community service announcement: Stay the heck away from UC Berkeley (and probably all other) online biochem courses. Also stay away from their Anatomy class. I was in the biochem and did well but only because I went almost directly against the explicit instructions of the professor and course. The book they use is a true joke--utterly pathetic. The online material that is provided is equally useless. More times than I can remember the instructions said that something was "beyond the scope of this course" and yet the essay questions at the end of each module SPECIFICALLY asked you to elaborate on that exact topic e.g: The online notes for the lipids module said: "The study of lipid metabolism...lies outside the scope of this course." Guess what one of the module essay questions was?: Biosynthesis and oxidation of lipids (fatty-acids). Like I said I did well, 90+ in all assignments, BUT that was ONLY because I bought 5+ extra biochem books and studied my ass off almost every day of the week. Was that necessary? Could I maybe have gotten away with submitting regurgitated, hackneyed responses? Perhaps, but that's not how I like to do things if I can help it. When I asked the professor for help or alternate sources of material I was given vague replies. I think the teacher is a good person and is just dealing with truly, horrifically bad and poorly structured course material.

Don't even bother on the anatomy course with Dr. Smiley. Seriously. Don't even bother. It's the first year it's out and the school (and maybe prof) DO NOT have their s**t together. I can elaborate but suffice it to say it's hundreds of questions that are not related to the book and there is no way to check your work. There is no physical lab and the provided material is worse than garbage, it's almost intentionally contrary and confounding. When questioned, the teacher replied: " It's not so much that you get the right answer or understand the material but that you are asking questions". That's unacceptable. I'm not weaving baskets or body painting at a music festival here. There are objective answers and there needs to be a way to check your progress especially in an online environment with no real classmates and with everyone working at a different pace. The fact that these simple realities were completely overlooked by the teacher and staff really gave me a bad feeling. Plus it took him over a week to reply and his answers were cryptic at best. As you can tell these courses have equalled and occasionally surpassed my worst previous academic experiences.

Take this post however you want to. If I had read something like this I would not have taken the class. Trust me the quality of education, structure and just general all around experience is going to be better anywhere else. It's not worth the ass-pain. Trust me. PM me if you want any details.

Once again, it is doable but don't expect any help or guidance from the course. Also expect to teach yourself every aspect of the material, not know if what you're doing is too much, not enough or totally off point and generally feel pissed at yourself for thinking that an online course would be more convenient than a regular class. The teacher does the best she can but there's only so much leeway a professor has when she's forced to use crap material I guess. A true disappointment, waste of energy, time and money.
 

TriagePreMed

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I had Smiley for Anatomy. His classroom time is actually a waste of time. You don't get to do anything at. The tests are extremely challenging, and I don't know if you guys had to do some questionnaires learning the anatomy regionally. By far his class was beyond torturous (and I took in the summer), but I did manage a solid "A" from it. I would definitely not recommend him to anyone. Besides, he's not really a "dr," he's a chiropractor.
 
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Can anyone back this up or refute it or suggest a different course? UC Berkeley is looking like my only option for Biochem due to a lot of different things - would be open to another online course that is an at your own pace kind of thing that I can finish by April
 

allantois

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To sum up what OP said: Don't take online Anatomy or Biochemistry at UC Berkeley.

Honestly OP, my experiences with in-class Biochem is no better; I might have as well learned Biochemistry without taking the useless class aimed at weeding out students (which I find particularly disturbing because most students are already weeded out at this point by Gen Chem and Ochem).

I highly recommend this guy to anyone who is going to self-study for Biochem:
https://www.youtube.com/user/MoofUniversity/videos

Also, if anyone is interested University of Florida has been offering online Biochem class for years now (since they have long required the class for matriculation into med school):
http://catalog.distance.ufl.edu/course.aspx?s=21447
 
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mehc012

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Can anyone back this up or refute it or suggest a different course? UC Berkeley is looking like my only option for Biochem due to a lot of different things - would be open to another online course that is an at your own pace kind of thing that I can finish by April
Haven't taken Biochem, so I can't comment there. But man, what a load of whiny crap from both Re: Anatomy. The class was fine, fun, and the tests were by no means 'extremely challenging'.
I initially missed the post dates on the above, so I wrote up a reply (silly me :smack: )...I'll just post it anyway so you get the gist without me rewriting it aimed at you.

I had Smiley for Anatomy. His classroom time is actually a waste of time. You don't get to do anything at. The tests are extremely challenging, and I don't know if you guys had to do some questionnaires learning the anatomy regionally. By far his class was beyond torturous (and I took in the summer), but I did manage a solid "A" from it. I would definitely not recommend him to anyone. Besides, he's not really a "dr," he's a chiropractor.
I had him as well, also for summer Anatomy. We also went regionally.

I don't know what you guys are complaining about. He is very straightforward with his expectations and description of the course: he will tell you exactly what he wants you to know, even give you half of the test questions (but not the answers), and then expects you to learn the material yourself and apply it. Yeah, his class time is mostly case study work (which I thought were cool) and Acland's videos...so, what - he let you watch insanely useful videos without requiring you to spend hundreds of dollars of your own money on them. What is he supposed to do for a memorization-heavy subject? Spoon feed you each detail? No, I think his approach - telling you what to teach yourself and then supplementing with some clinical examples - is fine given the material at hand.

As for the tests - 'extremely challenging'? Please. They're all multiple choice and he gives you half of the Qs ahead of time. Everything comes straight from the book. Sure, some of them are poorly worded - sometimes he is open to fixing them, while other times he won't. BUT, he gives the biggest curve I have ever heard of (not that you should need one).

