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August 05, 2021, 03:44:24 am

Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1368693 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #480 on: July 05, 2015, 03:40:52 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST10007 Linear Algebra

Workload: 3 x 1 hour lectures + 1 x 2 hour practical (i.e. tute + MATLAB class)

Assessment: 10 weekly assignments (1% each lol how shit), THREE HOUR end of semester exam (80% lol how shit)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yep

Past exams available:  Yep. Three with with solutions uploaded to LMS. There were probably more from the library site, but I didn't bother.

Textbook Recommendation:  Elementary Linear Algebra Applications Version (H. Anton and C. Rorres), 11th edn, Wiley, 2013 - Never bought it, never touched it, never got the pdf. I have no clue what it looks like AT ALL.

Lecturer(s): Craig Hodgson (I think there was also another two lecturers… Can't remember their names)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating: 3/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I thoroughly enjoyed maths for most of the years of my existence. I spent half of my primary school life doing maths problems for the lols and I did spesh as a therapeutic de-stressor last year when English was being an A-grade A-hole (I do not kid - I was THAT person), but I can't say that I enjoyed Linear Algebra all that much. The first few weeks I found it interesting, but as was akin to the rest of my entire schooling career, every subject decided to simultaneously crank the heat up a notch. From about week 4/5 onwards the content got pretty airy fairy and abstract (while other subjects were also getting busier), and I found it hard to keep up.

I dislike things I am not good at (if that much wasn't already obvious). Not understanding things renders me snippy and irritable, but I'll give this subject a fair mark of 3 because it was interesting and doable at the start, and probably would've still been doable if I was proactive enough to seek out help. I find this subject was pretty damn well organised, and there was plenty of help provided. There are many, many consultations where you can just walk in and consult a tutor about whatever you don't get. There's even a discussion board online where you post questions and tutors/lecturers answer them for you (I didn't even find out about this until two days before my exam... DAMN). They also give you all the lecture slides like the week before you even begin the course, and print them all out and bind them. Or alternatively, if you are lazy like me, just go to the co-op and buy it for like $10.

The tutes were also pretty helpful. They came with nice worked solutions (unlike the exercise booklet, in which half the solutions stated "proof required") so I usually learnt through the tute sheets. I'm not sure what most tutors are like, but I quite liked my tutor (who was also my lecturer). He had a very calm and soothing vibe about him with the air of somebody who's genuinely here to help you.
(He also very helpfully replied to my emails within a few hours, provided I emailed at a reasonable time, which was very lovely of him and seemingly a rarity around university faculty. You go Craig Hodgson, four for you Craig Hodgson.)

The MATLAB test was pretty standard stuff. There was this one thing I couldn't get the program to solve properly, so out of sheer desperate I did the 3 (out of a full 22) mark question by hand. Hence I've decided MATLAB is useless and not a great program.

Luckily for most people (including me), the department writes pretty gentle exams, given the sort of torture they could set if they wanted to see students writhe in pain. There's plenty of ridiculously abstract topics they could write on that the course covers for about 1 lecture slide out of 300+ (like something about invariant somethings… clearly I have no clue) but they choose to go with problems that are easily doable within a three hour timeframe. Thank you Craig (and whoever the other lecturers are) for being so gentle and kind on my poor soul.

All in all this was a reasonable subject. I didn't enjoy it a great deal, and I dealt with a lot of swotvac stress ("Omg no, I forgot THIS as well?!?!") but the subject is very well organised and if it weren't for personal circumstances I still believe I would've enjoyed it more.
Just a bunch of bored smartasses who have opinions about their subjects.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #481 on: July 05, 2015, 03:53:23 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GERM10006/GERM20007/GERM30005 German 5

Workload:  1 x 1-hour lecture, 1 x 1-hour tutorial, 1 x 2-hour seminar

Assessment:  3 essays (3 x 12.5% each), Mid-sem (10%), Oral Presentation (10%), Listening test/Vocab List/Encyclopaedia Entry (5%), Exam (37.5%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  No, no past exams, no sample exams, no sample questions, no clear indication of exam structure

Textbook Recommendation: Grammar Book, never used in class, tutors expect work to be done at home. Buying it will make your life a bit easier.

Lecturer(s): Varies, different tutors take different lectures

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1, 2015

Rating:  1.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2


Ah German 5. Out of the 4 subjects that I did this semester, this was most definitely my 4th favourite.

1.   You get exposed to some great German literature and you talk about some great German authors and playwrights like Keun, Goethe, Brecht, etc. Some of the essay topics are quite interesting.
2.   Tutors are nice and friendly.
3.   Lectures are recorded, so you can skip lectures and watch them at home.
4.   Lecture slides are uploaded, so you can skip watching lectures at home.


1.   Lectures and Tutorials
The first 2 lectures contained some truly intellectually stimulating content, such as: what books you need, how not to plagiarise, hurdle requirements, a list of online dictionaries, the role of the lecture and a meme asking you why you are here at the German 5 lecture. I kid you not, there is literally a Harry Potter meme asking why you are at the German 5 lecture.
The 1st tutorial is spent on learning how not to plagiarise, how to use a dictionary, and finally, how not to plagiarise. The 2nd tutorial is a compulsory library tour in which you are shown how to search up a library catalogue and how to find a book in the library. This helps you learn how not to plagiarise.

2.   Assessments throughout semester (and some tips)
Oral presentation: You are allowed to bring in cue cards, but if you use them too much, you will be penalised heavily. Huge penalty if you read.

Mid-sem: allocation of marks is bizarre, 3 marks for one sentence. Good luck.

You aren’t allowed to ask any native speaker for help, not even to proofread. Feedback is quite vague. You will be told that you have used the wrong word. BUT YOU WILL NOT BE TOLD WHAT THE RIGHT WORD IS.
At some point in history, a genius decided that the best way for university students to learn a foreign language was to a) prohibit them from learning from native speakers and b) provide vague feedback that highlights what is wrong but never explains what is right.

3.   Grammar!
All grammar is done at home and when you struggle with grammar there will be a puzzled face looking at you telling you that you should have done grammar at home so you should know your German grammar.
Yes, because apparently doing exercises from a textbook is meant to replace face-to-face education.

4.   The exam
This is the true pinnacle of German 5.
There are 0 past papers. And 0 sample questions. Oh yeah, and it’s always at the end of the exam period, so everybody will be partying but you’ll still have an exam.
Some tips:
Lecture/Tutorial component: Memorise lots of random context, history and plots of the texts and authors you’ve studied. You’ll be asked obscure questions like, what psychological concepts did Sigmund Freud invent (yes, highly relevant to German 5)
Language seminar component: There’s no real way to prepare. You just have to know how to write some simple but grammatically correct sentences.
Grammar: learn the grammar terms for German, e.g. know how to translate “preposition” and “conjunction” and “adverbial clause” into German, and then learn how to explain (in German) when these are used in a sentence. Then there are some normal grammar exercises.

