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Author Topic: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 465048 times)  Share 

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #210 on: June 22, 2014, 10:47:18 am »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1903 - Introducing Literature: Ways of Reading 

Workload:  2 x 1 hour lectures per week
1 x 1 hour tute per week

Close reading exercise: 10%
Essay: 30%
Class exercise on translation: 10%
Moodle quiz on using sources and library: 10%
Exam: 40%

Attendance at tutes is compulsory! In other words you have to attend 3/4 of the tutes otherwise you need a medical cert/a really good explanation/etc.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available: Nope. Maybe there are some in the past exams database but they're not relevant. We had to make educated guesses of what we thought would be on the exam and prepare accordingly.

Textbook Recommendation:  Unit Reader, Hamlet, That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott, Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Kafka, Therese Raquin by Emilie Zola.
There were various editions and whatnot that you were supposed to buy, and because this is a jaffy unit just about everyone bought the correct editions presumably from the bookshop (lol). But because I'm a rebel and all I used my own copy of Hamlet and Therese Raquin and acquired second hand versions that were the wrong edition for everything else. They made a big deal about having the correct 'translation' or whatever but I personally think it didn't matter in the end. Unit reader is cheap and useful, because they had all the poems in the one place, which is good for lazy people like me.

Lecturer(s): Peter Groves and various other people depending on what the topic was.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 semester 1

Rating:  2.5 out of 5

Comments: I wasn't going to write a review but having looked at the last review on the thread, there's been a few changes in the unit since, so hey, let's keep things updated! I really wanted to like this unit but I feel that it's one of the most wishy-washy of arts subjects that I have taken so far, and so I couldn't really take it seriously.

I felt that the lectures varied in quality: some were really good, and others just dragged no matter how much I tried to pay attention. It's a bit of pot luck, depending on who the lecturer is for the week, but the unit itself is pretty well structured. If you took Lit in VCE you won't mind this unit too much but if you come from mainstream English I think you'll struggle a bit with stuff like passage analysis. It doesn't mean you can't do well though!

There are far fewer texts this semester as opposed to last time the unit ran. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Previously, if you didn't like a text, you could just wait for next week and you'd have a new one, and there were so many options in the exam that you could just choose to focus on a select few texts. This time you actually have to make an effort to read more of them. For the essay you either have to write on the ballads in the unit reader or Hamlet, and then in the exam you had to write on whichever text you didn't write your essay on, AND do a comparative essay on two out of three of the remaining texts. So you can afford to skip ONE text, and that's really it. So make sure you do your readings!

The exam was fairly straight forward. Like I said there's two parts to it. My only main beef was that there were no past exams and we didn't have any sample topics or anything like that. My method of preparing was to make guesses on parallels between the set texts and to brainstorm some points based on that, and it ended up serving me pretty well.

I felt that the assessments were generally fair. The first assessment was a relatively straight forward passage analysis on Hamlet. If you're a lit kid you'll find it easy, the only thing that threw me was how LONG the passage was and short the word count was. Alas. I found a similar problem when it came to the class exercise on translation, where you were given several translations of the same text (for us, Metamorphosis) and we had to write a commentary on how they differed. For both of these assessments you get tute time to work on it, then you write it up at home.

Like I said, the essay was either on Hamlet or the ballads in the unit reader. There's a fair few topics to choose from, but I found this essay a bit of a bitch to write, but it's probably because all of my arts essays except for this are more, um, 'science-based'. If you treat it as if you would an English essay in high school but with citations you'll probably be fine.

Moodle quiz was piss easy, you can have the quiz and the moodle resource open at the same time, so it's more a test of how well you can proofread and find information, but it does teach you how to reference and use the library if you do not already know how to do so.

Take this unit if you really care about literature. Don't do this unit thinking it's a bludge: it isn't. I took this unit only because I need a first year Arts sequence . In hindsight, not the best idea. Oops.
VCE 2010 | BA/BSc, MTeach (both Monash)

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #211 on: June 22, 2014, 09:33:39 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ASP3051 - Relativity and cosmology

- 3 x 1 hour lectures
- 1 hour tutorial class

- Examination (3 hours): 70%
- Laboratory work and reports: 30%

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 3 exams with solutions provided

Textbook Recommendation:  Officially 2 recommended textbooks, personally I recommend none of them, lecture notes will suffice

Lecturer(s): Dr Duncan Galloway

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 3 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 70 D

Quite possibly the most enjoyable unit (relativity part mainly) I've done in astrophysics major. There are 2 lab sheet throughout the semester and rather than asking you to code all these pointless programs, it actually help you understand special relativity and black hole. The work load required is quite good, with 2 short assignments which only takes about 2 hrs to complete each. However this unit does require you to fully understand all the derivations, they will ask you to proof k-calculus or relativistic velocity in the mid semester test, all applications should be fairly simple, mostly just have to understand the situation and plug in values. Relativity and black hole are just as interesting as it sounds, they actually teach you some mind bending facts and back it up with some maths!

Despite all these, why did I rate it 3/5? Because the second part of this course, cosmology. I shit you not you have to memorise every single derivation, but wait we have to do that for relativity done we? Here's the difference, relativity proofs actually make sense, if you draw some diagram everything actually make sense, it doesn't require rote learning. As long as you vaguely remember the graph, you can derive most of things they ask you in test/exam. Cosmology is different, first of all half of the algebra steps were wrong, although the end results were correct. They do not give any reason for any algebraic step (trust me I've been doing math for the past 4 years and I can't follow most of the steps), which means that all derivations must be learnt through rote learning. If this doesn't scare you enough, the only question in exam about cosmology is basically asking you to replicate the entire cosmology lecture notes, glhf.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 06:21:20 pm by xZero »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #212 on: June 22, 2014, 10:04:43 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3360 - Fluid dynamics

- 3 x 1 hour lectures
- 1.5 hours tutorial class

-Examination (3 hours): 60%
-Assignments: 20%
-Tests: 20%

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 5 past exams with 2 mock exams. All comes with solution

Textbook Recommendation: None, you can buy the bounded lecture notes for $10, buy it! It's worth it!

Lecturer(s): Dr Anja Slim and Dr Rosemary Mardling

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 78 D

Overall an enjoyable unit, since I've done aerodynamics I and II I don't think my comment on the difficulty of this unit will be accurate. With that said I'd give this unit a 7/10 in difficulty. This unit is separated into two sections, compressible and incompressible flow. The first section was quite easy, it's mostly algebra manipulation and some vector calculus stuff. For people who has done aerodynamics, the only thing that's new would be tensor calculus, which is not overly difficult but can get quite confusing the first few times you play with it. Once you find the trick it becomes free mark in exam. I can't comment too much on the lecture since I haven't been but the lecture notes were top notch. The typed notes were short, concise and to top it off, the hand written worked examples were actually readable! There will be a revision test on week 2 for vector calculus (not too difficult, just have to memorise Stoke's theorem) and a mid semester test later on, which is also not too bad if you went through the tutorial solutions.

The second part was almost entirely application, you'll actually learn some interesting flow but the amount of estimation here was on a similar level to astrophysics units (which has been bugging me to no end). This section involves dynamic similarity, similarity equation, exact solution to 1 dimensional flow, perturbation, stokes flow, Reynolds number and a slight touch on boundary layer. If you think this is a lot of content, well that's because it is, you'll have enough time to learn all these but it might be better to rote learn some of them. The assignment was really challenging, frustrating but personally I really enjoyed it. The exam will take the whole 3 hours to complete and part II will give you a lot of headache, just a heads up.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 06:20:24 pm by xZero »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #213 on: June 24, 2014, 10:20:50 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ETC2440 - Mathematics for Economics and Business

Two 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour tutorial/comp lab

Assignments: 2 x 20%
Exam: 60%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available: 
Yes, about 6 but with no solutions. Tutors were instructed to not hand out any solutions to them either.

Textbook Recommendation: 
Alpha C. Chiang and Kevin Wainwright (2005), Fundamental Methods of Mathematical
Economics, 4th edition, McGraw-Hill.

Meant to be a pretty good textbook from what I've heard (didn't have it myself). But it is NOT necessary for this unit (depite being prescribed) unless you want to look into what you learn much deeper.

Ralph Snyder (Part 1 - Linear Algebra): Lectures move pretty slowly, and can be hard to pay attention too because his voice is pretty monotonous. However, if you don't have the textbook, it is wort hat least watching the lectures online. The lecture slides that are provided are pretty hard to follow by themselves. So if you don't know much about the maths, looking at the lecture slides with no background of the material (whether it be from the lectures, previous units, youtube etc.) can be a struggle at first.

John Stapleton (Part 2 -Calculus): Fantastic Lecturer (saved the unit for me). Lectures were engaging. Lecture slides were thorough, fairly rigorous and could be treated as a resource by themselves unlike with Ralph's. He does cover a lot of material each lecture though.   

Year & Semester of completion:
2014 Semester 1

2 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:

Part 1 of the course is linear algebra (taught by Ralph), with the main topics of:

  • Basic Matrix Algebra: addition, subtraction, various methods of multiplication of matrices. Very simple stuff.
  • Square matrix equations: Gaussian elimination, LU decomposition, determinants, matrix inverse
  • Rectangular matrix equations: overdetermined and underdetermined equation systems, orthogonal matrices, linear regression
  • Random vectors: means, variances, sign of a matrix, eigenvalues, Cholesky factorisation
  • Recurrence relationships: Geometric series, stationary state of recurrence relationships, stability matrices, Schur decomposition, higher order recurrence relationships
  • Differential equations: A lot of the same stuff as recurrence relationships. Stationary state, closed form solutions.
Part 2 of the course is taught by John and covers:

  • Sets, Functions and sequences: Epsilon-delta proofs of limits of sequences, and a whole bunch of definitions
  • Continuous functions
  • Differentiable functions: partial derivatives, total deriviatives, implicit differentiation, Taylorís series approximation, concave and convex functions, homogenous functions
  • Optimisations theory: unconstrained and constrained optimisation problems (Lagrangean method)

Not my favourite unit tbh. The topics are pretty rushed, as this unit is effectively the buseco equivalent of MTH2010 and MTH2032. If you have a passion for maths, Iíd say youíd be better off doing MTH2010 and MTH2032. Johnís part of the course is very solid though, just a lot crammed in. Ralphs isnít as formal with definitions, and it can be a tricky to find what you actually need to know at stages, especially in Ralphs part of the course. if you havenít touched maths before, this can make the unit pretty tough. Its hard to gauge how much detail you need to go into (especially for Ralphs part), so you can understand something sufficiently, but not know that you do. Which can make things a bit stressful
Tutes for part 1 of the course incorporate matlab. However you donít really learn how to use matlab. You use it as nothing more than a calculator for inverses, schurr decompositions, eigenvalues etc. You also just work through that weekís questions. Not all that helpful, and the answers get uploaded at the end of the week. In Johnís part of the course you no longer use matlab, the tutor just goes of the solutions. Solutions are not handed out for Johnís tutes though, so better show up. 

