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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1042907 times)  Share 

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Stick

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #285 on: June 18, 2014, 07:06:03 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10002: Biomolecules and Cells

Workload:
Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week, 1 hour per week of tutorials or workshops, 2 hours of practical work per fortnight and 3 hours per week of e-learning including independent learning tasks, pre and post laboratory activities.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours

Assessment:
A 45 minute, multiple choice test held mid-semester (10%), a combination of assessment of practical skills within the practical class, completion of up to 5 on-line pre-practical tests, written work within the practical not exceeding 500 words and up to 5 short multiple choice tests (25%), an assignment based on the practical content and not exceeding 1000 words (10%), completion of 5 Independent Learning Tasks throughout the semester (5%), a 3 hour examination on theory and practical work in the examination period (50%).

Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject (i.e. an 80% attendance at the practical classes together with a result for the assessed practical work of at least 50%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: One extended sample exam (it has more questions than the real exam) given out at the end of the semester, with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation: D Sadava, D M Hillis, H G Heller, M R Berenbaum, Life. 10th Ed. Sinaver/Freeman, 2013

You will be asked to do pre-reading before lecturers, so this textbook is required. You should be able to find this textbook quite easily; if not, page references are also provided for previous editions. I found the textbook quite useful and interesting, although most of the time it goes into a lot more detail than what you need to know.

You'll also have to buy a practical and tutorial/workshop workbook, containing the practical tasks and the tutorial/workshop worksheets, as well as some additional worksheets to supplement the independent learning tasks.

Lecturer(s):
Prof Geoff McFadden (Botany): Lectures 1-9 - Cell Biology
Dr Mary Familari (Zoology): Lectures 10, 13-20 - Tissues and Homeostasis, Cell Signalling, Endocrine System, Nervous System, Immune System, Stem Cells
Prof David Gardner (Zoology): Lectures 11-12, 30-34: Digestive System, Reproduction and Development
Assoc Prof Laura Parry (Zoology): Lectures 21-23 - Cardiovascular System
Dr Stephen Frankenberg (Zoology): Lectures 24-29 - Respiratory System, Urinary System, Animal Taxa

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments:

Overall, this subject was very enjoyable to take and I had a great time studying it. There's not too many things that really need changing in my opinion and hopefully it will re-affirm your decision to choose Biomedicine.

First of all, the lectures. Unfortunately they've decided to run them at 8am which is quite an early start, especially for those that don't live close to the university. But I'm pretty sure this is the only negative here. I found all of the lecturers outstanding and the content fascinating, so even at that hour I felt that I was able to really engage and learn. Of course, there are some lecturers that are better than others, but compared to some of the lecturers I had for other subjects even the worst ones in this subject were still well above average. Personally, my performance and enjoyment in a subject often depends on the quality of the teaching staff so it was great to have passionate and effective experts in the field.

My first three weeks were with Prof Geoff McFadden, who covered the basics of cell biology. Although he tends to avoid specific biological terminology, he was great at explaining things and introducing new concepts, especially for the students with no prior Biology experience. Make sure you write down anything important that you hear because he doesn't tend to load up his slides with a lot of information. We then had Dr Mary Familari for the majority of the next four weeks who covered tissues and homeostasis, cell signalling, stem cells and the endocrine, nervous and immune systems. She was my favourite lecturer because she has a great sense of humour and a really warm personality (maybe at times she would need to explain a concept again because she wasn't clear the first time, but I still liked her anyway). She actually summarises her own lectures (although don't just copy these - you won't learn) and provides you with study questions, which is great for those that are still transitioning from high school-type learning. We also had Prof David Gardner in this time who taught us about the digestive system and during the last couple of weeks he came back to talk about reproduction and development. He goes through a lot of content (and a lot of specifics) in his lectures so it can take a while to properly learn it all, but his passion for his work only added to how fascinating I found his content. I found this last topic my favourite and as a result I'm quite open to a major in Cell and Developmental Biology. My only advice is not to rush learning his content for the sake of keeping up to date because it's very easy to not grasp all this information properly. After the mid-semester break we had Assoc Prof Laura Parry, who covered the cardiovascular system. She's probably the most professional out of all the lecturers and she does request silence, but this is understandable and in no way did this bring down the enjoyment of learning her content. She had a few "fill in the blank" diagrams which helped to keep engaged during the lectures and also provided a few past exam questions to get us thinking about the exam, which was nice. Her slides tend to have more content on them too, which means you'll need to do less work yourself sourcing information. Dr Stephen Frankenberg covered animal taxa and the respiratory and urinary systems. He tended to read off his slides a bit but in my opinion he was still a good lecturer. Animal taxa in particular can be a bit awkward to learn and you'll probably have to commit to learning some of this by rote. If you're not sure what's necessary and what isn't, make sure you ask because he will clarify this for you.

The content covers all the basics that you'll need to know for further studies in Biology and leads on very nicely from VCE. That being said, VCE Biology students, don't become complacent. It might seem at first that you know it all but if at the end you only rely on prior VCE knowledge I doubt you'll pass the exam. For those new to Biology, the department is aware of this and provide some additional resources to help you out. The pace can be quite quick and some don't really know how to handle all the content and studying the subject at first, but eventually you will find your way. The most important thing is to ask if you're not sure. At university, no one is going to come around and check if you're OK, but everyone is more than willing to help you out if you go out and seek it. According to some lecturers, at the very top end the non-VCE Biology students actually out-perform the VCE Biology students!

You'll have five practicals to complete over the course of the semester, making up 25% of your grade. Practicals at university are very different from school and to be honest this was the area of university I struggled most to adapt to. They do run an introductory practical on using the compound and dissecting microscopes but as someone who had never had access to them before I felt I needed more time to play around with them in order to jump into the earlier practicals with confidence. A lot of the time you'll be working on your own and you can get assessed on how well you actually performed the practical, so you'll need to get used to this quickly. The Biology practicals in particular can be quite pressured for time too, so make sure you adequately prepare for each one, like they recommend (doing the pre-practical test alone is not enough), especially if you need to submit something for assessment at the end of it. That being said, towards the end we had some practicals where the demonstrators would come around, ask us some questions and assess us like that, which I much preferred since the time element wasn't as much of an issue. Often you'll need to multi-task but you need to do your best in completing the practicals properly, even if some parts aren't assessed during the practical, because everything is fair game in the post-practical test. The online pre- and post-practical tests shouldn't be too difficult if you try your best and are organised, so don't slack off. The real positive about the practicals in this subject are that they link with lecture content really well, so sometimes they can actually help you understand some of the concepts if you're a hands-on learner.

Prior to each two hour practical you will have a one hour tutorial and in the weeks where there is no practical you will have just a one hour workshop. The general consensus is that the workshops need to be seriously revised. They try to run it like a tutorial, but there's too many people (~100) in the session (provided everyone attends) and it just feels like you get asked to fill in some worksheets and leave. It's also hard to sometimes see the demonstrator and/or the screens, which only makes the learning less effective. That being said, it's a really good way to meet some new faces and if you complete the worksheets properly on your own you'll see that they can actually be quite beneficial. The tutorials are essentially run in the same way, but they're much better since you're broken up into much smaller groups (~15-20) and it's easier to follow something up with a tutor if you have any questions or queries. Your tutor for the most part will also mark your in-practical assessment and it is true that there can be variations in marks depending on the tutor. My tutor seemed to be more lenient, which was lucky for me, but I know some others had quite harsh markers. Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do in this instance. My only advice is to be diligent in checking your practical results because they've gotten my results wrong (against my favour) a couple of times and you want to make sure you get the marks that you have earned!

Over the course of the semester you'll also do one assignment, one mid-semester test and five independent learning tasks, worth 10%, 10% and 5% respectively. The first half of the assignment aims to familiarise you with the expectations of referencing and plagiarism at university, which becomes rather important, but it shouldn't be an issue completing. Some people couldn't see the point of it but it's essentially free marks, so I'm not going to complain. :P You'll also be asked to write a short "essay" (it's really just a page explaining some topic) in 10 minutes during one of your tutorials as part of the second half of the assignment. The question will relate to content covered in lectures and is a great way to get some feedback and see how well you are at conveying your responses (which is very important in Biology). The mid-semester test also relates to covered lecture content and contains 25 multiple choice questions to be completed in 45 minutes. Make sure you do a bit of study for this because it's a good way to get on top of the first third or so of the course before moving onwards. To help you along, you will be provided with some multiple choice questions to practice with. It's not terribly challenging but again it's a good way to see where you're sitting, what you've understood and what the expectations are. The independent learning tasks are designed to cover content outside that covered in lectures, but don't forget that it is still examinable. I still recommend taking notes and completing the worksheets in the practical workbook while you are working through each task. The tests following each task shouldn't pose too many difficulties.