Pretty good if you want to learn lots of little tiny bits of German literature. Really bad if you want to actually get good at speaking/writing German. You will be paying money to tour the library. At the end of the course you will learn how not to plagiarise.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 04:02:52 pm by honestreviews »
Just a bunch of bored smartasses who have opinions about their subjects.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #482 on: July 07, 2015, 10:25:30 am »
Subject Code/Name: MIIM30002 Principles of Immunology

Workload:  3 x 1-hour lectures

Assessment:  2 x multiple-choice MSTs (20% each), and an exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  No, although some example questions will be discussed in the review lecture(s). There are also weekly revision quizzes (not assessed) released throughout the semester.

Textbook Recommendation: Janeway's Immunobiology. I read it. If you're interested in doing well, I don't see why you wouldn't.

Lecturer(s): Andrew Brooks (9/10), Odilia Wijburg (8/10), Sammy Bedoui (8/10), Thomas Gebhardt (7/10)

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1, 2015

Rating:  4.9/5

Your Mark/Grade: 95


I found this subject to be engaging, stimulating and overall a positive experience. As a Microbiology and Immunology major, there was no choice as to whether I took it or not; however, if I were to be given the choice, I would, undoubtedly.

The lecturers were, to varying degrees, clear and concise in the communication of complex concepts, and more than happy to answer any questions. I would advise any future students to pay particularly close attention to everything Sammy says in lectures (roughly a third of the subject). His slides are sparse, but his descriptions are not, and it is his descriptions that you will be assessed upon.

In terms of content, the first few weeks focus on Ig and TCR structure and genetics, the particulars of the innate immune response (PRRs, DC maturation and activation), and molecular immunology. This should be familiar to students who have taken the MIIM2000x subjects, and (presumably) those in Biomedicine, though of course it will be explored in greater depth. Be prepared to ratchet up a gear in the second half of semester, the subject definitely becomes more challenging, as the focus shifts to B- and T- Cell development, obscure, niche Lymphocyte variants; Immunopathology, and even a lecture on cutting-edge breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy. There is a LOT to remember by the time June runs around, but if you manage to study consistently throughout the semester, don't fall behind, and tune in to the level of detail they expect of you, there is no reason you shouldn't do well.

The assessment was fair, and most people did reasonably well. The MSTs were 40 MCQ each, with 20 q's 'simple' style, and 20 'complex.' The exam was ~30 MCQ and a choice of 5 from 6 SAQ.

From the horse's mouth:
Highest mark: 98
Average: 67
H1: 36% of class, H2A: 9%, H2B: 9%, H3: 9%, Pass: 21% and Fail: 16%
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 10:32:08 am by dorrigo »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #483 on: July 07, 2015, 12:00:38 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PATH 30001 - Mechanisms of Human Disease

Workload:  3 x 1hr lectures per week

Assessment: 2 x MSTs (20% each), Exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No.  Some sample questions were provided (for both the MSTs and end-of-semester)

Textbook Recommendation:  Robbins and Cotran is useful, but not always detailed enough in regards to particular pathologies.

Lecturer(s): Mostly Theo Mantamadiotis, a handful by Vicki Lawson, and a scattering of experts who lecture on their particular topic of interest.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating:  2/5

Your Mark/Grade: 90

Don't do this subject, it's a headache.

The lectures and content are not cohesive, and the semester will be spent jumping from one unrelated topic to another, which makes it quite difficult to immerse yourself in the subject. The first few weeks were particularly frustrating, as we spent time covering seemingly random aspects of cell biology cobbled together with some pathological principles (which in all honesty didn't make much sense half the time). The transition from general to more specific topics was welcome, and the strength of this subject (pitiful as it is), was the focus on specific diseases.

Theo is not a great communicator, which is frustrating as he presents the vast majority of the first ~15 lectures. His lack of knowledge was blatantly obvious in certain areas, which did not inspire confidence. The various experts, and Vicki, were much better - the second half of the semester was a great improvement as a result.

Assessment was... interesting. Both MSTs contained more than a few strangely worded questions. The exam contained a couple of exact repeats from the second MST, case in point of how disorganised the subject could be, followed by long-style MCQ (quite straightforward), and two long-answer questions (a choice from two lots of four).

I repeat, while I managed to do well in this subject, I would not recommend it to anyone. It was a pain.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #484 on: July 10, 2015, 02:49:19 pm »
Subject Code/Name AGRI10039: Australia in the Wine World

Workload: 4 full days of lectures and practical classes. (8:30am-8:30pm with generous breaks)

Examination - Theory (2 hours) = 40% (During teaching block)
Examination - Practical (1 hour) = 30% (During teaching block)
2 online quizzes = 15% each (one each weekend per fortnight following the teaching block)

Lectopia Enabled:  No (not really necessary)

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  'A good nose & great legs' by Robert Geddes. The edition isn't important and i would highly recommend picking up this book for the course. It can be borrowed from the university library or it was available for purchase at the start of the week for about $40 (subject to change). The book itself is actually really interesting and appears to have been written in a manner such that anyone can pick it up and learn the principles of wine.

Lecturer(s): Chris Barnes

Year & Semester of completion: July 2014

Rating:  4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (87)

Comments: It's the subject every wine-drinking uni student has clicked on and thought of doing and I thought it's about time the subject got a review.

The subject itself is broken down into 8 modules (Copy/paste):
Module 1: Introduction
This module introduces students to the role of wine in society and the historical perspectives that have led to the Australian wine industry as we see it today.

Module 2: Grape Varieties: Australia vs. The rest of the world
This module covers the major grape varieties cultivate in the world. This will include the “Classic” varieties of the Old World and lesser known but important regional cultivars .The topic of clonal variation will be discussed, especially in its relation the flavour. New trends in hybrid varieties will also be discussed.

Module 3: Viticulture and Oenology
This module will be an overview of current grape growing and wine making practices in Australia.

Module 4: Australian Wine Regions
This module will cover the major and emerging wine regions of Australia. A discussion of climatic conditions and major regional cultivars.

Module 5: Wine Regions of the World
This module will cover the major wine regions of the world. Including brief history, climatic conditions, major cultivars and wine styles. This will be broken up as follows:
•   France
•   Italy
•   New Zealand
•   Germany and Central Europe

Module 6: Wine Business and Commerce
This module will cover wine business in Australia including export and domestic markets.

Module 7: Wine in Society
This module will cover the role of wine in contemporary society. This will be in a World and Australian context and will look at recent history and trends for the future. Wine in religion, culture and politics.

Module 8: Sensory Evaluation of Wine
This module will introduce students to the sensory evaluation of wine. The use of palate mapping and threshold testing will be employed.

There's quite a bit of stuff you've got to complete before you actually begin the intensive week. The coordinators will upload a good chunk of readings to complete in the lead up to the subject. Don't fret though, cause they're very easy reading, relatively interesting and not extensively long. If you've got a family friend or relative who is a wine-nut (cmon, we all do), ask him/her to give you some pointers (tastings) of some common wine varieties. If you've even got the tiniest bit of background knowledge from either working in hospitality or over-passionate wine-o relative you'll walk into this subject with a massive advantage, but its absolutely not a requirement for doing well. I've friends who only knew the difference between Golden Oak 'Fruity Lexia' and dry white and they still did well.
TLDR; read the readings

During the Week
The week is completely undertaken in the Melbourne Uni Agricultural campus in Dookie (near Benalla/Shepparton area). Please note that you will be required to pay $400 for the weeks accommodation including 3 meals a day, tea, coffee etc. Getting to the campus is relatively straight forward. If you don't have a car or someone to drive you then the train service is your next option, and they will organize for buses to pick you up and take you to the campus which was convenient. Each day is long and given the time frame pretty intensive.