The assignments were very time consuming compared to other buseco ones I'd done, especially if this is the first ďmathsĒ unit that youíre doing at uni.  Just stick to the definitions and methods in the lecture slides. Also the internet can be helpful.

The exam was surprisingly easy compared to the assignments and tute questions I found. There are 2 questions from each part of the course, but you only have to answer 3 out of the 4. If you can handle the past exams then you can handle this exam. Although the course has changed a tiny bit year to year, so not all topics you cover have past exam questions. But if they aren't in the past exams, there's a high chance that something similar to the assignments will be there. You also donít get given solutions to the past exams.

Do I recommend it? In most cases no. If it were only Johnís topics I would, but the linear algebra isnít too interesting. Also, if youíre really interested in maths, probably best to do actual maths units. And if you donít like maths, well donít do any maths. However if youíre looking at higher level economics, econometrics, finance, actuarial studies or financial maths; and donít have enough units left in your degree to do MTH1030 and MTH2010 (or arenít the greatest at maths, itís a bit easier than MTH units!) then I would say itís worthwhile.

In short, if you have this deep burning passion for maths then perhaps look elsewhere, as its pretty diluted. If you're a com/eng or com/sci (maths major) then you would have covered the material already. If you hate maths stay away. But if you fall in the middle and feel like developing your maths skills then yes, give it a go. Just be prepared to be confused at numerous stages, as its not easy.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 07:52:13 pm by Reckoner »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #214 on: June 25, 2014, 09:22:05 pm »
Subject Code/Name: DEV2011 - Early Human Development from Cells to Tissues

  • 3x 1hr lectures
  • 1x 3hr lab+tute (laborial? tutabratory?)

  • 2x Online exams (10%)
  • Cell Profile Report (10%)
  • 5x Lab reports (10%)
  • MST (10%)
  • Exam (60%)

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Not at all, and no sample/practice exams either.

Textbook Recommendation: Human Embryology and Developmental Biology, Carlson 2009 (4th Edition). You don't explicitly need it, but it's a fantastic textbook for developmental biology and a great source of info for course material (it's particularly helpful for the Cell Profile Report).

Other recommended readings (don't buy these, but peruse them in the library as needed if you don't already own a copy):
  • Functional Histology, Kerr 2010
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts et al. 2008 (5th Edition)
  • Developmental Biology, Gilbert 2010 (9th Edition)

  • Dr Julia Young (Unit Co-ordinator)
  • Dr Colin McHenry (Biomed students will meet him in BMS2011)
  • Dr Ellen Menckhorst
  • Dr Mary Tolcos
  • Dr Edwina McGlinn
  • A/Prof Jeff Kerr
  • Prof John Bertram
  • Dr Helen Abud
  • Dr Megan Wallace

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: D


I opted to enrol in DEV2011 at the last possible second after changing my mind about taking IMM2011 (well, technically after the last possible second, I had to email Julia Young to enrol :-X), and it was easily the best decision I made this semester. Although I really, really didn't enjoy any of the Animal Development stuff in BIO1011 and 1022 (which is required for DEV units) - I was extremely pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this unit, so much so that I've decided to switch my GEN/PHY major to GEN/DEV. All the teaching staff were fantastic, and the assessments were pretty much all interesting and engaging. The only complaint - and I'll elaborate on this a bit more later - is to do with the mark breakdown of the unit (so pretty minor stuff).

Lecture Series
As noted above, I really enjoyed the course material. The first week is just an intro to developmental biology and a basic overview of cell biology (organelle function etc. etc.), but it picks up in terms of interest quickly. Each week comprises 3 lectures on a specific 'sub-topic':
  • Week 2 - "The Embryo", looking at model organisms and the 'evo-devo' (evolutionary developmental) approach; at fertilisation and embryo cleavage and at gastrulation.
  • Week 3 - "Germline and Gestation", looking at germ lineage and sex determination; implantation and extraembryonic tissues and cell proliferation and apoptosis/necrosis.
  • Week 4 - "The Nervous System", which dealt with the notochord and somites, nerve tissues and neural tube formation and defects.
  • Week 5 - "Muscle Development", looking at formation and development of the neural crest; the development of different muscle types and their functions in the post-embryonic animal.
  • Week 6 - "Global Tissue Types", which examined connective and epithelial tissues as well as the cytoskeleton and the role of cell mobility in developmental processes.
  • Week 7 - "Cellular Processes in Development", which looked at cell communication and aggregation, and the role of these phenomena in embryonic development.
  • Week 8 - "Haematopoietic Development", which delved into embryonic and foetal haematopoiesis and other aspects of blood-related cytology and anatomy.
  • Week 9 - "How We Understand Developmental Biology", which was an introduction to developmental biology lab techniques such as mouse modelling of genetic developmental diseases.
  • Week 10 - "Stem Cells", looking at developmental disorders and how stem cells are relevant to the developing organism and how they could be potentially used to treat these diseases.
  • Week 11 - "Final Stages of Gestation and Anatomy/Integration of Body Systems", looking at some of the physiological and anatomical aspects of the foetus.
  • Week 12 - Semester Review.

Admittedly I didn't attend several lectures, but the ones that I went to were exceptional in terms of delivery and interesting content (also not having 8am lectures is a big plus :P).

The lab-based component of DEV2011 is kind of different to other second-year life science units in that you don't do very much actual 'lab stuff' in the traditional sense. Only ~1-2 weeks are spent doing that sort of thing, where you extract and stain a sample of your own buccal epithelial cells in different ways for imaging under light and confocal microscopes, which was pretty cool. Also, the first hour of your 'lab' session is spent in a small tute-group (in a designated tute room), in which you'll go through lecture-review questions (kinda like unassessed pre-labs) and a developmental biology case study. The tutors in general were all really helpful and friendly, and they all work, study or do research in a field of developmental biology so they know their stuff!

Also, not all labs are compulsory/assessed; only weeks where you have to complete a lab report (which is essentially a basic worksheet worth 2% each of your semester mark) require you to be there if you want the marks. This semester, these were weeks 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10 + 1 week where you had the MST during your lab session.

Most of the other labs were taken up by imaging for your cell profile report, which I'll talk about in a bit.

Generally the assessment was fair, well-constructed and well thought out. Aside from lab reports and the MST, you also have 2 online timed 'exams' on Moodle worth 5%; these are pretty easy so if you know your lecture materials you won't have any trouble at all.

The 'major' in-semester assessment task for DEV2011 is the cell profile report, which is a long journal article-style paper that you write on a specific cell type, looking at the developmental aspects of that cell as well as writing a 'discussion topic' (which can be anything so long as it's related to that cell type). You also need to take microscopic images of your cell type and associated tissues from a specific slide of a mouse/rat embryo provided to you (you have an opportunity to do this most weeks, but you really should only need 1 or 2 sessions to get everything you need). My cell type was the lymphocyte - kinda ironic given that I dropped immunology for developmental biology - and my discussion topic was ďThe role of lymphocytes and the immune system in contemporary regenerative medicine.Ē Although I was pretty heavily pressed for time in writing this report (because second year biomed is relentless), it was a pleasure to write this report because you're given a good deal of freedom in doing so. However, as you are reminded several times throughout the semester, 'you're not alone' and you should approach the academic staff for help if you need assistance/advice etc.

However, the cell profile report brings me to what is basically my only gripe with this unit - the fact that it is worth only 10% of the semester grade. Hopefully this will be changed in later years, but this is a long assessment task and the effort and time required to complete it to a high standard is worth well over 10% of your semester mark. I've put this in my SETU survey, but the end-of-semester exam doesn't need to be worth 60% for what it is, and some of that allocation should be put towards the report (I personally believe it should be work 20-25% at least).

I don't have much to say about the exam other than that it's not particularly difficult, even though it's definitely harder and tests way more material than any of the in-semester assessment. It is comprised of 90 MCQs, and the fact that you're given 3 hours to complete it in is extremely generous (i.e. I was able to go over my responses 3 or so times in full, mainly because leaving early meant that I had to go outside - and it was fucking freezing outside that day haha).

A word of advice for the exam is to make sure that you can do (and already HAVE done during the semester) the lecture-review questions for each week. Although the lecture-review questions aren't MCQs, they test the generally the same material that is on the exam, and being able to do these questions without issue means that you won't have much trouble with the exam proper.

Concluding statements
In summary, this was an absolutely brilliant unit, and I'm greatly looking forward to taking DEV2022 and later DEV units further into my degree. The unit was exceptionally organised and executed, and the material was a pleasure to learn, especially given its relevance to my biomed studies (NB to biomed students, if you're doing Biomed/Sci look to do DEV2011 in the same semester as BMS2011, it really helps with the embryological component of BMS2011) and the fact that it had a really interesting clinical skew, especially in the areas that dealt with developmental defects. I'm not entirely sure if DEV2011 is a prerequisite for postgrad medicine for BSc students -  I think it is because it fulfils the anatomy prerequisite for Monash postgrad MBBS and UoM MD - but it's a unit worth taking nonetheless.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 04:21:21 am by alondouek »
Majoring in Genetics and Developmental Biology

2012 ATAR: 96.55
English [48] Biology [40]

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #215 on: June 25, 2014, 10:12:40 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ATS2640 - The Ethics of Global Conflict

  • 1x 1-hr lectures
  • 1x 1-hr tutorial
  • Article Analysis - 20%
  • Article Analysis #2 - 20%
  • Essay - 40%
  • Exam - 20%
Recorded Lectures:  Yep, with slides shown.

Past exams available:  No, but unnecessary.

Textbook Recommendation:

The unit reader is highly recommended. To be honest, you don't need it for the article analyses, but they would be difficult to do without a grasp of the content. Even for the essay + exam, you could feasibly find the journal articles on a database. So, whilst not technically necessary in the literal sense of the word, I would really, really get it.

Just and Unjust Wars would be an excellent secondary source for an essay, but it's completely unnecessary. I should score an HD for the unit and didn't use it all semester.

  • Dr. Bob Simpson
Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  4.23 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Firstly, the unit is very coordinated quite well. It's the first time Bob has ran the subject and to my understanding it has undergone some structural changes which I'm going to assume were positive ones, as I thought the structure of the unit was very well thought out. The first nine weeks are on 'Just War Theory', and the last three weeks examine a possible addition to JWT, and two criticisms or, more appropriately, 'alternatives' to JWT. Bob is also a habitual email checker (or at least, he's responded to me quite quickly whenever I've contacted him). He's also really receptive to feedback about the unit. He made a strange decision with regards to the assessment that I spoke to him about for a good 20-25 minutes and afterwards he said he'd change things around, which I find to be pretty awesome.