The final three hour exam is worth 50% and consists of 100 marks of standard multiple choice questions (some are worth one mark and some are worth two marks), 50 marks of "fill in the blank" type questions where you need to select the right word or phrase from a list and 30 marks dedicated towards three "essay" questions. The multiple choice questions are probably the easiest part of the exam but that being said it's not terribly easy if you cannot recall the required information since most of the time there is no way to "work out" or "deduce" the answer. The "fill in the blank" part of the exam can be a bit confusing to fill out, so make sure you read their guide on how to fill out the forms. In addition, remember that your suggestions need to make grammatical sense and they emphasise that some options may be used more than once or not at all. The essay questions are probably the most difficult part of the exam because they tend to ask you to explain a particular concept or process in greater detail and you will need to be able to describe it accurately and specifically. The sample exam provided has extra essay questions for practice and you will also have completed some more of these questions as practice in your tutorials. You can find some additional questions in the workbook but you can also have a go at making some of your own questions up and having a go at trying to explore those. It is suggested that you stick to the recommended "one minute per mark" but I went 20 minutes over for the essay section and still finished the exam early as I made the time up on the multiple choice. It's very easy to lose marks for poor explanation in the essays so I wanted to make sure that these were all water-tight before I moved on and it worked for me. You'll probably find that others are in a similar boat as well. As those who have done VCE Biology will understand, the good thing about the format of the exam is that 150 out of the 180 marks are determined by questions that don't actually require you to write a response, which means that they're much more interested in what you know than how well you can convey your understanding to the assessor through language.

I think this is all I can come up with for now. The course is very thorough and detailed, but at no point did I feel overwhelmed or that it was all too much. As I said, taking this subject was a very positive experience and has confirmed that Biomedicine was the right choice for me. If you'd like any extra information or have any questions, please feel free to ask! Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 05:16:43 pm by Stick »
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine - The University of Melbourne
2014-2016: Bachelor of Biomedicine - The University of Melbourne

teexo

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #286 on: June 18, 2014, 07:34:42 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ACCT10001: Accounting Reports and Analysis 

Workload:  1 x 2hr lecture and 1 x 1hr tutorial a week

Assessment:  Group assignment (20%), tutorial participation and weekly online tests (10%), 3hr exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: One with solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  Accounting: business reporting for decision making 4th edition, the ebook is recommended since its way cheaper especially if you buy online from the publisher which is what I did

Lecturer(s): Matt Dyki, Michelle Hoggan, Michael Davern

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, semester 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: I actually surprisingly liked this subject. I did accounting in VCE though and it is very different to this subject, the only advantage you really have is that youíre already familiar with what is classified as an asset or expense, etc. This subject focuses a lot on theory and decision making rather than calculations, youíll find your hand might be quite sore after the 3hr exam.
 
So why did I like this subject? I think it was the combination of lecturers and that I was really lucky to have a great tutor who knew the subject well and was also really nice. Also the content itself was interesting and I found it quite easy to understand.
Iíll quickly comment on the lecturers: Matt Ė a lot of people didnít like him and found his accent annoying but I personally thought he was a really great lecturer and as a result I found myself enjoying financial accounting more than management accounting, Michelle Ė a lot of people liked her but I found her quite boring to listen to for 2 hrs straight although sometimes her lectures finished a bit early which was nice, Michael Ė he was funny but he hardly took any lectures so Iím not even sure what it was I learnt from him except people are selfish pigs?
 
The assignment. Thereís something about group assignments that just makes me feel a bit sick inside and this one did not change that. But maybe Iím a bit biased because I was stuck doing most of the work for mine, the assignment itself was okay although I found myself feeling confused a lot, I guess thatís why they made it a group assignment though. The online tests were a bit pointless because you can do it twice and the questions are exactly the same and you could just look for the answers in the textbook. While Iím mentioning the textbook, you donít have to buy it itís just useful to look at if something in the lecture confused me, but thatís also what tutorials and consults are for..
 
Um, don't do it as breadth. Itís a great subject but if it has absolutely nothing to do with your career choice, then youíre probably better off doing a subject that wonít take up so much time and effort like ARA does. Donít assume itís maths, itís not. I mean, if you really loved accounting and business mgt in VCE and were really good at it, then you probably shouldíve done commerce haha jks but in that case I guess you could go for it..
Otherwise if youíre a commerce student then I totally recommend it, youíll definitely learn a few useful things for the future :)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 09:18:32 pm by teexo »

litaluta

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #287 on: June 18, 2014, 10:49:44 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: MIIM20001 Principles of Microbiology & Immunology

Workload:  3 x 1hr lectures per week and 2 x 1.5 hr prac in week 11 and 12

Assessment:   mid-semester test, from first 15 lectures (20%)
                                 Online quizzes, x 12 (10%)
                                 Computer based assessment of practical in weeks 11 and 12 (2%)
                                 Final exam (68%)
                                 
Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  Prescott's Microbiology is recommended, but lecture notes are enough 

Lecturer(s):    Karena Waller                microbiology
                                 Sacha Pidot                   genetic
                                 Jason Mackenzie            viruses
                                 Andrew Brooks              immunology
                                 Catherine Kennedy        bacteria
                                 
Year & Semester of completion: 2014, semester 1

Rating:  2 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments:

I took this subject because I was sure I want to major in microbiology. But now I am sure I won't do that!

There are 3 lectures each week which each has minimum of 35 slides. usually teachers are just reading from their slides, so you don't really need to write lots of extra stuff on your notes. Maybe that was one of the main problems with this subject, there was no emotion involved with their style of teaching, it was as if they were also bored and did not liked what they were doing!

For the first half of semester topics were,The Hosts, Bacterial Cells, Bacterial Metabolism,Parasites and Fungi and genetics. It is one of those subjects that in the lecture room you thing stuff they are teaching is easy, but even if it is easy its a lot, so best way to avoid failing this subject is to study each lecture on its own week.

For second half of semester topics were immunology,bacteria and viruses. Honestly if you did not enjoyed first half you will hate second half! here there is actually a bit of understanding involved specially in immunology.

There are 12 quizzes, each give you 2 hours to complete them which is more than enough, and each lecture will have 3 MCQ question. It not an easy 10% because you can do the test only once and they are actually not that easy!

There will be 2 practicals in week 11 and 12 which were highlight of the subject, there were emotion involved and actually you will learn something. Then after you done your pracs there will be a quiz about ur experiment, which is not hard, just write everything you do in pracs in your notes.

The mid semester exam, is 40 MCQ, honestly if you study really hard which you should you can get good mark. What I understand is that in their lecture notes they put many examples and details that attracts you to memorise them in very fine detail, but first try to understand the topic. you can get good mark here...but study really really hard because it is not easy. (I got 27, and I studied hard)

The final exam...HARDEST EXAM EVER! I don't know they themselves where once students or not, but they really asked questions that someone like me who had 2 exams in one day could not even remember the topic of questions! First part is 40 MCQ and it is only from second half of semester, so really study hard for it as it has 20% of your mark. Part B is fill the gap, and it was manageable, when you have words in front of you, you can at least come up with something! Part C, was 6 questions which u had to choose 5 and answer them. This part was really hard, I mean if your r studying for exam and there is a moment that you say "there is no way they ask such a question", think again! because they do! Part C and B have total of 48%, so again I really suggest to study the second half of lectures carefully.

This subject was not what I thought it will be, and maybe that is the reason why I hated it so much. When there is only lectures in one subjects, lecturers should really try to engage students, even if topics where not dry, the stile of teaching was! and this is my openionnnnnnnnnn! :D  Many people here liked it but for me it was not a great experience. It is so much information and the exams are so hard. even in the first announcement they said this is not an easy subject! So do it if you want to major in microbiology, but if you just looking for something to fill your course, then avoid it as it will kill your GPA!

litaluta

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #288 on: June 18, 2014, 11:12:38 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: UNIB10003 An Ecological History of Humanity 

Workload:  2 x 1 hr lectures per week and 1 hr tutorial starting from week 2

Assessment:  class blog of 500 words (15%)
                                 10 weekly personal blogs (20%)
                                 a research essay of 2000 words (50%)
                                  tutorial participation (15%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Sample essays for class blog

Textbook Recommendation:  There is one book that they said we should buy, I did not and I guess you dont have to!