Each day's (Monday-Thursday) lectures begin at 8:30am and will usually carry through to lunch with a generous break halfway through. After lunch you usually have another quick lecture and then some "Practicals" in the afternoon. Practicals involve wine tasting and evaluations. You'll look at different varieties, wine faults, production methods and also the difference in aged wine. If you're worried about getting drunk/tipsy during these you've got the option to spit (most people do). You write practical notes as you go but they aren't assessed (however the more you write the better off you'll be as the exam will bring in things discussed). You'll then have dinner and afterwards either another practical or lecture, with the day usually finishing around 8:30pm, meaning you've got a few hours before bed to chill out and review the days content.

On the afternoon of the Thursday however, you will split into 2 groups and visit some local wineries (ours were Tahbilk and Pizzini) where you will meet the winemakers, view the machinery, taste some samples, check out some of the vines and head home.

On the Final day you will have the Practical exam (30%) and Theory Exam (40%). Ill talk about the assessment individually below.

Post Week

You'll complete the two online quizzes which open for a weekend (fri-mon) a few weeks after the teaching block. Each are worth 15%. I'll talk about the assessment individually below.

NB: Some of the structure from this point onwards does not reflect the current course - please be aware it may be different to those registering in the future.


Practical Exam (30%): For this assessment you will be given 5 unlabelled wine samples and you will be asked questions like: Variety? Characteristic flavor? and a specialty question such as: "Has the wine been fermented in Oak?"/"Food matchings?". Most people will do pretty well on this section.
Theory Exam (40%): For this is assessment, it will pretty much separate those who have done the readings/attended lectures and those who haven't. Its not time-intensive and most people finish early. There's multi-choice, short answer and a choice of 2 essay questions from a generous pool of options.
Online Quizzes (15% ea) x2 Well. I'll just say it straight up. They're repeatable and they take the most recent submission for your final grade. There is however a pool of over 100 Q's for each quiz and you'll get 10 each work 1.5 marks. As long as you're willing to put the time in and spam the test for a few hours, 30% for free served a golden platter.
This is no longer the case - the quizzes have been changed to one attempt only. I believe (don't quote me), the weighting has changed to 10 percent each, with increased weighting on the exams undertaken during the week. Just a heads up.

Final Comments

The lecturer Chris Barnes is absolutely fantastic. Been in the wine industry his entire life, very passionate and easy to listen to for the long days of lectures. Super friendly bloke too who is happy to answer questions.
Also, if you go in winter period brings warm clothes cause the conditions are freezing and the rooms they offer aren't heated very well.
Would also like to address a floating comment that this subject has the highest fail rate in the university which is absolutely not true. I heard fail rate "hovered around 2% and the H1 rate is proportionately high".

Would overall recommend the subject to anyone who:
- Wants to lighten their workload during semester,
- Enjoys wine
- Wants to/is working in hospitality during their degree
- Wants the words "wine world" on your academic transcript  8)
Don't do this subject if:
- You don't like the taste of wine
- You've got no taste buds (could prove to be problematic  ;D)
- You don't want the words "wine world" on your academic transcript  ???

More than happy to answer any questions directly via PM! :)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 10:58:42 am by Fleety »
2012: Further
2013: English, Biology, Specialist Maths, Chemistry, Methods.
ATAR: 93.50
2014-2016: Bachelor of Science @ UoM (Major: Neuroscience)
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine (MD) @ UoM


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #485 on: July 27, 2015, 11:54:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST10005 Calculus 1
Workload:  (3 x one hr lectures, 1 x practical/tutorial per week. )

Assessment:  (10 Assignments [20%], 3hr end of semester exam [80%])

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes,with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, there are quite a few available, around 4 with full solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  There is a textbook, but DO NOT buy it.

Lecturer(s): Dr Alex Ghitza, Dr John Banks, and Dr Mark Fackrell

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Sem 1

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2B


As others have mentioned, this subject is pretty much specialist maths, minus a bit. I quite enjoyed methods in VCE, albeit I am no math whiz, and only scored a mid-30. So, if you’re like me, not particularly strong in maths, and a gold medallist in silly arithmetic mistakes, exercise extreme caution when doing the assignments and the exam.

Dr Ghitza was a great lecturer, and the lectures consisted of filling in the blanks in the lecture notes bought from Co-op. They were mostly worked examples, which I found really helpful, although some may find the format tedious and dry. The topics are covered fairly quickly, and revision before the tutes is definitely recommended, especially if you don’t really process the content in lectures while you’re copying. 

The assignments are straightforward, with a few tricky questions here and there, but since it’s a take-home, you can seek help if you need to.

The exam, it isn’t easy, and it’s fairly long and requires precision.The questions they ask are all within the realms of whats taught in the lectures of course, but under pressure, simple becomes complex. There are some tricky questions that can really do your head in. For those who are maths inclined it would probably be fairly doable. For those who aren’t, like me, be prepared to work hard in this subject to succeed. Working under timed conditions was my biggest enemy, so practice, practice, practice! Don’t leave the exam revision till the last few days, learn to balance your time between the different subjects, and don’t spend it all on one harder subject like I did. This resulted in panic and mind blanks during the exam.

Overall, the subject was well run, and the content enjoyable to learn. This subject is no walk in the park, but if you work hard, and organise your time properly, there is no reason you wouldn’t excel!  :)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 12:00:53 am by TrebleClef »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #486 on: July 28, 2015, 01:13:52 pm »
This isn't a review but I've just noticed that the directory in the opening post hasn't been updated since February... perhaps if one of the moderators has time this could be done?

(Feel free to delete my post)
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #487 on: August 05, 2015, 03:53:23 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN90043 Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering

Workload: 1x two-hour lecture and 1x two-hour tutorial per week

Participation (6%)
Case Study Reports (6%)
Group Presentation (10%)
Group Report (20%)
MST (18%)
2 hour exam (40%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available: Nope (chuck testa)

Textbook Recommendation: None required

Predominately guest lectures (yes it's one of those subjects), but multiple lectures were given by:
  • Meenakshi Arora (this year's subject coordinator (though she won't be next year apparently)
  • Hector Malano

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating: 3.25/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

TL;DR: It's a bit of a chore at times, and the assessment/admin could be handled better, but this is an okay subject with high-grade guest lecturers

This subject is a lot different to the other first semester Master of Eng subjects. It’s primarily focused on written and verbal communication, as well as a good dose of critical thinking and engagement with real-world engineering infrastructure projects. As such, it’s a subject that some students (particularly international students as the subject demands high-quality written English to do well) struggle with and detest.

As the name of the subject isn’t particularly cryptic, you can probably tell what its about. “Sustainability” is the core theme that runs through the entirety of the course, and this is looked at with reference to (primarily) large-scale infrastructure projects.