Finally, who the heck are you to be looking down on somebody for their degree or profession? OK, he's a chiropractor...you can't even say that much. More to the point, he actually knows anatomy, which, if you found his tests challenging, you clearly do not. At this point, you are a random undergraduate student who is interested in Anatomy, yet you feel that you are obligated a freaking MD to teach you how to memorize tables of information? Give me a break.

It's perfectly fine if you don't like his hands-off approach to teaching. But he was very forthright and upfront about that fact - if it's that big of a deal for you, consider dropping the class after reading the syllabus next time.
 

The Buff OP

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savithramma

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Haven't taken Biochem, so I can't comment there. But man, what a load of whiny crap from both Re: Anatomy. The class was fine, fun, and the tests were by no means 'extremely challenging'.
I initially missed the post dates on the above, so I wrote up a reply (silly me :smack: )...I'll just post it anyway so you get the gist without me rewriting it aimed at you.


I had him as well, also for summer Anatomy. We also went regionally.

I don't know what you guys are complaining about. He is very straightforward with his expectations and description of the course: he will tell you exactly what he wants you to know, even give you half of the test questions (but not the answers), and then expects you to learn the material yourself and apply it. Yeah, his class time is mostly case study work (which I thought were cool) and Acland's videos...so, what - he let you watch insanely useful videos without requiring you to spend hundreds of dollars of your own money on them. What is he supposed to do for a memorization-heavy subject? Spoon feed you each detail? No, I think his approach - telling you what to teach yourself and then supplementing with some clinical examples - is fine given the material at hand.

As for the tests - 'extremely challenging'? Please. They're all multiple choice and he gives you half of the Qs ahead of time. Everything comes straight from the book. Sure, some of them are poorly worded - sometimes he is open to fixing them, while other times he won't. BUT, he gives the biggest curve I have ever heard of (not that you should need one).

Finally, who the heck are you to be looking down on somebody for their degree or profession? OK, he's a chiropractor...you can't even say that much. More to the point, he actually knows anatomy, which, if you found his tests challenging, you clearly do not. At this point, you are a random undergraduate student who is interested in Anatomy, yet you feel that you are obligated a freaking MD to teach you how to memorize tables of information? Give me a break.

It's perfectly fine if you don't like his hands-off approach to teaching. But he was very forthright and upfront about that fact - if it's that big of a deal for you, consider dropping the class after reading the syllabus next time.
Not everyone goes about learning material the same way as you or thinks about it and understands it the way you do. Just because you can excel in learning material a certain way doesn't mean "it's very straight forward" to everyone and you're doing your peers an incredible disservice with your crummy attitude and short-sightedness.

You talk about not looking down on others for their degree or profession, yet you're just as assuming and short-sighted bc you're talking down to your peers who don't get material the same way you do. Plus you're inflating yourself about this guy's anatomy so you can get your 10 seconds of self-validation. Get off your high horse. There are a lot of people who know way more than you do and are far more intelligent than you, yet don't have to shove it in other's faces to validate themselves like you do.
 
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IlDestriero

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I didn't learn anatomy from an MD and I went to a highly regarded school. Should I ask for a refund?
It's memorization and recognition. That's it, unless you're dissecting as well. Lectures tell you what's important and paint the big picture, add clinical relevance, etc. Books, videos and dissections show you where it is located. The rest is all on you to memorize.
That's anatomy. Memorize and memorize some more. We went system by system and when one was done, half the facts got deleted overnight in a post test alcohol induced haze only to begin again Monday AM.
 

pyrrion89

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I've also heard terrible, terrible things about UCBExt's biochem. But positives about their gen bio 2.
 
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mehc012

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Not everyone goes about learning material the same way as you or thinks about it and understands it the way you do. Just because you can excel in learning material a certain way doesn't mean "it's very straight forward" to everyone and you're doing your peers an incredible disservice with your crummy attitude and short-sightedness.

You talk about not looking down on others for their degree or profession, yet you're just as assuming and short-sighted bc you're talking down to your peers who don't get material the same way you do. Plus you're inflating yourself about this guy's anatomy so you can get your 10 seconds of self-validation. Get off your high horse. There are a lot of people who know way more than you do and are far more intelligent than you, yet don't have to shove it in other's faces to validate themselves like you do.
What I said was that the prof was very up front about the (hands off) teaching style and the expectations of the class. There's a reason you can drop classes after the first meeting our two. If you don't jive with the prof's expectations, take a different class.

HOWEVER, I will also note that for a purely memorization, nonconceptual class like Anatomy, no matter what the prof does, in the end your knowledge will reflect what you are able to study and memorize. It doesn't matter HOW you study and memorize, just that you do it by test day. So even if you ignore the above part, I'm not talking learning style, but simply the ability to self teach learn a list of memorizable facts. If that is beyond your ken, med school will suck no matter how you cut it, and no matter how PC you are when you discuss the issue.
 
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Can anyone back this up or refute it or suggest a different course? UC Berkeley is looking like my only option for Biochem due to a lot of different things - would be open to another online course that is an at your own pace kind of thing that I can finish by April
The University of Iowa has an online biochemistry class during the spring semester.

The online lectures are the recordings from the fall semester classes, so you are actually getting an in class experience. I am not sure how the testing works though. You might have to be in the area for exams? Something you can look into if interested.
 
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