Bob as a lecturer is also fantastic. Not that it ever mattered to me, but he's insanely fast at uploading the lecture slides after a lecture - like, I think it's the very first thing he does after a lecture. He also has a really awesome way of presenting the material. He couldn't make you understand it more if he shot you with bullets full of understanding. He's not over the top humorous or extravagant or particularly "quirky" in the ways that might make for a "good" lecturer. Rather, he gets down to the juicy bits of the material and delivers in a really genuine, relatable way. He actually does have an awesome sense of humour though, people just don't seem to laugh. I think they don't laugh out of respect or not wanting to interrupt or something, or they're just too silly to see the subtle jokes, but I personally pmsl every lecture I attend haha.

Ron G was my tutor. A man certainly not to be underestimated. To be honest, he seems a bit loose in the head for the first tutorial because of his eccentricities but the man is crazy smart. He's actually got a PhD in Lit, and another one in Philosophy, so never make the mistake of thinking he won't pick up on a dodgy you're trying to pull on an assignment. He sees all the dodgies. Really nice guy, great tutor, fair marker, fiercely rational fellow.

The exams is really easy. I think Bob constructs "easy" exams because it makes more pedagogical sense. Just the last three weeks are examinable, and the exam is three short-answer questions in two hours (average of 300 words each, although they're weighted differently). Bob also gave 5 revision questions for each topic which served for excellent night-before revision.

I feel like the article analyses could have been more specifically targeted in the content (re: basic comprehension questions). Probably a bit boring but I actually feel like these type of assignments really cement the material in my head, whereas you can get away with a 'theoretical' understanding of the course without a hyper-detailed knowledge of its nuances when doing the article analyses. That said, they were actually really interesting/different assignments (and a tiny bit of extra reading, supplied by Bob). There was also a weird feature which meant that our second analysis was handed in before he got our marks for the first one. This is what I spoke to Bob about and what he agreed to change (despite having good reasons for having it the way it was). This paragraph is essentially the only real "issues" I have with the unit.

Call me psycho, but another 30 or 60 minutes of lectures with Bob would also be great -- not that he ever needed to skip anything, but sometimes more time just really cements things.

Oh yeah, and, some of the readings are fucking enormous.

Overall, really well designed, well taught unit. I would recommend enrolling in the third year unit code on moodle as there is virtually no difference - you just need to use an external source for your essay in third year (used one in second year anyway). It can also credit a whole range of AoS, Phi, Politics, etc etc. Would recommend this unit.

P.S: an awesome quote from Bob...

"Under standard Just War Theory, that's true, even if what the war gives way to is some sort of disasterous... umm... I keep wanting to use the word cluster-eff, because that just seems to be the word that comes to my lips when I talk about Libya, but I'll refrain from using that because it is a little bit gratuitously rude."
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 10:22:57 pm by cyclops »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #216 on: June 26, 2014, 08:04:20 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ATS2839 - Ethics

  • 1x 1-hr lectures
  • 1x 1-hr tutorial
  • Expository 1 - 10%
  • Expository 2 - 20%
  • Essay - 30%
  • Exam - 40%
Recorded Lectures:  Yep, with slides shown.

Past exams available:  No, but unnecessary.

Textbook Recommendation:

The unit reader and study guide are both necessary for high marks. The study guide is like "the explanation" and the reader is the collection of chapters/articles that make up the course content. Would keep up to date with the readings for both because the exam tests every week and it's just horrible to cram (I weep at the not so distant memories). Those two are all that's necessary.

  • Dr. Paul Silva
Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  3.33 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: The exam is the major assessment of the unit but it's crazy easy. Before the exam you get given five short-answer questions, of which three will appear on the exam, of which you will have to answer two. The exam has a multi-choice section which is worth 20%, and the short-answer is also worth 20%, but you get the short-answer gifted to you. You also get a "sample" multi-choice exam with twelve questions, even though there is twenty five questions on the actual exam. Of those twelve questions, nine of them appeared on my exam (luckily I had the good sense to look at the answers once or twice before entering the exam room - saved me a shitload of time). The other multi-choice questions can be kinda like "wut". This is why I say keep up with the readings because if you're unsure, the multi-choice are like "dafuq" whereas when you're sure they're impossible to get wrong. Unless you're me, in which case you find out on the train from a friend that you answered a question incorrectly after correcting him on the same question the day before. Just... how?

Paul's lecturing is good. Some people found him monotonous but they're silly. We had a pretty small lecture hall/room on level four of the Menzies - this actually sucked but yolo - and so it restricted his ability to move around. He basically couldn't even if he wanted to, which meant the lectures consisted of him at the podium thing talking. His lecture slides were humorous but consisted of Star Wars jokes and things of the like which is why I think some people were bored by lectures whist I was pmsl. He also uses really funny examples/phrases despite not being overly vocally animated. I digress a bit - basically, he's a good, solid lecturer, but not as good as Toby or Bob (my two favourites if you read my other reviews lol).

The content is almost entirely based around the "big three" normative theories; consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Amongst those, you touch on egoism, Hume (excellent). Honestly, if you weren't really interested in morality/ethics, you're probably going to find this content a bit dry :P. I love Philosophy and there were moments of this semester where my enthusiasm waned slightly (that said, it was a "low on enthusiasm" type of semester. Due to the nature of the unit - covering many topics etc., it can seem like less of smooth progression that some other units, like a bit "jumpy" but really, I don't think there's many ways around this except for have an extra lecture a week which is probably a bit unnecessary.

The assignments are pretty stock standard. Questions on the readings, basic comprehension, standard comprehension/argument essay. I had Ros as a tutor who I thought marked generously. Ros is a good tutor, but our tute this semester had a very difficult dynamic, so it wasn't the most effective hour of my week - hard to fully evaluate Ros because of that but I did like her.

It'd probably be an easy grade if someone put the work in, but I probably wouldn't recommend this to someone who is just lazily thinking of taking a Philo unit or something like that. It'd be a horrible time to realise that you didn't like normative ethics or something like that. I'd recommend it to someone who's interested in the field and wants to go a bit deeper than Life, Death, Morality. Also expect the content to be a little bit more difficult that previous Phil units. Hume, Kant, and the Frege-Geache problem gave many people a lot of trouble so expect to be challenged in parts.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #217 on: June 26, 2014, 11:20:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BFC3140 Ė Advanced Corporate Finance

Workload: 2 hour lecs + 1 hour tute per week

Assessment: 25% Mid-sem test; 75% exam

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: Yes, 5 exams available with solutions (but...)

Textbook Recommendation: Corporate Finance 2E by Berk, DeMarzo (Prescribed)

Lecturer(s): Phil G

Year & Semester of completion: S1, 2014

Rating: out of 5

Comments: This unit is a notch harder than Corp Fi, but I recommend doing them consecutively as it builds upon it. The unit covers IPOs (Phil loves this), CAPM, Options, Optimal Capital Structure, International Finance, M&A and Corporate Governance. As you can see, a broad range of topics under corporate finance taught but thereís insufficient time to delve into details. You spend a week on international finance/forex and a week on M&A which is a bit of a shame as one could probably learn more about valuation and LBO models.

Also recommend doing Equities (2240) and Options (3340) alongside this unit if you can since there will be a decent amount of overlap.
This is a core finance unit so itís compulsory. If you like 2140, you will probably enjoy this unit although it requires a greater level of maturity and knowledge of finance since youíll be introduced to many new concepts (as opposed to learning a single in-depth concept).

Tutes were helpful so turn up if possible. The harder part of the course is at the start so make sure you gain a deep understanding of it for the mid-sem. The mid-sem questions were way tougher than the tutes; C.E said that the fail rate was so high that he didnít even want to mention it.

I recommend getting the text as it helps with understanding and there are small nifty things that you need to pick up to do well. Tute questions are from the text but they are also available on Moodle.

tl;dr This unit is not easy, but itís the easiest out of all 3rd-year units. Do it the semester after 2140 if possible, but do it alongside 2240/3340 if you can.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:23:25 pm by |ll|lll| »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #218 on: June 27, 2014, 02:57:10 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LAW 5144 - Media Law 1

Workload:  3hrs lectures per week

Assessment:  Either 30% Optional Assignment, 70% Exam OR 100% Exam.

Recorded Lectures:  Nope.

Past exams available:  Three past exams, most questions are still relevant.

Textbook Recommendation:  There are no prescribed textbooks, although Australian Media Law by Butler & Rodrick (2012) is highly recommended (several other books are 'recommended' - not sure how useful they are). Although the 4th Ed. is now a little out of date as it doesn't cover a few recent pieces of legislation, e.g. the Open Courts Act 2013, it's quite a useful textbook for the unit. It was written by the lecturer/co-ordinator (Sharon Rodrick) and she follows it fairly closely in most lectures...you could probably get away without buying it though, as it's in the library, though that's provided you go to the lectures and get your notes mainly from there (as above, lectures weren't recorded).

Lecturer(s): Sharon Rodrick

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014. Note: This unit is an elective and only runs every 2nd year.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Have you ever wondered about the answers to questions such as:

- Why did everyone in Vic. have to wait so long for Underbelly s1 to be released?
- How come the news often leaves out certain details in reporting crimes & court cases?
- Why does Derryn Hinch keep getting charged with contempt of court?
- What's up with that blurb 'spoken by bla bla bla' at the end of every government ad on TV?
- Could I, if so inclined, sell pornography in the state of Victoria?
- Why and how do some films/books/games get Rated, & what is it that leads Australia/States to banning some of them?
- What's up with this whole 'Racial Discrimination Act' reform thing that Brandis is talking about?*

If so, then Media Law 1 may be the unit for you! Media Law 1 is a pretty broad unit. It doesn't cover an area of law per se (e.g. Contract law or Property law or any number of core/elective law units), but rather, it tries to cover all the legal issues that may affect 'The Media'. As it turns out, this is quite a range of stuff across a few areas of law. There are quite a lot of relevant pieces of legislation at State and Vic levels, but there's also a reasonable number of common law decisions, especially for the section on Contempt of Court, which covers about 1/3 of the course. A general overview of the semester:

The first five weeks are split between Open Justice and Contempt of Court. OJ is pretty much all about courts being open & how and in what circumstances they conceal information and prevent it from being published. There are a few interesting cases here (Mokbel, Underbelly etc.) but there's also a bit of legislation to work through at Cth and State levels. The principles themselves aren't very conceptually difficult though (Cf. some units like Property B or Equity in which things aren't always so intuitive). One of the main challenges of this unit is really just working through all the provisions to determine their effect. This unit has quite a lot of content, though I understand that's pretty common for the elective subjects which are often rather broad and include a bit more policy. At the time of writing I haven't done any other electives though, so I don't have much to compare it to in terms of difficulty. I get the feeling it isn't one of the harder electives, although if you're gonna attempt it in say 2nd year, you might find that there's quite a bit more content than core units like contract, crim, torts etc.