So as I mentioned, the majority of the lectures in this subject are taken by guest lecturers. You have Hector and Meenakshi that cover some of the core content of the subject that you’ll be expected to integrate into your case studies, assignments and exam answers. Then you’ll have a whole host of other folks from both academia and industry that speak about subjects ranging from cost-benefit analysis to governance to spatial data infrastructure to water resources and so on. While the majority of these lectures are well presented, the content is a bit dry and kind of obvious at times, and not all of it is going to be relevant to your assessment, so it can be pretty easy to doze off.

Despite only having one large assignment that carries on from ~week 2 to week 12, this subject has a litany of smaller assessment that’ll keep you fairly busy throughout the semester.

Perhaps the most prominent is the 6 case studies, where you’re given a week to go through a set of “case materials” (new articles, engineering reports and documents etc.) on an infrastructure project and address a few questions. While this seems fine in principle, the way that the case studies were handled made them more of a hassle than they needed to be. You were restricted to writing only one single-sided page as your answer to generally between 5-7 questions, which basically means no more than 100 words per question unless you intend on providing a magnifying glass to read the size 3 font. As you can tell by the length of my reviews, I tend to be pretty (and unapologetically) verbose, so I initially had some trouble fitting in an answer I was happy with within the one page limit.

But, after about the third case study, we were told that we were to answer it as just one flowing piece of writing – a mini essay essentially – rather than just address the questions. This actually made it a bit easier for me, but it would’ve been nice to get a heads up a bit earlier as this is apparently what they expected from the start.

Each of the case studies probably took ~2-3 hours to get your head around the materials and write a response, and many students (including me) complained that they were only worth 1% each, especially when the MST only went for 30 minutes and was worth 18%. (I’d expect that they’ll change this next year.) And for something worth 1% each, they were also marked pretty precisely (I won’t say harshly, as I think I’m a bit of a harsh marker myself); spelling, grammar, sentence construction and presentation are considered just as important as what you actually write.

Speaking of the MST, it was also a bit of a drag. Some of the questions asked were oddly specific, the sort of thing that was posted on a single lecture slide that was on screen for no more than a minute in passing. But the majority of questions were quite common sensical.

The other two pieces of assessment are the group presentation and group project. Here, you’re allocated into groups of 4-5 people within your tute group and given an infrastructure project (generally in Australia and relatively recent or ongoing) and asked to assess its sustainability, primarily using the “models” presented in the lectures. This is another thing that I wasn’t all that thrilled with in regards to the assessment: it seems that taking the obvious and somewhat banal approach of just running through the models is what gets you the marks. A lot of uni assessment is like this – where you just have to “play the game” – but I never think that such derivative analysis is all that useful or engaging.

(Note: there is a subject specific website that covers the majority of the models here)

Anyway, I had a solid group and we ended up doing pretty well for the final report (though not amazing for the presentation), but the mentality of this subject is kind of weird in that it tries to recreate this sort of stereotypically “professional” setting. When you give the group presentation, you’ll be expected to wear “business attire,” and initially, if you wanted to say something in the group discussions in the tutes, you’d be expected to stand up, as if it was the house of reps (this was eventually abandoned after they realised that it just stultifies the actual ability to have a conversation).

Tutes (and Tutors)
One of the tutors that some students who have done a subject in the from the geomatics department will be familiar with is Victoria Petrevski. She’s somewhat divisive as a tutor, but she’s ultimately really good at leading a tutorial and illustrating her (high) expectations for students. Her marking can be a bit nitpicky at times.

But unfortunately, her promise-keeping record rivals Tony Abbott, as on several occasions the prescribed timelines for marking and feedback were not kept. However, when the subject has only two tutors for a cohort of over 300 students, this is quite understandable. And though not much feedback is provided, it's probably more than most eng subjects.

David Wilson is the other tutor and is, by all reports, pretty good too, though an easier marker than Victoria.

This year’s exam was a little bit of a departure from previous years, with multiple choice questions and one extended response as opposed to simply having four medium length written response answers.

As such, this year's exam almost took as long to read as it did to answer. There were about 8-10 full pages of “case materials” to read, some for the multiple choice and some for the long-answer question.

Some of the multiple choice questions were a bit wishy-washy, and half of them were worth a full 3 marks out of 90, quite significant for a multiple choice that seemingly has a couple of potential answers.

The long answer question was quite straight forward, essentially the same process as you’d done with the 6 case studies throughout the semester, this one on the potential to constructive a massive facility to store nuclear waste in rural Australia. Again, you’re being marked on both what you say and the professionalism with which you say it (and many students detest it for this reason): this isn’t an exam where you can get away with dot points.

This isn’t going to be a subject that you’re going to put a ridiculous amount of effort into, but, as a bit of departure from the more quantitative subjects I did this semester, I didn’t mind the more discursive and qualitative approach that SIE offers. I might be the exception to the rule for engineers, but I love to write, so the critical assessment of written and verbal language in this subject didn’t phase me like it might to some others (particularly students where English is a second language). If this sounds like you, don’t be afraid to have a few consultations with the academic skills unit at the uni; they can really help you to improve you’re writing to a “masters level.”

(Man that was a long and boring review)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 11:18:23 pm by chysim »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #488 on: August 17, 2015, 08:52:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENGR30002 Fluid Mechanics

Workload:  3x1 hour lectures. 1x1 tutorial. 1x2 hour prac (one per semester)

Assessment:  Assignment on Bernoulli equation and friction 10%, Prac report 10%, Exam 80%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture, see below for issues with this.

Past exams available:  Yes, Library and on LMS, no solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  None

Lecturer(s): Rackel San Nicholas

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 2 Out of 5

Comments: Right where to start... A bit of this review will reference a previous review that was posted for 2014 semester 1 as it has a vastly differing opinion of the subject. I would encourage you to read that as well as mine. A lot of the criticism is based on the lecturer, which I believe has changed many times, so your situation may differ, however this is 'my' experience with the subject.

So this subject is HEAVILY theory based, there is a truck load of content to learn over the course of the semester and a lot of difficult concepts to grasp. Some will find it easy others will find it impossible, however most of us struggled with it mainly due to the lectures. Rackel, who you may remember from Engineering Materials, has a very strong French accent and can at times struggle to make sense. English is most definitely her second language, as she herself admitted multiple times. This makes it hard for students to grasp the difficult concepts, especially due to the immense volume of content meaning it had to be explained at a rapid pace. This isn't a good recipe for doing well, which was made all the more worse in that she seemed unable to find a way to work through examples in the lectures. She started off using the doc camera, which was alright except that she would immediately pull the sheet away upon completion not giving anyone a chance to finish copying it down. This also lead to a problem with lecture recordings where she would leave the screen recording the blank document camera and not the powerpoint slides for long sections, although this could be fixed by simply having the slides with you and following the audio. However this changed at about week 3 where she started using the whiteboard which did mean that you could always see the slides on the recording, yet unless you were at the lecture sitting in the front 3 rows you wouldn't be able to see what was on it. This made lectures very hard to follow, and I didn't really get a lot out of them at all. So that was one of the main issues with the subject I had however, again this will most likely not be the case if you study it in the future.