Lecturer(s): From different departments

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, semester 1

Rating:  5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments:

This is my second breadth subject that I have done, and I am so glad that I choose it! Honesty I did not go to any lectures, because I got the main topic from conversations in tutorials! But lecturers are from different departments I heard!

In tutorials you will talk about the topic of the last week's lectures, really try to involve in their conversation for that 15% participation mark! In my class everyone where local,so I was a bit shy to start speaking in front of them but still I got 12% with no talking at all!

Now for the assessments, you will have 10 weekly blogs which are not time consuming at all. best way is to avoid summarising lectures and instead write 150 words about what did you felt or understand about the topic of that week. I would just look at images on slides and then write about what ever I felt and I got full mark for this part.

The class blog is 500 word and you should choose your question. each week of tutorial has couple of questions, so for example if you choose a question that is in week 9, you should submit your report by the end of week 8 and just talk a bit about your topic in tutorial. My suggestion is to choose one of the questions in early weeks so you don't have to do any research in between your other subjects mid sem test!

The final essay was due to 19th of june, and you again had to choose your topic. it is 50% of your mark, so really write a good essay for it so hopefully you can get H1

I highly comment this subject. the staff were so kind and answer your emails very fast and nicely. It was a super chill subject, you can do nothing for most of the time and get a good mark,so really save it for the semester that other subjects are hard and time consuming! The topics that were mentioned in tutorials were also interesting, so it is not a boring subject.

cameronp

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #289 on: June 18, 2014, 11:54:07 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: MAST90026 Computational Differential Equations

Workload: 3 hours per week, combined lecture/computer labs.

Assessment: 4x minor homeworks (worth 5% each), 3x major assignments (worth 20% each) and an oral presentation (worth 20%).

Lectopia Enabled: No.

Textbook Recommendation: There are three textbooks listed as 'references' in the course outline. The most useful of these is "Finite Difference Methods for Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations" by R. Leveque (2007), and is downloadable from the University library web site.

Lecturer(s): A/Prof Steven Carnie.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1.

Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: This subject is an introduction to computational methods for solving differential equations that have no exact mathematical solution - which is most of them. The lectures are held in a computer lab but mostly cover the theory side of the course, with a few short demonstrations using Matlab. The assignments are mostly very practical, giving you specific problems to solve that will require you to code up the methods described in class and examine their performance (accuracy and speed).

I found it to be a really enjoyable subject. There is no exam, but the major assignments are very long (mine were approximately 30 pages each, most of which was plots and printouts of Matlab code). The oral presentation is something you'll either love or hate: you get to explain a current research topic in the area to your classmates. It's suggested that to do well you should also explain real-world examples of where your topic is used and why you'd want to use it instead of the methods taught in the class.

There is no formal prerequisite, but if you don't have any programming experience, you're going to struggle. The numerical part of the unit MAST30028 Numerical and Symbolic Mathematics is assumed knowledge, so if you haven't done that before (I hadn't) you'll have a bit of catching up to do in the first few weeks of semester. In terms of required mathematical background, you'll find yourself using your linear algebra skills far more than any methods you would have seen before for solving DEs.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:36:00 pm by cameronp »
BSc (Pure Mathematics) @ UWA, '04-'09
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Mathematics and Statistics) @ UniMelb, '14
Master of Science (Statistics and Stochastic Processes) @ UniMelb, '15-'16

cameronp

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #290 on: June 19, 2014, 12:04:39 am »
+6
Subject Code/Name: MAST30025 Linear Statistical Models

Workload: 3 lectures and 1 computer lab per week.

Assessment: 3x assignments (worth 20% in total) and 1x exam (worth 80%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes.

Past exams available:  Yes, since 2009, with solutions for most.

Textbook Recommendation: Don't bother with the recommended texts. Everything you need to know is covered in the lecturer's slides.

Lecturer(s): Dr Guoqi Qian.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1.

Rating: 3/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: This subject is a core unit for the statistics major, but is also taken by people from other disciplines who have a less strong mathematics background. It is a fairly thorough look at the theory behind linear models, proving all of the major results from first principles: deriving the least squares estimator, showing that it is the best possible unbiased estimator, and then moving on to confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. In other words, looking at how and why statistical computer packages work behind the scenes.

The proofs involve a lot of linear algebra and are mostly quite tedious - pages and pages of algebraic manipulation, and applying just about every little fact you would have forgotten from first year (well, mostly the Spectral Theorem). The style of the lectures is incredibly dry, with little to motivate the theory being developed, so it's easy to find yourself daydreaming or falling asleep. There's a final week and a half covering the design of experiments, which could easily have done with twice as many lectures, at the expense of some of the more theoretical stuff.

The assignments are all very easy, involving very little in the way of proofs and a whole heap of rote application of formulas. The exams have been getting increasingly theory-based over the years, with this year's being about 50% linear algebra proofs, and 50% rote calculation and interpretation of data.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:35:06 pm by cameronp »
BSc (Pure Mathematics) @ UWA, '04-'09
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Mathematics and Statistics) @ UniMelb, '14
Master of Science (Statistics and Stochastic Processes) @ UniMelb, '15-'16

cnguyen599

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #291 on: June 19, 2014, 01:00:38 am »
+8
Subject Code/Name: COMP20005 Engineering Computation

Workload:  3x 1 hour lecture per week, 1x 2 hour workshop per week (optional)

Assessment: 2x Assignments (%10 and %20), 1x Mid Semester Test (%10), Exam (%60)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  1 sample exam with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  "Programming, Problem Solving, and Abstraction with C" - Alistair Moffat
An essential book for the course. Must buy!

Lecturer(s): Alistair Moffat

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 of 5

Comments:
Well this was a cool subject! To the survivors of ESD2 who experienced the abomination of the MATLAB module, this will be a significant improvement.

For this subject you learn the core of C programming and by the end of the course, you should be capable of making your own programs! Donít worry, they wonít immediately toss you into the deep end. You start off first by learning the language, and then move onto things like loops, functions, pointers, arrays and structures. Each of these essentially builds on the previous and you should think of them as additional tools in your tool kit that will make your life easier. The faster you learn to apply them the more time you will save sitting in front of that computer. So donít neglect them.

The course follows the text book quite closely, where pretty much everything that you are expected to know is in the book. These have questions at the end of each chapter to build up your programming muscles. Do try to do as many exercises as possible, as this will be the best way you can familiarise yourself with coding. I aimed to do all of the questions of the chapter by the end of the week, and trust me, it takes time and commitment. I remember staring at the screen at 2am ready to beat the bits out of my computer debugging my code.

So, what did I learn from my mistakes? KISS: Keep it simple stupid. And stupid I was indeed. The more complicated your code is, the harder it will be to follow and track down the source of your mistake. Therefore the more time you waste. You should code in blocks. Test to see if that section works independent of the program, and then apply it to the larger program rather than coding slabs. There was mention of this in the course, but much later then I would have liked (Chapter 5 pg78).  Finally, your old codes can always be improved. By learning new techniques, you can redo these old programs so they can be more efficient and also continue to buff your programming muscles.

By week 10 onwards, you will be taught content that are not in the book. These include things like binary conversion to hexadecimal, floating point representation, various mathematical techniques that can be made into programs, etc. The mathematical techniques were pretty annoying and it was told that we had to understand how they worked and write out the equations associated with them. This was where the rote learning came in. However, my exam did not feature any questions on these techniques but they did appear on previous years and the sample questions. So I managed to dodge a bullet on that one. 

A small amount of Linear Algebra was required to understand the code for Gaussian Elimination; basically solving a system of simultaneous equation. From ESD2 you were required to apply the Euler Forward difference method for designing programs capable of physical simulations, e.g. the max height a rocket flies.
As you may have heard from previous reviews, the lecturer, Alistair, is indeed a fantastic person. He was enthusiastic in his approach to teaching which made the lectures so much more bearable. Also he answers his emails FAST. So if you got a question, donít hesitate to bombard him with it.