Anyway, contempt of court is the second topic, and a pretty important one (basically always appears on the exam). There are quite a range of situations where the media can get into trouble for publishing/broadcasting material in terms of: interference with juries, witnesses, parties, judges etc. - a constant test you'll be using here is whether there's a tendency for interference with the administration of justice. Aside from that, you've mainly just got quite a bit of case law, although most decisions are summarised in the book and aren't hard to read as far as cases in law units go.

Then there's briefly some coverage of journalists and their sources + Juries & reporting. This is mostly governed by legislation and it's reasonably straightforward. The Media and Parliament is next, which again involves some more legislation, e.g. on the reporting of elections, and parliamentary broadcasts & identification requirements. It also emerges that Parliament itself has contempt powers, which it pretty much never bothers to use.

Lastly, and perhaps the most interesting topic, is Offensive publications. There are three weeks on this. The first covers obscene libel, which is probably still an offence, but who knows. Mainly though, it's about classifications: how are books, films, computer games etc. classified in Australia. Here you'll learn the reasoning behind the decisions for ratings (e.g. Why a certain film was banned/rated, and how this can be challenged). There are only a couple of cases on this, but the federal court's assessment of the review of a porn video in the Adultshop.com case makes for an interesting read.

Onto blasphemy and religious vilification and there's more controversy. Firstly, over whether the offence of blasphemy actually exists in Australia (there is a bit of a trend in this unit of their not being sufficient case law on certain areas). The main case in this area is the Pell case (George Pell tried to get an injunction against this artwork called 'Piss Christ' and it didn't work out in the end, but I digress...). That case also covers Vic's religious vilification laws, which extend on to the 3rd week of the topic because...

The race laws in the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act are pretty much the same as the religious ones (substitute religious beliefs for race). But, there's also the Racial Discrimination Act and the controversial Bolt case. Lastly there's a bit of policy on that and whether the new amendments are any good. Actually, there's quite a bit of policy in this area and on most topics.

Which brings me to the exam: 3h writing and 30mins reading, whether you did the assignment or not (I didn't, not sure what it was about). It's usually 5-7 questions with some policy in there. This year, out of 100 marks, there was one compulsory 15m policy question, plus another choice between two policy questions or a hypothetical for 20 marks. Overall, quite a fair exam that usually indicates the topics, e.g. 'is there a contempt', 'can X protect the identity of the source' and such. Although, as per pretty much every law exam, you'll still be very pushed for time.

Overall: A good unit, covers a number of interesting topics. Possible downside of some legislation that's a bit procedural and not always exciting, but good on the whole. Sharon's lectures are quite good and worth going to, although it is possible to rely on the book. I'd advise attending going the last lecture though, as a hint was given as to the RDA being a likely policy Q on the exam - which it was.

*(1) Concerns about prejudice over proceedings in the gangland trials; (2) Suppression orders; (3) Cause he keeps making prejudicial statements in paedophilia/sex abuse cases; (4) Identification requirements exist on political matter to prevent that kind of deception in politics; (5) Technically legally no, but the police don't really enforce it...wouldn't advise it though; (6) It's all in the Classification Act '95, the Guidelines for classifying and the Code of Classification...which the Classification Board then makes a call on; (7) Andrew Bolt was forced to apologise following a case brought under the RDA, an act which arguably restricts freedom of speech in the name of vilification...it has some exceptions for public interest and fair comment but he got his facts wrong and didn't do it 'in good faith' acc. to the Court so he got busted.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 04:10:14 pm by Rohmer »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #219 on: June 28, 2014, 09:54:25 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BMS2011 - Structure of the Human Body: An Evolutionary and Functional Perspective

  • 1x 1hr lecture
  • 1x 2hr lecture
  • 1x 3hr practical+tutorial

  • Group research project and pseudo-oral presentation (15%)
  • Lab journal (25%)
  • MST (30%)
  • Exam (30%)

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No, but Colin uploaded many practice questions to our Facebook group which ended up being a massive, massive help (I'll talk about this more later).

Textbook Recommendation: As with any anatomy course there is a veritable bevy of potential textbooks out there for you to peruse. However, I'd personally recommend:
  • Gray's Anatomy for Students
  • Thieme Atlas of Anatomy: General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System by Schulte and Schumacher
And depending on what you choose to do your group project on, you might like to look through various, more specific, textbooks. I found Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain by Bear, Connors and Paradiso extremely helpful for my CNS-related project (students who have done BMS1052 might already have a copy of this).

  • Dr Colin McHenry (Unit co-ordinator and takes most lectures, especially MSK and evolution-based lectures)
  • Dr Justin Adams (CNS, PNS and ANS-related topics, Cardiovascular System)
  • Prof Darrell Evans (Limb Development)
  • A/Prof Norm Eizenberg (Viscera and Visceral Systems)
  • Prof Paul McMenamin (Special Sensory Organs)
  • Dr Julia Young (Embryology, Reproductive Anatomy and Biology)

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1, 2014

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD


This is a great unit, really spectacularly well-organised and executed. I admit I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it throughout the semester, predominantly because it's immense in terms of content. Ostensibly, this is an anatomy unit, but it's also bolstered by the fact that you're not only looking at human anatomy, or anatomy solely through a clinical viewpoint; instead, this unit aims to provide a well-rounded anatomical understanding that incorporates both human anatomy as well as embryological, palaeontological and zoological anatomy and how they compare. As such, instead of devoting the whole course to clinical stuff, you look at evolutionary and environmental aspects as well. This is a really well-rounded course, but it eats up a massive amount of time and requires a good deal of effort and organisation to do well throughout the semester.

Lecture Series
Lectures are all brilliant, engaging and entertaining. Aside from the content being pretty much ubiquitously interesting, the lecturers are all engaging, funny and really passionate about anatomy. My personal favourites were Prof Norm Eizenberg and Dr Colin McHenry, who were both absolutely fantastic lecturers.

The lecture series was as follow:
  • Week 1 - "Body Plans", an introduction to the evolution of body plans and the basic functions of MSK tissues.
  • Week 2 - "The Skeleton in Humans and Other Animals", looking at 'building bodies' and the basic anatomical pattern of the axial skeleton and axial MSK.
  • Week 3 - "The Human Vertebral Column", looking at the spinal cord and nerves. You'll also have your first Masterclass which I'll discuss in the next section.
  • Week 4 - "The Head Skeleton", examining cranial MSK and associated musculoskeletal connections. In this week you'll also have an introduction to viscera and visceral systems, then a lecture on the cardiovascular system.
  • Week 5 - "Thoracic Visceral Organs", which dealt with the respiratory, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems as well as the kidneys and the skin.
  • Week 6 - "Abdominal Visceral Organs", which was dealt with more in the prac sessions (see below). This week's lecture series actually began to cover CNS and PNS-related material, namely the autonomic and peripheral nervous systems, NS vessels, the brain and cranial nerves.
  • Week 7 - "The Brain and Special Sensory Organs", which looked at (obviously) the CNS and associated sensory organs such as the eyes/nose etc. You also have your second Masterclass.
  • Week 8 - "Reproductive Biology and Anatomy" looking at the anatomical features of human and other animal reproductive techniques and behaviours. Week 8 also contained the MST.
  • Week 9 - "Reproductive Anatomy", which followed on from the previous week, looking at limb development and the 'gametic animal'. The last lecture of this week was an introduction to limb MSK,
  • Week 10 - "Limb Anatomy 1", continuing study of limb MSK and examining the biomechanics of these structures.
  • Week 11 - "Limb Anatomy 2", which looked at human evolutionary history. This week also hosted the third Masterclass.
  • Week 12 - "Revision", whereby the course was wrapped up by looking at evolutionary medicine and having the fourth Masterclass.

It should be noted that although the lectures are very entertaining and interactive, they are absolutely packed with content, all of which is assessable unless the lecturer says otherwise. I found it helpful to not write any notes during the lectures so I could focus as much as possible on what the lecturer was actually saying, but everyone has a different strategy.

Colin decided to do something different this year, which was the implementation of four interactive anatomical Masterclasses tying together key concepts throughout the semester. These sessions, which took place in the 2-hour lecture slot, were great fun and really helpful in preventing the course from becoming an exercise in memorisation. The Masterclasses were essentially an 'open lecture', where there would be some presenting by lecturers but a lot of back-and-forth discussion between them and students.

The Masterclasses were as follows:
  • Masterclass 1 (Week 3) - "Postcranial Axial MSK: The Human Variant"
  • Masterclass 2 (Week 7) - "Evolution of the NS, CVS and Viscera in Humans"
  • Masterclass 3 (Week 11) - "What's So Special About Humans?"
  • Masterclass 4 (Week 12) - "The Functionally Integrated Human Animal"

As with lectures, material in these is examinable but the extent of this might vary between semesters (i.e. MC1 material was present on our MST and MC2 was listed as directly examinable for our end-of-semester exam, but MCs 3+4 weren't, although the related lecture theory was present).

The practicals were really different to anything I've ever done before at uni. Basically, each prac session was divided into 3 parts: 1) Specimen sketching, 2) Tutorial room exercises (either a specific content-driven tutorial or a practice exam question session) and 3) "Other" exercises, which varied week to week but included group project discussion and coordination, functional anatomy tutorials, anatomical body painting, anatomical plasticine modelling and a biomedical imaging tutorial. Everything you do in a lab needs to be recorded in your 'lab journal', a major assessment task where you do all your anatomical sketching and record all tute activities and discussion. This lab journal is worth 25% of your semester mark, and to do well you are going to have to devote a large amount of time during the semester working on your lab journal (e.g. there is no way you will be able to get your anatomical sketches completely done during class time unless you are some artistic savant).

All in all, the pracs were fun and I had a brilliant tutor (Zhou, who was about to take his medical Registrar exams). The tute groups are pretty small which aids discussion, and that's a pretty important factor (imo) in understanding the material properly.

Other Assessments
The only other assessment task, aside from the 2 exams and the lab journal, was the 15% group project. Along with 2 or 3 other people, you choose a topic, develop a proper working title, then research that topic using medical (or otherwise academic) literature. Although this is called an "oral presentation", you don't actually do any first-hand presentation. Instead, you record your presented material by voice onto the powerpoint presentation that you'd ordinarily present alongside a standard presentation. I can't say I was or am a fan of this system - predominantly because it was prone to technical difficulties (especially given the advent of ~30 groups attempting to each upload ~90mb files to Moodle at approximately the same time) - but in truth it's fairly easy to organise, coordinate, delegate and get very high marks.