My predominant issue though is with the subject structure. Firstly we were given virtually no opportunity to use the mountains of theory in real life engineering situations, something which I was most disappointed with as it is what I enjoy most about studying engineering, and what I believe we are supposed to be getting out of this course. The only opportunity was in the first and only assignment in which we were given a pretty dull example about a buildings plumbing system. You also spent more time trying to get the right values from the questions due to the poor diagrams than actually solving them. Even the prac was mostly just a setup rig used to sketch graphs that simply proved the theories. Also to add to that the assignment and prac report were worth a grand total of 20% of the final mark. Not only that but they only covered about 20% of the content in the subject meaning the other 80% we never got the chance to apply until the exam, where naturally they were just the same sort of questions in the lectures and tutes with no context or application to real life. Speaking of the exam, you would think given the amount of content there was to learn that a formula sheet would be necessary, especially since pretty much every other eng subject gives you one. NOPE. This of course meant learning every formula, of which there was at least 15, off by heart. Sure some of the equations were given in the questions however there was no way of knowing what to memorise and what to expect to be given. You essentially have to gamble, based on previous exams what equations you'd think you would have to memorize, as some years had some equations given and others didn't. Furthermore 80% is way too much imo, for an exam to be worth, and given there was no motivation to learn the content that wasn't required for assignments, lead to massive cramming and stress levels through the roof. Ideally we should have had 2 or 3 more assignments with some interesting engineering applications that addressed the other parts of the subject.

Finally, tutorials were probably the saving grace of this subject, I went to a few different tutors and found them all way better at explaining the concepts than the lectures. Plus the ability to take down notes for examples was very much needed. I found I learnt most of the subject from the tutes, it was a shame they only went for an hour and couldn't cover more questions. They all follow the basic engineering tutorial format, review the previous weeks material for the first 10 minutes, then work your way through the questions provided, with solutions given at the start of the week after. The only criticism with this was that the solutions were hand written in really bad handwriting, making it hard to understand what values they were using and the logic for answering the question, although if you went to the tute and copied down your own solutions this wasn't an issue.

Conclusions and advice, lectures are an annoying slog, the lack of engineering applications is disappointing, the subject structure is unreasonable, the exam is unfair,the tutorials are a good way to make sure you don't fail. Try to get to learn the concepts as early as possible and keep reviewing them if you can to keep them in your memory in order to avoid the massive exam cramming sessions. Use the discussion forums to ask questions about lecture content as it make much more sense when it is typed down. Good luck if you will be studying it in the future ;)

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #489 on: August 21, 2015, 08:47:47 pm »
Subject Code/Name: Elen30013
Electronic Systems Implementation

Workload: 2 lectures a week, one 3 hour lab 
Assessment: exam 60%, log book 30%, group oral presentation 10% 

Lectopia Enabled: NO 

Past exams available: Yes, 5 i think. 

Textbook Recommendation: All the textbook recommendations seem all over the place 

Lecturer(s): Peter Farrell

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 sem 2

Rating:  -1/5

Your Mark/Grade: N/A

Comments: I recommend anyone still doing undergrad, since it is not a core to get into masters, DO NOT DO THIS SUBJECT! You will basically be going through it blindly. Lectures are useless. The lecturer just babbles on and on. There are no workshop guidelines, no steps unlike other electrical subjects. The demonstrator basically just goes "blablabla" in the first 2 minutes of the lab and that's it and you don't even know what you're trying to find out or how to do it. If you ask a question, they will be really grumpy about it and explain it incoherently. I recall Peter talking about how people tested the accuracy of the oscillope for 15 minutes straight. I fell asleep inside. I am dropping this subject even though i will be considered part time and won't get any Centrelink money. That says a lot. This is worse than digital systems, worse then any subject i've ever had. There are no practice questions to work on, nothing to really prepare you for the labs or anything like that. There really isn't any content. It's like cooking something without a recipe. I wasn't going to post anything, but i think we should have more reviews for subjects like these.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 04:46:48 pm by Inside Out »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #490 on: September 26, 2015, 04:46:30 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20026 Real Analysis

Workload:  3x1 hour lectures per week, 1x1 hour tutorial per week.

Assessment:  6 Assignments worth a combined 20% of the grade, 80% exam.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes lectures are recorded and anything written by the lecturer is captured by the document camera. I never used it however.

Past exams available:  Yes several recent exams, as well as older exams for past similar subjects. Worked solutions for a few exams.

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook required, the notes are comprehensive.

Lecturer(s): Dr. Deborah King

Year & Semester of completion:  2015 Semester 1

Rating:  5/5 For thought-provoking and well run subject.

Your Mark/Grade: H2A

Comments: This was for sure my favorite subject I've done so far at uni. Real Analysis is an introduction to a more rigorous 'proper' style of mathematics, and is a completely different experience to calculus or linear algebra. The class starts off very gradually, you learn the rules of predicate logic and proof and apply them to very simply examples in set theory and arithmetic. It's very important you understand exactly what all of this means, because the second half of the semester will very quickly go through applications of these techniques. Seriously if you're lost in the first 3 weeks you're gonna suffer later on.

The class is all about proof and logic, very little computational maths involved. The most rigorous math subject I've done, every other subject brushes over the details of some proofs a little.

Dr. Deb was excellent. She communicates the ideas very well, has a great speaking voice, 10/10 lecturer.

However I think this is a subject that's not for everyone. Attention to detail is vital and the entire course is linked together in such a way that it's hard to get back on track if you get lost. Some classmates were frustrated at how silly and simple some of the details were.

Tutorial were a lot of fun, with thought provoking questions, and again, essentially no computational maths. They differ from first year in that students in Real Analysis tent to want be there. My tutor also had interesting insight into postgraduate maths, and opened every tutorial with open discussion about basically anything in maths.

Assignments were easy, the 6th one was an amusing essay which surprised a few people including me.

Exam had some difficult questions, but also some questions that are just free marks (truth tables!).

Subject is not for everyone, but it's exceptionally well presented.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #491 on: October 28, 2015, 01:30:26 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN90024 High Rise Structures

Workload: I actually can’t remember, but there’s 36 hours of lectures all up plus a few computer lab sessions

Finite Element Assignment (4%)
Project Part A: Floor Systems (6%)
Project Part B: Lateral Load Resisting Systems (5%)
Project Part C: Wind and Earthquake Loading (5%)
Project Part D: Space Gass Modelling (10%)
3 hour exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available: Yes

Textbook Recommendation: None required

Mainly Priyan Mendis, but also Tuan Ngo, Massoud Sofi and a couple of guests

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2A

TL;DR: High Rise broke my heart.

It was only after I got my mark and viewed my exam for this subject that a firm attitude of ambivalence towards High Rise set in. I guess that’s why it’s taken me 4 months to write a review – I still really don’t know what I think about it.

Overall, it might be the most interesting subject I’ve done from the engineering faculty at the UoM. But this is probably more due to my personal biases than anything else – high rise building design is a field I’d love to end up working in.

So why the mixed feelings? Well, it’s the subject that broke my H1 streak, and it did so when I expected it to be my best subject of the semester. It actually ended up being the worst I’ve done on an exam since undergrad maths. I feel like a whiney and juvenile twat writing that but there you go.

I think in most other cases I wouldn’t harbour any sort of grudge for a subject that I got a H2A in. That’s obviously a more than respectable mark and one that I’d generally be happy with. But I had a chance to review my exam paper for this one, and found a few points where I really didn’t understand why I had lost marks. And after submitting a few questions to the subject coordinator about this, I never got a response. Hence disgruntlement.