Each week you have a 2 hour tutorial. The first half involves the tutor going through basically a recap of the previous week and a few questions from the book. The other half is your chance to ask your tutor questions about anything you are having trouble with. Even if you managed to create a functional program, there is always room for improvement. Looking back at some of my old codes, I cringe at how sloppily they were put together. I suppose that is the effect of sitting at your desk for prolonged periods of time.
There are 4 assessments for Eng Comp: Assignment 1 and 2, mid semester test and the 2 hour Exam.

You have 2 assignments in the semester. The first (10%) tests your use of loops and if statements, arrays and functions. The second (20%) is given after the MST, and requires that you use structures and more functions and arrays. You get around 2-3 weeks to finish them and my advice is that you should get them done as soon as possible. While they may seem daunting at first, they are broken into steps for you, and pretty much tells you what is required. You just have to come up with a method by breaking the large problem into smaller ones. Remember, you can always ask the tutors in your workshop for help, and the sooner you resolve a problem the better and they might be able to pick up things you have not anticipated.

There is also a tedious submission process involved which you obviously need to get used to; once again ask your tutor if you have trouble. At the end of each assignment Alistair shows the submission times. My goodness, there are some that occur just a second before the deadline. So submit regularly and early. Also TEST them. There was one submission that had just rows of dots. No code whatsoever. Everyone thought it was just some prankster, but no. It turned out the person didnít test their program before submitting and are now regretting it. 

Now the mid semester test. It was 30 minutes long and had around 5 questions based on what you have learnt at that point. This test however requires you to hand write your code, so start practising early. I recommend that before directly writing up your code on the computer scribble it on a blank sheet of paper. Note your mistakes and remember them. You will also be given a sample test to practise.

Finally the big bad exam. This was tough. And to be honest, I probably did pretty shitty. I would describe what you are given as a puzzle. Youíve done similar kinds of puzzles before, you have the tools to solve them, but you still need time to think about what you are going to do which is quite difficult with a time limit. Furthermore there is not just a single way to solve it. These questions are not like those where you immediately recognise the question and pop up with a method and solution with a snap of a finger. Therefore, I believe that there is an importance in learning how to plan your code without relying on your computer to tell you what is wrong.  You will be given a single sample paper with solutions and a few more sample questions (possibly without). Also, all the questions set in the workshop will also have solutions to them and there are some that are similar to the exam questions.

Engineering computation can be a stressful and irritating subject but is ultimately rewarding. You will experience the satisfaction of creating your own working programs and seeing that it in front of you. Itís not like one of those subjects where you constantly question why am I doing this? With Eng Comp you can see the outcome of what you have learnt firsthand. At the end of this subject you will come to appreciate programmers and computers, making you think twice before slapping your dumb computer for being too slow. Even if I did poorly, I can truly say I learnt something.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 09:06:26 pm by alondouek »

cameronp

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #292 on: June 19, 2014, 04:15:15 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: MAST90053 Experimental Mathematics

Workload: 1x 1-hour lecture, 1x 2-hour computer lab.

Assessment: 2x assignments (worth 30% in total) and a take-home exam (worth 70%).

Lectopia Enabled: No.

Past exams available: No.

Textbook Recommendation: "A=B" by Petkovsek, Zilf and Zeilberger (1997). This is available as a PDF from the authors' website. Having a paper copy to refer to is nice, though.

Lecturer(s): Dr Andrea Bedini.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1.

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: This is a difficult subject to review. To be blunt, I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I did learn quite a bit from it. Experimental maths is a fascinating area that most people never get exposed to, and this unit could potentially be excellent after a bit of a facelift.

The basic idea behind experimental mathematics is that exploring mathematical ideas with a computer can help you get insights that you wouldn't have been able to guess. After you make some mathematical conjecture based on the specific cases you've looked at using a computer, computational methods can also assist you in prove the general case. This general approach has been used to obtain a number of mathematical results in the last few decades that would have been essentially impossible without computational methods.

Unfortunately, the course doesn't really live up to the promise. For the first half of the subject, you spend each week looking at a different computational technique. Some of them are quite cool, e.g. chaos and bifurcation theory; the PSLQ algorithm for "number guessing"; Groebner basis. But the small amount of time devoted to them meant that you had almost but not quite understood how these methods worked before you moved on to the next topic, and certainly didn't have any opportunity to see where the applications of them might be.

The second half of the course I enjoyed a lot more. It was hypergeometric series, which are a very general form of infinite sum - if you've done any maths, you've probably encountered specific examples of hypergeometric series without knowing the name. There's no general formula for the sum of a hypergeometric series, but there are a number of computer algorithms for deriving a closed form for a particular series. This half of the course followed the textbook "A=B" almost verbatim. You will need that book.

While the unit outline mentioned computer-assisted methods of proof, there wasn't really anything in the course about it.

Dr Bedini's lectures were ... not the greatest. He spoke very quickly (while looking at the whiteboard, not at the class) and wrote a lot of stuff up on the whiteboard in borderline-illegible handwriting. To be fair, I think this was his first time teaching a postgraduate subject. But I eventually stopped turning up to the lectures, because I found that I didn't really understand the lectures unless I'd already read the relevant part of the textbook, and if I'd read the textbook, I didn't need the lectures. The lab sessions were devoted to implementing the methods from the week's lecture in Mathematica, and solving problems using them. In the lab sessions he was very willing to help out with anything that you didn't understand.

The assignments were an attempt to get us to actually discover some result we'd never seen before using experimental mathematics techniques, and then formally prove it. I think the second assignment, in particular, lived up to this ideal. The major assessment in this unit was a take-home exam. It was handed out at the start of the examination period (i.e. after SWOT Vac), and we had a week to work on it. It was 50% programming, 50% conventional mathematics. It took me a solid weekend's work to get it done, and I learned quite a bit while doing it. (I'd suggest that making sure you'd done all of the lab exercises beforehand would dramatically reduce the time you'd spent on it, because 90% of the programming question came from stuff I really should have already finished.)

One final problem with this unit was that, to really understand the methods presented in this subject, you need both a decent working knowledge of pure maths (specifically: ring theory) as well as programming skills. This was okay for me, since my undergraduate degree was in Pure Mathematics and I've spent years working as a programmer. But I suspect that quite a few people in the class were just left feeling perpetually lost.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:36:57 pm by cameronp »
BSc (Pure Mathematics) @ UWA, '04-'09
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Mathematics and Statistics) @ UniMelb, '14
Master of Science (Statistics and Stochastic Processes) @ UniMelb, '15-'16

cnguyen599

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #293 on: June 19, 2014, 04:18:48 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: EDUC20065 Knowledge, Learning and Culture

Workload: 1x 1 hour lecture per week, 1x 2 hour seminar per week

Assessment: 2x 2000 words essays (50% each)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbooks, you are given readings along the course on the LMS.
Although from the level 1 subject before this (EDUC10050), I did find the book "Perspectives on Learning" by D.C. Phillips & Jonas F. Soltis quite useful for the last essay.

Lecturer(s): Amanda Burritt

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating:  4/5

Comments:

Knowledge Learning and Culture
If you thought you knew everything about what Melbourne uni has, think again. Basically, this subject is like one gigantic museum tour that takes you to different cultural collections on campus. The weekly 2 hour seminars will involve you going to places like:

. Old and rare books collections in the uni archives
. Ian Potter Museum
. Rare Map Collection
. Medical History Museum
. Dental Museum   

One of the key principles taught in the seminars was see think and wonder. You are given an object; a random object that you have never seen before, be it a portrait, dental equipment, maps, etc. You are then asked to examine the details of the object without any subjectivity. Following this you begin to form your own explanations about why certain things are the way they are. And finally you form questions about what you want to know about it. Each seminar usually has an expert, or the curator of the museum you can direct your questions to. By being given a chance to practise this each week, youíll come to the realisation of the difficulty separating your biases from objective analysis. But hey you got to start somewhere. Note that nothing is assessed in these seminars, and what you get accomplished during these sessions is up to you and your curiosity.