Make sure you and your group sorts out the organisational stuff early, because it's rather hard to 'whip' people into submitting by deadlines over a computer! Luckily my group was extremely helpful and we worked well together to get everything done on time (huzzah!).

Both the MST and the end-of-semester exam were worth 30%; I - and I think many other people - found the MST to be much, much harder than the end-of-semester exam. As with any other anatomy subject anywhere, there is a degree of memorisation required but this course was superbly constructed in that it actively aimed to minimise the rote learning required, and taught anatomy with a more integrated focus than purely focusing on the clinical and rote side of things (take that MEDxxxx students, our anatomy course is better :P). In reality for both exams, the only true memorisation was that of the 12 cranial nerves, which are easily recalled by mnemonic:

Here's a standard mnemonic
On Old Olympus's Towering Top, A Fat Vested German Viewed A Ham

(Olfactory, Optic, Occulomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Vestibulocochlear, Glossopharyngeal, Accessory, Hypoglossal)
A slightly more adult one...
Oh Oh Oh To Touch And Feel Virgin Girls' Vaginas And Hymens ;)

The format of the exams was quite novel for what I've had in university thus far; the format was kind of similar to that of a VCE biology or chemistry exam, whereby there were several (40 if I recall correctly) MCQs and then a few SA questions, some of which were picture-based. In short, the MST was a pain (not entirely sure why, but possibly because many of us simply didn't have much time to study during the semester), but the end-of-semester exam was rather (dare I say it) fun.

Concluding Statements
In summary, this is a great - if extremely heavy - unit. It's far more than a memorisation-based course because it aims to examine comparative anatomy as well as clinical aspects, and provided us with a well-rounded anatomical understanding from various anatomy-related areas and viewpoints. The teaching staff are easily among the best I've ever had at uni so far, main;y because of how directly and closely involved they were in teaching and learning during the semester. For example, Dr McHenry was extremely regularly present on the Year 2 Biomed Facebook group, where he frequently helped people out with difficult concepts (and come end of semester he essentially gave us a practice exam by parts in several posts in the group haha!).

The complaints I have about this unit are few and far between, but they're present; the lab journal task takes up many hours of work both in and out of class hours per week and should be worth far more than 25%, and the requirement to give an oral presentation through a powerpoint rather than alongside a powerpoint was a bit strange and more than a little bit inconvenient.

All in all, this is a fantastic unit and really helps you develop a passion for anatomy and a great basis for further anatomical study.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 04:26:06 am by alondouek »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #220 on: June 30, 2014, 01:09:12 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3011 - Partial Differential Equations

  • 3 x 1 hr Lectures
  • 1 x 2 hr Computer Lab/Tutorial

  • 7 x Quizzes (7 x 0.5%)
  • 3 x Computer Lab Exercises (3 x 0.5%)
  • 2 x Assignments (2 x 7.5%)
  • Mid-Semester Test (10%)
  • Examination (70%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, two. One with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  There is no formal prescribed or recommended textbooks. A list of textbooks on PDEs suitable for this level is included in the unit guide and it is mentioned that Partial Differential Equations: An Introduction by W.A. Strauss is the closest to the unit content. I never really used it though.

Lecturer(s):  Associate Professor Michael Page

Year & Semester of completion:  2014, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:  TBA

Comments:  First of all, although this unit can count to both Applied Maths major and Pure Maths major, this is totally an Applied Maths unit. I was expecting this unit to cover more pure/theoretical side of PDEs but nonetheless this is an amazing unit.

Topics covered include:
  • Introduction to PDEs
  • The advection equation
  • Numerical solution of ODEs
  • The wave equation
  • The heat equation
  • Numerical solution of the heat equation
  • Elliptic PDEs
  • Numerical solution of the advection equation

We have covered different classes of PDEs and various methods to solve them both analytically and numerically. In fact, it might be a good thing or bad thing depending on what you think but almost half of the unit is on numerical methods, including accuracies, stablities etc. (It has a slight overlap with MTH3051 Introduction to Computational Mathematics.) PDEs are extremely important in Science and Engineering (a majority  of student is doing Sci/Eng degree), and is a prerequisite for most of the honours subjects as well as honours research projects in Applied/Computational Maths, so you really have to do this unit if you ever want to study Applied Maths at a higher level.

Michael is definitely the best lecturer I have ever had so far. (Completely irrelevant but he is a lot like my Specialist teacher.) As there is no typed lecture notes ready on Moodle, it is quite essential to copy down the notes he writes in lecture. (He writes a lot and he write really fast so you might want to copy the notes after lecture otherwise you'll miss what he says. They will be uploaded on Moodle after each lecture.) All the notes are super clear, and what impresses me is that all the notes he writes in lectures are in full sentences! One down side (probably won't happen again) is that Michael takes his time to go through each topics slowly in the first half of the semester (We spent more than 2 lectures just to work on examples of the advection equation), so towards the end, we are obviously behind the schedule by like a week so he is rushing at a bit, for some topics I feel like not enough discussion or examples are given. All the topics in schedule are covered though.

As for the assessments, out of the 11 tutorials, 7 involves a quiz and 3 involve a computer lab exercise (each worth 0.5%). The weekly quizzes are practically free marks. You only have 10 minutes for each quiz but the questions are very easy. If you read your notes after lecture at all you should be able to get full mark or close to full mark for those. As for the computer labs, 1 is on numerical solution of ODEs and the other 2 are on PDEs. We can choose to use either Excel or Matlab to complete the exercise. For these computer lab exercises, we are given a semi-finished program, and we only need to follow the instruction and fill in relevant details. Sure, these are easy marks to get, but I personally find this quite stupid as we have lost the opportunity of actually coding for the numerical methods we have learned in the lectures.

A mid-semester test is held in week 7 during the lecture. It has the same style of questions as the weekly quizzes. It is worth 10% so it's quite important. But if you revise consistently and do all the exercise sheet questions, you should find the test pretty easy.

The problem is the assignments. There are two of them, each worth 7.5%. They are very long and most people find them really challenging. They are nothing like the exercise sheet questions, so make sure you spend time on them or maybe collaborates with your mates.

The final exam is actually doable. It's long, not surprisingly, but the questions are not hard, I actually find them really straight forward. But to do well, you need to have a good memory. Everything covered in lectures is examinable and everything is actually examined. So make sure you understand everything. Also the exam questions are quite similar to those of past years (more than half of the questions are exactly the same), so make sure you do those or at least look at the provided solutions.

Overall, great unit. You actually learn a lot in this unit if you like Applied Maths. Pure people might be disappointed though. The assessments are pretty fair and apparently the pass rate was 85% and 50% of students received a D or better. (These statistics are included in the 2005 exam solutions so is for 2005, but I don't think it would be that different from year to year) Definitely do this unit because no one doesn't like PDEs and Michael Page is awesome.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 08:26:50 pm by m.mathaholic »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #221 on: July 01, 2014, 03:58:29 pm »
MTH1020 - Analysis of Change

  • 3 x 1 hour lectures
  • 1 x 2 hour Tutorial

  • 3 x Assignments (40%)
  • Examination (60%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, two. One with solutions and one without.

Textbook Recommendation:  The recommended textbook was James Stewart's Calculus Early Transcendentals. This book is absolutely amazing. I recommend it to anyone who is serious about Maths, wants more rigorous definitions, looking to deepen their knowledge or is going to continue with Maths. If you're doing this unit because it is compulsory then there is no need for the textbook.  You can also purchase the MTH1020 lecture material from the book store and fill them out during lectures. Just to note: you can no longer bring the lecture materials into the exam, they won't really help that much anyway.

Lecturer(s): Dr Daniel Mathews, there are others but he will be the lecturer that takes you through the major chunk of the content.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014.

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Not available as of yet.

Comments: This unit is centered around students who have not completed Specialist Maths in VCE. It does go into a bit more depth than specialist and introduces students to proofs.

Topics covered include:
  • Functions and their models
  • Limits are derivatives
  • Short-cuts to differentiation
  • Using the derivatives
  • Integrals
  • Applications of integration
  • Vectors
  • Complex numbers

The course begins with a refreshment of Year 12 Methods, and in this time you'll cover topics which include basic functions and the four ways to represent functions. It is in the second week when you're introduced to new topics - inverse circular functions. For the most part this is fairly intuitive and is taught while you're learning about inverse functions so it is very fitting.

After establishing a solid understanding of functions you will move onto limits and derivatives. In this segment of the course you will learn about what limits are and how we can use them to find derivatives of functions. This is probably one of the most important parts of the course. I say this because if you wish to continue with Mathematics you must have a very good understanding of limits and be able to compute them almost effortlessly. When then moving onto differentiation the newly covered topics include implicit differentiation and logarithmic differentiation. These topics are not too much and they are definitely intuitive if you understand the chain rule - yet another important concept to grasp.

The next new thing you will cover is integration by substitution and trigonometric substitution. Everything after this in the course is completely new and would not have been covered in Methods. So after week 7 you should begin paying a lot of attention because this also forms a pertinent component of assignments and the exam. Differential equations, vectors and complex numbers are all manageable, but you have to be diligent because some people lost focus here and it really hurt them during SWOTVAC.

As for the assignments. Assignments will be due in weeks 3, 7 and 11. Each of these assignments have some application questions such as 'find the derivative of blah' and they also have proof questions such as 'is this true or false, justify'. The assignments are not too long and usually don't take longer than a few hours to complete. If you are serious about doing well in this unit then use these assignments so that you can get ~35% out of the possible 40%. They're not overly difficult and if you complete the tutorial sheets then these are quite doable.

As for the tutorials. You will have a tutorial once a week that goes for approximately two hours, although some people decided to walk out much earlier or not come at all. These tutorials were fun and interesting. There were times were clarification with the tutor was great, such as asking if you're methods were right, but overall everyone listened to music and the room was dead silent as everyone did the tutorial sheets. Admittedly I had excellent discussions with my tutor about Maths and he helped ascertain my knowledge while showing me how to improve and consolidate my methods. It's up to you if you want to go to tutorials. They can either be incredible beneficial if you are not understanding the lectures or they can just not be your cup of tea. I'll go on to why later. Each week you'll also get a problem set to work over which will cover everything in the past week's lectures. These sheets are really great to consolidate your knowledge and bolster your chances of doing well in the examination. All the questions are exam standard so don't just skip ones you can't do because you don't understand it. Do them. Get the help that you need because it will benefit you during the exam.

Now the lectures. Dr Mathews is hilarious and just a really down to earth lecturer. He definitely knows what he is talking about and the only mistake I ever saw him make was one arithmetic error. Overall the quality of his lectures were impeccable despite the content of the course getting incredibly dry at times. If you really want logical explanations on topics and an insight to the Mathematical jargon then I recommend that you go to his lectures. However, the lectures are really not necessary at all. They're only really necessary if you want to fill out your lecture materials, which can also be done at home. I went to a lot of my lectures simple because I enjoy Mathematics but I didn't really gain an incredible benefit from it. I'll also come back as to why this was the case.