But I’ll try to keep the rest of the review as if I had written it before I had got my result or seen my exam. Overall it’s going to be pretty positive.

I can never tell if Priyan Mendis is a good lecturer or not. He’s a good guy, for sure. And he’s got a whole bunch of experience and a whole bunch of valuable insight within the field of high rise buildings. But he often seems ill prepared to actually give a lecture. He’s the sort of guy that will post the entire semester’s lecture slides before week 1, and sometimes I don’t think he’s looked at them again since the last time he gave that lecture. This results in a whole bunch of jumping around slides, chopping and changing, and it makes his lectures quite stilted and stultifying.

Luckily, he also posts written notes for each topic of the subject, which generally go into a solid amount of depth yet remain concise and cogent. Using these is by far the best way to learn the content of the course, and it makes the lectures somewhat superfluous at times.

I should probably mention some of the topics that are covered while I’m at it. High rise buildings encapsulate just about the entire field of structural engineering, so there’s obviously a pretty large pool from which to fish out the content for this subject. Some of the more important things you’ll learn is stuff like how tall buildings resist lateral loads (i.e. wind and earthquake loads). You’ll also learn how to calculate those lateral loads in accordance with Australian standards, and you’ll learn about calculating design/gravity loads on high rises and how they are resisted. These are areas full of innovation and constant development, so it can be pretty interesting. You’ll also learn some stuff about facades, frames, foundations, and fires (and other things that start with f), and get an introduction to finite element analysis (with the program Strand7), which unfortunately isn’t particularly well taught.

The first assignment is essentially a finite element modelling exercise. This will be a breeze for anyone with some background in Strand7 or similar programs, but if you’re completely new to this area it can be a little confusing. The interpretation of results is probably the most difficult part.

But the remaining assessment is booked as one continual project (with splayed due dates) that has you come up with a conceptual design of a high rise building. This project is split into four parts: the first sees you design a floor system (i.e. beams, slabs and columns) for a high rise and calculate the gravity loading; the second exercise has you calculate the lateral load resisting capacity of a given LLRSS configuration; the third has you calculate wind and earthquake loading based on AS1170.2 and AS1170.4; and the final involves modelling this LLRSS in ol’ mate Space Gass and monitoring the lateral deflection of your building under the aforementioned wind loading.

This project is probably the best part of the subject. Each of the components is done individually, so your building is kind of your baby. Unfortunately, the design configuration is quite constrained and you aren’t given much creative freedom, but its a good project nonetheless and by the end of it you’ll really feel like you’ve achieved something. Oh and most people I know got good marks for that assignment, so that’s another bonus.

While I don’t believe it is a hurdle, the exam for High Rise is worth 70% of your final mark. It’s a 3 hour exam, and while it’s not stupidly long like this year’s Structural Theory and Design 2 one was (which I believe was written by Leonard Cohen), there’s still quite a lot to get through.

Luckily, it’s also an exam that is quite easy to study for. The notes that I mentioned earlier have most of the answers within them somewhere, the calculation based questions aren’t that hard, and your pretty much told which topics are going to be on there and how many marks they are allocated prior to the exam.

But like I said in the outset, this was the worst I’ve done on an exam for quite a while, and though I think I was the victim of some harsh marking, I still don’t fully know why I struggled with it. But, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes.

I think I’ve gone through this entire review without mentioning that this subject is an elective, an optional subject for Civil and Structural majors. So overall, I think it’s a subject that I’d recommend for Structural majors, whether they are interested in tall building design or not. It’s a subject that pulls a lot of the facets of structural design together, and through the main assignment it puts them into a practical context. But the subject could be improved with better quality teaching and a more open line of communication between staff and students.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 01:38:33 pm by chysim »
UoM | Bachelor of Environments (Civil Systems): 2012-2014 | Master of Engineering (Civil): 2015-2016 |

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #492 on: October 29, 2015, 11:20:46 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MIIM30015: Techniques in Immunology 

Workload:  2 classes per week (either lecture, or debrief) and 9 pracs over semester.

Assessment:  Two written reports (1300 words) worth 12.5% each. Two 5-minute orals + question time worth 12.5% each. 2 hr end-of-semester written exam worth 50%. You need to have a satisfatory lab notebook in order to sit the exam.

Lectopia Enabled:  Lectures are recorded, some of the debriefs that were held in the Doherty auditorium were as well.

Past exams available:  Nope, but on one of the exam preparation lectures Odilia gives you maybe 3-4 sample questions.

Textbook Recommendation:  All you need are the lab manuals and slides from the LMS.

Dr. Odilia Wijburg (Flow Cytometry, Subject assessment)
Dr. Annabell Bachem (Innate Stimulation of Dendritic Cells)
Dr. Daniel Pellicci (Antigen Recognition by T-cells)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2015

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (83)

Comments: I always thought that practical subjects would be the bane of me but this was actually really enjoyable. The staff are incredibly supportive - kudos to Odilia and all of our fantastic demonstrators! Especially simpak for being super cool and chill too!

This subject is mandatory if you are doing an Immuno major (or if you do Micro/Immuno and don't do Techniques in Microbiology). There is almost no new theory in this subject. All the theoretical things you should have been taught in Principles of Immunology during semester 1. All the practicals you do get you to investigate what you learnt (usually just confirming known facts), so the background knowledge is pretty straightforward. You don't need to spend much time memorising details - just know the principles of all of your practicals, know how to interpret your results and relate them to the theory, and it seems like you should be set.

OK, so because this is a practical subject, you spend way less time actually sitting through lectures than you normally would. Lectures are only there to introduce you to the background info you need for each module/unit in the subject, otherwise they are to explain how you should write our oral and written reports. So sit back and chill. You'll usually have around 1 lecture per week. The class after your prac is usually when the demonstrators give you a debrief of the results. Use them to clear up anything you didn't understand dring the practical. They will also tell you what could've gone wrong in the prac and go through other questions in your lab manual too.

Depending on which group you're in, you'll have your own timetable for this subject. Different groups will be doing different pracs and therefore having different classes so be organised. Before each assessment, you also get to consultation session with your demonstrators just to iron out any last-minute questions you have regarding the prac you need to work on.

So, this subject is divided into 3 units. The theme of Unit 1 is the structure and function of the immune system. For prac 1A, you learn about flow cytometry (FACS) for the first time and use it to analyse T-cell development. In 1B, you use immunohistochemistry to stain for B and T-cells in the thymus and spleen. Finally, for 1C you are given a particular case study (all of them involve adoptive T-cell transfer) and you have to analyse it using FACS.

Then your first assessment pops up! You get assigned to do an oral presentation on one of the case studies, or the immunohistochemistry prac. You have a week to prepare your assigned prac with a partner. One of you will do the results/discussion, while the other will do intro/aims/methods and materials. Each person talks for 5 mins, and then afterwards your demonstrators will ask both of you questions. Sometimes the questions can be hard, left-of-field and brutal, but remember that the main point is to get you to talk and think out loud, so as long as you have something to say (even if it might be wrong) just blurt it out. I think the average for the orals was 10.5/12.5 so it is not bad anyway! Odilia has a whole lecture where she explains what you should include in your presentation so remember to check that out. Also, you are marked on your own individual performance. After receiving your oral marks you can get individual feedback if you ask for it.