There are 2, 2000 words reflective essays as part of the assessment in this subject. The first involves a discussion about two of the objects from any of the cultural collections. You use the see think wonder approach in answering the question, and also incorporate things like the knowledge required for interpretation and discuss the culture surrounding that object. I wrote mine on medical records of Australian P.O.Wís written on the back of Japanese cigarette packets and an old 1880 monaural stethoscope. Some of the objects are listed with their image on the digital archives online, but I found that there were others which I could not find. The P.O.W record for example could not be shown in detail due to privacy reasons. But luckily I took the initiative and during the seminars and just scribbled a whole bunch of my observations and interpretations down into my notes, which I encourage other people to do.

There are objects that have plenty of information associated with few, so choose carefully (you do have to cite sources). I found that objects in the medical museum tend to have some good resources following them. Each week you are given some readings to prepare you for the seminar. Did I read everything? No. For some readings I realised that I would not use as they were not related to the cultural collection I selected. But hey, I could have missed some ideas that I could have used for my essay. Just letting you know that it isnít the end of the world if you havenít read everything.     

To be honest, you donít need to go to all of the seminars in order to start the first essay (although you do need to go to all of them since there is an 80% attendance requirement, i.e. 2 classes missed and youíre out), and the earlier you start them, the less stress you will have. For the first assessment I realised that since you could select any objects to study from any cultural collections, by doing those you encountered in the earlier weeks will obviously mean that you can get them done faster.

The second requires you to talk about the various factors that influence your interpretation and how direct engagement with objects improves learning. This is more like a recap on what you have experienced. Those who did Psychology or Understanding Knowing Learning (the level 1 subject prior to this) will find their knowledge of the various learning theories useful for this essay. But if you havenít studied any of these, donít worry; they go through learning theories in one of the lectures. The last essay is more general compared to the first, so you can start brain storming after a few lectures and seminars.

This subject gave me an opportunity to explore the campus and see some really fascinating historical objects. You learn to appreciate the story behind the objects. Furthermore, it wasnít a stressful subject, so those who donít want to add to much weight to their studies, I recommend this one.


Stick

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #294 on: June 19, 2014, 05:29:11 pm »
+9
Subject Code/Name: CHEM10006: Chemistry for Biomedicine

Workload:
Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week, 1 x three hour lab/workshop per week, 1 x one hour tutorial/workshop session per week, 6 hours of computer-aided learning during the semester, 8 hours of independent learning tasks during semester.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours.

Assessment: Three equally weighted 30 minute on-line tests conducted during the semester (6%), ongoing assessment of practical work throughout the semester (20%), a three hour written examination in the examination period (74%).

Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject. Independent learning tasks need to be completed in order to pass the subject.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes, although none of them are relevant to the new course structure.

Textbook Recommendation: A. Blackman, S. Bottle, S. Schmid, M. Mocerino and U. Wille, Chemistry 2nd edition, Wiley, 2012

You will be asked to do pre-reading prior to every lecture and will be assigned practice questions following lectures, so it is required. Unfortunately this textbook is extremely difficult to find so you may have to resort to purchasing it (see if you can get it second hand). It goes into a lot more detail than what you need to know, but I found it really useful given the circumstances, so I recommend it. Some tutors thought the old textbooks were better than this one, but as I did not use them I cannot comment on this myself.

You will also need to purchase the tutorial workbook and the practical handbook (this is shared between CHEM10006: Chemistry for Biomedicine, and CHEM10003 & CHEM10004: Chemistry 1 & Chemistry 2 - the equivalent subjects available in the Bachelor of Science).

Lecturer(s):
Dr Angus Gray-Weale: Lectures 1-9 - Thermodynamics, Equilibrium, Kinetics
Assoc Prof David McFadyen: Lectures 10-15 - Inorganic (main group) chemistry
Dr David Jones: Lectures 16-21 - Inorganic (transition metal) chemistry
Assoc Prof Craig Hutton: Lectures 22-29 - Foundations of organic chemistry
Prof Richard O'Hair: Lectures 30-35 - Reactions of organic species and biomacromolecules

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 3/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments:

Before the exam I was dead set on giving this subject a 2/5, but given the exam I've decided to bump it up to a 3/5. You can probably tell that my experience with this subject wasn't overly positive and a lot of thought needs to be put into this subject to improve it.

The subject has changed a lot from previous years, with new topics arranged in a different order and new lecturers to teach them. I can't say for sure the reason for this, but some students have indicated that it may be due to poor performance in the chemistry component of the second year core subject BIOM20001: Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine. Anyway, it seems like they may have tampered with a previously good recipe.

Let me start off by saying that first year university does require you to step up from Year 12. Most of the time people are aware of this and the university does the best that it can to make the transition easier and in the end most cope just fine. However, I was told by older cousins who completed the Bachelor of Science that the step up required for Chemistry is much bigger than it is for other subjects, and now having done it myself, I have to say that this is true. The only thing is that Chemistry for Biomedicine is even more tough because the university is trying to shove a lot of stuff that should be covered over the course of a year into just one semester and this year they decided to introduce more topics into the course. The compromise is that each topic is dealt with in slightly less detail but sometimes this isn't necessarily the best thing, especially for holistic learners who need to see the bigger picture. I guess the take home message is to accept the circumstances and be prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.

Anyway, onwards with the review. I think I should probably get my thoughts regarding the lecturers out of the way first. With the exception of a couple of the more experienced ones, I think the reduced time frame they had to cover their content didn't bring out the best in them. In particular many of them forgot that we hadn't yet covered organic chemistry so sometimes they would draw upon a relevant organic chemistry concept and assumed that we understood what was going on. I hope next year they move organic chemistry back to the start of the course because it seemed to make a lot more sense having it there. I'm going to keep my negative comments about specific lecturers to myself, but take this as a warning that you will need to be prepared to encounter this if you end up with the same staff.

So as I said, the course has undergone a lot of changes from previous years and this is felt right from the very first lecture. In the past CHEM10006 students have started with organic chemistry but we started off with Dr Angus Gray-Weale, who covered thermodynamics, equilibrium and kinetics. These are new topics introduced into the course supposedly as students in BIOM20001: Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine have struggled with these a lot in the past couple of years, so the intention was to get the foundations set earlier. I really don't think starting off fresh first years with these sorts of topics was a particularly good idea. Most of us understood incredibly little over the first three weeks and the textbook was pretty much the only thing that saved us from completely losing all sense of direction. Dr Gray-Weale's lecturing style is a bit different as he prefers not to upload the notes prior to lectures, rather that we sit back and think about what he's telling us. His slides don't tend to contain a lot of information and instead he uses examples and scenarios to explain the underlying concepts. Just try to follow on if you can, seek help if necessary and use the textbook if you feel you need to. You are not provided with a formula sheet in the exam so you will need to know your formulae but there aren't too many and as you use them over time you will learn them. Once you start to see the types of questions you can be asked the topic makes a lot more sense and oddly enough I actually think it was one of the easier topics we dealt with in the end.

We then moved on to inorganic (main group) chemistry with Assoc Prof David McFadyen, who has taught this topic to first year Biomedicine students for the past couple of years. This stuff isn't new to the course and the only changes made were omissions or simplifications - most of us could easily tell that in comparison to the first three weeks this unit was a well-oiled machine. People generally grasped the content really well and had no pressing issues; some people get a bit confused as to how much you need to learn about the bio-geo-chemical cycles of the main group elements but you're not expected to memorise anything here. If you're having trouble navigating it all have a look at the past exam questions (particularly the multiple choice questions) which will give you an indication of the expectations.

We then covered inorganic (transition metal) chemistry with Dr David Jones. This topic wasn't necessarily new to the course, but the lecturer was, so inadvertently he brought along a lot of changes with it anyway. A lot of content gets covered in an extremely small space of time but again you're just going to have to deal with this. What threw most of us was that we were expected to memorise several (rather complicated) biochemical structures and reaction mechanisms, so here's another heads-up. Take the time to draw them out several times and commit them all to memory because they are examinable (and we were asked to draw two such structures on our exam).

After the mid-semester break we covered the foundations of organic chemistry with Assoc Prof Craig Hutton, who has also taken this unit with Biomedicine students before. As I've stated above, this would've made for a much better introduction to the subject as most of us found it very manageable. This is one of those instances where you have to "unlearn" things you learnt in VCE, but at the end of it all everything makes so much more sense. His slides are generally very light on content so you will need to write down a lot of what he says. In the last couple of weeks Prof Richard O'Hair took over to talk to us about organic reaction pathways and about carbohydrates and peptide chemistry. I actually found this stuff the most difficult in the end because the specific reaction mechanisms are no longer covered in the course (this is both a blessing and a curse because while you won't be expected to memorise these for the exam they can help with your understanding) and I found it difficult to remember how various functional groups and species react. The textbook for this area in particular was fantastic (it has the reaction mechanisms in it) so make sure you take a look and read it all properly (it's quite long but well worth it).