Lastly, the exam. If you have done the problem sets and the past exams they give you, there is no reason why you cannot do well in this unit. The exam is very straight forward and the past exams give a good indication of what to expect. Time isn't really an issue in these exams and you should be able to comfortably finish within the three hours. Although I felt there was always one question that gets you stumped so that may push you for time. Nonetheless, the exam is the good way to secure a good score in this unit if you have been doing well in assignments. Please don't walk into this unit thinking that a HD is impossible because it is University Mathematics. Most students who applied themselves in this unit seemed to have done very well so it is definitely doable.

Now onto the points I said I would come back to. If you decide to buy the textbook because you're serious about Math then you are in for a treat. The book is absolutely amazing and I cannot speak highly enough of it. Everything you cover in lectures is in the textbook and with greater depth as well. Although, complex numbers don't get a big mention (they are mentioned in the appendix) so use the lecture notes for this part. The textbook starts from the most basic, intuitive ideas and builds you up into understanding the more intricate Mathematics occurring in the background. If you intend on doing MTH1030 and MTH2010 I would suggest this textbook. So how does this tie into the tutorials and lectures? Owning this textbook made going to lectures almost redundant and made tutorials  less useful. Firstly because the textbook gave me everything in much more detail, and secondly I had about 70 problems to work through for one concept. I went to lectures as a form of revision or 'pre-reading' really. The lectures ascertained the knowledge the textbook was already giving me. For example, the lecture materials have a about a page and a half  dedicated to trigonometric substitution and about three or four examples. Conversely the textbook has several pages, tips and tricks, and a multitude of problems to work though. Using the textbook also made tutorials not feel as important as they could have been since it gave more difficult questions, probably a bit beyond the scope of the course too. However, going to tutorials helped me with the little things which made them worthwhile going to and since there is only one per week it is worth it.

Now one question remains, why isn't this unit a 5/5? Well there is much that could be improved in this unit. The course is dominated by a lot of application (when I say this I mean solving equations etc. not real-world application problems) and not as many proofs which is disappointing. Throughout all the topics there are many proofs that could be shown but are skipped due to time constraints: textbook rectifies this with proofs about literally everything. Alas, more proofs would help students who are more keen to continue with Mathematics get a feel for the pure side and the applied side. Also the tutorials could definitely be more interesting. Sitting there for two hours quietly doing problems is something you could do at home and not have to come to uni for. It could probably be improved by some interesting real-world applications or actually using the textbook which has a plethora of these. As much as this course is exciting it has a dark shadow of boredom that lurks closely behind it. Much of the course is designed to set you up for future units but there are a minimal amount of 'real-life' applications which makes the content become monotonous at times because you feel like you're really just solving equations constantly.

Overall, I recommend this unit to anyone who wants to continue with Mathematics and has not completed Specialist Mathematics in Year 12. I also highly condone the textbook if you fall into the category of the former as it will allow you to get a very deep understanding.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 04:23:23 pm by Espoir »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #222 on: July 02, 2014, 02:56:42 am »
Subject Code/Name: CHM3911 - Advanced physical chemistry

3 x 1 hour lectures per week
1 x 4 hour labs per week (this goes for pretty much all weeks besides Weeks 1 and 12, at least in the semester I did it)
1 x 1 hour tutorial per week (optional).

Practical work: 30% (consists of 9 Lab Reports)
Various assignments/tests throughout semester (total 30%), such as:
Three Molecular Symmetry assignments (total of 8%, later assignments worth more than earlier ones)
One-hour (midsem-ish) test on Molecular Symmetry (10%)
Introductory assignment on Computational Chemistry (3%)
Online test on Computational Chemistry (3%)
Molecular Spectroscopy assignment (6%)
Final exam: 40%
Note: Prac work is a HURDLE REQUIREMENT. You need at least 50% in pracs to pass the unit.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture. From personal experience, on rare occasions, the video is somehow missing (you still get the audio). Most lectures will be captured accurately though.

Past exams available:  Yes, a couple posted on Moodle. The past exams database has some exams, but it appears this unit has undergone changes in the past, so not all of the material may be relevant. The ones on Moodle are relevant to the current course - the only thing to keep in mind is which parts of the course are being assessed on the final exam (more on this later). No solutions available.

Textbook Recommendation: As the course is reasonably diverse in terms of its content, there is no real "prescribed" textbook. Some of the more commonly mentioned suggested textbooks include "Physical chemistry" by Atkins (9th or slightly earlier editions), and "Modern spectroscopy" by Hollas (4th or slightly earlier editions). Personally, I found neither to be a compulsory buy, as the lecture notes do a reasonably good job at covering the content. However, if you enjoy learning from textbooks, or like to go more in-depth and have more explanations, then by all means consider using some of the recommended reading.

Computational Chemistry, Thermodynamics and Kinetics: Katya Pas
Molecular Symmetry and Molecular Spectroscopy: Don McNaughton
Surface Chemistry and Colloid Chemistry: Alison Funston

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 4.2  out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Unknown at this point.

Comments: This subject can form part of a chemistry major. If you wish to do Honours in chemistry, you need at least one unit from either Physical or Analytical Chemistry, and at least one unit from either Organic or Inorganic Chemistry.

This unit is divided into six major topics, and each lecturer goes through two of them:

Computational Chemistry (Katya)
Katya's section starts off with Computational Chemistry. This begins with a brief introduction to quantum mechanics (it's pretty much all qualitative, and if you have some background in Physics, this will probably be a recap of things for you). Why is this necessary? Because ultimately, there are some reactions in the lab which might be somewhat dangerous to carry out, require expensive materials/difficult preparation or are difficult to accurately gather data from. Sometimes, it's better to model things before trying them in the lab themselves (e.g. drug design). Therefore, it is better to simulate these reactions. In order to do this though, we need to have an accurate description of the molecule's structure and physical properties. And an accurate description of these requires quantum mechanics to be invoked. So that's why we do computational chemistry.

The next few lectures go through things such as potential energy surfaces (basically multi-dimensional versions of the potential energy diagrams you're used to seeing) and how they are computed, why they have the shape they do, how we interpret local minima and maxima on these diagrams, and why they are important. We then go through some of the computational chemistry methods that allow us to correctly interpret these potential energy diagrams, and hence allow us to predict molecular structure and reaction properties.

However, calculating exact properties is very computationally intensive, and in many cases, thoroughly impractical. So we also learn about the various approximations that are made (both to our "energy-calculator" Hamiltonian and our molecule, which is represented in quantum mechanics as a "wavefunction"). We learn some theoretical basis behind the methods, and their strengths and weaknesses, as well as important properties. Throughout this lecture series, there will often be comparisons of various computational chemistry methods. You will get to do these things yourself in the lab component (more on this later).
Thermodynamics and Kinetics (Katya)
Katya's section continues with Thermodynamics and Kinetics. This lecture series touches on the Fundamental Laws of Thermodynamics, an introduction to macroscopic and microscopic entropy, a recap of enthalpy and Gibbs' free energy, and how we interpret these in terms of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics. Some of this will be revision, and if you did Physics, probably all of it will be. We then briefly look at the Carnot cycle as an example of analysing entropy and enthalpy. The derivations of Gibbs' free energy and the reaction equilibrium constant are also shown.

After this, we look a bit more at phase equilibria. Remember those temperature-pressure diagrams for water, which showed the triple point and critical point? We look at them again here, in the context of the Phase Rule, which is a shortcut way to determine how many variables you can change to keep the same phases as you currently have. We also look at phase equilibria for mixtures of substances, in particular liquid-vapour phase equilibria. This is the theoretical basis for separation techniques such as fractional distillation, and now we can see why such techniques are effective (or not). Finally, we look at supersaturated solutions - how entropy changes with phase, and come across the Kauzmann Paradox, which appears to consider a situation where the Third Law of Thermodynamics is broken. It's never been observed (so Physics isn't broken), but we don't actually know why that is so!

Finally, we look at classical nucleation theory, which explains the kinetics (or time-scale formation) of crystals from supersaturated solution. This is then linked to the Arrhenius equation, and shows a great parallel between crystallisation reactions and regular chemical reactions. There's still a bit of QM thrown in at the end, with quantum 'tunnelling' effects showing up in real-life reactions.
Molecular Symmetry (Don)
Don's section starts off with Molecular Symmetry. This is basically an introduction to the various kinds of symmetry molecules can have (which we call 'symmetry elements'). Once everyone is capable of looking at a molecule and determining what kinds of symmetry it has, we then look at classifying molecules by their key symmetry elements (these molecular classifications are called 'point groups'). Also, we notice that we can do symmetry analysis of rotations, translations and vibrations of a molecule, and to things such as molecular orbitals, dipole moment vectors, and polarisability tensors. So why do we do all this stuff? Well, it turns out that with a bit more work, molecular symmetry actually can help us in identifying the structure of a molecule we might not be able to determine by other means. We can use molecular symmetry to predict the appearance (or non-appearance) of an IR or Raman spectrum, and what we should see if the spectra exist. There is actually some mathematical basis behind all of this, as the study of symmetry comes down to mathematical group theory - but you don't need to worry about any of that here. For the mathematically minded, there's also some matrix algebra involved - see if you can spot where it occurs!
Molecular Spectroscopy (Don)
Don's section then continues with Molecular Spectroscopy. Here, we consider three kinds of spectroscopy - microwave (or rotational), IR (or vibrational), and UV-Vis (or electronic). The theoretical basis of all three methods is considered. For example, where you may recall from CHM2922 that the "ball-and-spring" approximation is used to come up with the energy levels observed in IR spectroscopy, we also have the "rigid rotor" model for microwave spectroscopy to predict energy levels. For each kind of spectroscopy, we basically consider the following questions:
1. Which kinds of molecules will appear on this spectrum?
2. Why are the spectral lines separated in the way they are?
3. Why are the heights of the lines the way they are?
4. How does changing the chemical compound being studied affect the spectrum?
5. What other information can we get from analysing the spectrum?
Understanding this, in conjunction with molecular symmetry, really provides a sound basis for understanding spectroscopy of relatively simple molecules.
Surface Chemistry (Alison)
Alison's section starts off with Surface Chemistry. In a way, this area of chemistry gets partly neglected during VCE and earlier Chemistry units. But, if you recall from your high-school days some strange things about "surface tension/surface energy", "spreading/wetting", "contact angle" or "surfactants", then this is what the lecture series is about. It goes into the reason behind surface tension, and why properties of surface molecules are often different to non-surface molecules (which we call the "bulk"). Much of this section (and the subsequent section) is really based on intermolecular forces, so it's a good idea to revise those so you have a good foundation for the section. However, surface tension is also based on energetics. This means that there is some maths involved in working out various surface-tension related properties, and in calculating surface tension itself. There are derivations of the formulas you will eventually use, which require some knowledge of maths/physics (for example, steps in derivations include knowing that Pressure = Force / Area, or that Change in Energy = Work = Force x Distance). These derivations are usually not examinable, however. After learning about surface tension and how to measure it, we consider the role that surfactants play in reducing surface tension, and the formation of micelles at higher surfactant concentrations. Applications of this section include in detergents, oil drilling and flotation. We also learn about how surface chemistry affects the pressure in objects such as bubbles and droplets.