In Unit 2, you look at innate stimulation of DCs using ELISA, FACS and qPCR. You'll be examining the expression of cytokines and surface markers. After going through the pracs, you get assigned to write a 1300-word report on one of them, with intro, aims, results and discussion. Ideally, you want to use your own data or figures, but if your data is totally screwed you can always use the demonstrator's results and figures. Again, Odilia presents a whole lecture on how long each section of your report should be and what you should include. You don't get your written reports back until like your very last class though, but your work is marked by two demonstrators who all give handwritten feedback on your hard-copy. For one of your prac sessions you also spend the entire time presenting different parts of a journal article about CCR7 expression and you have to explain the figures and experiments in the paper (dw you are not assessed on your presentation, but the journal club content is apparently assessed on the exam).

For Unit 3, you look at antigen recognition by T-cells using FACS and PCR again. You'll be using tetramer staining to look at TCR-peptide interactions, as well as TCR VB bias. For one of the pracs you have to go to a computer centre to determine what TRBV, TRBJ and CDR3 characteristics are being used in your antigen-specific population. You then have an oral and written report on two of these pracs, and the same things apply! Make sure you get feedback from your first round and use it to improve on your second round of assessment.

With the lab notebook, it's a hurdle requirement. It is pretty much a log of each prac you do - you should write up the intro, aims and methods/materials before each prac ALWAYS, and then just record notes and your observations into our book during the prac or when you get home. You need to also paste in any graph or image you generate on the computer, and then you need to at least write a brief conclusion on whether your aims were achieved and what could've gone wrong. It isn't hard, albeit maybe a little tedious and annoying but it is a good habit to practise! At around Week 6 they will check your lab notebook just to see if you're using it correctly - if you get a smile then you pass and if it's a frown its unsatisfactory, you gotta improve your game by the end of semester (because they will check it again to see if you've improved - nobody failed the second time round though). Your lab manual will tell you what you should write in it.

The exam is composed of 4 SA questions that will test your understanding of each prac you do - the principles of the techniques, what you actually did in the prac, interpreting your results etc. The exam is not a walk in the park though. It is quite long and a little hard I guess. You need to actually apply your knowledge, design your own experiments, make figures, describe and interpret the results of data they give you...And you also need to know specific experiments on the journal club. But don't fret - the average for the exam (going by 2014 data) was 51/70, with 40% of students achieving H1. Again, this isn't really too difficult of a subject - you already know all the theory, you are just learning how to confirm them using technology people often use in the lab.

What is really neat about this subject is that all the pracs tie in together really well. The background knowledge you need is pretty much all just revision. You can really see how different experimental designs complement each other in each module, how one technique can compensate for the shortcomings of another, and it gives you a much deeper appreciation of how science actually works. And the pracs are fun as hell as well! Sure, sometimes there is lots of waiting but in the meantime the demonstrators will go through questions in your lab manual or you can spend time filling out your lab notebook. Definitely a positive experience for anybody who likes wet lab-work! And you get to meet some awesome PhD students as well!

TL;DR - You have to do this subject for immuno but everything you learn is RELEVANT to what you've studied before, so it is actually pretty chill. Have heaps of fun, if you enjoyed the MIIM20002 pracs then you will like the third year Micro/Immuno ones!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 11:38:40 am by Shenz0r »
2012 ATAR: 99.20
2013-2015: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Microbiology/Immunology: Infections and Immunity) at The University of Melbourne
2016-2019: Doctor of Medicine (MD4) at The University of Melbourne


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #493 on: November 06, 2015, 11:49:23 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOM30001: Frontiers in Biomedicine 

Workload:  3x lectures per week. 4x tutorials per semester (otherwise spent as self-directed group revision). 1x 4hr practical per semester.

Literature Searching and Bioinformatics Assignment (7.5%)
In-tute debate (5%)
Pre-practical quiz (3%)
Online MST quiz (10%)
Graphical Analysis Assignment (10%)
Peer Marking (2.5%)
Respiratory Assignment (12%)
End of semester LAQ exam (50%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Past exams released from 2010-2013.

Textbook Recommendation:  They sell a Frontiers in Biomedicine synopsis at Co-op which you won't use for anything else apart from your respiratory practical. Mainly has outlines of each lecture, otherwise pretty useless.

Lecturer(s): Too many that I cannot be bothered listing all of them (let's just say: A LOT)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2015

Rating: 2 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (89)

Comments: As many of you know, I hated this subject the whole semester. I am pretty sure 95% of the biomed cohort would agree with me. I think someone said this before, but if you can survive this subject then you damn well have earnt your degree already, because you will be very frustrated, lost and you will give up even learning some parts of the course entirely.

OK, so this subject is very different from M2M. In this subject, you're meant to get a tour of new, exciting, cutting-edge fields of biomedicine. Personally, I don't think the fields seemed very cutting-edge to me, apart from stem cells and tissue engineering. You learn about metabolic syndrome (which is probably the best taught and takes up 1/3 of the course), stem cells/tissue engineering, lung diseases, neuropathic pain and drug dependence. In addition you get some random lectures thrown in completely out of nowhere (because it seems as if they don't know where to fit them) - these include lectures on vaccination, sleep, metabolomics, microbiota and, pharmaeconomics. If you're willing to take the risk because you're too frustrated to learn, you can skip some of these random lectures entirely and pray you won't need to answer it on the exam.

Consistently, throughout the semester, we felt that the lectures were very disjointed and just haphazardly organised. Frequently, each lecture is presented by someone new, which comes with a lot of problems. A lot of the time, it was not clear what the aim of the lecture was, we did not know what we were supposed to actually learn from the lecture, and sometimes different lecturers would present inconsistent information. It felt as if the lecturers didn't communicate between themselves too. There was no linear, cohesive narrative like there was in M2M - the order of the lectures was pretty much just spaghetti.

In the lectures, be prepared for lecturers to throw in random tidbits of information without really elaborating on them, you are just expected to understand. Never heard of short hairpin RNAs? Well, I'm just going to throw it in there and hope you understand how they can be used therapeutically. This trend was such a big annoyance in the pain lectures, where you would be told vague details about random parts of the brain, which came across as completely gibberish to non-neuro students.  I guess whether you enjoy a particular lecture or not depends on your field of study - for tissue engineering, you need to think like an engineer and consider stress, strain, also the profiles of the materials you use, or if you're more economically inclined, you might enjoy learning pharmaeconomics (I still have no idea what that lecture was about and gave up learning it after skimming through the first time). But for me, and a large part of the cohort, a lot of the lectures weren't interesting.

When you're studying, you're not expected to intensely rote-learn a huge amount of detail like you do in M2M. In Frontiers, you zoom out from the science and cover social, political, and epidemiological factors as well. It is pretty macro. It's not that bad but it is hard to know what you need to actually remember, and you'll find yourself asking yourself hmm that looks irrelevant but should I bother learning it anyway? You will get a good idea of what you sorta need to take out from each lecture when you get to practise exams though.