To supplement your learning, the department provides quite a few resources to practice with. You're encouraged to use ChemCAL over the course of the semester to aid learning new concepts. Sometimes it wasn't very helpful and occasionally there would be an error in the tutorial but other times they explained concepts really well and had activities that enhanced your understanding. In addition, there are three mid-semester tests completed through the LMS, totalling 6% of your grade. They only take half an hour and they're not worth much so don't stress too much about your performance. They're designed so that you can get some feedback, but the irony was that you couldn't actually access your results (you could only see the grade). If you wanted to know what you got right or wrong you had to wait for the test period to be over and for the test to be re-opened in feedback mode and you had to complete it again to get corrections (and that's if the questions were all the same as last time - often they were not). You also have three independent learning tasks to complete over the course of the semester, covering fairly basic material (much of it was covered in VCE). They don't contribute to your grade but they are hurdle requirements and their content does appear on the exam, so don't just be one of those people that opens the test up and closes it straight away to clear the hurdle.

The weekly tutorials were extremely helpful and ultimately they were the reason many got by in the subject. The tutorial workbook has great questions and many of the tutors are very knowledgeable and helpful. Unfortunately my tutor stopped coming to tutorials after a couple of weeks and we would just have substitute tutors every week. Some of them weren't great but others were amazing, in particular Penny Commons. I know that you can't find out who the tutor is when timetabling, but if you know someone who has her as their tutor, see if you can move into her class because it will absolutely be worth it. I'm just sorry I only had her for 2-3 tutorials.

The only other assessment during the semester are the six practicals, totalling 20% of your grade. All of the practicals are selected from the first year Science course, so some of them are completely irrelevant to the content covered in lectures but others do link in quite well (although they might not tee up perfectly with when you learn about them). For some reason the introductory practical is not selected as one of the six practicals for Biomedicine students, which is a bit annoying, so you'll just have to find your feet over time. That being said, I much preferred the Chemistry practicals to the Biology practicals. You are asked to prepare for them by completing a pre-lab on ChemCAL, but I'm going to tell you that this is nowhere near enough if you want to finish the practicals on time. You need to read the practical several times so that you know exactly what is expected of you, using the additional resources and links as you see fit. Additionally, you need to write up as much of your practical report from home. Regardless of the practical, you should be able to write the aim, method and get the results data prepared (i.e. setting up tables and graphs). In some cases, you can even answer some of the discussion questions without having even completed the practical. The point is that you want to leave the bare minimum to do in regards to writing your report during the practical because completing the practical itself is enough of a time pressure. If you do this, you should only have to enter your results and write your conclusion and you may in fact finish some practicals early (I managed to do this twice). Like in Biology, you will get assessed on how well you actually performed the practical, so good preparation is essential for good marks. For example, our first experiment was a paracetamol synthesis, in which we were marked on our percentage yield and the appearance and purity of the final product. Most people don't do very well at first, but you will get much better really quickly.

The final three hour exam was worth 74%, which is quite a lot and given how we'd all found the subject over the course of the semester the majority of us were freaking out. The format has also changed from previous years - multiple choice questions used to make up two thirds of the exam (in both time and marks) but now it is only allocated 50% of the time and marks, so there is a greater weighting on the short answer questions. There was a bit of confusion regarding the amino acids - in previous years they were provided for you in the exam but one lecturer told us we needed to memorise them. Then we found out the exam did have the amino acids provided, but the lecturer defended himself by suggesting we would run out of time if we didn't know them. In the end, there were no amino acid questions on the exam. If this happens to you as well, the strategy I went with was to use the reading time to locate the question regarding amino acids and using that time to flick back to the amino acids appendix and become familiar with them then (my study time in SWOTVAC was precious and I wasn't going to waste time learning things that weren't necessary). Thankfully, it was as if the staff heard our cries of concern and went much easier on us than expected - they could have asked much more difficult questions which still would have been fair game. Some lecturers re-used previous questions while others avoided the more difficult aspects of their course altogether. In the end, most people were relatively content with how it all went.

This is all I can think of for now. I'm pretty confident the subject experience survey results will overall be very negative but hopefully they will sit down, rethink the course structure and improve it for next year. If you have any specific questions or queries, please feel free to ask me. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 05:50:24 pm by Stick »
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine - The University of Melbourne
2014-2016: Bachelor of Biomedicine - The University of Melbourne

cnguyen599

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #295 on: June 19, 2014, 06:24:59 pm »
+9
Subject Code/Name: MAST10007 Linear Algebra 

Workload: 3x 1 hour lecture per week, 1x 1 hour tutorial per week, 1x 1 hour workshop per week

Assessment: Weekly assignments (10% in total), End of Semester Test (10%), Exam (80%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture. Both 10am and 3pm streams were recorded.

Past exams available:  3 past exams with solutions. Quite a few can be found in the library.

Textbook Recommendation:  "Elementary Linear Algebra Applications Version" - H. Anton and C. Rorres 10th edition.
Don't need to buy it. Just rely on lecture notes and exercise book questions and you should be fine. Although there are a few examples in the books that go through proof questions which is worth a borrow.

Lecturer(s): Craig Hodgson, Nathan Clisby

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 3/5

Comments:
Let me start off by saying that I am no Mathspert. In fact, after this maths subject, I wish to never add two numbers together again and marry my calculator.

Moving onÖ Linear Algebra! Most likely you are coming into this subject with fresh wounds from Calculus 2. The things taught in this subject are quite different from Calculus, introducing new concepts for you to wrap your head around. I have heard the term ďabstractĒ being thrown around a lot. Linear Algebra requires you at times to visualise things in 3 dimenstions. It will take time to get your head around these ideas. From my own experience, trying to understand these ideas at first may be frustrating, but once it clicks, everything should seem pretty straight forward. But the one thing that never clicked for me were proofs (luckily they weren't prominent in the weekly assessments). I found it funny that at the back of the work book, the only solution to these questions was a short sentence saying ďproof requiredĒ. Not shit! JUST TELL ME THE ANSWER!!! Do try to attempt them as best you can and go over them with the tutors. Some of these questions were work examples in the text book. Does this mean you have to buy it? No. Just borrow it and look at the relevant section. Proofs will be on the exam.

It will take work to keep up to date, and without constant work your next lecture or tutorial session may sound like complete gibberish (just a word of warning, the lectures can be pretty dull). I encourage that anyone who plans to take this subject to do all the questions set by the lecturer as soon as possible (typically around 6-10 questions are given each lecture). Preferably finish them on the same day they are given. You donít want to be that student who is on question 10, 6 weeks into semester. I'm not going to lie, for me, some of these were tough. It took quite some time for me to "get" what to do therefore consultation hours will be a valuable resource when you find yourself dwelling on something too long. Be smart, unlike myself, and save time by going to them (make sure you show them what you have done so far to make the most of those times, donít just go in and say, ďIím stuckĒ). There were hours throughout the week, and for my semester there were 3 different tutors who were be happy to guide me through my work. Just make sure you plan out what you will ask. 

The weekly tutorial is just like that in Calculus. You are given a question sheet and work in a group of 2-3 to solve problems on a white board while the tutor goes around checking if you did it right. By now, you should know that tutorials are important and helpful, so go to them! You are also handed worked solution for the questions, and these can be used as an indicator to show if you are doing your questions in the right way. This is also your chance to make friends and a study groups.

Each week you will have an assignment of around 3 questions testing you on what you have learnt the week before. If you have done the work book questions, these assignment questions shouldnít be harder than those. Unlike Calculus, only one out of the three questions is marked to encourage you to check your own work. They do post up a set of worked solutions, so look at them. I guess I was overconfident and believed that everything I did was right. Little did I know, 1 day before the exam, all my answers to linear transformations were wrong! Check them, reflect on them and ask your tutor if you need further clarification. Redoing them is also good practise I believe they are a good reflection of the level of difficulty you will be faced with in the exam. Also, it should be obvious, but you can check your answers with a calculator for certain questionsÖ

Following tutorials is a 1 hour computer lab. I didnít particularly enjoy these, but I do see how they can be beneficial. They are there to help you visualise and understand the concepts. For those who are more visually inclined, it can indeed be a very useful. Essentially in each session you go through questions from the lab book which can include things like matrix manipulation in the computer, forming 3-D graphs, etc. The instructions a pretty straight forward and they shouldnít be all too difficult. Donít panic if you donít get through all of them, the most important thing is going through your tutorial and workbook questions. 