Then, we learn about spreading/wetting on surfaces, and what factors determine whether one substance will spread over another. The applications of this include water-resistant and water-proof fabrics, and glues/adhesives. After this, we learn about adsorption, which is the adhering of one substance onto the surface of another. Once again, we consider the energetics of adsorption and its reverse process, desorption, and look at how the amount of adsorption varies with how much stuff you put in (which is represented graphically by "adsorption isotherms"). We look at several models of adsorption, and their assumptions, the difference between physical and chemical adsorption, and what happens if your surface has lots of little pores on it.
Colloid Chemistry (Alison)
Alison's section concludes with Colloid Chemistry. Basically, a colloid is when you have a system of particles suspended in a (different) bulk medium, except the particles are usually much larger than your average molecule. We learn about why these are actually thermodynamically unstable, and what makes them last for so long. We learn about how we can make colloids, how we can ensure that they don't come together to form large clumps and effectively precipitate out of solution, and how we can break them apart again. We learn about the models that aim to predict the immediate environment around a colloid particle, based on electrostatics and van der Waal's forces (giving rise to an overall potential). Finally, we see applications and examples in emulsions and foams.

Personally, I found this unit to be a reasonably fun unit, once I actually started listening and learning from the lectures. This is probably because I enjoy the idea of Physics (if not the mind-crushingly difficult maths), and I've always liked learning about orbitals and bonding. I must admit that Surface and Colloid Chemistry was not the most fun topic I learnt in high-school chemistry, but if I treated it as a fusion of chemistry and some maths, the learning wasn't too bad at all. Computational Chemistry was a bit dry on its own - but it's nice to apply what you've learnt from the lectures in the labs. I had quite a love/hate relationship with Molecular Symmetry, because I absolutely cannot rotate things in my head, which made each bit of work I had to do on it incredibly painstaking. With each success, however, there came a lot of satisfaction. I also liked Thermodynamics and Kinetics particularly for its derivations and its brief description of the fundamental thermodynamics laws (well, I guess that means I like Physics).

The lecturers were all great at explaining concepts and answering questions. In particular, I liked how Katya interspersed questions throughout her lectures to give them a more interactive feel. Alison also gave little demonstrations during her lectures and asked us to predict what might happen beforehand. Don also went through some worked examples in his lectures. All of this made the overall learning experience better, in my opinion.

I didn't attend any of the tutes (they were held at pretty inconvenient times for me), but in them, you appear to go through questions from a tute sheet related to the lecture material. The tute sheets (and sometimes the answers) are put up on Moodle as well, and they're often a good revision tool for the exam.

Now, for some comments regarding the assessments:

Workload-wise, the labs aren't actually too different to those found in CHM2922. You'll have to either write up a full lab report or fill in an extended proforma for each prac that you do. I found that I had to spend at least 5 hours on each full lab report and at least 3 hours on each proforma in order to get a decent mark - so make sure you allocate a reasonable amount of time to get these done. Particularly if you're doing other units with experiments and lab reports in them, the overall amount of work each week can really start getting to you. The lab staff are usually more than happy to consider requests for extension if things really do get too busy.

The lab demonstrators themselves are all very competent and helpful - there's nothing really more to say.
Regarding lab work, there are usually two kinds of labs. Computational chemistry labs are done individually and usually see you in the computer lab, using the computational chemistry program GAUSSIAN09 in conjunction with the Monash Campus Cluster (basically a big supercomputer for all kinds of Monash students to run programs on) in order to complete the lab work for the day. Then, you analyse your readouts from the computational chemistry files in order to help you fill out the lab proforma for that experiment. This kind of lab can be very frustrating at times - because omission of a single space in what you type can cause the subsequent results files you get to either record numerous errors, or not give you what you want at all. One thing that I would suggest is to download the copy of GAUSSIAN09 that gets placed on the Moodle page, and save it to your Monash account and your laptop/computer. This means that you can work on the computational chemistry assignments from any computer in Monash or at home, and really increases the time you get to work on those experiments.

Another thing is that at the start of the semester, you'll probably feel like you're basically blindly copying down instructions from your lab manuals with no idea why anything is going on. However, as you learn the principles of Computational Chemistry, things will start to make a bit more sense. So, my advice here is to persevere, and try not to get too violent when stuff goes wrong - your demonstrator is there to help.  :)

 "Wet" labs are more like your standard lab where you get/make some sort of chemical compounds, perform some chemistry on them, analyse them, and then analyse the results later. One good thing about these is that the experimental procedure is nowhere near as demanding as more synthetic-based labs. Usually, the most you'll have to do is make up a series of solutions of different concentrations, perform a pH titration, run a series of IR/UV-Vis spectra, take some measurements from a scale, or some simple chemistry like exposing a sample to light radiation, or using a centrifuge to separate components of a solution. That being said, while it is not as intense, it can still be fairly time-consuming, particularly if your experiment has multiple parts in it. Having a good partner really makes work easier and also more enjoyable. You'll still have to write up your own individual lab reports, but discussing things with your lab partner tends to benefit both of you.
Symmetry assignments
The symmetry assignments are designed to reinforce and apply what you have learnt in lectures, by having you perform symmetry analyses on various simple molecules. This kind of assessment starts straight after your first lecture (when you've learnt all the basic symmetry elements and then have to identify them in other molecules), and continues after you learn more (the second assignment has you assigning point groups, and the third one has you finding irreducible representations to ultimately work out the predicted IR and Raman spectra of molecules). If you're not too good at rotating things in your head, this might take a while, but the skills learnt are well worth it, as they are applied again in the 'midsem' test. One thing I did find handy was to look at 3-D structures of the molecules themselves (particularly ones that you can freely manipulate). Also, there's always this point group database if ever you are stuck. If you put some effort into them, it's usually enough to get a decent mark. Some people find this easier than others, but as you go through and practice, you tend to come up with your own little tricks or procedures for making things easier for yourself.
Symmetry 'Midsem' Test
The Symmetry 'Midsem' Test is a 50 minute test held during one of the lectures. It basically goes through all the symmetry material, which has hopefully been drummed into you by the assignments. While the molecules present on the test might be different, the tasks rarely change - so if you know the procedures to follow, it's just a matter of identifying and implementing them correctly. Early in the semester, Don puts a file on Moodle of some molecules that you can practice your skills on - usually one of these will be on the test paper in some form, so if you can do most of the 'medium' level molecules on there, you should be fine for that part. The main thing to be aware of, however, is time pressure. I knew how to do all the questions on the midsem - I just couldn't get them all down quickly enough, panicked, and made a mistake that ended up costing a bunch of marks. So, it's really important to get some practice, and to really know what your planned procedures are before the test.
Introductory Computational Chemistry assignment
This assignment is basically meant to help you become used to the basic kinds of procedures you will do in your subsequent computational chemistry labs. How this works is that in Week 2, instead of having a normal chem lab, you'll have a tutorial lab where you're introduced to the Monash Campus Cluster and Gaussian09 and how to do really simple things with the program interface. You'll then work through the instructions on a PDF which tells you what to do in order to get the actual assignment done and fill in the associated proforma. The intention is that when you then do your subsequent computational chemistry labs, what you're doing will be less familiar. That being said, it still took me quite a while to understand what I needed to be doing in those labs. Your demonstrators are really a big source of help on this.
Online Computational Chemistry Test
This online test is more of a theory test on the Computational Chemistry material. You get 1 hour to complete some questions (most are multiple choice or matching-type questions). There isn't really much more to say here - as long as you have your lecture notes in front of you and have a basic grasp of what is going on, you should get a decent mark.
Molecular Spectroscopy Assignment
This assignment comes in two parts: The first part is a standard (untimed) online test with a few questions/calculations relating to what you learnt in lectures. You'll then use the numbers from one of the questions (thankfully not numbers that you've calculated, so don't worry about everything being mucked up) in order to make an Excel-based plot of a rovibrational spectrum, and to answer more questions. It's probably a good idea to leave at least a couple of hours to do the second part.
Final exam
This year, there was none of Don's material on the final exam, which thankfully made it easier to revise for. Revising a number of diverse topics comes with its own challenges. Most people found some pain in the revision process, and I can't say I found many people who liked it that much. One of the really good things though, was that one a day close to the final exam, lots of people from the cohort came to uni and basically went through the past exams together! If you can get this going with your cohort, it's a really, REALLY good way for everyone to benefit and help each other learn. The two past exams we were given on Moodle were reasonable guides to what would appear on the final exam, but there were a few other questions in there too (which I assume must have come from the tute material). The exam itself wasn't too bad - most of the questions weren't overly difficult, but there was a fair bit of time pressure, which really caused me to rush at the end. There were a number of questions where you had to draw diagrams/graphs to help with explaining (as well as other questions where drawing a diagram may have helped too). The material is crammable, but you really should try to avoid this, as it just compounds the pain. Particularly in Alison's sections, KNOW HOW TO CONVERT UNITS. For some reason, surface chemists tend to express their quantities in all kinds of units. So know when you have to adjust the units of things, and what units your answer is expected to take! (Yep, dimensional analysis can really point you i nthe right direction for some of the calculation-based questions there.

In conclusion, if you enjoy Physics but dislike the associated maths that comes with it, you have a decent chance of enjoying this unit. If you always liked orbitals, or thermodynamics/kinetics/equilibria, you'll find some interesting stuff here. If you don't really enjoy these things, or don't like having lots of equations in Chemistry, or don't like doing maths that much, then this unit might not be the best fit for you - there's always Medicinal, Inorganic, and Environmental Chemistry units that you might find more enjoyable.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 04:49:58 pm by nerdgasm »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #223 on: July 07, 2014, 06:37:17 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENG1010 - Process Systems Analysis

  • Two 1-hour lectures
  • One 2-hour tutorial
  • One 2-hour comp lab

  • Hand Calculation test - 10%
  • HYSYS test - 10%
  • Case Studies (group) x3 - 5%, 7%, 10%
  • Practical project (group) - 8%
  • Exam - 50%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, heaps, all with solutions. Also heaps of past hand-calculation tests with solutions too.