OK, onto assignments! These have hardly anything to do with your actual lectures, adding to the frustation. You are going to hear the words “graduate attributes” numerous times until it is drilled into your head. I think it is important to learn how to find resources by yourself and to learn how to peer-assess etc. But it would have been really nice if the content of the assignments were actually relevant to our lectures. Also, you do not get useful feedback for each assignment. Almost everybody in my tute got the same “well done!” on a criteria sheet that was handed back to us - no other comments, even though some of us certainly did not do very well. You will be constantly yoloing your assignments without knowing which areas you can improve on.

In the first bioinformatics assignment, you have to use PubMed and other resources to learn about FLPD and its genetic basis. You practise writing in scientific language, and you also practise writing to a layman. You then have a debate in one of your tutes where you have to present arguments for and against the creation of an Australian Biobank, 6 mins per side.

You also have a practical on the effects of Atenolol on the cardiorespiratory system. The pre-practical requires you to watch a recorded lecture on BP, and you need to actually read your prac book. In the prac, you get someone on a bike, record parameters like HR, BP and FEV1.0, then drug them and observe the effects. It is pretty boring. Then, after everyone in the cohort has had an opportunity to do the practical, you have to do a graphical assignment where you describe and interpret the results. This graphical assignment is actually marked by your peers, and your final mark you get will be the average of each marker. You get a free 2.5% for doing the marking. The median is quite high, 85% for the graphical assignment, but again you are not given constructive feedback. You will not know why someone has given you 1/10 for a perfectly fine answer, but deal with it. Finally, you also have a respiratory assignment where you have to compare the results of the cohort with that obtained from the UK biobank. Sometimes the wording of this assignment is ambiguious, sometimes you cannot really compare the data and have to do your own magical shenanigans to try make it comparable. You also have to write how uPAR is involved in respiratory disease, so PubMed is needed again.

The online MST at around week 7 or so is quite easy, you should get 100% as long as you have your lecture slides open. You have a few days to do it, it is NOT timed, and you can backtrack on your answers.

Your tutes aren't always particularly helpful. They never deal with lecture content, they are always about introducing you to the next assignments. When there is a tute, you should go, because the tutor may drop some hints about how you should format your paper, write figure legends, etc. When you don't have a tutorial (which is for most of the semester), self-directed revision questions are uploaded on the LMS. But because there was no tutor, literally nobody would go.

Finally, the exam. It is all full of LAQs, but it is good as some of the questions tend to get recycled from previous years and you can predict what topics are most likely to pop up. Metabolic syndrome, the practical, smoking/COPD, pain and stem cells will definitely appear, so definitely do not neglect these lectures. For others, just gamble. I gave up learning the drug dependency and metabolomics lectures (it appeared my exam but luckily I was able to leave them). You have to answer 6 out of 9 questions - some questions you are forced to do, for others you can pick. The questions are quite open-ended sometimes and I felt they were a little bit ambiguous, so I just spewed random word vomit and just hoped for the best, I'm not exactly sure what they kinda wanted for some questions. And we also got a question on pain affect/motivation despite having never heard about it before - yup, totally expected from something like Frontiers. Aim to write around a page and a half for each 10 mark question. Study for the exam by going throug the past exam questions and answering the relevant ones (helps to create a google doc so you can discuss answers with other people)

In my opinion, this is probably the worst core subject in biomed. I love biomedicine, but there were so many minor and major annoyances in this subject that just built up into a frothing mess of frustration. The disorganised lectures, the non-existent constructive feedback, not knowing what you were meant to know - there are so many complaints that the students have consistently voiced to the coordinators, but nothing has changed. Here's hoping that something does, or that the whole subject is replaced by M2M 2.0 or something. It feels as if they are trying to squeeze as many random areas in biomedicine into one subject as they can, but it doesn't feel as if lectures complement each other.

This subject is going to make you apathetic, it is going to desensitise you to how bad biomed can be. You are going to feel as dull as this:

TL;DR This subject is terrible and you have no choice but to endure it.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2015, 03:31:17 pm by Shenz0r »
2012 ATAR: 99.20
2013-2015: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Microbiology/Immunology: Infections and Immunity) at The University of Melbourne
2016-2019: Doctor of Medicine (MD4) at The University of Melbourne


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #494 on: November 06, 2015, 12:07:44 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms 

Workload:  Weekly, 3x 1 hour lectures, 1x 1 hour tutorial, 1x 2 hour practical (fortnightly)

Assessment:  Mid-semester test (5%), Short Assignment (5%), Independent Learning Tasks (5%), Practical Assessments (25%), End of semester examination (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes. But only 1 examination is provided.

Textbook Recommendation:  The prescribed text is Biology: AN Australian Focus. I personally never used this and found it to be a complete waste of money. All the content covered in lecture notes will suffice.

Lecturer(s): Alex Johnson, Andrew Drinnan, Geoffrey Shaw, Stephen Frankenberg, Mark Elgar

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 1

Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (89)

Overall, I found BIOL10004 to be extremely enjoyable, and probably my favourite subject completed in first year of my undergraduate degree. I believe the content was extremely engaging, and the material covered was an extension to VCE Biology, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Alex Johnson - he was great! For many, it was their first semester of university and he made it quite easy for us to follow how the procedure worked. He introduces the basics of Biology, including the universal themes of Biology, biomolecules, cells and movement across the membrane, etc.

Andrew Drinnan - get ready for pictures of weed in every one of his lectures. He introduces Botany, and his endeavour at university is to appeal to youth, thinking we all will love him and relate to him if we see pictures of weed. He also tries really hard to be funny, and it's almost a hit and miss (sorry Drinnan). He covers photosynthesis, cellular respiration, vascular system of plants, plant hormones - basically anything Botany related.

Geoff Shaw - my FAVOURITE lecturer of all time. He is literally this old man who wears shorts in the middle of winter, and he is so quirky it's the best! He introduces Zoology, focussing on sections like negative vs. positive feedback mechanisms, sexual reproduction, and other organ systems like the circulatory system. He is so quirky that he'll stand and tell you: 'MY testicles are currently producing testosterone. Woohoo!'. He is the best!

Stephen Frankenberg - he tried the Geoff line about testicles and it was just creepy. But overall he did a good job in communicating the material. He introduces a lot about the development of animals - READ the book for this bit on development. He uses a lot of images in his lecture series for this particular topic and not many words, so it's important to get your hands on some writing.

Mark Elgar - monotonous, mean and miserable. The power of 3. His lecture series is about animal behaviour. He also spends a lot of time informing us how he takes pride in only 40% of his students passing his third year subject. Learn the different case studies of animal behaviour he provides. These are assessed.

Michelle is the best tutor in Biology. She is honestly full of information that is useful, and helps clarify SO many things amongst us students. She is also really helpful when it comes to practicals, and giving hints on what to do in the prac to ensure higher marks! BIOL10004 was a great experience for me, and although it was a subject I had to do, I was very happy to do it!
2013-2014: VCE
2015-2017: BSc. at University of Melbourne. Majoring in Microbiology & Immunology.
2018: Honours - Restoring immunocompetency in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
2019-2022: Doctor of Medicine (MD) at Deakin University

Completed VCE Biology in 2013 with a study score of 47. Offering tutoring in VCE Biology for 2020 in Geelong region! PM me for more details.