The end of semester test in week 12! This I found was well placed since by studying for this you are also prepping for the exam. Except! It requires the use of MATLAB; a computer program that is basically a beefed up graphics calculator. But don't let that deter you. The programming component is not all too complicated for a new user, and should be a refresher for you ESD2 survivors (if you remembered anything from that messily taught module). I believe that the extent of the programming you needed were in the first 2-3 weeks of the computer labs, involving the making of matrices, adding, multiplying, reducing, graphing etc. I was given a sample test (with no solutions) which gives you a pretty clear idea of their expectations in terms of programming. They will list the topics that may be on the test which you can study for by doing your workbook and tutorial questions.

Finally the exam. Since you have been diligently blazing through the workbook question each week and managed to finish all 200 something questions, the exam shouldnít be all too terrible. It seems as though they forced you to carry a 100 kilo rock throughout semester and for the exam they reduce it to 70. I was surprised at how simple some of the questions were. I was given answers to 3 past exams, but if you ask any of the guys who did Linear Algebra in the summer you can get a few more. I think I had 5 in total which is a good amount. Along with your assignments, tutorial sheets, and work book, you have plenty to get ready.

One important piece of advice. I will put this in caps so you can remember better. POLISH YOUR ROW REDUCTION SKILLS AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN DO IT QUICKLY AND ACCURATELY IN TIMED CONDITIONS. I found that I was constantly making mistakes with my row reductions as simple as it was, and this was probably due to the fact that I was relying too much on my graphics calculator throughout semester. Approach them in a systematic and organised way. Keep track of all those negative signs, and make sure every calculation is correct before moving onto the next otherwise it is a snow ball effect of mistakes. And I wished someone told me this early on, but you should avoid fractions if possible by multiplying rows to get the same whole numbers as the leading entries. It might not make sense now, but hopefully it will later and will save you time.

There are some very useful resources online that can help you to understand the concepts of Linear Algerba. Youtube has quite a few, including:
. Khan Academy
. PatrickJMT
. MathDoctorBob
Not to mention, a lecturer for Linear Algebra put up videos on how to solve certain problems in the exercise book based on what was requested on the discussion board.

So did I enjoy this subject? Eh, not so much. I was required to do it, so I had to push through. But if you are taking this subject, just know that there are numerous resources out there that can help you with your study, and you can do well if you put an effort into understanding the concepts.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 12:55:10 am by cnguyen599 »

bubbles21

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #296 on: June 19, 2014, 08:42:09 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: PHYS30005 Muscle and Exercise Physiology 

Workload:  3 lectures a week

Assessment:  2 x 15% Multichoice/fill in the blanks from options tests, 1 x 10% 500 word assignment.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture

Past exams available:  No idea.

Textbook Recommendation:  Don't need any textbook, there isn't one anyway. If anything you will be referring to science papers.

Lecturer(s):

Mixture of a fair few lectures but 20 or so of the lectures are taken by Mark Hargreaves and Gordon Lynch.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 - Semester 1

Rating:  3/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments:

Okay so I didn't enjoy this subject nearly as much as I thought I would. I'll get to that, but first the pros of the subject.
Firstly, the subject is very well assessed. There is rarely a dodgy question or assessment of something that wasn't taught or presented, study the material and there really isn't any reason not to do well. Secondly, Gordon Lynch is amazing, unfortunately he didn't take as many lectures as he usually would in the subject but the ones you have him for are incredibly well taught. He also teaches what I consider the more interesting aspects of this subject which is anabolic agents, muscle injury, degeneration, regeneration and muscle plasticity. All of these lectures were incredibly interesting even though I thought they were somewhat simplified. What I mean is that the lectures may teach what adaptive changes a muscle may make to certain stimuli but doesn't really elaborate on how this happens. Eg: we learnt that in response to endurance exercise, muscle will get smaller, make more mitochondria, make blood vessels etc but NONE of this is really explained how, there were hints at explanation but certainly nothing explicit. I have no idea if this is because we don't know or if its because its just not part of lecture series but either way, it's something I wish they had.

Moving on to my 2nd problem with this subject. Mark Hargreaves. Mark unfortunately has one of the worst lecturing styles I have seen, he uses fewer slides than most and fills them with graphs (I am not kidding, every single slide will be graphs except 1 or 2). This would be fine if he actually explained the graphs. Half the time he forgets to tell you what is on the axis and so you are left wondering what is actually increasing with what. His lecture content could actually be reasonably interesting. He just presents it very poorly and his lectures lack a theme I guess. I come out of his lectures asking myself what did I actually learn with a thousand physiological responses to memorise whereas other lectures I come out with an overall conclusion and only 100 or so things to learn. Anyway that's just my 2 cents, other people find hargreaves okay. For me he was unbearable and ruined the subject.

Also, just remember that the first 15 lectures are essentially on what happens to various physiological measures when you increase intensity or duration or bother. By physiological measures I mean, oxygen, calcium, glycogen, fat, protein and then the factors that cause them to do whatever they do. I guess for me, I didn't really expect this aspect of the subject to be so detailed and I did find a lot of it quite boring

Like I said though, assessment is fair and IMO easier than my other subjects (well atleast my biomed one)
Subject could be a 4 with better lecturing, but as it is, I would not do it if I could go back in time.
PM me for any questions
« Last Edit: December 08, 2014, 12:11:12 pm by bubbles21 »
2012-14: Bachelor of Biomedicine @ UniMelb

ďTry and fail, but don't fail to try.Ē - Stephen Kaggwa

GreyMechine

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #297 on: June 19, 2014, 09:07:28 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: ZOOL30006: Animal Behaviour 

Workload:   
30 lectures during the semester; and 1 x one hour multimedia presentation per week

"Multimedia Presentation" - a video (David Attenborough Style). I never went to a single one of these tutes, attendance wasn't taken. Occasionally an actual tute (for instance covering the written assignment or the exam) was held in this timeslot, which I would go to.


Assessment: 

  • Written work of up to 2000 words due during the semester (40%);

    So this was my favorite part of the subject. We got to choose a study and write a "News and Views" style write up. Which is like writing a magazine article aimed at scientists. The most interesting thing was that we had to first write a draft that would be submitted to a program named PRAZE so that our drafts could redistributed among the other students for review. Everyone had to review 3 other drafts and part of the mark we got for the assignment would come from other students rating how helpful our reviews were. Sounds complicated but the coordinators explain it quite well.

    We would submit a final draft sometime before the end of semester.

  • a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (60%).

    Was in a unique format. We were a paragraph or two and some figures that explain a study that was done, and we would get 2 - 3 questions related to the study. Eg. "What was the underlying mechanism that the researchers were tryng to study?" Or
    Please explain what is being shown in this figure". You were given 4 "questions", and in each question you could do one of two questions. So a better way to phrase it would be 4 sections with 2 questions and you only had to do 1 question from each section.


Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  One sample exam provided (with answers). Tutorials leading up to the end of semester going through exam style questions (with answers).

Textbook Recommendation:  What's a textbook??

Lecturer(s): Raoul Mulder, Tim Jessop (maybe 1 lecture), Mark Elgar, Devi Stuart-Fox, Theresa Jones
Hope I didn't forget someone :')

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  3.5 of 5

Wasn't a difficult subject.. would say that this subject would benefit from more indepth topics.


Comments:

Animal behavior is a subject you can take as part of a number of majors. I took it so I could take Experimental Animal Behavior (ZOOL30006 was a pre-req for this), which is a prerequisite for the Zoology major. Hopefully I'll write a review about that if I remember.

Overall.. if you enjoy zoology and have paid attention in all of the animal related subjects you have taken, you might realise that a lot of the stuff they teach in this subject you have been taught before. Many of the lecturers in this subject have also been present in first and second year zoology related lectures and I felt like there was a lot of repetition. I didn't feel particularly challenged in this subject.