Textbook Recommendation: 
Not needed at all. You're given very comprehensive course notes that cover everything, in addition to the lecture slides that are used during lectures.

A/Professor Cordelia Selomulya

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 - Semester 1

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD

This unit is pretty well run. Everything you need is provided for you in moodle with frequent updates, and an active discussion forum. There's even a video showing you how to get to the right lab for your practical project, for all the lost jaffys (or clueless second year com students).

Unit Content
The unit is split into 5 main topics, however the general jist of the unit is "what goes in must come out". These topics are:

  • Dimensions - Basically an introduction to units
  • Mass balances - Looks at the concentration and flow rates of streams of solutions. Things like desalination of water via reverse osmosis or evaporation; or looking at how the concentration of urea in the bloods stream changes from dialysis. Involves a few linear simultaneous equations to solve, but not too tricky once youíve done a couple
  • Mass balances with chemical reactions - You have a feed stream, a reaction occurs, then you have a product stream. You look at how the composition changes. Continuous stirred-tank reactors (CSTRs) are introduced. If you can handle stoichiometry from VCE chem, then you can handle most of this topic before you actually learn any of the stuff at uni. CSTRs may take a little work though.
  • Energy Balances - A much larger topic than the previous ones. You look at enthalpy changes first, then move into mechanical energy balances. Things like Bernoulli's equation and the pump head required for a given flow rate.
  • Heat Transfer - Thing like convection and conduction, overall heat transfer coefficients, heat flux through a wall, and finding the required length of a heat exchange to achieve a certain degree of heating/cooling.
My favourite topics were mass balances with chemical reactions (I like stoich haha) and heat transfer. Mechanical energy balance I found to be pretty boring, number-plugging into formulae. Think VCE physics. But once I got into some of the more long-winded questions, and you had to actually think about what each of the variables represents and how they would change I began to like it more. Just hope you donít get one of these on the exam Ė they can be very long. I used I think 5 pages of workings to do the exam question we had on this. If you didn't like chem in VCE then don't worry, I'd say it more closely follows on from VCE physics. There's not much high level maths. A few simultaneous equations, and the occasional need to the quadratic formula. 

The hand tutorial classes werenít particularly helpful. Most weeks you just work through the problem sets, but full solutions are uploaded at the end of the week so no dramas if you miss them. They were however, a good chance to work on your case studies with your group.

The HYSYS computer labs werenít too bad. The program can be incredibly fiddly and hard to use at first, but once you get used to it then itís not too bad at all. These are more helpful than the tutes though, as you can get help for the HYSYS components of the case study (and you need to know how to use HYSYS for one of the tests.)

Lectures werenít particularly helpful either. Also could be a bit boring. They mostly teach the content through examples anyway, so you can learn all that you need from the comprehensive course notes that are uploaded to moodle. However in the last week the lectures are just running through past exams, which can be very helpful for working out how you have to structure your short answer questions for the exam.

The 3 case studies that you have to do are all pretty similar. You basically look into the production process of a given substance. They can be pretty time consuming, so having a group is pretty helpful. I actually enjoyed them a bit, as some of the analytical questions required a fair amount of problem solving. There was the odd easy question though. Some were qualitative to, looking into the process a bit, and sustainability measures. Thereís also HYSYS computer simulation question. To score well in these, make sure you read the required case study format PDF on moodle. 

The practical project again is a group assessment. You submit a loose plan, then go into one of the labs and do the project (ours was cooling beer), and then have to submit the full report a few hours later. MAKE SURE YOU PLAN EVERYTHING. Seriously, this includes how you will perform all the calculations, how you will structure your discussion and analysis. Everything.  Otherwise it would be very difficult to get your report completed in time. My group finished the practical component at 1pm, and most of us worked non stop until the due time of 7pm. Submitted with 30 seconds left. Intense stuff, which could have been avoided with a bit more preparation. That being said, I did enjoy it, and probably prefer this type of assessment as opposed to the case studies. Simply because of the time limit you donít spend as long working on them.

The tests arenít particularly challenging if youíve kept up to date with the problem sets. For the hand calculation one, it is very similar to the past tests of which heaps are uploaded. So make sure you can work through them and then you should be all good. Also make sure to write out all your assumptions for the short answer questions. For the HYSYS test, there arenít any past papers, but if youíve gone to all of the computer labs and could work through those problems then it should be a breeze.
The exam is very similar to the hand calculation test. Lots of papers given out, and the same format of multiple choice and a few short answers. Again, make sure to write out all your assumptions for the SA.

Overall I liked this unit a lot. I liked the way the assessments were structured, and enjoyed the case studies. Would have given it a 5 if the lectures were a bit more entertaining, and a little more breadth in the content. Although, not many other people liked it as much as me, with others thinking it being the worst of all the first year eng units. I havenít done them, so canít really comment on that.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 09:07:32 pm by Reckoner »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #224 on: July 09, 2014, 12:59:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3051 - Introduction to Computational Mathematics

  • 3 x 1 hr Lectures
  • 1 x 2 hr Computer Lab/Tutorial (optional)

  • 5 x Assignments (5 x 6%)
  • Examination (70%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, one, with solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  The recommended textbook is Getting Started with MATLAB 7 by Rudra Pratap, Oxford Uni Press. As MABLAB is only covered in the first 1 or 2 lectures and the rest of the course is about numerical analysis, plus the assignments require minimum programming skills, the textbook is of little use.

  • Dr. Leo Brewin (Weeks 1-6)
  • Dr. Jennifer Flegg (Weeks 7-12)

Year & Semester of completion:  2014, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:  TBA

Comments:  First of all, this unit is mostly about numerical analysis and not much computing/programming. That said, MATLAB programming can be picked up through the semester but nothing more than from a first year eng computing unit.

Topics include:
  • Introduction to Matlab
  • Truncation and Round-off Errors
  • Solutions of Non-Linear Equations in One Variable
  • Solutions of Linear System of Equations
  • Solutions of Non-Linear System of Equations
  • Polynomial Interpolation, Cubic Splines, Fourier Series
  • Richardson Extrapolation
  • Definite Integrals and Romberg Integration
  • Numerical Differentiation. Finite Difference and Numerical Errors
  • Numerical Solutions of Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Optimization Methods, Golden Search and Genetic Algorithm
  • Computer Generated Random Numbers

As most (real-life) mathematical problems cannot be solved analytically/exactly, we have to somehow approximate the solutions. In this unit, you will learn how to solve a wide range of problems using various numerical methods, their derivations and error analyses. Taylor series is used A LOT in this unit, in fact, 2/3 of the numerical methods are based on Taylor Series expansion, so make sure you are comfortable with that. All the topics sound pretty easy but there is no other way than using numerical approximations when solving equations like or evaluating . Surely you can use a calculator, but how does your calculator do the job? That's what you will be learning in this unit. Not everyone enjoys this unit. (It really can be told by the attendance of lectures.) The main reason being many people think computational maths is not real maths. (Just like when I first encountered Euler's method in VCE Specialist Maths, I didn't appreciate it much either.) But in this unit, it's not like all these numerical methods are just thrown at you without explanations, in fact, everything is derived from scratch. But then, there are lots of different topics, and the topics are not really interrelated and I didn't really tried make sense of it, as a result, I kind of regretted choosing it and neglected it throughout the semester (I didn't study for it, didn't do a single exercise sheet question, although I did spend a decent amount of time working on the assignments as they are actually enjoyable.) However, it was my first exam and all my other units were 2 weeks after this, so I spent quite a lot of time on it during the exam period. Once I sat down and read and tried and understood everything slowly, everything just made so much sense and it was actually really enjoyable (In comparison to MTH3011, which makes sense as Michael Page makes everything clear but not really 'enjoyable').

Leo took the first 6 weeks of the course. Many students had Leo in first year and I think he was one of the lectures of MTH1035, but I didn't go to a single lecture for MTH1035 so who knows. Anyway, I'm not a big fan of him myself. He definitely is a good mathematician (he teaches Honours General Relativity), but for some reason I just feel lost in his lecture despite the topics are really simple. Jennifer came in in week 7. She happened to be my tutor for this unit. In my opinion she is a much better lecturer than Leo. She is organized, makes everything clear and I actually understanding what she is talking about in lectures without any confusion.

Computer Labs/Tutorials:
Tutorials are not compulsory for this unit. I heard that the way the tutors run the tutes vary a lot from tutor to tutor. Some tutors go through questions from the problem set in the tutes and teach a fair bit, but not mine. I had Jennifer Flegg as my tutor. As aforementioned, she was the lecturer of the second half of the unit and she definitely knows her stuff, and she is super good with MATLAB. In my tutes, instead of going through the problem sets as a class, each week up to around week 9 or 10, we simply just work on the assignments and ask for help. This is a good and bad thing for me. As there are 5 assignments and there is always one due every second week, I'm always working on the assignments and never really spend anytime on the exercise sheet. Starting from week 9 or so, each week we also spend some time talking about the exercise sheet questions and also past exam questions. Once again, although the tutes are not compulsory, go to the tutes and ask questions about the assignments.

There are 5 assignments, each worth 6%. Each assignment has one big question and we are meant to solve it using MATLAB. The assignment are not hard and in fact quite fun, the programming involved was really basic and 3 out of the 5 assignments are not related the course material whatsoever. Some of them can be tricky but you can always discuss the assignments with your tutor so even if you had no clue how to start, your tutor would definitely guide you through it. The marking, on the other hand, was quite harsh. Almost everyone gets 100% for the first assignment as long as you get the answer right. (It is hard not to get it right and Leo spends like half a lecture discussing about that first assignment.) But from second one, the marks drop quite a bit for most students, apparently the marking scheme has changed and every steps needed to be made clear in the assignment in order to get a good mark. But then, if effort were put in and everything were explained step by step, getting a good mark was not too hard. Don't forget you can always ask you tutor for help.

Final Examination:
The exam is worth 70% and is consisted of 20 MC questions and the rest are long questions. Most questions ask you to derive a certain numerical method, which of course are all covered in lectures so you will be fine if you memorize most the derivation and also error analysis for the 20 or 30 numerical methods. Also, the exam is quite similar to past exam; most MC are exactly the same, and same for the long questions. For a third year mathematics unit, the exam is really easy. If you spent time studying for it, even start cramming from SWOTVAC like me, the exam wouldn't be much of a problem. Apparently some people finished this exam in like 1.5 or 2 hours comfortably.

Overall, a fantastic and actually useful unit. If you are an Applied Mathematics major, you will most likely be doing this unit anyway, but even if you are a Pure Mathematics major (I would imaging Pure Maths major enjoy this unit more than MTH3011) or even not a Mathematics major, definitely consider doing this unit as it is actually quite fun and useful, not overly difficult and you will be picking up a programming language.