LECTURES
Either way, I went to maybe 50% of the lectures, and only in the first half of the semester. The content wasn't hard to understand, and I felt like listening to them on Lectopia was adequate. Some of Mark Elgar's lectures had complicated concepts but I think the recordings are still adequate. I rarely found myself annotating my lecture slides, perhaps only when they went through examples.

What reinforced me to NOT go to lectures was the fact that lecture notes were uploaded AFTER the lecture. I don't understand why lecturers do this! So I would skip the lecture and just listen to it once I had the notes in front of me...

LECTURERS
They are all researchers, and seem quite knowledgeable in their respective fields. The main lecturer was Raoul Mulder, who I thought was great. Very easy to understand and he explains concepts quite well. Doesn't always respond to emails ASAP but he will get to you within 48 hours. I assume he gets a lot of emails!

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT
I liked getting feedback on my draft, it was nice seeing what other people thought of my work. Some of my friends got half finished drafts to review and that wasn't fun for them. It was hit and miss with the reviews that you did (whether or not the draft you had to review was finished) and hit and miss with the reviews you received (whether the feedback was actually helpful). None the less, it was still cool going through this process.


EXAM

We are given a sample exam with answers (woo hoo!) which I found really helpful. Would 10/10 recommend you do the practice exam.

Found exam to be not too difficult, given that we could choose what question to answer. I would recommend you understand the broad topics taught (eg. Altruism - Why does it occur?) and be able to apply it to studies. Refer to the practice questions. it was a good length, 2 hrs for 4 questions wasn't shabby.

Despite the negatives I seem to have constantly outlined, this subject was well taught and coordinated. The PRAZE News and Views assignment was really great to do, and it was a great change from the old "Write an Essay" type assignments. I think the exam format was also great as it encourages you to apply your knowledge and to use your comprehension and analysis skills, as opposed to just spewing out stuff you've memorised.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Animal Behaviour may enjoy this course.. assuming they haven't learnt done about it in other subjects!
Gap Year 2011 | B-Sci @ UniMelb | Zoology

bubbles21

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #298 on: June 19, 2014, 09:20:27 pm »
+8
Subject Code/Name: NEUR30003 Principles of Neuroscience 

Workload:  3 lectures a week

Assessment: Midsemester test worth 30%. Exam worth 70%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with capture.

Past exams available:  Yes but ones not relevant to us since the exam format changed this year.

Textbook Recommendation:  I don't know. Don't need any though.

Lecturer(s): 80% taken by Peter Kitchener. Rest is various lecturers.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 - Semester 1

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not sure yet.

Comments:

So this subject I thought was very good, though others really didn't enjoy it. So bear that in mind.

Content wise: The first 20 lectures covers all the various 'nervous systems.' 3 lectures on neural development and repair. 5-10 lectures on senses. 5ish lectures on movement, one on pain, language and homeostasis. A couple of lectures on memory and then the subject takes a shift to the more complex neural topics: Emotion, cognition, neural disorders, consciousness, reward, fear... you get the idea.

I went into this subject expecting to absolutely love the consciousness and more complex lectures. I mean who isn't honestly interested by what the hell consciousness is! However, these were definitely IMO the worst component of the subject. This is probably because we know so so so little about anything that all we can really say is 'yeah we think this area is involved and it probably interacts with this other area.' For me, that wasn't enough to get excited about those topics. The first 20 lectures however, were brilliant. We know a lot about it all, how the info is encoded, decoded etc etc especially vision. This means that the lectures typically are quite detailed and explain a lot about how those systems work. A lecture typically starts with a stimulus if there is one and how it turns into an electrical signal. Then looking over the anatomical pathways of the neuron, what things happen at each place and then couple of extra things.  There is a bit of anatomy, but certainly not a great deal, and the majority is mostly just so you have a reference point to talk about an important function.

Assessment on the midsem was ridiculously stupid. The questions they asked were barely taught and poorly worded. Assessment on the exam was much better though.

Unfortunately there is also the infamous Joel Bornstein that covers the memory lectures. He has a total of like 12 slides in a lecture and then rambles on random tangents half the time then ends up going 5-10 minutes over (seriously, one time he went to 5 past and the other lecturer had to kick him out. The most unfortunate thing about having Joel Bornstein is that he covers one of the most interesting topics which is memory. It really is such a shame, because I think those lectures could of been so much better....

I personally find peter kitchener a very good lecturer, however many found him quite poor which was surprising.
I don't there is much out that stands out to me about this subject. Overall, just a good introductory subject to neuro which is certainly easier than the level 3 subjects I've done so far
PM me for any questions
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 10:26:10 am by bubbles21 »
2012-14: Bachelor of Biomedicine @ UniMelb

ďTry and fail, but don't fail to try.Ē - Stephen Kaggwa

Starlight

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #299 on: June 19, 2014, 09:27:33 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: PHYS30005 Muscle and Exercise Physiology (see above review for link)

Workload:  3 lectures a week

Assessment:  2 x 15% Multichoice/fill in the blanks from options tests, 1 x 10% 500 word assignment.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, but not in the type of format that was assessed this year. (past exams were based more on written responses, this year was fill in the blanks/ mcq type format- like the MSTS). However, much of the content in the past exams was relevant to this year's one.

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook prescribed, lecturers encourage you to look up the journal article references (e.g. the ones that accompany different graphs in lecture slides).

Lecturer(s):
Too many.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 - Semester 1

Rating:  2.5-3/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (what?!)

Comments:
Much like bubbles21, this subject wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

Lecturers:
Mark Hardgraphs, that is all.
I never really understood his lecture style, with pages and pages of graphs followed by 2 or so slides containing real written text (the slides with text weren't even that good because it would just be in formats like "factors regulating glycogenolysis"- followed by 12 or so factors that were hard to recall.

There weren't any lecturers that I thought were particularly amazing.

Assessment:

10% 500 W assignment (My mark: 65%) I did not enjoy this assignment at all and found it very confusing. The fact that it had a 500W word limit (to answer 5 questions about exercise metabolism/ heat/ cardiovascular responses) meant that your answers had to be clear and concise, as such you had to sacrifice many of the points you would normally have included if the assignment had no word limit. I thought the assignment was a bit unfair in this sense.

15% MST1 (My mark: 75%) This test (MCQ format, fill in the blanks) is about the exercise metabolism side of stuff (see handbook for detail). I didn't have any issues with the test, I think if I had changed the way I approached studying for this MST, my mark would have been better.

15% MST2 (My mark: 97%) This test (MCQ format, fill in the blanks) was more based on ROTE learning, I was not expecting the mark that I had received and thought I did poorly. That's the thing with this subject, you never know how you have performed in your assessments.

Exam (60%): I sat this today, and it honestly felt like my worst nightmare. I don't agree with what bubbles21 mentioned, regarding: "there is rarely a dodgy question or assessment of something that wasn't taught or presented" and "Gordon Lynch is amazing, the lectures you have him for are incredibly well taught". There were many concepts on the test that I felt like he didn't mention at all or were in WAY too much detail than he ever mentioned, and even if I had studied to my capacity I have my doubts about where I would still be able to answer those questions. Lynch's lecture approach is to describe concepts in a very simple manner, but he sets very difficult questions. My advice for approaching this exam is don't neglect the past exams (found on the library unimelb website): There were many repeat questions, particularly MCQ ones and the table questions seen in the past exams- even if there's a question in the past exam that didn't seem to be covered much in the current version of the subject (e.g. muscle dystrophy) I would advise you to still look over it. This subject is heavily reliant on rote-based learning, so much that we were tested on STATISTICS in the exam (e.g remembering percentages for different data)- I don't agree with these types of questions because you can almost instantaneously forget the exact percentage under stressful exam conditions. I had to guess many questions in the exam and nearly ran out of time- I am not at at all confident in my exam performance, and i'll be lucky to get a H2B for the subject.

I think many people go into this subject thinking it will be incredibly relaxed (maybe the title of the subject seems as though much of the content is intuitive? but it isn't). I wouldn't do this subject again if I could go back to first semester subject selections, and it has made me reconsider my physiology major (esp. in relation to frontiers in physiology, which goes over and expands on much of the content covered in this subject).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 09:47:20 am by El2012 »
2012-2014. BSc: Neuroscience. University of Melbourne.
2015-2018. Doctor of Optometry. University of Melbourne.

Unlikely to respond to any PMs these days.